Hello everyone, Fifi the Flamingo here, your friendly guide to the maze of local SEO! Today, we’re tackling a potentially tricky issue – a suspension of your Google Business Profile. And of course, I’ll give you some tips on how to bounce back from it.

So, what exactly is a Google Business Profile Suspension?

Imagine one day, you find your business has vanished from Google and Google Maps, or you’re suddenly locked out from managing your profile. This is what we mean when we talk about a GBP suspension. Essentially, your profile becomes “unverified,” putting you in a position where you can’t control it.

You’ll know your profile has been suspended when you see a specific notification on your GBP dashboard. But here’s a tricky bit – Google typically keeps mum about the exact reason behind your profile suspension.

Why could your GBP face Suspension?

GBPs can get suspended for many reasons, often linked to spam-like behaviors or not sticking to the Google Business Profile Guidelines.

In some cases, Google might issue a Manual Suspension if they spot something that’s not quite right during a review of your profile. More often than not, this review is triggered when someone flags your profile using the GBP’s Redressal Form.

It’s also worth noting that a user can report a profile on Google Maps or via the ‘Suggest an Edit’ feature on Google Search. If Google considers the user reliable, their recommendation to remove the business profile or suggest negative edits can be implemented almost instantly.

And remember, suspensions can also follow changes you make to your Profile. This could be a change in your business category, shifting from a physical store to a Service Area Business (SAB), or changing any element in your business’s Name, Address, or Phone number (NAP).

Two types of suspensions you can face: Hard suspensions and Soft suspensions.

So, what’s a Hard Suspension?

When you search for your company’s name and city, and your Knowledge Panel is nowhere to be found – that’s a hard suspension. It’s a serious issue because potential customers won’t be able to spot your GBP on Google Maps or search results.

Hard suspensions typically occur when Google concludes that your business doesn’t meet the criteria for a GBP or if it detects any spammy tactics. These can include keyword stuffing, creating multiple Google Business Profiles, operating lead generation websites, or falsifying reviews.

And what about a Soft Suspension?

A soft suspension is a bit different. In this case, your business’s Knowledge Panel still appears online, and you can view it in your GBP dashboard. However, it will seem as if it hasn’t been verified, and you won’t be able to manage or update your profile.

Here’s the catch with soft suspensions: your GBP can become a much easier target for user-suggested edits. This vulnerability can lead to incorrect changes and misinformation being displayed on your profile.

Now, it’s important to understand that some business categories are more susceptible to suspensions than others.

Industries known for having a higher rate of spam and fake profiles are naturally more prone to suspensions. These include fields such as Garage Door services, Plumbing, Locksmith services, Real Estate, Insurance, Legal Services, Pest Control, HVAC, Tree Pruning, Landscaping, Rehabilitation Centers, and Junk Hauling, to name a few. And yes, there are plenty more!

Interestingly, Service Area Businesses (SABs) often fall into the ‘spammy’ category, making them more susceptible to suspensions.

Understanding the type of suspension your GBP has received is the first step toward addressing the issue.

Now, let’s explore other common triggers for Google Business Profile suspensions:

  • Keyword stuffing your business name.
  • Use a P.O. Box or UPS store as your business address.
  • Your business address is a virtual office or co-working space.
  • Your service-area business displays a physical address.
  • Your business operates exclusively online.
  • Another business shares your address.
  • You’ve made many simultaneous changes to your GBP.
  • Your GBP’s URL redirects to another website or social media page.
  • You’ve changed your profile from a Storefront to a Service Area Business (SAB).
  • Discrepancies in your business’s address or hours between your GBP, website, and other online directories.
  • Listing your business hours as 24/7.
  • A manager of your profile has their account suspended, leading to your profile’s suspension.
  • Creating multiple profiles for the same business at the same address.

Sometimes, a GBP gets suspended due to a simple error. These suspensions can occasionally be an oversight.

The Road to Recovery

Before attempting reinstatement, it’s crucial to fix any issues with your profile. If you’ve been suspended, don’t try to evade the problem by creating a new profile. This only adds to the complexity of the situation.

Begin by thoroughly reviewing the Google Business Profile Guidelines to check for any potential violations. Examine each field in your profile’s “Info” section meticulously to identify any discrepancies.

Look out for issues like duplicate profiles or multiple businesses listed at the same address. Additionally, consider sharing the details of your suspension in the Google Business Profile Help Center. Fellow users often provide valuable assistance.

