Did Google suspend your Google Business Profile (GBP)? If so, don’t worry – it’s not the end of the world.
There are a few reasons this happened, and there are a few things you can do to get your profile back up and running.
What’s Google Business Profile?
Google Business Profile is a free listing that allows businesses to manage their online information and control how they appear on Google Maps, the Local Pack, and the Local Finder.
It’s the only way to appear in the Local Finder, and it’s one of the few ways to appear in Google Maps or promote your business online.
So, imagine the frustration when your business suddenly disappears from these places because Google suspended your profile.
If you’re like most people, the first thought would be, “What the heck did I do wrong?”
After all, you’ve had this business profile for as long as you can remember, and you’ve never had any problems.
So, why would Google suspend it now?
The thing is, Google has specific guidelines that every business must follow, and if you don’t follow them, they’ll suspend your profile.
It might not happen immediately, but eventually, it will catch up to you.
It may be that Google finally caught on to something you were doing wrong or that a competitor or someone else reported you through a Redressal Form.
What Happens When Google Suspends Your Google Business Profile?
When Google suspends your business profile, they won’t get down to why they reacted that way.
Instead, you’ll just get a generic message that says your profile has been suspended for quality issues.
Meaning, that it’s your responsibility to go through Google’s guidelines for representing a business profile online and figure out what you did wrong and fix it to get your profile reinstated.
Remember, Google is constantly updating its terms of service, so even if you followed the rules at one time, there might be something new that you’re not aware of.
That’s why it’s crucial to stay up-to-date on their current policies.
Reasons Why Google Might Suspend Your Business Profile
There are a few reasons why Google might suspend your business profile.
Here are some of the most common reasons why business profiles get suspended:
You Have Multiple Listings with the Same Business Name or Location
This usually happens when you have a home-based business or service area business, and you try to set up more than one business at a home address.
For example, you might have a pet-sitting business and a dog-walking business, and you’re trying to list both businesses at the same location.
Or, you might have a business that you run out of your home, but you’re trying to list it at a different location.
Either way, this is a surefire way to get your profile suspended.
If you have multiple businesses with related or similar services, you’re better off creating a legal business name or entity that covers them all. You can then use GBP categories to add services to your business profile.
Here’s what Google has to say about this:
Google will tell you that they suspended your account, but they won’t tell you why. You might contact them directly, but their response is usually slow and not very helpful.
The best thing you can do is go through their guidelines and look for any clues as to why your profile might have been suspended.
Your Business is Using a Virtual Office or Co-working Space
This is another no-no, according to Google.
If your business doesn’t have a physical location that customers or clients can visit, then Google won’t allow you to create a business profile.
That means no P.O. Boxes, no virtual offices, and no co-working spaces.
If you’re using a virtual office or co-working space, you need to find a physical location for your business before creating a profile.
Here’s what you should do instead, according to Google:
- Rent a dedicated space for your business (preferable a dedicated office)
- Erect company signage outside the office
- Install a landline telephone within the office
- Make sure your staff (not the co-working staff you share the office with) is there during office hours
In other words, you cannot successfully set up a Google Business Profile with a co-working address.
Here’s a quick example:
The following company rents out virtual offices and co-working spaces in Netherland:
While they have a legitimate business, their co-working spaces don’t count as physical locations, so they wouldn’t be able to create a GBP.
Their office address is Herengracht 420, 1017 BZ Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Now, let’s try to search what other business uses the same address.
Results show multiple other businesses use the same address.
This shows that all those businesses share the same space (i.e., co-working).
Therefore, none of them is eligible for GBP. And if a few of them already have an account, then it’s just a matter of time before Google catches on and suspends them.
Here’s what Google has to say about businesses sharing the same address:
Online Only Businesses
Google Business Profile isn’t for eCommerce sites or businesses without a physical location.
If your business exists only online, you don’t qualify to create a profile. That means no website-based businesses, no home-based businesses, and no service area businesses.
You can quickly tell why Google suspended this profile.
First, the complainant begins by saying their business is based online.
Here’s what Google had to say about online-based businesses:
The only exception to this rule is if you have a brick-and-mortar business and sell online.
In that case, you can create a business profile and list your website as one of your business locations.
If you don’t have a physical location, you need to find one before creating a GBP.
Using a P.O Box or UPS Store Address as Your Business Location
If your business doesn’t have a physical location, then you can’t list a P.O box or UPS Store address as your business location.
That’s another way to get your profile suspended.
It’s common sense: You can’t run a business from a post office box.
If you want to create a Google Business Profile, you need to find a physical location for your business.
Otherwise, you’ll just be wasting your time.
Your Business is Located in a Residential Area
If your business is located in a residential area, you can’t create a business profile.
You can’t be operating from home and expect to create a GBP.
