Google My Business (GMB) listings are crucial to the success and continued operations of small businesses. These free listings play a significant role in generating traffic and attracting calls, as well as encouraging customers to come to their physical store. When your listing gets penalized it become vital for a reinstatement.
But GMB listings are always at risk of being suspended. When this happens, a business could lose a lot of potential customers. It is, therefore, in your best interests to ensure that you can get your GMB listing reinstated if and when it is suspended.
A GMB listing suspension essentially means that your business listing is no longer visible on Google and other related services. It may also mean that your business listing is “unverified”, which often means that you are no longer able to manage it.
Most business owners realize their business listing is suspended when they see the following notification in their GMB dashboard:
This location has been suspended due to quality issues.
Once you realize this, you are in a desperate need for a resuscitation of your Google Listing. There are two types of GMB listing suspensions: hard and soft.
Hard suspensions usually happen to businesses that don’t qualify for a GMB listing according to Google’s criteria. This also occurs with companies that employ spam tactics.
You’ll know you’ve been given a hard suspension when you search for the name of your company and city and don’t see your Knowledge Panel. This means that potential customers will be unable to find your business listing.
With soft suspensions, you will still be able to see your Knowledge Panel online and access it from your GMB dashboard. However, your panel will look as if it is unverified. Furthermore, you will not be able to update or manage your listing.
Soft suspensions make it easier for your GMB profile to be edited by just about anyone. This, in turn, increases the chances of mistakes and erroneous information on your site.
It may be a hard pill to swallow, but the reality is that most GMB listings are subject to suspension at some point. The good news is that there is often a logical explanation for the suspension, and there are ways by which you could fix any issues.
Some of the most common reasons why GMB listings are suspended are:
You may also have your GMB listing suspended if your operations are strictly online, or if your business belongs to a high-risk category, such as legal services, plumbing, or HVAC. Other potential reasons include sharing an address with another company, or making several changes or edits to your GMB profile in a single session.
Some businesses are suspended when the URL that is associated with their GMB profile redirects to another site or social media page, or if they change a previous storefront listing to a Service Area Business (SAB).
Pay particular attention to your address and hours as well. If your business hours are listed as 24/7 or if your address and hours don’t match the info on your website, your GMB listing could be subject to suspension.
When faced with a suspension, your initial instinct will probably be to try to get your listing reinstated as soon as possible. But if your GMB listing was suspended for any of the above reasons, you will need to address the issues in question before you attempt to have your GMB profile reinstated.
Some may also opt to create a new listing instead of addressing the existing issues with their suspended profile. However, this will only complicate matters and fail to address the problem.
The first step toward getting the suspension lifted is to find out the exact reasons for the suspension. Read through the Google My Business Guidelines to determine what rules you may have violated.
Look through the “Info” section in your GMB profile as well to see if there are fields that you may have filled out incorrectly. If you have used too many keywords in your business name, for example, you will have to reduce the number of keywords to get the suspension lifted.
After you’ve fixed all the issues with your listing, you can go about submitting an appeal to have your GMB listing reinstated. Prepare to answer several questions. Try to answer each question honestly and to the best of your abilities, and keep in mind that your answers will determine the type of question that you will be asked next.
You will probably have to prove that your business is legitimate. To do this, you will have to submit photos or screenshots that show the validity of your business.
If you have a storefront, you will have to show proof of your address. Acceptable proof includes the following:
In most cases, it would be helpful to provide Google with other documents that provide the legitimacy of your business name and address. Acceptable documents include the following:
You could submit these documents in the following forms as appropriate:
Remember that you are making a case for the reinstatement of your business listing, so you will have to be as convincing as possible. Try to upload as much proof as you can to prove that your business is legitimate and that it is located in the address that you have provided.
After you have submitted your appeal, the documents you have presented will be reviewed. Based on this information, a determination will be made as to whether or not your GMB listing will be reinstated. After a couple of weeks, you should receive an email from Google informing you of the status of your appeal.
That should be it in most cases, and you shouldn’t have to do anything more. However, there are cases when Google needs more information, or you may have more questions of your own to ask.
One thing you should avoid doing is filing several reinstatement requests. It is also best not to bring up the same issue via multiple support channels to prevent any confusion that would cause more delays.
Google addresses most reinstatement requests after two weeks or so. If more than three weeks have passed and your GMB listing hasn’t been reinstated, you could send a message to the support staff asking for an update.
If and when your business listing does get reinstated, you may find your previous reviews missing. This is normal in most cases, and it could take a while before the reviews will appear.
The longest that it would take for your reviews to reappear is about one month. If you still don’t see your reviews at the end of this period, send a message to the GMB support team so that the issue can be resolved.
As difficult as it may be to believe sometimes, suspended GMB listings are often explainable by errors or omissions on your part. Avoiding these issues is usually a matter of knowing where you went wrong and how to fix it.
Hopefully, the information provided in this article will better prepare you for a GMB listing suspension if and when it does occur, so you will know how to get your listing reinstated at the soonest possible time. Please contact us for our reinstatement services if you are not able to correct this on your own.