My Google Listing Got Suspended… Now What?

At the end of June 2019, Google seemed to turn up the dial on whatever spam filters they do have (this is a big gripe in the local SEO community) and there was an explosion of tweets and forum posts about Google My Business listing suspensions. Soon after, Google added a banner to the top of their My Business help center guides stating that they were “receiving a high volume of questions about suspended listings.” The banner also broke the bad news: it may take at least 2-3 weeks to process an appeal.

Now, more than four weeks later, many businesses don’t know the status of their reinstatement request or what might have gotten their listing suspended in the first place.

Why Did My Google Listing Get Suspended?

When a Google My Business listing gets suspended, the public can’t see your listing on Google search or in Google Maps results anymore. You’ll still be able to view your listing from within your dashboard and make edits. On the home screen of your GMB dashboard, the explanation for suspension is limited to: “This location has been suspended due to quality issues.”

If you’re wondering what those “quality issues” might be, you’re not alone. Even if you get in contact with Google, there’s a really low chance they’ll tell you exactly what got your listing suspended. The best place to start is with the Google My Business guidelines to make sure your listing is compliant.

Address Issues

Some of the most common reasons we see listings get suspended have to do with the address. In the simplest of terms, your listing must show your actual, real-world address and you must make in-person contact with customers during your hours of operation.

  • Using a PO box, remote mailbox or UPS store address are all no-nos and have been for a long time.
  • Online-only businesses are not eligible for listings.
  • Service-area businesses must hide their address field.
  • You cannot have multiple listings for one business (duplicates).
  • If another business shares your exact address, your listing may be at risk of suspension.

TIP: Search your business address on Google Maps to see if any businesses that previously occupied your space still have active listings. If you find one, suggest an edit to mark the business as moved or permanently closed.

Virtual Offices

In our experience, the listings that are still suspended after this particular spike are associated with virtual office addresses. According to the Google My Business guidelines, “If your business rents a temporary, “virtual” office at a different address from your primary business, do not create a page for that location unless it is staffed during your normal business hours by your business staff.”

High Risk Category

If you’re in a high risk category (like locksmiths, plumbers, HVAC and other home services) expect to be under a microscope. Making multiple edits at once to listings in home service categories can flag your listing and land you a suspension.

Spammy Tactics

While businesses that implement spammy tactics don’t get caught often enough, serious recurring spam like keyword-stuffing your business name, creating a fake listing or purchasing fake reviews could get your listing suspended. Just don’t.

Prohibited Content

According to the guidelines, illegal and fraudulent activities may result in an account suspension and listing suspension. Google reserves the right to suspend users and businesses from Google My Business and other Google services for violating the guidelines.

Forwarding Website URL

Don’t use a URL that redirects users to a landing page or social media page. Only use this field for your website URL.

Other Known Issues

If you aren’t making any of the above mistakes and still got hit with a suspension, it could be due to a few other factors that were happening around the time of this spike in suspensions.

Some account owners are scratching their heads after their business listings were suspended shortly after adding factual additional business details that even the GMB dashboard was even prompting them to add.

Google Product Expert Ben Fisher has responded to posts about this on the GMB community forum, stating

“In efforts to ensure that the data that appears on Google Search and Maps is as accurate as possible, some factual listings may have been erroneously suspended.”

Hat tip to Joy Hawkins for letting us know that making more than a couple edits at once could flag your listing for suspension. Even if you’re adding details that Google is prompting you for and trying to get that “Complete your listing” status to 100%, the volume of edits might be considered suspicious.

Space out your optimizations over several days to reduce your risk.

On top of all this, there was a bug in GMB for some listings that added the new short name feature. Removing the short name would reverse the listing suspension. This bug is reportedly fixed as of mid July 2019.

Account Suspensions vs. Listing Suspensions

Google can also suspend user accounts, not just listings. When an account gets suspended for violating Google’s Terms of Service, it also results in the suspension of any listings it owns.

If you’ve noticed multiple listings associated with the same account get a suspension, it could be an account suspension. In this case, you want to identify the account that’s the culprit, stop any activities that could be violating the Terms of Service or that appear suspicious. Then, request reinstatement. If Google reinstates a Google account, they’ll also reinstate the suspended listings it owns.

How Can I Get My Listing Reinstated?

#1. Submit a single reinstatement request form. Google has advised not to submit multiple reinstatement requests for the same listing as it’s just adding to the pile they’re working through.

#2. If it’s been more than three weeks and your listing hasn’t been reinstated, send a direct message to GMB on Twitter or Facebook to ask for an update.

TIP: The social support team is small and usually take several days to respond, so save yourself some time and include the dashboard link for your suspended listing in this message (if you don’t include it, they’ll ask for it and you’ll wait twice as long to get any help). To get this link, log into business.google.com and open your suspended listing’s dashboard. Copy the URL, it should look like this: business.google.com/dashboard/l/ (number here).

Be aware, that it is possible you’ll end up waiting longer than a few weeks…

#3. Prepare photos of your storefront, signage, business license and business mail in case Google asks for more evidence for reinstatement.

Get More Customers From Google

Let our GMB experts turn your listing into a high performing tool to win business.

5 Things You Can Do to Prevent a Suspension

#1. Read the Google My Business guidelines and follow them. Check regularly for updates.

#2. Create only one listing per business/location. Before you create a listing, do your due diligence to make sure a listing doesn’t already exist for that business.

#3. Use consistent and accurate NAP (name, address, phone number) data on your Google My Business listing, website and other citations.

TIP: You can use a tracking number in Google My Business, just make sure the actual phone number is listed as a secondary number.

#4. If your business has a physical location, display clear, accurate and permanent signage. If your business is a service-area business, hide your address to be compliant.

#5. Don’t use spammy tactics that might help you in the short term but cut off your local traffic and conversions in the future.

Have you had to deal with a suspend listing before? What steps did you take to get the listing reinstated? Let us know in the comment section below.

AUTHOR

Allie Margeson

Allie been helping small business owners get the most bang for their marketing bucks since 2014. She loves the opportunities and challenges of local search marketing and Google Ads. She has a knack for helping busy entrepreneurs, owners and marketing managers understand the value of local search efforts, without all the jargon.

One comment on “My Google Listing Got Suspended… Now What?

  • Hi,

    I tried uploading GMB listings for one of my clients with over 1200 locations.
    I did an extensive research before uploading, checked formatting and filled out the minute details in GMB bulk upload sheet.
    Though the details were correct and addresses can be found on google maps, over 90% of the listings are getting an “Address Not Found” error.

    Please find below a few instances of addresses where google maps is able to detect but GMB is not :
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/178c2fcd3a20325ee43467c451119a755eeb6d75910551bbab5503307493ec3c.png

    In the above image the error mentioned is : “Address line 1: This address could not be found. Please verify that this address is correct or learn about alternative ways of identifying your business location.”

    Please help me with a solution as to how i can upload my listings in bulk.

    Regards,
    Ajay

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