Updated on January 17th, 2024

Have you ever found your business listing on Google marked as “suspended”? It can be puzzling and concerning. This article delves into the primary reasons behind such suspensions and offers insights on how to navigate them.

The Google My Business forum is often buzzing with business owners and SEO experts alarmed by the “Suspended” tag they see on their listings. Google has a comprehensive set of guidelines detailing what you can and cannot do. However, some violations are graver than others.

Before we dive into the reasons, here are some essential points about suspensions:

Google Won’t Tell You Why You Got Suspended…

Google representatives seldom specify the exact reason for a suspension. While business owners might wish for a detailed explanation, Google typically avoids giving rule violators insights that might help them evade penalties in the future. Below are examples of what you may see when logging into your business listing.

Google Business profile suspension notice
Google's suspension of local listings. How to navigate the pain.

And this is an example of the email you may get when this happens.

Example of the email you receive when your Google business profile is suspended.

Types of Google Suspensions

  1. Soft Suspension: You’ll notice the “suspended” tag when you access Google My Business, but your listing remains visible on Google and its associated platforms. Essentially, your listing has been unverified due to some guideline breach. To rectify this, create a new Google account, re-verify the listing, and ensure compliance with Google’s rules.
  2. Hard Suspension: This is more severe. Your entire listing, along with reviews and photos, is removed from Google. If you check Google Map Maker, the record will be marked as “removed.” Reinstating it is challenging and often indicates that the business isn’t suitable for Google Maps. You can request that Google review your case and try to get them to reinstate your listing – however, your chances are slim.

Here are the primary reasons Google might suspend local listings:

  1. Redirecting URLs: If your website URL on Google My Business redirects to a different domain, it can lead to a suspension. Google’s guidelines clearly state against using redirecting URLs. As per the guidelines, “Do not provide phone numbers or URLs that redirect or ‘refer’ users to landing pages.” This often results in a soft suspension.
  2. Adding Extra Keywords: Inserting unnecessary information or keywords in your business name can lead to a soft suspension.
  3. Service-Area Businesses Displaying Addresses: If you run a service-area business and display your address (when you shouldn’t), it can result in a hard suspension. According to Google’s guidelines on service-area businesses, you should only show your address if customers show up at your business address.
  4. Multiple Listings for One Business: Creating more than one listing for a single business location can lead to suspensions of both the original and duplicate listings.
  5. Sensitive Business Types: Some businesses, like gun shops, might face suspensions because they aren’t allowed on Google Plus.
  6. Virtual Office Listings: Businesses that list virtual offices, especially if they’re not staffed during business hours, can face hard suspensions.
  7. Online-Only Businesses: Businesses that operate solely online and don’t interact with customers in person should create a G+ brand page, not a local page.
  8. Services in Rented Spaces: If you offer a service or class in a space you don’t own, you’re not eligible for a listing on Google Maps.
  9. High-Spam Industries: In industries rife with spam, like locksmith services, even legitimate businesses might face suspensions due to stringent spam filters.
  10. Misrepresented Hours: Ensure the business is not listed as open 24 hours if not staffed in the office for 24 hours. Change the hours to something reasonable like 9 AM – 5 PM. It doesn’t matter if you have a call center responding to calls at all times; Google wants to know when your physical door is open.

Algorithmic Sweep

Sometimes Google does what is called a ‘sweep’. Suspensions increased significantly in 2019 when they were deploying this tactic. This was an algorithmic sweep of sensitive business categories that were highly susceptible to fake GBP listings, like locksmiths and plumbers.

The algorithmic sweep is the most common suspension cause and also the hardest to troubleshoot. It could be the result of anything from having your hours set to 24 hours to not setting your address properly in on the map.

What Causes Suspensions to Be More Common?

Various activities can increase the chances of suspension, even if they’re not the direct cause. Here’s are some, in no particular order:

  • Rogue account managers or a user that has made too many spammy edits
  • Keyword stuffing in the business name (and being reported for it)
  • Repeated edits to a listing in a short period (it’s best to wait 60 seconds between edits)
  • Changing from a Storefront to a Service Area Business
  • Address or hours not matching with those on your website (especially in the case of a location inside a virtual office)
  • Pin marker being in a suspicious location
  • Inconsistent signage (and getting reported for it)
  • Using a UPS Store, Regus, DaVinci, or other virtual offices as the business location
  • Having multiple listings in an area that has service areas overlapping
  • Having the same business contact number across multiple profiles
  • Having malware on your website
  • Being an online-only business (making contact with customers is core to GBP)
  • Having a violation in other Google Products (like Adwords)

Our advice will help you understand the various quality issues that can cause your GBP listing to get suspended. Remember, your first step should always be to review the Google Business Profile guidelines and do not attempt to challenge the suspension until you have all of the information you need.

Fixing a suspended profile is possible, but you should always be prepared to provide the relevant documentation and accept that it may take some time.

The Suspension Appeal Process

Let’s take a look at the GBP suspension appeal process and offer some tips to help you get through it on the first try.

Google - your business profile has been disabled.

In this email, you’ll find information under ‘Violation type’ that indicates which specific guideline or policy your Google Business Profile listing has breached. It’s important to note that Google only specifies the guideline that’s been violated but doesn’t provide specific instructions on what needs to be corrected.