Google doesn’t consider businesses located in residential areas to be legitimate businesses.
So, if you want to create a profile, you need to find a commercial space for your business.
Keyword Stuffed Business Names
Google doesn’t allow businesses to stuff their business name with keywords.
If your business name is nothing but a string of keywords, then your profile will be suspended.
Google has been playing blind to this issue for a long time. But now, they’re starting to take action against businesses that stuff keywords in their business name.
In fact, with their Vicinity algorithm update, Google is now penalizing businesses that stuff keywords in their business name.
Let’s read it straight from the horse’s mouth:
Service Area Business (SAB)
A Service Area Business is a business that provides services to customers at its location.
If you’re a plumber, electrician, or any other type of service provider, then you’re most likely a SAB.
Google doesn’t allow SABs to create business profiles.
That’s because customers don’t need to visit your location to avail your services.
Most SABs operate from home. The customer has no reason to visit your location.
Instead, you visit their location to provide your services.
However, there is a workaround for this.
If you have a physical location, you can create a business profile and list your service area as one of your business locations.
You also want to hide your physical address from your business profile.
This will allow you to create a business profile without revealing your physical location.
Spammy Industries/High-risk Businesses
Google doesn’t allow certain industries and businesses to create business profiles.
These businesses are considered high-risk and spammy.
Some of these businesses include:
- Get rich quick schemes
- Work from home schemes
- Multi-level marketing
If your business falls into these categories, you can’t create a Google Business Profile.
Google doesn’t want to be associated with these businesses.
And they don’t want their platform to be used by these businesses.
Google also looks at other industries as high-risk. Any slight violation of their guidelines is enough to get your profile suspended.
Some of these industries include:
- Garage doors
- Pest Control
- Rehab centres
- Tree planting
- Real estate
- Tree pruning
If you’re in any of these industries, you need to be extra careful with how you manage your business profile.
Your business already has a red mark next to its name.
The slightest violation of Google’s guidelines can get your business profile suspended.
Suspensions Are a Reality Check
If your business profile has been suspended, then it’s time for a reality check.
You need to take a good hard look at your business and see if you’re violating any of Google’s guidelines.
Most likely, you are.
And that’s why your profile has been suspended.
Once you figure out the reason for your suspension, you need to take action to fix it.
Only then will you be able to get your business profile reinstated.
If you’re not sure why your profile has been suspended, you can contact Google and ask them why.
They might not give you a straight answer. But they will provide you with a hint.
Use that hint to figure out the reason for your suspension.
Once you’ve figured it out, take action to fix the problem.
And then submit an appeal to Google.
If your appeal is successful, then your business profile will be reinstated.
You Run a Service that Operates in a Building that You Don’t Own
If you’re renting a space in a commercial building, then you can’t create a business profile for your business.
Google only allows businesses to create profiles for locations that they own.
For example, if your church has an A.A. group that meets bi-weekly, you’re not eligible to create a business profile for that service.
You can only create a business profile if your A.A. group actually owns the building.
You Did Nothing Wrong, But the Industry You’re in is Littered with Spam
If you’re in an industry known for being spammy, then there’s a high chance your profile will get suspended.
That’s because the spam filters are tighter for these industries.
Even if you’re not doing anything wrong, your business profile can still get suspended.
For example, let’s say you own a tree planting company. You’ve been in business for years, and you have a solid reputation.
You’ve never violated any of Google’s guidelines. But your industry is known for being spammy.
Google is constantly suspending business profiles for tree planting companies. So your business profile is more likely to get suspended.
Types of Google Business Profile Suspensions
How you resolve a GBP suspension depends on the type of suspension you’re dealing with.
Is it soft or hard?
Is it an owner or manager account suspension?
Here’s a quick overview of the different types of suspensions:
A soft suspension is when your business profile is temporarily suspended.
This happens when you violate one of Google’s guidelines.
A soft suspension means you have unverified information on your profile. When you have a “soft suspension” and log into your GBP account, you’ll see a suspension notice, but your listing will still show on Google and Google Maps.
You can resolve a soft suspension by editing your business profile and fixing the violation.
Google may also ask you to provide proof of verification, like a scanned copy of your utility bill, business permit, or a government-issued I.D.
A “hard” suspension is when your business profile is permanently suspended.
This happens when you violate one of Google’s guidelines or the profile is ineligible for a listing.
A “hard” suspension means you have fake or spammy information on your profile.
Your listing will be removed from Google and Google Maps.
You can’t resolve a “hard” suspension. Instead, you’ll receive a removal notification from Google telling you why your business profile was removed.
Manager Account Suspension
A manager account suspension is when your ability to manage a listing is removed. This happens when you violate one of Google’s guidelines.
Your listing will still be alive, but you won’t be able to manage it.
If you have a manager account suspension, you can still edit your business profile. But you won’t be able to access the listing dashboard or respond to messages and reviews.
Owner Account Suspension
An owner account suspension occurs when Google decides to delete your Google account. All listings, reviews, messages, and photos associated with that account will be permanently deleted.
An owner account suspension is usually the result of severe or repeated violations of Google’s guidelines.
For example, if you create fake listings or write “fake” reviews for your business, Google will suspend your account.
You might succeed in reinstating the account, but the listings, reviews, messages, and photos will be permanently deleted.
What to Do If Your Google Business Profile Is Suspended
If your GBP is suspended, don’t panic. There are a few things you can do to resolve the issue.
First, check it against GBP guidelines and Google Restricted content guidelines to ensure you’re not in violation.
If you are, fix the issue and resubmit your listing for review.
Google may ask you to provide additional information or documentation, like a scanned copy of your utility bill, business permit, or a government-issued I.D. for quality assurance purposes.
If you’re confident you’re not in violation and have tried to resolve the issue with no luck, you can contact Google Business Profile support.
If you have a soft suspension, all you need to do is open your Google account and reclaim it.
You’ll be prompted to complete the verification process anew, ensuring you’ve met all the guidelines and resolving the specific issue that might have caused the suspension.
To resolve a hard suspension, you’ll need to contact Google Business Profile support to determine the cause of the suspension and take steps to have your listing reinstated.
Send them a local business reinstatement request, and include as much detail as possible about why you believe your listing should be reinstated.
You also want to resolve any outstanding issues that might have caused the suspension in the first place.
You might be required to provide proof documenting your business ownership, its legitimacy, and its physical location.
You may be asked to submit the following:
- A utility bill with the same billing address as your business profile
- A government-issued I.D. (like a driver’s license) with the same name as the business owner
- A photo of the business location, such as your storefront image, with address and signage, including a suite number
- Business license or permits
- Proof you’re not sharing office space with another business
- A signed letter from the landlord or property owner, on company letterhead, with the address and business name that match your business profile, stating that you’re an authorized tenant
- Your Google Business Profile or Google My Business dashboard URL to confirm that you’re an authorized manager of the listing.
Additionally, you might be required to change the business name on your GBP to reflect the name on your signage, business license, or government-issued I.D.
Google recommends uploading a picture of your company’s signage to your business profile to help resolve the issue.
You also want to remove account access from users who engage in activities that violate Google’s policies, such as adding fake reviews, spamming Google Maps, or trying to circumvent their review policies.
How to Manage Your GBP and Prevent Another Suspension
GBP is an active platform. It helps to regularly check in on your profile and manage it to ensure it’s up to date, accurate, and compliant with Google policies.
It’s also important that your listing reflect changes to your service, location, offerings, business hours, or contact information.
Simply filling your GBP and leaving it untouched is risky for several reasons:
- Your business could change, and your listing could become inaccurate.
- Your competition could take advantage of the opportunity to improve their ranking.
- Google could change its policies or platform, and your GBP might not be compliant.
If you have more than one location, you need to ensure each location has an up-to-date, accurate GBP.
Preventing suspensions also requires that you take measures to ensure your listing complies with Google’s policies.
- Make sure your NAP (name, address, phone number) is consistent across the web
- Adding as much detail as possible to your business description
- Using high-quality, relevant images
- Optimizing your website for SEO
- Encouraging customers to leave reviews (but not paying for them)
- Responding to all reviews, both positive and negative
- Regularly monitoring your GBP for fake reviews and spammy content
- Keeping an eye out for any duplicate listings of your business
- Reporting any inaccurate or fake listings of your business to Google
Also, from your GBP account, you should set up your profile listing to include:
- Business name
- Business category
- Service area
- Phone number and other contact information
- Business hours
This information helps potential customers searching for your business online find the most accurate and up-to-date information about what you offer, how to reach you, and when to expect your service.
You also want to make sure this information is consistent across all social media accounts — and your website, if you have one. Any discrepancies could result in a suspension.
Additionally, you must ensure your website is optimized for SEO. When a potential customer searches for your business category or services online, your website should be among the results that show.
And finally, as mentioned earlier, you should never try to game the system by paying for reviews or adding fake ones yourself.
Not only is this a violation of Google’s policies, but it’s also likely to result in a suspension.
Six Guidelines for Local Businesses to Maintain High-Quality Information on Google
Follow these guidelines to avoid common problems, including changes that can result in your business’s information not being shown on Google or, in some cases, getting your account removed from Google.
For the best results:
- Represent your businesses as it’s known in the real world, including variations that include common misspellings or abbreviations.
- Include all of your business’s important information, such as name, address, phone number (NAP), opening hours, and categories. This information must match what’s on your website and other places where customers might interact with your business.
- Ensure your address or service area is accurate and specific, without additional landmarks or branded buildings.
- Choose categories that accurately reflect your business rather than what it sells.
- Choose the fewest number of categories necessary to describe your business.
Brands, artists, organizations, and online-only businesses aren’t eligible for a Google My Business listing.
Your business name should reflect your company’s real-world name, as used consistently on your website, stationery, and storefront. Accurately representing your business is critical for being found by customers and preventing suspension.
If your business name includes important information like the products you sell, your location, or a trademarked slogan, include that too. For example, “Joe’s Pizzeria & Italian Restaurant” tells customers exactly what they can expect to find at this business.
Add additional details like business hours, address, service area, and category to help customers find your business and decide whether to visit.
- The name of your GBP account must match the name on your signage, stationery, website, and anywhere else your business is listed online. If it doesn’t match, customers might get confused, and you could be suspended.
- Including unnecessary information such as taglines, store codes, special characters, or mentions of guarantee, membership, or award in your business name is not allowed. This practise is called keyword stuffing and can result in suspension.
For example, if you were creating a listing for a business called Bob’s Pizzeria, some of the following would not be allowed:
Bob’s Pizzeria is — Best in town!
Bob’s Pizzeria: $5 large pizzas
Bob’s Pizzeria – LDW6JX
If you’re creating a listing for a 24-hour Pizzeria, you could enter your business information as follows:
Business Name: Bob’s Pizzeria
Address: 4122 Main St. New York, NY 10001
Hours: 24 hours
Address — Businesses that Service Customers at their Office
If your business has a physical location that customers visit, you’ll need to include the full street address of each location. For example:
123 Main Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
After the street address, you can add a suite, floor, or apartment number. If your business is located in a building with multiple businesses, you can include the suite or apartment number to help customers find you.
Mailboxes or P.O boxes are not acceptable as business addresses. If you have a physical location, but it doesn’t receive mail at that address, you can list your business as a service-area business.
- You must display signage with your business name and address at the entrance of your location.
- Your business license or permit must be registered to the same address as your office listing.
- You cannot list a co-working space, virtual office, or executive suite as your business address.
Address — Businesses Don’t Have a Physical Location, or They Serve Customers at Their Location
- If you don’t have a physical location for customers to visit, or if you visit customers at their locations, you should only list your service area.
- Service area businesses only serve customers at their locations. They don’t have a physical storefront, office, or terminal.
- If your business rents a virtual space at a different address or location from your primary business, you do not need to create a separate page for that particular location unless you’re planning to staff it during regular business hours. If you occasionally use a third-party location for events or classes, you don’t need to create a separate page for that either. You can list your business as having multiple locations without creating individual pages for each one.
- One receptionist shouldn’t handle calls for all businesses in a virtual office. If you share an address with other businesses, each business needs its own phone number, website, and staff.
- Google has yet to release or confirm the requirements for business addresses. All we know is that you shouldn’t list a P.O Box, virtual office, or mail centre as your business address.
- Setting your business as a service area business (SAB) is a relatively new feature. Google recommends you set up your business as a SAB if you don’t have a physical storefront or don’t serve customers at your location or office.
Website and Phone
Provide a website representing your business location or a phone number connecting your customers with a physical location.
- Use a local phone number instead of a central, call centre helpline.
- Don’t provide phone numbers or websites that forward or redirect users to a landing page or phone number other than the one listed in your business profile.
- Include the area code with your phone number.
To help customers find your business, include your website URL or local phone number on all of your marketing materials, such as:
- Business cards
- Vehicle wraps or decals
- Email signatures
You can list special hours for holidays and temporary closures.
If your business doesn’t have regular hours, you can list it as “By appointment only.”
Be sure to provide regular customer-facing operation hours.
The business description is an optional way to introduce your business to potential customers.
You can include information about the products or services you offer, your business history, and what makes you unique.
You can also include a call to action, such as “Call now for a free consultation.”
Your business description should be relevant, honest, and valuable. Avoid adding promotional content, such as “Best locksmith in town” or “Cheapest prices.”
Be sure to proofread your business description for grammar and spelling mistakes.
You also want to make sure your description is not misleading, low-quality contains private information, or is gibberish.
Adding Keywords to Your Business Description
You can include relevant keywords in your business description to help customers find your business when they search on Google.
However, don’t stuff your description with keywords or write a fake, misleading description.
Accurate and Relevant Categories
Choose categories that describe what your business is, not what it does or sells. For example, if you’re a computer repair shop that specializes in Apple products, don’t choose the category “Apple Store.”
Instead, choose categories like “Computer Repair Shop” or “Apple Computer Service and Repair.”
- Use as few categories as possible.
- Don’t stuff keywords into your categories.
- Your category is as specific as possible. For example, “Bakery” is more specific than “Food.”