Posted on September 28, 2023
Google Business Profiles (GBP) are crucial for local businesses aiming to enhance their online visibility on Google Search and Maps. However, recently there’s been a significant uptick in cases of profiles getting suspended. Many business owners find their Google Business Profile suspended unexpectedly, throwing them into a realm of uncertainty. Let’s delve into why this is happening, common triggers, and how to navigate the reinstatement process.
Common Causes of GBP Suspensions
There are various reasons why Google might suspend a business listing. The motive is generally to maintain the accuracy and integrity of the information displayed on Google Maps and Search. Here are some common scenarios:
- Duplicate Listings: If you’ve created multiple listings for the same business location, Google is likely to suspend the excess profiles.
- Keyword Stuffing: Including irrelevant keywords in the business name field to improve search rankings.
- Invalid Addresses: Listing a P.O. Box, virtual office, or a non-physical location can lead to a suspension.
- Mismatched Business Information: The business name, address, and other details should match the exact information on your business license and other official records.
- Inaccurate Business Category: Choosing a wrong business category could get your profile suspended.
- Excessive Edits: Too many updates in a short timeframe can trigger a soft suspension.
Dealing with Bugs and System Glitches
Business owners have reported several bugs such as:
- Uploading Issues: Difficulties in uploading images or posts.
- Attribute Selection Glitches: Once an attribute is selected, it can’t be deselected easily.
These bugs necessitate contacting Google support, which can often be a back-and-forth process requiring patience and clear communication.
Noteworthy Google Policy Updates
Recent policy updates from Google have mixed implications:
- Social Media Link Display: The Knowledge Panel now allows business owners to display their social media links, though the feature is not yet available to all.
- New Business Categories: Google has introduced new categories like copywriting, cleaning services, and cat cafés.
- Reinstatement Documentation: The reinstatement request process now demands specific documentation, particularly challenging for sole proprietors.
The Reinstatement Journey
If your GBP is suspended, a reinstatement request is the route to take. The process, however, can be daunting:
- Provide Adequate Evidence: Google requires clear evidence like utility bills, pictures of your physical location, and a business license.
- One Shot at Appeal: Especially in the USA, you only get one chance to appeal. Hence, it’s critical to provide all necessary information during the first appeal.
The European Mandate
The European Union’s new regulations require Google to provide clearer explanations for suspensions. Moreover, a third-party system is being set up for appeals, taking the final say away from Google. These rules are yet to extend to the USA.
Reputation Management and Reviews
Employing reputation management software to solicit reviews is compliant with Google’s guidelines, provided it doesn’t engage in review gating. The practice of filtering reviews based on their likely rating is prohibited.
Seeking Community Support
The community support forum can be a handy resource. Here, you can escalate tickets and receive guidance from volunteers who have navigated the GBP landscape successfully.
The increasing cases of Google Business Profile suspensions underscore the importance of adhering to Google’s guidelines meticulously. By understanding the common triggers and armoring oneself with the right reinstatement strategies, it’s possible to safeguard your business’s online presence and navigate through Google’s policy maze proficiently.