02 May Why Google Might Suspend Your Local Listings
A website is a necessity for business in our new competitive markets. However, a website is only one part of an effective digital strategy. Google is extremely influential in whether your business sinks or swims when it comes to online success. Ranking high on Google search results pages is crucial for every business. But what do you do if your Google My Business listing has suddenly been suspended?
Google is not likely to provide many details on the cause of suspension in this situation because the rules have likely been broken in some way. This is why it is important to know the potential causes for your local listing being suspended.
Why a Google My Business Listing is Important
When people are looking to make a purchase online, Google and customer reviews are the guaranteed go-to resources for consumers. Customers highly value the opinions of their fellow consumers, and Google is the first place they go to find info on a business. Your Google My Business listing is important because it combines the two, which makes it a powerful marketing platform. Google My Business is important because it helps businesses generate trust, drive website traffic, boost sales and increase customer engagement.
Before we discuss potential reasons for suspension, let’s first look at the types of suspensions Google may issue.
Types of Suspensions
There are two different types of suspensions Google can issue—soft suspensions and hard suspensions:
1 – Soft suspension — This occurs when you discover, upon signing into your Google My Business account, a “suspended” notice that will restrict control over your listing. However, your listing will still be found on Google and Google Maps/Map Maker. In order to get around this suspension, you will have to create a new Google account and then re-verify the listing, making sure to not break the rules again.
2 – Hard suspension — This is much more serious. Here, your entire business listing is deleted from Google, including your reviews and photos. If you check Google Map Maker, you will see the “removed” message. At this point, all you can do is request Google to reinstate your listing. However, a reinstatement is not likely because Google only removes a listing when serious breaking of the rules has occurred.
So, then, what are the reasons Google might suspend your local listing?
Reasons Why Google Might Suspend Your Local Listing
Some of the reasons why Google can suspend your local listing include:
- If your website URL is redirected to a different domain — Google has confirmed that your listing can be suspended if your website URL in your Google My Business listing is a vanity URL that forwards users to a different domain name. If this happens, you will most likely face a soft suspension. According to Google’s guidelines, listings cannot provide phone numbers or URLs that redirect users to landing pages.
- If you add extra keywords in the business name field — According to Google’s guidelines, details like phone number, marketing taglines, product details, location/address or directions, service/product information, containment information, store codes, website URLs, or special characters are not allowed to be added to your business name listing. This usually causes a soft suspension because you can still be listed on Google Maps, but with a different name.
- If your business is service area related, and you did not hide your address — Google’s service-area business guidelines state that businesses can only show their address if customers arrive at your location. This can lead to a hard suspension because the listing won’t appear on Google Maps according to the Map Maker guidelines, meaning any non-verified service-area business listing on Google Maps can be deleted along with all reviews and photos.
- If you have several verified listings for the same business — Google’s guidelines state that there should only be one page for each location of your business (whether a single account or multiple accounts). Google will most likely suspend both listings (the original and the double). Then, they will un-verify the original listing (with the soft suspension) and delete the double listing (with a hard suspension).
- If you create a listing at a virtual office or mailbox — Google prohibits creating a page for a temporary, “virtual” office that is separate from your main business unless the location is staffed during normal business hours. Businesses that get caught doing this in order to rank high in locations aside from their office will get a hard suspension from Google.
- If you create a listing for an online business without having a physical storefront — Eligible business for a Google My Business listing must make in-person contact with customers, or else they cannot be listed. This means that online-only businesses will not be able to have an account. If they make one, they will be faced with a hard suspension.
- If you run a class or service that operates in a building not owned by you — Google’s guidelines state that ongoing service, class, or meeting at a location which you don’t own or have the authority to represent are ineligible businesses and cannot be listed on Google Maps. For example, if you run a dance class in the basement of a gym that you don’t own, it cannot be listed on Google Maps.
- If the industry you are in is cluttered with spam — Despite following all the rules, it’s possible for your listing to be suspended as a result of your business’ industry. Some industries have more strict spam filters that can accidentally take listings of legitimate businesses down. This causes hard suspension, and the best you can do is post on the Google My Business forum so that a top contributor can take up your case with Google.
If you want to ensure that your business always ranks high on Google for your local area and for your industry, Virtual Stacks Systems UK provides a variety of expert SEO services and PPC advertising campaigns.
Our SEO specialists know how to target the right audience and right keywords to give you consistently positive results.
Contact us to learn more.