Posts

Handling Google My Business Suspensions

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.

Man Angry at Computer

“Your listing has been suspended”


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:

 

  1. 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.
  2. 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 

 

  1. 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.

example of the Google My Business Dashboard URL

Make sure to copy the dashboard URL



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.)






 

 

 

 



 

 

Question: How Do I Add My Business to Google?

Business owners have a powerful tool available in their quest to get more visibility in Google. Introducing our free Masterclass on getting started with Google My Business. It shows you how to find, claim, and verify your business in GMB. If you’ve ever been confused and intimidated by Google’s free GMB service, this course is a great starting point. And it’s free!

Google Reviews: Why They’re Important and What to Do About Them

Why GMB Reviews Are So Important

What we’ll cover in this post:

  • The importance of Google reviews to your online reputation
  • How to respond to both positive and negative reviews
  • A step-by-step how-to on the process

In order to get the most out of your Google My Business listing, it is important to keep up with reviews on a consistent basis.

Responding to Google reviews is just as influential as the reviews themselves. It provides prospective customers with a feel for what you’re like, encourages more customers to leave reviews, and can sometimes result in people amending their initial negative reviews and ratings to positive ones.

gmb review example Responding to reviews will also help you to stay on top of your online reputation, make improvements where necessary, and identify strengths to focus on.

It is important to take special consideration when replying to negative reviews. Be professional and calm when responding to these while also providing either an explanation for the negative experience the reviewer had or a resolution.

If there is no explanation, or if you feel the reviewer is being dishonest or misrepresenting their experience, it is never a good idea to express this in your response.

In the case that a disgruntled person or business competitor is deliberately committing libel or slander there are further actions that can be taken, but that is a bridge to be crossed when the time comes, and going about this is to be resolved circumstantially.

How to Respond to Google Reviews

Here is a step by step guide on how to respond to your Google reviews:

Step 1: Sign in to Google My Business

Access the Google My Business dashboard by navigating to business.google.com.

 

 

If you own or manage your business listing but are directed to a page with a search bar in the center that prompts you to “Find and manage your business,” no need to fret. Simply click on the Google My Business logo in the top-left corner of the page.

 

 

Step 2
Click the three horizontal bars in the top left-hand corner and click on your listing from the “Locations” menu.

 

 

Step 3

To the left, you will see a panel containing multiple options (“Home”, “Posts”, “Info”, “Insights”, and below “Insights”, “Reviews”). Click on Reviews.

gmb diagram
It will then, at the top, show you all of your reviews which you can sort by All, Replied, and Haven’t Replied. To the right of these options, there will be three horizontal lines. Click on this to see further ways in which to sort your reviews if you wish to, such as ranking them from highest to lowest or vice versa.

At the bottom of each review, you will see an option to Reply. Simply click on this, type your reply, and click Post Reply. If you have already replied to a review, instead of presenting you with the Reply button you will see the option to either Edit or Delete your reply.

 

Responding to these reviews, good and bad, is essential for local SEO. We hope that this has helped you understand Google Reviews the process so that you can climb your way to the top 3.

 

“Google My Business A to Z” – The Complete Course Is Now Live

Ross BarefootRoss Barefoot got his start in small business managing an importing company in the bicycle industry.  While there, he tried his hand at programming to find more effective ways to track, market and sell his company’s range of bicycle parts. He loved the web marketing side of things so much he became a professional […]

New! A Free Google My Business Workshop from the Horizon Web Marketing Academy

All About Our Google My Business, Free SEO Workshop Training

The Short version

  • Even voice search like Google Assistant or Siri relies on Google Search, so
  • If your business is invisible in Google, it’s invisible
  • Google has every business in its database, somewhere
  • Google My Business is the tool Google has created for you to manage your business in their database
  • Google My Business is often wrong, and you need to manage your business for accuracy and success
  • Our free workshop is coming up and will help you

Already know you want to go? Here are some quick signup links

Sign up here for the Grand Junction evening workshop. Wednesday, November 13th at 7pm.
Sign up here for the Grand Junction Saturday morning workshop. Saturday, November 16th at 10am.

