It can send business owners into a panic when they log into their Google Business Profile account and see that big red circle with the line through it telling them that the listing has been suspended. Usually this is a fairly easy fix, although often it will mean dealing with Google, which can take anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks.
It’s important to know as well that there are two different kinds of suspensions Google may use. The first is a soft suspension, which means that the listing cannot be managed through the dashboard, but it still appears on Google and Google Maps. This means that even though you won’t be able to make changes to your listing, your business will still appear in the search engine in Google Maps, so no rankings will be lost.
The second type of suspension is much more serious and is known as a hard suspension. With this kind of suspension, Google will remove the entire listing from Google Business Profile and Google Maps. And when you try to pull the listing up on Google Maps it will say, ‘removed’.
So why does Google suspend businesses? There are a few reasons but one of the most frustrating things about a listing suspension is that Google will not tell you why they suspended the listing. This may mean that you’ll have to examine the listing and figure out what went wrong on your own, which is why knowing the most common reasons for suspension is important.
Your website URL is a forwarding address
Google wants to provide the best possible information to users. And when it comes to website addresses, this means sending people to URLs that are actually the business’ web address. If the URL entered redirects or refers users to landing pages, Google will likely suspend the listing. This type of infraction will typically result in a soft suspension.
There are unnecessary keywords in the business name field
Keywords are important. And anyone that wants to advertise online needs to know how to use them effectively. But while keywords can be a part of your Google Business Profile listing, they should never appear in the business name field. So, unless they’re actually the business name, leave out marketing tag lines, slogans, and words such as ‘best’ or ‘affordable’. Including words that are not part of the business name field will likely result in a soft suspension.
Service-area businesses that don’t hide their address
Google’s guidelines say that a business’ address should only appear if customers actually visit the business. Plumbers, contractors, and other service-based businesses can still have a Google Business Profile listing, but they have to hide their address. And while it’s important for any business to verify their listing with Google, it’s even more so for service-based businesses. This is because although Google will allow service-area businesses, Map Maker does not. And if a business is not verified, it will likely be removed from Google Maps, along with any reviews or photos that are part of the listing.
Multiple listings for the same business location
There are a lot of businesses out there, making Google Business Profile already pretty full of listings. In order to avoid clutter, Google wants to ensure that one business location only has one listing. And while chain stores and franchises with different locations can each have one listing, one location cannot have more than one listing. If this happens, Google will likely suspend both listings, place a soft suspension on the real listing and a hard suspension on the duplicate.
Your business type is sensitive
This is one rule that doesn’t seem to have a hard and fast rule, but Google may decide in some cases that a business type is inappropriate. According to Google, businesses of regulated goods, such as guns, will be allowed if there is a geographic location set and age restrictions are very clear. But there have been some instances in which Google has been known to take these down. If you’re an owner of sensitive goods or a sensitive business area, it may be best to contact Google before creating your listing to ask them how you can better your chances of not having your listing suspended or taken down.
The listing includes a virtual office
This is a trick some business owners do to get more listings in Google Business Profile, but it’s ineffective and can get your listing removed. Most often it happens when a business is located in one city, but wants to get business from nearby cities at the same time. By creating multiple listings for each town, their business will rank higher for that town and potentially be seen by more customers. But if Google learns about this, the listing won’t be seen by any customers. According to Google, no business should have a listing for any location unless someone is available at that location to help customers during normal business hours.
The listing is for an online business
This one is pretty straightforward. Online businesses, e-commerce stores, and any business that interacts with their customers solely online, including purchasing and delivery, cannot have a Google Business Profile listing. Even if a business makes products at one location and then sells them online, it will be considered to be an online business and as such, is not qualified for a Google Business Profile listing. To list in Google Business Profile, you must make in-person contact with your customers.
Spam filters are tighter than normal
Sometimes a business owner does nothing wrong, stays within Google’s guidelines, and still their listing does not show up on the search page. Why does this happen? It’s due to Google’s severe spam filters that will work overtime, particularly when there are many different companies in a popular industry. So how does a business owner combat this? The only real way to do it is to take the case to Google.
If a business listing has been suspended or isn’t showing, the only way to take it to Google is to post on the Official Google Business Profile Community forum, which can be found here:
A business owner can state their case on this forum to a Top Contributor, who can then take the case to Google so that hopefully, it can be solved.