How to get a GBP Reinstated After Suspension
How does Google look at suspensions?
Google needs to balance out the needs of businesses and consumers. What they are trying to do today is to ensure there’s really clean data and that nothing is misleading or fraudulent on any Google Business Profile. Google knows that businesses make mistakes, but they will suspend the profile to ensure the data is clean and correct. Then, you can fix the errors to get back up online.
If you have all of your ducks in a row, i.e., all of your business information matches your official documents, you follow all of Google’s guidelines, and you have a good history with Google, chances are you’ll get back up after going through the appeal process.
Many business owners have the mentality, “Well, someone else is doing it, and their listing is still active, so I can too.” One example is having multiple keywords in their business name. Just because someone else is doing it doesn’t mean that it will work for you.
Business owners have mentioned, “I’ve had my profile for 15 years, and nothing happened; why am I all of a sudden suspended?”
It means it’s your time to get caught. Your business was against the guidelines, and Google is only catching it now.
The frustrating thing about anything with Google is that they don’t want to teach people how to work their system. They provide a small link when creating your profile and leave it up to you to make sure that you comply. They are all in the gray area if you take the time to read through their guidelines.
Types of GBP Suspensions
You’ll notice pretty quickly if your Google Business Profile gets suspended. There will be either a drop in phone calls or customers coming in, or you’ll receive an email saying your profile was suspended.
There is a hard and a soft suspension.
A Hard suspension is where your Google Business Profile doesn’t appear on the Business listings.
A Soft suspension is where your profile will still appear, but you can’t make any changes or updates.
With a Soft suspension, Google trusts the profile but not the account. For example, a manager/owner account attached to the Business Profile did something against policies, making Google assign a soft suspension.
In both cases, the appeal process is the same.
Most common reasons for suspensions
- Keyword stuffing the business name (Ex. JP Green Lawn Service of Pal Harbor – Landscaping Contractor, Professional Lawn Care
- Not having a permanent sign for your business on the outside. If you have a storefront, Google says you need permanent signage outside. This cannot be a piece of paper stuck to the window or written in Sharpie. Tip: Do NOT create an image with Photoshop or anything like that. Google will know!
- For service area businesses, you can use other things: you’ll have a verification address (usually a home), and then you can submit your business license or a utility bill. If you have a service vehicle with a wrap or a decal with your business information, that can be used.
- Using a PO box, UPS store, virtual office, or coworking space as the address
- Listing your business as 24/7 hours. You need hours if you’re a storefront with employees at the location to see customers unless your business is genuinely 24/7, ex. An emergency locksmith or a convenience store.
- You have an online business – GBPs are only for local companies that meet face-to-face with customers.
- If you have a service-based business and you display a physical address
- You can get suspended if a manager on your profile gets suspended.
- Violations of other Google Products: if you have issues with an account on Google Ads, Analytics, or YouTube, one user can violate one product and get a Google Business Profile suspended.
- **Tip: ALWAYS know and trust who you add to your Google Business Profile listing. Do not add random employees or other business acquaintances unless you trust them.
- Your site was hacked or you have malware on your site.
- Multiple businesses with the same phone number. *Tip: One business, one address, one phone number.
The above is a partial list, so if your profile gets suspended, you’ll have to do some digging to figure out what went wrong.
Google doesn’t always give a good reason why the account is suspended.
Helpful Tips and Notes About Google Business Profile
Google knows your address when you sign up for a GBP. Even if you signed up for it originally ten years ago, it has that recorded. Write down your address, especially if you are a service-based business!
Don’t make many changes in one sitting – make one change, return in a while, and do another. Ex. Don’t make a post, rewrite the description, and change the category all at once.
Whatever you do, do not remove/delete a Business Profile from your dashboard and create a new one. Google has all the data and will consider the new one a duplicate listing and suspend it.
Following the previous point, if your account gets suspended or you can’t access it, Do NOT create a new listing.
