GBP (GMB Listing) Suspended: Here’s What You Should Do to Reinstate
Did your Google listing get suspended? Depending on the reason for suspension you may be unsure how to proceed. We’re here to help you work through the GMB suspension process so you know what to do when your listing is suspended!
We will start by determining the cause of the listing suspension and the types of suspensions you may encounter. Then, we will work through the steps to take to reinstate your listing.
What is a GBP Suspension?
A listing suspension is when Google flags your listing for violating one or multiple of their terms of service (TOS). When the listing is suspended, it is removed from the local search results so searchers cannot find the business.
In order to better detect spam, fake listings, and fraud, Google’s local algorithm has become more sensitive to TOS violations. This means your GMB listings are under higher scrutiny, especially across industries like locksmiths, garage doors, and home services, , which has always been more affected. Even if you do not intentionally violate Google’s guidelines (or violate them at all), your listing can still be suspended.
Keep in mind, Google does not alert you when a suspension hits, so you must monitor your listings proactively. You will know you have been hit by a suspension when your GBP listing is no longer visible on Google Search and Google Maps. You will also not be able to make changes to the listing once it is suspended.
Why Listing Suspensions Matter
Google’s map pack, which features local listings, is shown at the top in 93% of local searches. Additionally, 64% of searchers use Google My Business to find contact details and reviews about a local business according to Bright Local’s study.
Getting hit with a suspension could lead to a significant loss of lead flow, especially for smaller businesses on tighter budgets that rely more heavily on their listings for calls and lead generation. We have seen many businesses struggle with leads after their listing is suspended.
Types of Listing Suspensions
There are three types of suspensions you’ll mostly come across. Each of these scenarios can cause different issues.
- Soft suspensions
- Hard suspensions
- Account suspensions
With soft suspensions, your GMB listing still appears on Search and in Maps, but will show as “Unverified” and you will no longer have control or can manage it. Moreover, the listing becomes prone to others suggesting edits or claiming your profile. This puts your listing at risk. Your competitors can suggest incorrect edits or even claim your listing to get ownership over it.
A soft suspension can usually be resolved in a few steps and we recommend addressing this as soon as possible. Reasons for a soft suspension include:
- Business name changes
- Business address changes
- Phone number changes
- Map pin changes
- Primary category changes
A hard suspension is when your Google My Business listing is no longer visible on Search and Maps, generally due to a TOS violation. This type of suspension is more serious and more difficult to address.
Receiving a hard suspension will results in a significant drop or total loss of leads, website clicks, storefront visits, and potentially having your accumulated reviews removed forever. This will significantly impact your local business. If not addressed, it can severely impact the business’s ability to make money and pay bills.
In order to get this type of suspension removed, you must follow Google’s protocol for addressing the issues. The process will take much longer to get back on track, so get started early. It can sometimes be challenging to get a response from Google. In some instances it has taken months of consistent follow up. But, under no circumstances should you create a new duplicate listing during this time. It will only prolong the overall process.
This type of suspension occurs when a Google account with ownership rights to the GBP listing gets suspended. This creates a domino effect where all or several listings owned by that account are suspended. If Google reinstates the owner’s accounts, then their listings get reinstated too (most of the time).
In cases where the manager account gets suspended, they’ll only suspend the manager account on the listing. The listings themselves will be unaffected. If the manager account gets reinstated, they’ll immediately regain managerial rights on the listings where they were previously suspended.
For this reason, you have to be careful with your Google accounts. You do not want to be flagged for suspicious or spammy activities by violating Google’s Terms of Service, especially if you are the owner of any GMB listings.
When you get hit by a listing suspension, and you get reinstated, the owner and managers of the listing will also get reinstated. However, with listing suspensions, you can still make edits to your GMB listing and appeal for reinstatements, while with account suspensions, that is no longer the case.
reasons why Google My Business listings get suspended?
Google wants searchers to get the best, most accurate search results possible. So, they depend on trustworthy, up-to-date, and accurate business information on local listings.
There are many reasons GBP listings get suspended, and it can be difficult to determine why the listing is suspended since Google doesn’t give you a reason. Generally, listings are suspended for engaging in spammy tactics, providing misinformation, or not following Google’s guidelines.
Oftentimes, listings are suspended because Google simply analyzes the listings when red flags mentioned below arise. Someone can also report your listing through Google’s Redressal Form. Google will then review the listing and potentially give a Manual Suspension if they find issues with your GBP listing. Users can also use the ‘Suggesting edits’ feature to update info on your listing, and if they are trusted enough by Google, those changes could take immediate effect.
Below are the most common reasons why listings may get suspended. However, there can be other reasons for suspensions, like algorithm updates, a glitch on Google’s end, or other extraneous factors. You can cause your listing to get suspended if you do any of the following:
Make several edits to your listing at once
We don’t generally recommend making more than one major edit to your listing at a time. It can be dangerous. For example, you do not want to update the business name and change the listing to a SAB at the same time.
Display A Physical Address When You Should Be A Service Area Business (SAB) or Change from one type to the other
If your business has a physical location where customers come your listing should display the address. This makes it easy for potential customers “If your business doesn’t have a storefront with clear signage but travels to customers at their physical locations, you’re allowed one service-area Business Profile.” according to Google’s guidance.
There are also hybrid listings where the business has a physical location they welcome customers and employees that go out to service different areas. If you are unsure which type of listing your business falls under, read Google’s guidelines on listing types.
