Google My Business is a valuable tool for businesses to help customers find their locations, contact information, hours of operation, and more. A totally free service that integrates with Google Search and Maps, some of the most widely used apps on the Internet, is too good to ignore. With 86% of the search engine market and 67% of the navigation app market, getting your business in front of location-based Google Search and Maps users is an important marketing tool.
If your business loses access to Google My Business, you lose the ability to update your page to communicate any change in your operations and it will cost you a vital free tool for marketing. If suspended unexpectedly, businesses should review their recent activities and appeal to Google for reinstatement promptly.
Why Does Google Suspend Google My Business Accounts?
Google lists various guidelines for using their services. Featuring fraudulent or illegal activities on your business’s page is certain to be a violation that will get your business suspended and make it extremely difficult to regain control of the account. However, there may be other violations that could occur unintentionally, and contacting Google with the goal of explaining and correcting them can help.
One issue that can be problematic is claiming to provide services that aren’t tied to your core business. It may be tempting to list more qualities to appear in search results, but Google asks for businesses to choose categories that specifically describe the core business rather than every service it could potentially offer. In addition, trying to put additional information such as services offered or marketing taglines in your business name itself is forbidden.
Since businesses can engage with customers who post Google reviews, these interactions could lead to negative behaviours that could cause Google to take action. Responding to reviewers with abusive language or revealing personal information about them could also be grounds for suspension, so it’s critical to be careful what you say when engaging with reviewers.
Businesses that rely on a third-party marketing agency to manage their web presence may find that shady tactics were used without their knowledge, so if this led to a suspension, it’s important to recover as soon as possible.
Dealing With Suspensions
It’s possible for either a location’s profile or a manager’s account can be suspended depending on the action that was flagged as violating the guidelines. Suspensions may restrict you from editing the profile, or in rare cases, they may remove the location from public view entirely. This is reserved for cases where the user abused the platform or created a profile for a business that does not qualify for one.
In the manager’s account, checking the status of a location under Manage Locations in the menu will indicate if the page is published, pending, or suspended. A manager’s account may get an email about the suspension. You can click ‘Learn More’ on the notification to directly respond, or go to the troubleshooter page and fill out the information to ask for reinstatement.
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Calling for Reinstatement
Frustratingly, it can often be unclear what the cause of suspension was. A business’s page may be suspended as a false positive; if you can’t see anything that violated the guidelines, you may have done nothing wrong and hopefully, a dedicated review of your page by Google staff will confirm this. Otherwise, if you think you may have added material that violated the guidelines, it’s best to remove it and strictly tailor your business’s information to what’s allowed. It’s not needed to do anything extreme such as deleting the suspended location from your account and recreating it.
Hopefully, Google’s staff will manually review the case and reach out by phone or email and resolve the case. If the proper changes can be made to meet Google’s guidelines, and you have no history of abusing the platform, you can expect to be reinstated. However, if the reason for the suspension is not resolvable (for instance, if the location is not a public-facing business address that qualifies for a profile), it’s best to move on.
Especially for local businesses who depend on Google for traffic, having an inoperative or inaccessible business profile for too long can harm your ability to engage with customers and attract new ones. Business owners should manage Google My Business with the guidelines in mind and promptly reaching out for reinstatement.