The Full Version

How successful will you be in a local business if no one knows about you, or if they can’t find you?
 
No business can succeed if it can’t connect with potential customers. Gone are the days when that connection came through the local Yellow Pages.
 
People look for local retailers and service providers in a bunch of different ways, but they all seem to be driven by the Internet and, usually, by Google.

Think of voice search. Someone with a clogged drain, or looking for a Japanese restaurant, or searching for the best deal on gardening equipment, are increasingly likely to speak that into their mobile phone.

“Hey Google, what’s a good plumber near me?”
“Siri, where’s the closest restaurant that serves sushi?”
“Alexa, where can I buy cheap gardening equipment?”

If someone is using Siri or Google’s voice assistant, their voice question is turned into a Google search. The Google results are then interpreted by the auditory response the questioner hears. (If they are searching on Alexa or Cortana the search is handled by Bing.)

Logo for Google Voice Assistant

Whether a person is looking for what you have to offer on their computer, by typing into their phone, or even by speaking a question to a digital voice assistant, whether you reach that customer depends on whether Google or Bing know about your business and consider it relevant to what they want.

This brings us to “Google My Business.”

Google’s goal is to index (which is another word for saying “to catalog”) every business on planet earth. They most likely have your business in their index, whether you’ve helped them or not. The management tool for refining the information that Google has about every business is called “Google My Business.”

Using Google My Business, a business owner can manage the information about their business that Google has. This is important because Google gets things wrong about businesses all the time. Wrong address, wrong phone, wrong mapping location, wrong business category, etc.

The only way that you can make sure Google’s information on your business is accurate is by checking it and making changes where you need to. You do that using Google My Business

You may already have done this…or started to! You may already know a bit about Google My Business. But did you know that there are things you can do within Google My Business that will significantly increase your chances of being seen by your ideal customer?

promotion image for the Google My Business Free SEO Workshop

This, in turn, brings us to Optimizing Google My Business, and this free workshop

The world of Google My Business is constantly changing. In fact, it changes so fast that even professionals have a hard time keeping up. For example, in my role as an SEO consultant and trainer, I spend at least an hour every day monitoring changes to Google’s methods and learning new ways of taking advantage of, or protecting my clients from, those changes.

Now you can hire me on an hourly basis, but my time is, frankly, too expensive for most small businesses. This means that most small businesses have to take responsibility for their own “SEO.” If you’re in that boat, you need to know at least enough to make sure you have your ducks in a row so that you don’t lose out to competitors.

We’ve designed the business training at the Horizon Web Marketing Academy to help people just like you succeed in doing the basics of SEO yourself — even with limited time, and limited technical knowledge — without hiring a high-priced SEO agency. In some cases, our “low cost” training is even free.

This is one of those free opportunities that really has value

The workshop we’ve designed, and that I’m blogging about right now, is not some 2-hour sales pitch. In fact, if you look at the training videos I’ve posted on Horizon’s YouTube channel, you can see that they are not heavily focused on sales (probably not focused enough on sales, between you and me).

This workshop will show you the key steps in engaging with Google My Business and optimizing your own business listing for success.

When you are done you will have the knowledge and confidence to make sure you have done right by your business and set yourself up for the visibility you deserve when people look — however they look — for what you have to offer.

Why are we doing a Free SEO Workshop like this?

It’s simple. We believe that the best customers are found when a business is generous. For us, being generous means that we share some of our knowledge and experience without charging you every time we do.

Of course, (to state the obvious) we hope that when you get acquainted with the knowledge and experience that we have to offer, you’ll be interested in our other consulting and training services. Either way, you’ll come out ahead, we promise!

Sign up here for the Grand Junction evening workshop. Wednesday, November 13th at 7pm.
Sign up here for the Grand Junction Saturday morning workshop. Saturday, November 16th at 10am.