How do you fix a Google My Business account if it gets suspended and what actually causes it to happen in the first place?
Imagine going through all the stress of verifying and optimising your GMB listing, only for it to get suspended.
As frustrating as this may be when your account is suspended, Google only tells you your account has been suspended but doesn’t say why. Leaving you as confused as ever.
In this post, we are going to look at 5 possible reasons why your Google My Business account can get suspended. We'll also look at how to fix a suspended Google My Business account so you can gain back control of your account.
Why does Google care?
Personally, I believe Google My Business serves 2 purposes;
- For business owners: It gives them a platform to showcase their business (products & services) online and easily connect with prospective customers who are looking for what they offer. In simple terms, it gives them visibility online.
- For customers: It helps them easily find and connect with businesses/service providers who can provide them with both information and a solution to their immediate needs.
Google wants to ensure that people have access to consistent high-quality search results and are also being connected to authentic and verified businesses.
They do this by vetting your listing regularly to ensure you are who you say you are and the information you provide about your business is in fact true.
So, as a business owner, it is important that you provide correct and consistent information about your business, your service area, your NAP (name, address, and phone number), open hours, services, products, and so on, to avoid getting your account suspended or being asked to re-verify it.
I will talk about the re-verification issue in another post.
5 Reasons why your Google My Business account can get Suspended?
A suspended Google My Business account is a serious setback for any business seeking to improve its visibility in local searches. When this happens you’ll end up with an account that you have no control over.
In some cases, you might be able to make changes to your account, but it will no longer be visible on Google search or map.
As I said before, this can be very frustrating.
Your account can be suspended for various kinds of reasons as Google pays strict attention to your details to ensure you continuously meet their standards.
Before I show you how to fix a suspended Google My Business account, let's look at some of the common reasons why your account can get suspended.
1 - Having multiple claims to your business address
This happens when there are multiple businesses claiming to operate from your selected business address. An example of this is if your business is in a shopping mall that has several other businesses using the same location.
2 - Constantly changing your business information
Making regular and unnecessary changes/updates to your NAP (name, address & phone number), categories, website link, etc. on your listing is spammy and will be flagged as suspicious.
3 - Using keyword stuffing to artificially improve your ranking on search engine
Here, ‘keyword stuffing’ Keyword stuffing is;
- When someone adds words to their business name that isn't part of that business's legal name.
- Writing a post and filling it with keywords to increase its ranking.
Here's an example of what I mean ...
Let’s say Zoe’s is a pastry shop located in Sandton, South Africa.
When creating their GMB account they used the name “Zoe’s Pastry Shop” instead of the business’s legal name "Zoe's" so they can rank for the term - 'Pastry Shop' in Sandton.
What this means is that when anyone in the Sandton area is searching for a pastry shop in the area, Zoe's Pastry Shop will likely appear at the top of the search list.
While this might sound pretty cool, you can get penalised by Google for doing this and get an automatic suspension.
4 - Having an inconsistent NAP on online directories
If your NAP (name, address & phone number) is inconsistent with what you have across other online directories and platforms (website, social media) - you might get suspended.
5 - Setting up the wrong business type on GMB
I explained this extensively in my previous post about setting up your Google My Business account.
I gave an example using two types of business owners creating GMB accounts.
The first set are those who run virtual businesses i.e. they do not have a physical address for their business but operate from a particular service area
The second set, are those who have an actual business address i.e a physical store/office where their customers can visit.
So, If you have an actual physical store/office for your business, simply include this address while setting up your account. This is very straightforward.
If on the other hand, you do not have a physical location for your business, you will be required to disable the option to provide an address when creating your GMB account.
Instead, you will be required to provide a service area within which you operate, (i.e the area where you are located and serve customers from.
If you fail to disable the address option, there is a very high possibility that your account will be suspended after verification.
Read this article on how to set up your GMB account the right way.
Here's how fix a suspended Google My Business account.
As frustrating as this may be when your account is suspended, Google only tells you your account has been suspended but doesn’t say why.
The reasons listed above are some of, but not all the reasons why your account can be suspended.
If your business profile gets suspended, follow the steps below to request for your account to be reinstated.
Step 1 - Retrace your steps
Ask yourself, “what was the last thing I did before my account got suspended?” It could be that you recently changed your address or category, added a keyword to your business name, or changed your phone number.
Remember, Google only tells you your account has been suspended but doesn’t say why, so it’s important that you try to pinpoint where the issue might have come from, so you can reverse what you did before you fill out the reinstatement request form.
Step 2 - Fill out the reinstatement request form
Click here to access and fill out the Google My Business local business reinstatement request form.
If you have previously requested to have your account reinstated click ‘Yes’ (label 1 above) as you do not need to fill this out twice. I will recommend waiting till you get contacted by the Google team.
If on the other hand, this is your first-time applying, then select ‘No’ (label 2 above), read through, and respond to all the questions accordingly.
Before filling out the reinstatement request form, make sure that your profile is up to date and filled out correctly. You might not know exactly why your account was suspended, but you can retrace your steps and reverse what you did.
You might also be asked to attach any relevant proof about your business. This option is optional, but I would recommend you do not ignore this. You need all the proof you can get to show that you are legit.
Documents you can submit as proof of business ownership.
When applying to fix a suspended Google My Business account, here are some of the documents you can provide to show you own that business.
- The business registration document must include the same business name and address as listed on your GMB profile.
- Proof of business address. An example is a picture of your storefront showing your business name, address, and phone number if available.
- A utility bill having the same business name and address as listed on your GMB account.
- If you are sharing your business location with others - like a shopping mall, attach a picture that shows your storefront/office inside the mall. The idea here is to show that your business does in fact exist.
1 - Join the GMB support community
The final and most important step is to join the GMB support community to ;
- get updates on your verification status,
- get support from our team of GMB experts,
- ask questions and learn how to increase visibility for your business and drive sales using your Google My Business account.
Join the community here --> GMB Support Community
Important things to note!
It takes time to fix a suspended Google My Business account, so my best advise would be to avoid doing anything that can lead to the suspension of your business profile.
I highly recommend that you go over Google’s guidelines for representing your business online and guidelines for prohibited and restricted content so you know what to avoid while managing your GMB account.
Now it's your turn!
Do you want to make updates to your Google My Business listing? Are you worried that update might get your account suspended?
Comment below and let me know what update you are trying to make on your GMB account and I'll share a few tips to guide you so you don't get suspended