Logging into your account and seeing your Google Business Profile has been suspended is a major headache. Customers use GBP as a quick and reliable way to find information about your company — and for small local businesses who rely on this service, disruption can have a significant impact on daily operations.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to recover your Google Business Profile. Let’s review the different types of suspensions, ways to uncover why a listing was suspended, and tips for requesting reinstatement.
In 2021, Google announced it changed the name of Google My Business (GMB) to Google Business Profile. To date, there have been minimal changes to the tool beyond its new name.
These recommendations for dealing with a Google My Business suspension are still relevant to the renamed Google Business Profile platform and the two names are commonly used interchangeably.
What Is a Google Business Profile Suspension?
Google suspends Business Profiles suspected of violating official quality guidelines. A Google Business Profile suspension disables your ability to manage a listing — and may even remove the listing from public view entirely. That makes it harder for potential customers to visit your website, call your phone number, and figure out your storefront address.
Google disables listings to protect users from potential fraud, but it’s not always easy for an account owner to figure out what may have triggered the alarm. It could be the result of an honest mistake when updating your profile — or because a customer (or malicious competitor) suggested an edit that raised a red flag with a Googlebot.
The first step to addressing a GMB suspension is determining which kind of suspension you’re facing.
5 Types of Google Suspensions
1 – Soft Suspension
A soft suspension removes your ability to edit your business listing and changes its status to “unverified.” Searchers will still be able to view an unverified listing, but you won’t be able to publish changes or respond to reviews.
Google soft-suspends accounts for a variety of reasons ranging from minor address misspellings to an out-of-place emoji in your business name. Even though your GBP is still visible, it’s important to reclaim it as quickly as possible to prevent customers or competitors from suggesting inaccurate edits (which could be auto-published).
2 – Hard Suspension
A hard suspension completely removes your Google Business Profile and Google Maps listing from view, even if a user searches for your business directly. This can severely impact your business if customers rely on finding you through your knowledge panel.
Hard suspensions are typically doled out in cases of serious guideline violations, such as if Google suspects you’re attempting to promote illegal activities or scam users in some way. Additionally, your listing may receive a hard suspension if Google determines your company doesn’t qualify for a GBP listing in the first place.
3 – Owner Account Suspension
While hard and soft suspensions remove business listings, business account suspensions flag the people behind the listings. In the case of an owner account suspension, all Business Profiles and reviews associated with a single owner account will be taken down.
An owner account may be flagged if Google suspects potential fraud or suspicious activity. That includes activity that isn’t necessarily associated with the Business Profile listing in question. For example, an owner account may be suspended and all owned Profiles may be taken down if the account is used to post false or harmful reviews of a competitor.
If an owner account is reinstated, it may still lose its reviews.
4 – Manager Account Suspension
Similar to owner account suspensions, Business Profiles may be penalized because an authorized manager commits a guideline infraction in some way. A manager account suspension revokes a user’s ability to edit listings and may be accompanied by a soft or hard suspension of the business account, too. Once the manager is removed from the listing, you may be able to regain access to the account.
5 – Permanent Suspension
The final type of suspension is the most serious. Permanent suspensions cannot be reversed or appealed. If your GBP is permanently suspended, you’ll receive an email saying your listing or account cannot be reinstated.
If you’re facing a permanent suspension, don’t try to remake your accounts on your own. Instead, your best bet is to contact an agency that specializes in Google Business Profile optimization for assistance. Here at Victorious, we can help customers carefully rebuild their Business Profiles and accounts to ensure complete compliance with official guidance and policies.
Does a Google Business Profile Suspension Affect Website Rankings?
If your profile has been suspended, your customers can still find information about your business through your website. But, depending on the type of suspension you received, Google may remove your site’s organic rankings entirely — which means users won’t be able to find your website even if they search for your company’s name.
In 2020, SEO company Sterling Sky ran tests to see if Business Profile suspensions removed websites from search results. They found soft suspensions had no measurable impact on a site’s rankings but hard suspensions completely removed sites from appearing in searches.
That may sound like a harsh penalty but know that ranking drops are not permanent. Sites will be restored to their pre-suspension rankings once a hard suspension is removed, though it may take a few days for those rankings to return.
Facing a Google Business Profile Suspension? Find Out Why
Frustratingly, Google doesn’t share the reason why your account or listing has been disabled. Figuring out what went wrong requires you to do some sleuthing, so let’s review some common reasons why Google might issue a suspension.
7 Common Reasons for Google My Business Suspension
1 – Incorrect or Inconsistent NAP
NAP is your name, address, and phone number. Google may suspend an account if they notice discrepancies between the NAP information in your profile and what’s published on your website or a third-party directory. Listings may also be flagged if they contain a P.O. box for a business location or are inappropriately categorized as a service area business.
To fix NAP issues, verify your profile contact information exactly matches what’s on your website and business license. If you have multiple addresses that customers can visit, you’ll need to create multiple independent profile listings with different addresses and phone numbers.
2 – Errors in Name, Business Hours, Category, or Other Info
Similar to incorrect NAP info, issues with other details of your Business Profile may lead to a suspension. For example, your profile may be penalized if you’re categorized as a bank when you’re really a credit union or if you’re listed as being open 24 hours a day when you close at 9 p.m.
