More and more consumers are using Google My Business (GMB) to contact local operators, find products or read reviews. And so, a suspended Google listing can seriously impact your business success. But not to worry. While listing suspensions are becoming more frequent, there are ways how to recover them. It’s easier when you follow these steps.
How to Fix a Suspended Google Listing
Google can be strict when it comes to details of your Google My Business account. It only wants to protect its users from rule breakers and ensure that all searches are correct and reliable.
Our job as business owners is to follow Google’s standards and stay up to date. But if your listing gets suspended, here’s what you need to know and do.
1. Audit your profile
The problem with getting a Google My Business suspension is that Google won’t tell you why. And there are a variety of reasons that can cause it. So, first things first: reread the GMB guidelines, then see if you have violations. It helps if you do this while rechecking each field of your business profile from the dashboard.
Before contacting Google, make sure to fix problematic fields first. Common solutions include:
- changing your 24-hour operation info into reasonable business hours
- providing updated and correct phone numbers and website URL
- editing your virtual office or co-working space address
- correcting a rented mailbox address into a legitimate physical address
- deleting any fake or duplicate listings
- removing any user (manager or owner) with account suspension
- displaying relevant and non-offensive services, product and business description
- ensuring your categories reflect the services you provide
If you spot any problem, you might want to start gathering legal documents or proof that you may need to accomplish the next steps.
2. Check your business name
Your business name should be the same as what’s on your signage, business cards, social media channels, website and so on. Moreover, the business name field should only contain the exact name of your business.
Forget about adding extra keywords to it for search engine ranking purposes. Keyword stuffing is one of the common reasons for a suspended Google listing. So, make sure to reserve your SEO tactics for your website content or metadata.
3. Seek expert opinion
To ensure you got everything right, have someone else check your suspended Google listing. Volunteer moderators of Google My Business Help can assist you. This support team will provide you with advice and suggestions that can help successfully reinstate your business listing.
If you ask for their help, try to make it easy for them to understand and assess your situation. For instance, make sure to send your complete profile details, including your business name, address and website.
Images of your GMB info section and signage are also useful. List down all the changes you’ve made to your account before your suspension as well.
4. Submit a reinstatement form
After correcting all issues and ensuring that you are compliant with the Google My Business guidelines, it’s time to send an accomplished reinstatement request form.
Here, you’ll need to answer several questions about your suspended Google listing. Make sure to provide complete and truthful responses.
The most important part of your appeal is the inclusion of files proving your location, operation and legitimacy. Your goal is to provide as much information as you can. These files can be screenshots or images, videos or official documents. Examples of which are:
- a copy of your utility bill bearing the physical address listed in your GMB account
- legal documents like insurance or tax form with the same GMB address
- a copy of your business licenses for online verification
- a physical storefront image with your permanent signage and address
- any proof indicating that you are not in a co-working space address
- photos of your office interior as seen by your customers
- pictures of your company truck or car showing the logo or branding
- images of your business name in the office building directory
- a walkthrough video including the outside of the building for easy address verification
After submission, it will take Google several weeks to review everything. Wait for Google to contact you by email for updates or further questions about your request. To avoid delays, avoid sending multiple reinstatement forms or following up using other support platforms.
If your Google My Business account contains reviews before its suspension, these may not reappear upon reinstatement. It may take about a month, so follow up with the support service after that should you need assistance. You can also learn more about the reinstatement process here.
5. Avoid future suspension
Recovering a suspended Google listing is a long process that takes time and a lot of effort. So, it’s crucial to avoid it from happening again at all cost. These tips can help:
- Keep all information consistent. If you need to update your business address, for example, make sure to apply it to all other channels or platforms. Remember that inconsistencies have a crucial role in GMB suspensions. There are tools available you can use to ensure all your information is accurate throughout.
- Limit your GMB profile access. There’s a lower chance for listing suspension due to someone else’s online behaviour when fewer people can access your account. So, make sure to remove anyone on your listing who have left the company or changed roles.
- Stick to Google’s guidelines. Follow the rules every time and only provide honest business information. If you’re setting up a new listing, fill out every field carefully and truthfully. For existing ones, check the guidelines from time to time for any new rule or update.
- Be proactive. Make it a habit to audit your listing’s status and performance at least once a week. Doing so can further reduce the risk of a costly suspension. Regular profile check-ups also send Google the impression that the business listing is valid and high-quality.
Without a doubt, getting a suspended Google My Business listing, be it a hard or soft suspension, is stressful. But should you experience this, remember to be as swift and detailed as possible.
The more focused you are, the faster you’ll get your listing back. With honest and legal documentation, you’ll have no problem getting a reinstatement approval. Oh, and stay calm and be patient. Good things come to those who wait!