If you get your listing reinstated after the appeal, your reviews might not always come back or the total amount of reviews (Ex. you had 150 reviews before your account got suspended, and when you get it back up, you only have 130). The reviews are not attached to your business profile; they are actually attached to the address in Google’s database, so it’s not a guarantee. Google can also review the reviews, decide if any look suspicious, and take them down.
It can take months if you have a duplicate listing you’re trying to delete.
Only create ONE Google Business Profile at your home address. If you have a roofing business that you run out of your home and then start a construction company, don’t use your home address for the construction company.
Only 4% of business profiles are ready to be reinstated without making any changes/updates.
Appealing Google Business Profile Suspension
Before you start the process of appealing to have your Google Business Profile reinstated, gather all your documents beforehand. Google will ask you to submit a video showing your business location with signage OR two documents showing proof of the business name and address. Below is a list of documents that Google will accept as proof.*
The new appeal process: (Currently live only in EU)
You get an email that your profile was suspended – click the Blue Button to appeal
It will show a Violation type – this is where Google will give you a hint about why you’ve been suspended. **Some profiles cannot be appealed. If you go through the appeal process and submit all of your documents and get an email right after you submit it saying your appeal was denied, your profile cannot get appealed to go back up.
There will be an option to move forward and either submit evidence or not. (Evidence meaning your documentation or a video of your business)
You probably won’t be reinstated if you submit an appeal without evidence.
If you click yes to submit evidence, Google doesn’t tell you what you actually have to submit at this state. But if you’re not ready to submit anything, do not go forward.
*We suggest you upload at least two items – business registration (Name and Address must match), tax certification, utility bill, or business license – the LLC is better. You can use a DBA, but it’s not as strong.
Utility – electricity, cell phone, gas, water, sewage, trash, TV, internet
The next slide will have a link telling you to fill out a form, and the form is where you will upload everything.
When you click the link to fill out the form – you only have SIXTY MINUTES to fill out the form, and you CANNOT close out the window.
You can upload a zip file, so if you have multiple documents, you can zip them all together and upload them at once.
In the Text box – put in your personal appeal, what did you do? What did you change? You can put links to Google Drive documents; however, don’t get personal/emotional. It’s not a good idea to turn your appeal into a book. Be consistent, be concise, and be logical.
You’ll get an email if you get approved.
The GBP Verification Process
You can still do everything; sometimes, if you go through everything correctly, a listing could still not return.
If a person goes through this and they do it wrong, once you submit it, you can’t go back and do it again. If it’s wrong, then they won’t get approved, and that’s it. We don’t know if there’s any chance to re-appeal as of now. It could change, but currently, there is only one shot to appeal for your GBP.
Anyone who is a manager or owner on the profile can submit the appeal.
Video verification – contact support if you’re having problems and ask to do a manual verification. The video is a broken process, and there are a lot of companies that have problems with this. It will come back and say that the video needs to be done again. If it keeps happening, though, that means the video got rejected. Unfortunately, Google doesn’t tell you flat out that it got rejected.
If you’re an agency, have your client do the video verification two times before sending it to you for review.
Google Business Profile Q&As
Q. What if you have two businesses operating out of the same address?
Google’s guidelines state that they are supposed to have their own entrance to the location, two separate areas, and separate signage, separate staff. You have to follow the guidelines to a T.
Q. How do realtors get their personal businesses reinstated? All signage references the agency as a whole, nothing personal.
If you have a phone bill with your name and address, that will work if you’re a practitioner. Creating multiple GBPs for the realtor, move it away to your home instead of the building. Google will only show one realtor agency/agent listing, so you compete against everyone else in that building.
Q. What if your business has multiple locations – the main business registration won’t include each individual address?
Get a DBA (Doing Business As document registered with your city clerk of court) or a business license for each location that shows each individual location’s information.
Getting Your Business Back on Google Business Profile
Google doesn’t make this process as easy or straightforward as they think. If your business gets suspended, first things first: deep breath and relax. Second, get all of your ducks in a row. Get the correct paperwork sorted out and see if you can tell why your account was suspended so you can make any necessary changes. Contact our team if you need help getting your business reinstated or have any questions.