So, you log-in to your Google My Business listing and you see that your business has been suspended.
You probably have a lot of questions, but we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll cover why Google My Business listings get suspended and what you can do about it.
Before we answer these questions, though, we need to figure out what kind of suspension occurred.
There are two kinds of suspensions, a “soft” suspension and a “hard” suspension.
- A “soft” suspension marks your business as suspended, but you still show up in search results. This is similar to falling out of verification, and it typically requires reclaiming and reverifying the listing with a new Google account. These suspensions are becoming less common.
- A ”hard” suspension will remove your business listing from search results. To pull your listing out of a hard suspension, you must follow Google’s protocol and be very patient. We will discuss this process later.
Why Is Your Google Listing Suspended?
When Google decides to suspend a business listing, they are responding to any number of red flags, suspicious activity or suspected policy violations.
While Google will not officially disclose the reason any one listing has been suspended, we have identified the most common events that have resulted in a suspended listing:
- Information within your listing changed
- Primary or secondary categories
- Business name
- Phone number
- Website URL
- Management change or ownership transfer, especially when login locations change
- Changing to a service area with hidden address (after operating with a visible address)
- Primary category is a high-risk industry
- HVAC/heating and cooling
- Other home services businesses
- Address violates Google policy
- P.O. Box, virtual address, FedEx/UPS Store boxes
- Forwarding URL
- Forwarding phone number
- Multiple listings for the same business/location
- The listing is for an online-only business
- You do not have the authority to claim that the address listed belongs to your business
While these are not the only things that may cause Google to suspend your business listing, they are very common and may help you find out why your listing was flagged and suspended.
How Does a Suspended Listing Affect Your Business?
A suspended listing is nothing to stress about.
While a hard suspension does remove your listing from search results, these suspensions do not always mean your business is doomed. Google will provide you with solutions to reinstate your business’s listing as long as you follow their protocols.
When Google suspends a listing, they are acting in the best interests of your business’s industry, your customers and Google itself.
With an increase in fraudulent listings over the last few years, Google has used listing suspension to filter out the illegitimate businesses and show honest, legitimate businesses to searchers. A legitimate business will have very little trouble getting out of suspension.
How Can I Fix My Suspended Google Listing?
In order to lift your listing out of suspension, Google may require you to provide proof that you are a legitimate business. Here are a few examples of the kind of proof you’ll need to provide:
- State business license (if required by the state)
- Professional licensing (if required by law)
- Proof of occupancy of location
- Utility bills
- Rental agreements/deeds
- Photos of the business location
- Business logo clearly visible
- Street address of the building/suite numbers on the door
- Company vehicles with logos parked at the building
- Tax identification papers
To find out exactly what you need to provide, though, contact Google My Business Support.
There may be some cases in which Google will lift the suspension via alternative methods such as video or phone verification. Google will determine if your business qualifies for these less-intensive solutions.
No matter what process Google chooses to use to reinstate your listing, it is absolutely crucial to follow their instructions quickly and thoroughly. You’ll also need to be patient with Google. Trying to rush the process can raise additional red flags and may lead to your business being permanently black-listed.
To recap, a suspended listing isn’t the end of the world, and it happens to a large number of businesses across the country.
Contact Google My Business Support and follow their protocols, and you’ll have a good chance of being reinstated and returning to your usual local search ranking. The ultimate keys to working with Google regarding your suspended listing: Patience.