Google My Business (GMB), now called Google Business Profile, is instrumental to your digital marketing efforts. As your customers’ source of firsthand information about your brand, your Google My Business account is vital for your local SEO (search engine optimization) strategy and sets the foundation for your lead generation success.
With such a crucial role in your business’s online presence, having your Google Business Profile suspended presents a serious setback that must be corrected immediately. While it can be disheartening to face a Google My Business suspension, there are steps you can take to fix it immediately and get your business back on the map.
This blog talks about what happens to your local 3 pack rankings when your Google My Business profile is suspended. We then delve into the different reasons for a suspension and corrective actions you can take to fix a suspended Google My Business account.
What Happens During a GMB Suspension
It can be disheartening to discover your GMB profile has been suspended. But before taking action, identify first the type of suspension imposed.
Google imposes two types of suspension: a Google business listing suspension and an account suspension.
- A listing suspension occurs when only your Google business listings are affected but not your GMB account. There are two categories of listing suspensions: soft and hard.
- A soft suspension is placed when Google removes your access from a Google business listing without deleting it. That means it can still appear in search results but will appear as an unverified Google Business listing that can be claimed until you provide proof of verification.
- Meanwhile, in a hard suspension, Google determines that a listing violates its guidelines and removes it from Google Search and Google Maps. Upon accessing your account, you won’t be able to call up the listing and will be hit with a removal notice.
- An account suspension places an automatic ban on your entire account, removing all access to all Google business listings under your account. It can be categorized as a manager account suspension or an owner account suspension.
- In a manager account suspension, you lose edit privileges on all listings associated with the Google My Business profile while the listings themselves remain unaffected.
- An owner account suspension involves the complete removal of a GMB account and all Google Business listings under the account. This effectively removes them from Google Search, including local 3 pack rankings. This also removes all Google business reviews and other related content.
Although it’s not ideal, getting your manager account suspended or being slapped with a soft ban is not the end of the world. These suspension types present a relatively better scenario since listings are unaffected. In these scenarios, your local business citations stay accessible to your target audience while you work towards reinstatement.
But on the other hand, hard bans and owner-level account suspensions are more problematic because all your listings are removed from search. When this happens, you lose local 3 pack ranking eligibility and all your Google business reviews, local business citations, traffic and potential leads.
Possible Reasons for a GMB Suspension and How To Fix a Suspended Google My Business Account
Google places a premium on user experience. It wants to ensure that all the information provided on its platforms is as accurate as possible, which is the reason for its strict policies and high standards in the first place. A Google My Business suspension is a result of violating these policies. It is enforced in response to red flags, suspicious activity or inaccuracies in your listing.
You might be tempted to file for reinstatement right away to fix a suspended Google My Business account. But before you do, make sure that you fix the underlying issues with your listing by performing Google Business Profile optimization.
Although Google won’t explicitly state the reason for your GMB suspension, these common events resulting in suspensions can help you identify issues with your listing:
Listing Information Issues
Business owners often encounter suspensions due to publishing inaccurate information on their listings. Possible violations may stem from having a false address, wrong phone number or a non-existent website address. Google pays attention to the info provided in all listings to ensure everything is accurate and up to date.
If you’re faced with a Google My Business suspension, check for the following issues:
- Inconsistent business information with local business citations, such as business name, location, contact information, website, etc.
- Business address violates Google policy by using a P.O. box, virtual address or a co-working space address.
- Having multiple listings that share the same address.
- Including a forwarding URL in your listing.
How To Fix the Issue:
Ensure all the information you publish on your Google Business profile is correct. Check if this is consistent with business directories, social media profiles and local listing services. If you recently made changes to your business, they must be reflected in your GMB profile. For instance, if you changed your business name, your GMB profile must bear the same name as your signage.
If you used a residential address or another location that violates GMB policy, you must correct the issue right away. This would mean having to secure a proper spot with a unique address if you don’t have one in the first place. Unfortunately, if you are an internet-only business (unless you’re a food brand), you won’t be eligible to have a GMB profile.
Keyword Stuffing in the Business Name
In the past, many businesses have resorted to stuffing their business names with various keywords to gain an artificial advantage over their competitors on Google Search. But Google and local search SEO services cracked down on this behavior, and some industries were identified as high-risk due to multiple violations. These include:
- Real Estate Agents
- Pest Control Services
- Other Home Service Businesses
How To Fix the Issue:
As mentioned before, the name on your listing must reflect the name on your signage – and nothing more. Special characters, taglines, locations, catchphrases or industry keywords are a big no-no and should be removed from your listing name immediately. This is crucial, especially if you belong to one of the high-risk industries.
To leverage SEO in your listing, you can instead enlist the help of local search SEO services to improve your visibility on local search.
Making Too Many Changes During Listings Management
Managing your listings entails changing business information on online listings to reflect the changes made to the business. However, making too many changes at once isn’t the way to do it. Google constantly monitors the activity on your GMB profile. Any activity outside normal behavior may be flagged as suspicious, resulting in a soft suspension.
How To Fix the Issue:
If you have been flagged for making too many changes, Google may lock your profile from making further changes because it has determined that someone other than the owner is responsible for making them. You will need to contact Google support immediately to let them know about the issue. You can avoid it in the future by spacing out edits on your profile.
Once you’ve identified and fixed all the issues in your account, you can submit a reinstatement request by filling out the request form. You may need to supply Google with supporting documentation as proof, such as:
- Proof of occupancy (utility bills, leasing agreement, deed to the property, etc.)
- Photos of the establishment (business signage with clear name and logo, street address and suite number, parking area with building logo, etc.)
- Business permits
- Tax identification papers
- Video verification
In some cases, Google can lift the suspension using alternative methods such as phone or video verification. Get in touch with Google support to find out exactly what you need to do.
Optimize Your Google Business Profile Through GMB Optimization Services
Business owners encounter numerous hiccups with their GMB accounts that lead to a suspension. But many of these issues can be solved and avoided through Google Business Profile Optimization. Supply the correct details about your business and other sources to populate it, such as social media accounts, Google business reviews and local listing services. In doing so, you can keep your account accurate and eliminate potential policy violations.
But Google Business Profile Optimization isn’t a one-time solution to be applied when the need arises. Instead, it should be part of your regular local SEO strategy to keep your profile accurate and compliant. Understandably, not many business owners have the time nor the capacity to manage and maintain their local presence.
For effective local listings management, employ the services of Rize Reviews. As your go-to online reputation management company, Rize manages your online presence through robust GMB optimization services to ensure that all your published information is authentic to remain compliant with Google policies. Protect your business and secure your bottom line with Rize. Call us today at 866-325-0303 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation.