Reasons Your GMB List Can Get Suspended and How You Can Get Your Listing Unsuspended

You definitely do not want to get your Google My Business page suspended, since your GMB listing is such a crucial part of ranking high in Google for many popular local search terms.  However, if your GMB got suspended, there is hope!  In our first “Beer Friday” episode we’ll discuss GMB suspensions, the reasons for getting suspended, and how you can get reinstated using the Google local businesses reinstatement requests.  We’ll also drink a beer. Cheers!

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YOU’LL LEARN

  • First Beer Friday episode – where we drink beer and talk SEO
  • Beer is from Bald Man Brewing in Eagan, MN
  • Reasons why your Google My Business listing can get suspended
  • How to get your GMB listing reinstated if it gets suspended
  • One of the more common reasons for getting your GMB suspended is because you check the box that says you have a storefront and serve customers at your location, when you do not have actually have a store front
  • If your business category is one that Google considers risky, such as locksmiths or criminal lawyers
  • If you deal with regulated goods, such as firearms, pharmaceuticals, or other controlled items
  • Your Google My Business listing can be suspended for having multiple listings for the same business
  • A good way to double check and see if you have duplicate Google My Business listings is to do a Google search on your address in Google Maps
  • If you find a duplicate listing, and it’s not currently claimed by you, you can claim it and then mark it as a duplicate or as closed
  • Your can get a GMB suspended if you have incorrect information on your listing
  • If you try and use keywords in your GMB business name, you run a high risk of getting your listing suspended
  • If you make too many changes to the primary business info fields, such as your name, address, or phone number, you can get suspended
  • Having a fake web address or a redirected website address listed on your GMB can get your GMB suspended
  • If you have multiple business locations, you can get suspended for overlapping your service areas on multiple GMB listings
  • If you do get your GMB listing suspended, it is possible to get your GMB reinstated by following the reinstatement process from Google
  • It usually takes 24-72 hours for Google to respond to your reinstatement request
  • If you don’t get reinstated, you can try it again
  • You can also send a Tweet to Google for questions or problems with your GMB
  • Your individual GMB listing can get suspended, or even worse, your entire GMB account (and all listings) can get suspended

Here is the transcription from Episode 32 Getting Your Google My Business Page Suspended and Local Business Reinstatement Request Forms;

Jesse: Hey, everyone, welcome back to Local SEO Tactics, and today we’ve got a special
episode for you. We’re gonna do our first Beer Friday episode.

Bob: Woo-hoo! Beer Friday!

Jesse: Who doesn’t like beer? Who doesn’t like Friday? And who doesn’t like marrying those
with Local SEO Tactics, right?

Bob: That’s right.

Jesse: We’re gonna kick this off. We’re gonna do our first one here today, and we’re going to
enjoy a beer from Bald Man Brewery, which is right next door to our recording studio
here in Eagan, Minnesota. This is a Tupelo Honey according to their website here, it’s a
brown ale, 6.4% ABV. It’s got a … this is not me.

If you were gonna get my description I would say it was cold and it was good, but on
their website. And this is good stuff. It’s multi- back boned followed by a smooth, sweet
honey finish, brewed with local Minnesota honey. It’s pretty good, so we thought that
would be a good one to kick it off with. Open it up here for you.

Bob: That’s sealed.

Jesse: Sealed? Hold on, hold on.

Bob: Always carry a large knife with you when you can.

Jesse: The bigger the better.

Bob: That’s right. All right, here we go. It sounds good. I won’t be partaking today folks. I’ve
got a baseball game I’ve got to assistant coach in, and I’ve got to have my A game. So, I
will probably the next time we do it.

Jesse: I got a baseball game to spectate, so I’ll have some for you guys. That’s damn fine. So
we’re going this, just try to enjoy a beer and break down some stuff. Usually we’re going
to try to make sure we’re focusing on a customer driven question or a listener driven
question here for Beer Friday. So toady we’re going to be talking about Google My
Business and suspended listings. Hopefully a good percentage of you guys out there
have not had a listing get suspended, but it happens. So we’re going to go through real
quick, some of the reasons a listing can get suspended, and what do you do when it gets
suspended to reinstate it.