To be clear, Google employees don’t always manually check for these kinds of discrepancies, but their bots may notice errors or be put on alert by someone suggesting edits.
3 – Keyword Stuffing
Keyword stuffing is the practice of overusing target keywords in your text. Since the 2013 Hummingbird algorithm update, Google has been cracking down on efforts to “game” the system by overloading content with keywords. Using a certain word or phrase too many times in your profile can result in penalties.
For example, a keyword-stuffed profile may have a business name that says “Bob’s Landscaping – Best Local Landscaper, Best Landscaper, Affordable Local Landscaper, Affordable Landscaping, Best Landscaping Near Me” and a description that repeats the same list of keywords. Remove repetitive phrases or words from every part of your profile before trying for reinstatement and don’t add keywords to your business name.
4 – Multiple Profile Listings
Google may flag an account for suspicious activity if there are duplicate listings for the same company, even if there are small differences between them. Here’s the official guide on removing duplicate listings.
5 – URL Redirects or Phone Forwarding
The website URL associated with a Business Profile should go directly to a company’s official site, not to a social media page or through a series of redirects. Similarly, the phone number should be direct to a local line, not forwarded to a national call center. Google may consider URL redirects and phone forwarding to be signs of potentially suspicious activity.
6 — You Share an Address with Another Business
If your profile and another GBP profile share the same address, Google may remove your profile, thinking that your address is incorrect. This can happen sometimes when a business fails to add a suite number. Verify that your address is accurate and, if someone attempts to claim that they do business at your address, report that profile.
7 — You’re a Service Area Business with an Address
If you switch your profile to show that you’re a service-area only business but neglect to remove your business address, your account may be suspended. If you no longer do business at a particular location — i.e., if customers cannot go to that location to procure your services — remove the address from your listing.
8 – High-Risk Industry
Google regards certain industries and fields as more “high-risk” and prone to fraud or spam than others. Unfortunately, if you’re in a high-risk industry, even the tiniest guideline infraction could trigger a penalty.
In general, most home service businesses are considered high-risk. That includes companies in fields like:
- HVAC/heating repair
- Landscaping & tree removal
- Real estate
- Law & legal services
- Insurance sales
If your company is in or related to one of these industries, it’s critical your listing adheres to all official quality guidelines.
9 – Restricted or Prohibited Content
Finally, your profile may have been suspended if Google suspects it contains “prohibited content.” Google defines prohibited content as anything that:
- Promotes illegal, fraudulent, or deceptive activities
- Makes false or misleading claims or promotes misinformation
- Solicits or contains private personal information
- Contains offensive or obscene content (such as hate speech, sexually explicit material, or profanity), even if such content is only implied
- Includes spam or irrelevant content
You’ll need to completely scrub your profile of any potential prohibited content before requesting reinstatement. If a customer uploads an inappropriate review or photo to your listing, here’s how to flag the content for removal.
Tips for Uncovering Why Your Google My Business Profile was Suspended
Here are a few methods for uncovering why a Business Profile was suspended, plus some fix suggestions:
Determine what kind of suspension you’re facing. A soft suspension may suggest simple errors in NAP information, while a hard suspension indicates a more serious problem. To find out which kind you’re dealing with, check your verification status and try searching for your company name. Soft suspensions will still be featured in search results but be labeled “unverified.”
Compare your profile to official guidelines. Review Google’s official quality guidelines with a fine-toothed comb and ensure your profile matches every single one.
Look for mistakes or inconsistencies in your profile. Compare your information to what appears on Google Maps, your website, business license, and official third-party listings like professional or government directories. Even small inconsistencies, such as your address being listed as “Sunset Boulevard” when it should be “Sunset Blvd.” can sometimes trigger a suspension. Correct all errors and reach out to third-party directories if they’ve published incorrect information.
Check for unauthorized changes to your profile and review authorized users. According to official guidance, only business owners and authorized managers may access and make edits to Business Profiles. Ensure every listed user should be there — and be sure to authorize them, too. Here’s how to add users to your GBP.
Remove “spammy” language, emojis, and unnecessary special characters. Google may flag listings suspected of spam based on the language or characters used in the listing. Business descriptions should be grammatically correct with no misspellings. Remove gibberish, emojis, and misleading language. Examples of spammy practices include using a check emoji (✅) in your business name to make it appear as if your company has some special verification or including an unverifiable phrase like “CERTIFIED PREFERRED INDUSTRY VENDOR” in your description.
How to Fix Your Google Business Profile Suspension
Once you think you’ve identified why your GBP was suspended, it’s time to fix it and submit a Google My Business reinstatement request.
- Fix the suspected issue(s). Remember, your profile needs to comply with all official quality guidelines.
- Submit a Google Business Profile reinstatement request. Fill out a reinstatement form. You may be required to provide supporting documentation as part of your reinstatement request, such as a copy of your business license or photos of your storefront signage.
- Be patient while your request is reviewed. Google says it takes around three business days to address reinstatement requests, but some find the process may take between two and three weeks. If you don’t hear back, reach out by replying to the email you received after submitting your request.
Reinstatement Request Denied? How To Appeal
If your Google Business Profile reinstatement request is denied, your next step is to submit an appeal. According to Google, submit an appeal by replying to the denial email with high-quality photos of your storefront and a summary of your business operations.
Learn More About Google Tools
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