Google Suspensions are a Hassle
It’s been a stressful year, to say the least. From an economy-crippling pandemic to a divided presidential election, it may feel like you’ve been walking through a war zone.
So, when you open your email or log in to your Google My Business account and see that your newly or previously verified listings have been suspended, you might want to throw your device across the room.
This is an issue that many business owners and SEOs have been forced to face more and more often this year. To add insult to injury, the cause of these suspended listings is often arbitrary.
You Aren’t Going Crazy
If you’ve been questioning your own sanity lately or reading through the guidelines until your eyes want to fall out trying to find out what you were in violation of, don’t fret. You aren’t losing your mind. Google has been on a capricious suspending spree in an attempt to cut down on spam listings.
Don’t think you have anything on your listing that could constitute spam? You might be wrong. Or, you could be completely correct. Here are just three of many common examples of violations liable to slap you with a Google My Business suspension:
- Keyword-Stuffed Business Name.
Keyword stuffing means putting SEO keywords that are not officially part of your name. For example, if your business is “ABC Security Services,” and you describe yourself as “ABC Security Services, 24/7 Locksmith” to get the keyword “24/7 Locksmith into the business name, you’re keyword stuffing.
Keep in mind, your listing’s business name needs to be your business name, word for word. If you are a practitioner, it should be exactly how you officially present yourself. Google considers all keyword stuffing spam.
Sometimes Google will even suspend a listing with a legitimate business name because it contains a suspicious amount of keywords.
- Editing a listing too much in a short span of time can trigger red flags for Google and lead to a suspension.
Sometimes this can mean waiting minutes between changes and sometimes hours. To be on the safe side, we recommend giving 24 hours in between your listing’s changes
- The company is an online-only business and/or is using a PO Box/UPS store address. Google will only view your business listing as legitimate if the address has a physical location. This does not include virtual offices or coworking spaces.
These are just some of the reasons Google will suspend your listing.
Getting the Issue Resolved
Before reaching out to support about a Google My Business suspension, you should always read through the guidelines thoroughly and make sure you are not in violation of Google’s rules.
Once you have read through the guidelines, issue a reinstatement request, in which you can explain the issue in greater detail.
When they ask for your listing’s URL, they are referring to the URL of your listing in the Google My Business Dashboard, not the URL of the listing as it appears in search.
If you have had multiple listings of a single business suspended, be sure to simply link the dashboard URL’s of these listings in your reinstatement request details, rather than submitting a request for each listing.
However, it is important to keep in mind that sometimes a suspension is a random fluke on Google’s part.
You may not hear back from Google Support for a week or longer, and if they choose to escalate the issue (they will notify you if they do) it can take even longer, so it’s important to just hang tight and be as patient as possible.
No matter what you do, do not send multiple requests regarding the same listing unless a month or longer has passed with no response.
This is Not Anyone’s Fault
(If you’re a professional SEO practitioner, you might have the added complication of your client freaking out because their listing is suspended. You probably know this drill: you are likely to get the blame. If it helps, give them a link to this article to illustrate to your client that many other SEO professionals — and their clients! — are in the same boat. Thanks again, Google.)