Google Business Profiles (GBPs) are sometimes suspended for guideline violations or suspicious activity, but there has never been a lot of additional information forthcoming. Because the effects of a suspension on your business and digital marketing efforts can be very serious, paying attention to suspension policy makes sense. While reinstating a suspended GBP is relatively straightforward at present, Google recently introduced a new process in the European Union, which they should be rolling out globally in the not-too-distant future. When it comes to Google, knowing what to expect is always a good thing, and one of the most important points to keep in mind going forward is that you’ll only get one chance to appeal a GBP suspension– use it wisely.
In the Past
When a GBP is suspended under the current system, Google sends out an email. From here, you’ll have the opportunity to fill out a form that initiates a tech review. Throughout the process, you’ll have multiple opportunities to appeal your suspension, which can lead to multiple reviews that may involve community engagement. Although the process is clunky, there is no shortage of chances to rectify the issue at the heart of the suspension.
Although Google has traditionally been vague about why it suspends specific profiles, most suspensions are generated in one of several basic ways. It’s important to note that Google employs both hard and soft suspensions. If you can find your business on Google Maps but aren’t able to access it, it’s a soft suspension, but if your business no longer shows up, the suspension is hard, which makes the matter considerably more dire. In other words, paying attention to the state of your GBP is critical.
Sometimes, suspensions are based on computer-based algorithmic sweeps – or Google’s brand of housekeeping. The idea is to systematically sweep those business categories that are most likely to generate false GBP listings and to flush out any that the algorithm deems suspect in the process. Because this common form of computer-generated suspension is difficult to predict, it is also difficult to guard against.
Issues Related to Account Managers
When an owner or manager’s account is suspended, it can lead to problems for the entire company. For example, if you have an SEO manager who submits frequent map edits that Google considers spamy, it can affect your entire account. Generally, when one of the listings in an account is suspended, all of them are – proceed with caution.
Suspensions Made Manually
Sometimes, suspensions are generated by Google employees who personally determine when a GBP is out of bounds – often in response to spam redressal forms.
Practices that Are Likely to Get You Suspended
Some of the practices that are most likely to get you suspended include:
- Listing your business as open 24 hours when it isn’t
- Padding your business name with keywords that aren’t part of the actual name
- Listing an address that reflects a virtual office or a coworking space
- Changing your address, which should trigger a GBP reverification but could, instead, lead to suspension
- Creating more than one listing for the same business or having more than one listing with the same address
It’s important to understand that, once you experience a soft suspension, you are far more vulnerable to a hard suspension, which makes addressing the matter head-on advised.
Google’s Shiny New Process
Once Google’s new suspension process is implemented here, you can expect more specificity regarding the kind of policy violation you’re looking at. While you should have more information about where you went wrong, Google, however, won’t provide you with a roadmap toward rectifying the matter. Instead, they’ll give you just one shot to apply for reinstatement, which streamlines the process but limits your ability to appeal. Once you pull the trigger on reinstatement, you’ll have only 60 minutes to hand over the necessary proof, which means you’ll need to be well prepared.
The Steps Forward
If Google suspends your GBP, it will shoot you an email letting you know, which will include hints about the specific guideline violated – along with a link that guides you in the right direction. From here, you’ll need to log into the suspended profile, making sure that you use the correct account.
At this point, you’ll be guided to a critical screen that begins your 60-minute countdown. This is your opportunity to upload the materials necessary to refute the suspension. If you don’t move quickly enough, this opportunity vanishes, and any proof you do have won’t be taken into consideration.
Keep in Mind
- The Google screen you land on won’t include a 60-minute timer, and you won’t be warned when your time is up. You’ll need to keep track of this yourself.
- You can use a zip file to submit various forms of proof in your case.
- This isn’t a test – you’ll only get one opportunity to apply for reinstatement.
- If your reinstatement is successful, Google should inform you via email.
If your reinstatement ultimately proves unsuccessful, you can reach out to the GBP community’s expertise, but there isn’t a formal appeal process in place. If your Google Business Profile has been suspended, the time to act is now – and having a skilled digital marketing expert in your corner is always an excellent plan.
A Digital Marketing Pro Can Help You Keep Your GBP in Good Working Order
Google is at it again, and the impending changes to the GBP suspension process are poised to make waves. At The Web Guys, we appreciate exactly how important your Google Business Profile is to your bottom line, and we’ve got the expertise to help keep it in tip-top shape. We serve areas throughout Indiana, Michigan, and Florida including Carmel, Indianapolis, Grand Rapids, and Sarasota. Learn more by contacting us at (317) 805-4933 today.