To gain a better understanding of the policy violation and how to rectify your Business Profile, you should click on the ‘restriction policy’ link.

After you have adjusted your profile to align with Google’s guidelines, make sure you are signed in with the email account associated with your suspended Google Business Profile. Next, click on the ‘Appeal’ button found in the email. This action will direct you to the Google Appeals tool, where you can formally submit your appeal.

Google - manage appeals for your Google business profiles

This screen will help you confirm the account you are currently logged into. Many merchants have multiple Google accounts and can sometimes be confused as to which one has the profile they want to appeal.

Mange appeals for your Google business profiles

Moving forward, you will be directed to a page (above) listing your suspended Business Profile(s).

For users with only one business location, your sole suspended account will automatically populate on this page.

If you are an agency or represent multiple Business Profile locations under one account, this page will display all of your profiles currently facing suspension. You must select which specific business listing requires resolution.

Select decision to appeal google business suspension

This next page displays key information regarding your suspended Business Profile:

  • Suspension date (‘Rejection Date’)
  • General suspension reason (‘Decision’)
  • Current status/details, with one of two possibilities:
    • Cannot Appeal: Unfortunately, not all suspensions allow appeals. If this status appears, you cannot proceed further. (This might happen if the account user is a known spammer or constantly creates new profiles with bad data—a bad VIP number, for example.)
    • Eligible for Appeal: Click ‘Next’ to advance through the available appeal process.

Now, Stop Right Here!

This could be the most important thing you read on this page. You have precious few attempts at appealing, so it’s critical you know this: You have 60 minutes from clicking ‘Submit’ to upload documents proving your business is the real deal. Failing to do so puts your Google Business Profile on ice. Get all your evidence in the checklist below together and ready before you click ‘Continue’ on the next page. (I’d also make sure you have no distractions like meetings coming up.)

Google Business Profile Reinstatement Appeal Evidence Checklist

  • Official Business Registration: You need to show that you are officially established.
  • Business License: Prove that you are authorized to operate.
  • Tax Certificate: Taxes paid, business validated.
  • Utility Bill: Matches address and name on other docs. (Electricity, phone, gas, water, sewage, trash, recycling, TV, and internet are all fair game.)
  • Double-check: The business name and address is the same on all documents and your Google Business Profile. Accuracy is key, it must be exactly the same…

If you want the best chance of success? Do not miss the ‘Add Evidence’ / Fill out evidence link! Upload as many documents as possible. Skipping this step basically means waving goodbye to your profile.

Now It’s Time to Upload Your Evidence

The evidence form is your gateway back to online visibility. Here’s the skinny of this process:

Pre-filled details

Your email, business info, and Google Business Profile ID are already there.

File upload

If you have more than two documents, zip ’em up and upload the zip file. Remember, the more evidence, the merrier (for Google).

Factually tell your story

Why reinstate your profile? Explain the situation clearly and concisely.

  • Compliance fixes: Show what you’ve changed to comply with guidelines.
  • Additional info: Include anything helpful for Google’s decision.
  • Don’t complain in writing: Focus on facts, not frustration. This isn’t the place to complain about lost business. Google does not care about how much you spend, your time in business, your 5-star reviews, or the fact you will lose your mortgage and have to live on hotdogs.
  • 1,000 characters to shine: Make your words count! Explain yourself persuasively.

Remember: This is your chance to show Google you’re a legit business playing by the rules by admitting to breaking guidelines. Be clear, be concise, and be factual. And most importantly, don’t miss the 60-minute deadline!

Once you’ve uploaded and filled the form, hit ‘Submit’.

Your Appeal is Submitted. Now What?

The Appeals tool should be nicely bookmarked in your browser. Check it regularly to monitor your status.

Look for these updates:

  • Approved: Pop some bottles! Your profile is back in business.
  • Not Approved: Sorry! Time to contact an expert.

Google’s team is on the case, but they need a few days to thoroughly review your evidence and ensure your profile aligns with their guidelines.

Remember: Your online presence is worth the wait! Stay proactive by checking the Appeals tool and your email inbox for updates.

Stay tuned for an email with the final verdict:

  • Approved: Your compelling evidence sealed the deal, proving your legitimacy and compliance.
  • Not Approved: It’s time to re-strategize. Look closely at Google’s feedback, make any necessary adjustments, and your options.

The idea of losing your business to Google is terrifying. There are real-world consequences to a profile suspension. While it is nice that there is a transparent system that allows you to understand why you are suspended, there is still the reality that you need to be prepared ahead of time to make a good-faith appeal.

Wrapping Up If your listing has been suspended and the reason isn’t listed above, consider seeking advice on the Google My Business forum or consulting with experts in the field.

Pro Tip:

Whatever you do, if Google suggests creating a new listing, do not do it. You could lose all of your reviews and any ranking power you had will be gone. As long as the listing and account are within the guidelines, then you will get reinstated, no matter what support says.

Tackle Your Local SEO Properly From the Get-go

Whether your business is just starting out and has no digital footprint, whatsoever OR you’ve been in business for years and have issues with your ‘NAP’ (name, address, phone number), we can help. Raging Bull Digital works with brand new businesses looking to dominate their directory space and also existing businesses that have undergone a move, a phone number change, or even a re-brand. The issues can pull you out of the Google Maps recommendations. Contact Us today to learn more about setting up or preparing this space for your business.

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