Fill Out the GBP Reinstatement Form

After rectifying any issues with your profile, it’s time to complete the Google Business Profile Reinstatement Form. This process involves answering a series of questions, and your response to each question determines the subsequent one. Be thorough and truthful in your responses.

To verify your business’s legitimacy, you’ll need to provide visual evidence, such as photos or screenshots, demonstrating your business operations and physical address.

In your appeal, be prepared to furnish photos that include:

  • A clear view of your storefront or the front of your building from the street.
  • Permanent signage displayed both inside and outside your premises.
  • The interior of your business as it appears to customers entering your establishment.
  • If available, a link to a Google Street View image showing the street or neighborhood where your business is located.

Additionally, to further validate your business name and location, you should provide Google with supportive documents such as:

  • Your business license or proof of your business registration with your local Secretary of State.
  • Insurance documentation.
  • Photos of your logo displayed on your company vehicle.
  • A video walkthrough of your office.
  • A photo of the office building directory showing your business name.

For Service Area Businesses (SABs), there’s an added layer of proof required. You need to illustrate aspects that are characteristic of a genuine business in your field. Let’s use a solar business as an example. You should show the solar panels you install, the equipment used for installation, branded vehicles, ladders, other large tools, and any stored equipment. Make sure your service vehicles are clearly branded with your company’s name and logo, and this should be easily visible in any photos or videos. A shot of your work van, complete with tools in the back, can be particularly convincing.

Moreover, if your business uses industry-specific software – such as professional accounting software for accountants, veterinary software for veterinarians, or specialized tools for digital marketers and design firms producing videos or podcasts – showcasing this software on your screen, along with your audio/video setup, can serve as compelling evidence of your business’s authenticity to Google.

What Happens After Submission?

After you’ve lodged your reinstatement appeal, Google evaluates the provided information to decide if your business profile qualifies for reinstatement. Google will keep you posted via email about the status of your reinstatement request. If further clarification is needed or if you have additional questions, you will need to respond to that email.

Pro Tips from Fifi the Flamingo:

  • Avoid filing multiple reinstatement requests or contacting GBP Support via different support channels for the same issue. This tactic can only lead to unnecessary delays.
  • Google typically reviews your reinstatement request within about three days, but it can sometimes take much longer. If more than three weeks have passed and your profile is still suspended, reach out to GBP support via Twitter or Facebook for an update.
  • When contacting support, Google will need to verify your ownership of the account in question. To demonstrate this, log into the suspended business profile on your GBP dashboard and copy the URL. It’s also beneficial to provide your GBP’s CID URL.
  • After the reinstatement, you might notice your reviews are missing. Don’t fret – it’s common for reviews to take a bit of time to reappear after reinstatement, often up to a month. If after a month your reviews are still not visible, it would be wise to reach out to the GBP support team for additional help.
  • When preparing your reinstatement request, provide as much evidence as possible to prove the legitimacy of your business.
  • Make sure that all the information you provide is accurate. This includes your business name, address, and contact details. Any inconsistencies can raise red flags.

If you’ve followed all the steps for reinstatement but still aren’t successful, don’t lose hope.

There’s another avenue you can explore – the Google Business Profile Help Center. Here, you can ask Product Experts to escalate your case. To help the Product Experts better understand your situation and advocate for you, provide them with the following information:

  1. The name of your business as it appears on your Google Business Profile
  2. Your business address
  3. A description of the nature of your business
  4. Your business website URL
  5. A screenshot of your dashboard (You can find this by logging in at https://business.google.com/locations with the credentials you used to create your profile)
  6. Your Business Profile ID (This can be found by searching for your business via Google Search or Google Maps, clicking on the “three dots” menu, then selecting Business Profile Settings, and finally navigating to Advanced Settings)
  7. Any case ID you might have received after a reinstatement submission, along with the date the form was submitted.

So there you have it, friends! As your flamboyant guide, Fifi the Flamingo, I can assure you that a GBP suspension isn’t the end of the world. With a clear understanding of the reasons behind it, and taking the right steps towards reinstatement, you can recover your GBP. Remember, patience is a virtue during this process. Stick to Google’s guidelines to steer clear of future suspensions, and keep your heart set on delivering high-level service to your valued customers. Together, we’ll conquer these digital waves!

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