So there’s a few main reasons why businesses usually get suspended. Sometimes it’s
inadvertent, sometimes you might be going a little too far in some of the tactics of using
Google’s rules. So one of the more common reasons is you select your business to be a
local service business, so in your GMB listing you have basically two check boxes. One
that says, “Yes, I’m a local service business,” which means you go to customers’ places if
you will. It could be a residence, it could be their business, whatever it is.

Bob: Window washing service, or plumbers, or whatever.

Jesse: Great example. It means you go to them. The other box that you check is that you have
a store front, that customers come to you. Now, when you check the box for being a
local service area business, your address is not shown on Google Maps, and sometimes
that can sometimes kind of suppress you in the listings, or maybe it doesn’t’ make you
look as attractive. So, it can be kind of enticing to check the box saying you are a store
front, because that will actually show your address, and in some cases, give you more
exposure, a better ranking in GMB. However, if you really don’t service customers at
your store front, if you don’t have a store front, if you don’t have a store front, that’s
going to get you penalized in Google, and they can suspend your listing. So if you really
don’t service business … I’m sorry. So if you really don’t have a store front and have
customers coming to your place, that’s a box you’re going to want to leave unchecked
and you’re going to be safe.

Another reason you can have your business suspended is if you’re, what they would
maybe consider a risky or maybe even a shady business. And that can be not so much
about your actual business itself, but you can be in an industry where people really try
to make fake listings. So one bad apple spoils the bunch. Locksmiths is one that’s pretty
common. You may be a legitimate locksmith out there, but there could be three or four
people trying to compete with you locally that are not legitimate, they’re just kind of
trying to do rank and rent websites, or just fake listings in general. And you can
unfortunately get lumped into that, so if you’re in one of those types of businesses …
Let’s see, some other ones here.

Bob: Lawyers, they got a crack down.

Jesse: Lawyers can sometimes get lumped into that. If you deal with regulated goods, alcohol,
pharmaceuticals, supplements, fireworks, things like that, weapons. Just things that are
activities that people that could be fraudulent or scam artists could pop up and do some
stuff quick. So if you’re in that territory, sometimes you might get nicked for getting
suspended, but you shouldn’t be. And at the end here, we’re going to go through the
process and how if you are suspended, how do you reinstate? So first we’re going to go
through about five scenarios where you can get suspended, and then we’re going to
give you the good news on what to do after that.

Another reason your business might get taken down is if you have multiple listings for
the same business. Now this one can get kind of tricky. Sometimes maybe you did this
maybe not so much on purpose, but as an accident if you moved, if another person in
your company maybe created a listing. But sometimes we’ve seen listings get auto
generated. Maybe you have a GMB that you created for your business, and somehow
maybe a Google Plus profile got automatically created, maybe off of like Yelp listing, or
some other business directory before.

Bottom line, if Google thinks you’re trying to do it as a business, they’re going to
suspend the listing even if you didn’t create it, even if you’re not the account owner. It
doesn’t really matter if they think it’s severe enough, they’ll suspend your listing. A good
way to proof that out is to do some searches with your address. Just go to Google and
type in your address in search, or your phone number in search, or your business name,
or whatever exact phrase you’re using for you GMB listing. Search that, and if you’re
seeing multiple results, definitely take action on that to prevent this from happening,
and get out in front of it.

And when I say that, it’s not just on the Google search, but also go into Google Maps.
That’s where you’re going to get all your GMB listings on the left hand side. Do these
same searches in the Google Maps search so you can particularly see if there’s multiple
GMB listings or not. If you have one that looks like a duplicate of your business, and if
you don’t own it, you can claim it. And we talk about that back in actually episode one of
our podcast. The very first episode that we did was talking about how to claim, and
verify, and how to get your GMB up and running. So, if you do find multiples out there
for yourself, go ahead and do that.

I would caution you, maybe set up a second Google My Business account when you do
that though. If you have two listings out there and you’re owning one of them, if you try
to claim that second one, now you’re literally bringing a duplicate into your GMB
account. A little bit more risky because now you’re kind of putting up a red flag. Not only
are there two of them out there that now you actually are claiming both of them. So
what I would recommend is to set up a second GMB account, claim that second listing,
and then report it as closed, or report it to Google. There’s different ways you can go
about that once you’re in that listing to communicate that to them, but take that one
down.

