If you run a business servicing local customers and you don’t have a Google Business Profile (GBP), you’re missing out. Data shows that over 50% of profiles on Google Business see well over 1,000 views and close to 60 actions (on average) each and every month.
Customers, new and existing, use your Google Business listing to:
The list of opportunities your GBP offers to connect with your customers goes on and on… and on.
It’s clear you can’t risk waking up to that dreaded email: your Google Business Profile is suspended. Imagine what that would do to your business. But that’s just the situation some distraught business owners find themselves in—often through seemingly no fault of their own.
Given how many customers find you via your GBP, this is something you want to get sorted out quick smart. Below, we go over why you’ve been suspended and how to get help.
Let’s get started!
Intentional Problems That Cause Suspensions
We all want to get ahead in business—and doing so in a small or local business can sometimes be challenging. Resources are limited, and shortcuts are tempting. Occasionally, we do things we know are against the rules.
Hey, we get it! But Google, generally, doesn’t.
If you’re doing any of the actions we list below, the answer is simple: stop. Right now.
If you’ve been accused of doing any of these actions but can prove your innocence, that’s a different story. Google’s decision to suspend your profile can be appealed, and you’ll have the opportunity to provide evidence that they made an incorrect decision.
Google Business strives to be a platform for authentic businesses to serve their customers effectively. As Google explains, “The combination of information provided by you and other sources lets customers make informed decisions about your location.”
If you’re promoting a fake business on Google and they find out, they’ll remove your business from their search results and all other areas of Google Business. After all, customers can’t make informed decisions about a location that doesn’t exist.
However, it’s also possible for a business to be accused of running a fraudulent enterprise despite being legitimate.
Google struggles to distinguish companies apart when multiple firms use the same address. For example, businesses operating out of a shared or virtual office face this accusation often.
Thankfully, if you’re a legitimate business in shared office space, Google allows you to appeal their decision and prove you’re honest.
Google suspended this Google Business user in 2019 because Google thought they were operating from a virtual office. They weren’t. The company sent through proof of rent payments and furniture purchases, and Google quickly reinstated their account.
Repeated Policy Violations
Google Business clearly outlines its platform usage policies and procedures. If you’re repeatedly getting contacted by Google for policy violations, you’re likely breaking the rules on purpose. Keep doing that, and you risk a “hard” suspension.
A hard suspension is serious. Your business is removed from the platform for a fixed period. Repeated violations following reinstatement can lead to a permanent ban.
Before any hard suspension, you’ve probably received a bunch of notices and perhaps a “soft” suspension or two. Take these as a warning that Google is unhappy—they’re watching your profile like a hawk.
Of course, you can avoid a suspension altogether by:
If you think you’re being accused of a policy violation for no reason, you can appeal a hard suspension.
Poor Customer Service
Did you know that not treating your customers well can get your GBP suspended? Google doesn’t want to spend time and resources promoting businesses that don’t serve their customers well.
That reflects poorly on Google’s business.
So, if a company gets tons of bad reviews and adverse reports, Google may choose to suspend its account.
There are two possibilities:
The Complaints Are Warranted
Take a close look at the reviews you’re getting. Are they overwhelmingly negative? Are the things customers are complaining about warranted? Be honest with yourself.
Google doesn’t suspend profiles over a couple of bad reviews. It takes a consistent stream of complaints for a business to develop a bad reputation in Google’s eyes—and for them to decide to take action. If the complaints are legitimate, it’s time to take a long hard look at your business practices and take steps to rebuild consumer trust.
You’re Being Targeted (and You Can Prove It)
From time to time, headlines about netizens “ganging up on” or “canceling” a company with bad reviews pop up in the news. If your GBP was suspended due to spamming, and you can prove you did nothing wrong, you can try to appeal the decision.
Don’t forget, too, that Google assesses your responses to customer reviews. Always reply to reviews on your profile in a professional, respectful manner.
Unintentional Reasons for Suspension
Have you just had your Google Business Profile suspended but can’t work out why? You’ve probably made one of the mistakes listed below.
Honestly, these mistakes are easy for anyone to make. So, don’t feel bad. It’s how you respond now and into the future that matters.
Not Completing or Updating Your Business Information
Google will suspend your GBP if you don’t include the information they deem essential. Google’s a service company using its ample resources to promote your business—but it’s not for charitable purposes.
Google wants to stay at the top of the search game, meaning it needs to ensure web users are provided with helpful, accurate information.
Follow best practices when setting up and editing your Google Business Profile. If your business address, phone number, or website URL changes, update this information in your GBP promptly.
Repeated Low-Level Policy Violations
A major policy violation, such as promoting a fraudulent business, is a big problem in Google’s eyes and often results in a quick, hard suspension. But minor violations also create problems for small businesses because they’re easily missed.
For example, let’s say you get a notification from Google asking you to update your phone number. As a small business owner, you’ve got a lot on your plate, so you set the email aside for now, vowing to get to it later. The problem is, you never get to it. Google keeps sending you notifications, you keep ignoring them, and the next thing you know…
Bam! Your Google Business Profile is suspended.
Don’t be this business owner. Set your GBP up properly, make updates as soon as things change, and address Google notifications promptly. Assign this task to a less-busy staff member if you need to.
Many company websites—especially those that rely on local customers—are heavily integrated with Google Business.
After all, research in 2022 found that 60% of customers who interact with a GBP click the associated website link. And most visits to a profile are made after a Google search. Get into a Google Local 3-Pack, and you have an even better chance of being seen.
As you can see, having an optimized website matters to Google—a lot. If your site doesn’t meet Google’s exacting standards, they may penalize your Google Business Profile.
Fixing the Problem
The easiest way to reverse a Google Business Profile is to avoid getting one in the first place.
Let’s take one more look at the mistakes and what you can do to fix them:
By avoiding these mistakes, you can help ensure you never see that dreaded suspension email in your inbox or when you log into your profile. And above all, avoid unethical behavior online—often, suspensions for those reasons can’t be remedied.
If you’re struggling with a suspension or need help setting up or editing your Google Business Profile, we can help. We have the tools and industry knowledge you need to prevent your Google Business Profile from being suspended.
Schedule a free consultation with an MK Way local SEO expert today.