Changing the type of listing is not necessarily dangerous, but it is a big change for an already-established listing. If you are making this change, be sure you’re in line with the guidance from Google.
Use a P.O. Box or UPS Store address
“P.O. boxes or mailboxes located at remote locations aren’t acceptable,” according to Google. We do not recommend using PO Boxes unless it is your absolute last resort. If you choose this method you must be aware that you are at risk of suspension.
List your business hours as 24/7
Google wants you to provide the hours your business is front facing, meaning someone is in the office. Most businesses are not staffed 24/7, which is why there is more scrutiny around listing your hours.
The hours on your GBP listing don’t match your website or other directories where your business is listed
Google can cross reference your listing information with other published information online. Be sure your listing matches up with the other info on the web. This actually goes for all aspects of a business’s listing.
Keyword stuffing your business name (Or including anything Besides the business name)
This directly goes against Google’s guidelines. Your listing name should be your official business name and that is it. Do not add any extra keywords. Google says, “accurately represent your business name. Your name should reflect your business’s real-world name, as used consistently on your storefront, website, stationery, and as known to customers.”
Setting up your business at a virtual office or a co-working space address
Unfortunately, “If your business rents a physical mailing address but doesn’t operate out of that location, also known as a virtual office, that location isn’t eligible for a Business Profile” in Google’s eyes. You may be able to get a listing at that address, but you are technically in violation of Google’s guidelines. This means you’re at risk of a suspended listing.
You have an online-only type of business
These types of businesses are technically not supposed to have a GMB listing unless there is a storefront or office. According to Google, “To qualify for a Business Profile on Google, a business must make in-person contact with customers during its stated hours.” If you have an online business with no physical address, you can be at risk of suspension.
The URL on your Listing redirects to A Different Business’s website or a social media page
The website connected to your listing should ALWAYS link to your company’s website. If you don’t have a website, link to the free GMB site. Linking to another website or social media account for your brand not only leads users away from your business, but it’s also against Google’s policy. Google wants you to, “provide a website that represents your individual business location.”
Be sure your listing links to the corresponding website. If you have a different business’s domain this can be a quick red flag to Google.
Duplicate listings – multiple listings for the same business at the same address
You are only allowed one listing per business per location. If you have multiple locations you can have multiple listings, but you could not have multiple listings for each dentist in the office for example.
It’s also worth mentioning that Google will only rank one listing per address in any industry. Google does not recognize suite numbers, so if you’re in an office building with multiple law firms only one will be shown. This filtering can be a big challenge to overcome, especially in larger office buildings where there are many businesses in the same industry.
One of the Owner/Manager Accounts on your listing got suspended
Chances are if the account owning or managing the listing is suspended, the listing will also be automatically suspended. However, this is not always the case. We have seen many cases where some listings under an account get suspended while others remain active.
If You’re In a High-Risk Category, You’re At Higher Risk of suspensions
These categories have more fake, and spam listings in general and are known to be more inclined to suspensions, which is why they’re under more intense scrutiny:
- Garage Door Companies
- Pest control
- Rehab centers
Most of these categories are usually service area businesses.
What to do if you face a Hard Suspension?
- Check if you can determine why your GBP listing got suspended—correct anything before moving on to the next steps.
- Review the Google My Business Terms of Service and Guidelines to see if you have violated any.
- Appeal for Reinstatement following Google’s protocol.
Contacting Google My Business Help Forum with your issue and listing details should be done before submitting the reinstatement form. Provide as much information as you can, including your GMB listing URL.
Once you have undergone these steps, it’s time to submit your appeal for reinstatement. There are many questions on the form, and you will need to answer carefully and honestly.
How to appeal a Suspension for reinstatement?
You will need to prove that you are a legitimate business by providing photos and screenshots of:
- Permanent signage outside of your business location/storefront/building
- The interior of your business location
- Your storefront, as seen from the street
- Street view image of the neighborhood of your business location
- Business License
- Insurance documents
- Office walk-through video
- Pictures of the company logo on your business vehicle, if applicable (SABs)
- If a shared office space, provide images of your office’s building directory where your name is also listed
- You can upload images, PDFs, videos, and document files.
After providing everything to prove your business is legitimate, Google may contact you to require additional documents. Make sure you deliver what is needed.
When Can You Expect to Hear Back From Google?
Usually, you can expect to hear back about your reinstatement status within two weeks, but sometimes it may take longer. However, do not file multiple reinstatement appeals, as this will prolong the process. Be patient and continue to follow up with Google regularly. Consistency is key in many cases.
If you don’t hear back after 3-4 weeks, you can contact Google via Twitter, Facebook, or Google Business Profile Support via email and ask for an update. Google may need proof that you are the account owner; providing the URL of your Google Business Profile Dashboard or the GBP CID number will work.
If your GBP listing gets reinstated, you may notice that your reviews and local search rankings are sometimes lost. For your reviews to appear after reinstatement, it may take up to 1 month. However, you can contact Google Business Profile’s support team if you don’t see them show up after one month.
Suspensions happen to almost all businesses at some point. Make sure you follow these guidelines and keep track of Google Business Profile Terms of Service to stay on the safe side. If your clients want to engage in spammy practices, like keyword stuffing their business name, be sure to provide ample warnings!
Always prioritize long-term optimization strategies over short-term strategies to avoid risking suspensions that will take time to reverify and stabilize.
If you need help to determine the cause of your suspension and what you can do before and while submitting a reinstatement appeal with Google, here at Web 2.0 Ranker, we can provide you with the help and messaging required when contacting Google.