Another reasons we’ve seen GMB’s get suspended is either incorrect or frequent
changes to your listing. If you’re going up there, maybe if you’re putting the wrong suite
number, or maybe a misspelling of the street, other things that are pure accidents on
your part, but they might look like you’re trying to spam it or kind of game the system.
Those can get you flagged. You definitely don’t want to be making tons of changes to
the same field. Maybe you’re changing your name, or tweaking that, or again your
address. Don’t change that five times over the course of two days. It looks like you’re up
to no good in the eyes of Google. Something as simple and possibly as innocent as that
can definitely get you flagged as well.

Bob: So quick question. We talk to a lot of our listeners in terms of maintaining their GMB
listing and going in every two or three weeks. So that’s acceptable goin in every two or
three weeks and just kind of tweaking that. Just pounding it every day type of a thing is
notJesse: Yeah, there’s tons of stuff you can do on a regular basis. You can do Google posts, you
can upload photos and videos, and things like that, but if you’re messing with your
address, your phone number, and maybe your business categories, there’s just a lot of
upheaval there. That just kind of looks funny. If you were really trying to be a stable,
legitimate business, why would you be changing this stuff that often? So, just kind of
bear that in mind if you’re trying to set some stuff up, or maybe you’re claiming one of
these, or whatever the case is. If you’re in there frequently changing those same fields,
just give that a rest and take your time. You can space that over a couple days and be
safe. You just don’t want to raise any red flags in that area.

Another thing that can get you busted and get you suspended from GMB is the website
address that you’re going to put in there. Google wants us to be a real business. This is a
Google My Business listing, so if you’re trying to do things fake, or redirecting things,
they’re going to catch onto that, and they’re going to suspend you for that. So an
example of that would be is the website you can list in your GMB. If that address quickly
forwards to another URL, let’s just say again if it’s a lawyer. If it’s Bob’s Lawyer.com is
your actual domain name, if for some reason your actual domain name, and your GMB
listing I should say. If that forwards to … What’s a big national ad lawyer deal?

Bob: Say Lexington Law, not to pick on Lexington Law, but let’s just use them hypothetically.

Jesse: Yeah, then if Bob’s Lawyer.com or whatever, and then quickly forwarded to Lexington
Law, Google’s going to look at that and say, “Why did you have to do that? Why didn’t
you put Lexington Law in there in the first place?” So it’s kind of fishy, right?

Bob: Right.

Jesse: Looks kind of scammy, so you’re going to get taken down for that. So those are just
some quick examples. There’s some other ones too, but those are kind of the main ones
that we’ve seen. Good news is, is if you do get suspended, you can get reinstated. It’s
not a guarantee, but there are a couple different ways you can go about that. The first
one is obviously recommended by Google, we’re going to cover that. It’s the go out and
basically use their Google Local Business Reinstatement request form. The URL for this
thing is just ridiculous, so I’m not going to read it off. So we’ll put a link to it in the show
notes. So check that out and you can use this if you need to.

But basically you got go through and answer their questionnaire, which almost is kind of
reversal of their terms and conditions and guidelines. So they’re going to ask you, “Is
this yours? What’s your phone number?” They’re going to verify some information.
They’re going to say, “Did you check the boxes for local service area business, and face
to face business, and things like that?” And in the bottom … So you’re going to go
through all that and answer it honestly and accurately. Then at the bottom, there’s
going to be two fields, basically like, “What did you do to correct your listing.” “So it was
suspended and you know this, you’re asking us to reinstate it, there should be a change
you made.”

Now in the off chance that everything was absolutely perfect and you were completely
wrongly suspended, tell them that in there. Tell them, “I didn’t change anything,” or
maybe give them the context of what you think happened, but then tell them, “This is all
legitimate, please reinstate me.” But if you did make some changes, be very specific.
Actual people review these, and they need to see what action was taken. “Oh, I’m sorry,
I was trying to use some keywords in my GMB business name, now it’s just my actual
business name. Please forgive me. It’s accurate. We’re good to go.”

You’re going to submit that form, and I would say usually within 24 hours, you’re going
to hear back from a Google representative via email. This is only an email thing.
Sometimes it can take two to three days though. We’ve seen it take that long as well, so
don’t freak out if you’re not getting an immediate response, but also don’t expect a
response within a couple hours. Within 24 hours is what you should expect. They’re
going to reply one of two ways. “Hey, we got you back up, you’re reinstated.” Or they’re
going to say that you’re not reinstated, you’re still suspended. Unfortunately, 99.99% of
the time, they ain’t going to tell you why.

Bob: Right, you got to guess.

Jesse: Yeah, they’re just going to say, “You violated our guidelines or our best practices,” things
like that. If you get somebody that’s just having a great day and for some reason they
want to throw you a little nugget as to what it was. We’ve seen that included helping
out clients, but more often than not, they’re not going to tell you. They’re going to
basically take the stance of, “You know what you did.” They want to see that corrected.
You can do this again and again until you get it reinstated. It’s not a one and done deal.
So if you don’t get reinstated, go back and try it again. And when I say try it again, I
mean try something else. Change it, fall in line with the guidelines.

If you don’t know what the guidelines are, on this form, they’re going to have a link right
to it, and they’re going to put them right in your face, so check that out. If that doesn’t
work, we have had success actually Tweeting Google. So if you are on Twitter, it’s
@GoogleMyBiz. Google, M-Y, B-I-Z, and you can send them a message. Keep it short, it
is Twitter, so just tell them real quick. “Hey, I’m having a problem. This is completely
legitimate, I cant’ get it through the form in the process.” Usually they’ll say, “Direct
message us.” So it’s just kind of a way to ring them up, because you can’t call them, you
can’t send them an email. It’s got to be through this form. That’s kind of the secondary
route we’ve taken when you just have nothing else to do. There are forms online
through Google Support. You can try that. Go for it.

We’ve had really good success on the Twitter end of things and on the form end of
things, so that’s kind of what we’re recommending. I’d stick with those if I was you. So
that’s about it. There’s actually one more thing that can get you suspended. It falls kind
of in a different category of, if you have multiple businesses. So for a multi-location
operation, if in your same account you have, say three stores around town, you can get
suspended for service area overlap.

Bob: Oh really, yeah.

Jesse: Yeah, and we’ve seen this a lot of times. This is probably one of the more common ones.
Again, it doesn’t apply to you unless you have multiple locations, but what you can’t do
is overlap your service areas. So if you have three stores around town, your stores … If
you think about it logically and through Google’s eyes to serve the customers, these
stores aren’t competing with each other. They’re in different markets to serve those
customers. So, if you try to say each store, let’s say they’re all within 20 miles, but if you
set them all as a 20 mile service radius for their service area, they’re going to overlap
severely. Google’s going to look at that and say, “You’re just trying to blanket
everywhere,” and again, that’s not legitimate, that’s not accurate. You got to tighten
those up and make sure they’re not doing any overlap. That’s something that can
definitely get your listing suspended in a heartbeat.

Now if you are running multiple locations, or maybe you’re an agency, you have multiple
clients, something to be aware of is, you can get suspended in two ways. You can have
your individual listing suspended. So let’s just say again, you have those three
businesses in town and something happens to one of them, that one listing can get
suspended, but your other two will remain up. It’s kind of a best case scenario under the
suspension, but the more severe option is if your actual entire account gets suspended.
So that would be all three of those listings would come down at the same time.
They only do that if something’s more egregious, or if you’re a repeat offender, or
there’s some stacking of some issues. So that’s not super common, it’s usually just one,
but if all three of them get taken down, you’re going to have to go through this process
for all three of them, and you got to jump through a lot more hoops. And you really got
to convince them that you need to get back in their graces. Hopefully you’re not in that
situation. If you are, again these are the two steps. Use their form online. I should
caution too. Don’t jump right to Twitter or right to some of the online forms. If you
haven’t gone through their-

Bob: Process?

Jesse: Yeah, their resubmission form, they’re going to push you back there anyways. That’s the
proper protocol. It kind of sucks because some of this takes a while, but you have to go
through their protocol. Again, at the end of the day, this is all free, and this is Google’s
game. We’re all just playing on their game board. So, make sure you do that first and
don’t try to shortcut the process, otherwise they’re going to push you right back there
and you’re just wasting your time. So that’s about it.

A short topic, but a pretty relevant one, because if anybody’s ever had your Google My
Business listing suspended, it hurts. So, hopefully that helps you guys out. If you have
anymore questions on things like this that you want us to give you some feedback and
drink some beer while we talk about, let us know. Intrycks.com/show. We’re always
looking to help you with your questions, and give you some good answers, and see if we
can help you out. All right guys, thanks for checking us out and we’ll see you next week.

Bob: See you next week.

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