It can be a terrible feeling. You’ve logged into your Google My Business page only to find that your business has been suspended. There is no way to describe it.
The worst part of it is that, when facing a GMB suspension, you could be missing out on business. That is the scariest and most difficult thing to deal with, especially if you are one of the millions of small businesses that depend on every last penny to make it.
The good news is that you can get your listing back in many circumstances. It is important to know, however, that if you intentionally violated the guidelines, especially if it was done so blatantly, the chances of retrieving your listing is significantly lower.
Follow this guide to understand how to fix a suspended listing on Google and get your account reinstated in short order.
Why Did I Get a GMB Suspension?
Being handed a GMB suspension can definitely be frustrating. And the thing to realize is that you probably won’t be able to get a straight answer about how your listing transgressed Google’s algorithm. This is because, whenever you make changes, Google’s automatic tools review your changes.
This means that if you have had a GMB suspension handed down, your listing raised some kind of automated red flag. You might not even notice that you have done anything wrong until that ticket comes in the mail.
Generally speaking, there are two types of GMB suspension: a hard suspension and a soft suspension.
What is a “hard” GMB Suspension?
This is pretty bad news for business. When given a hard GMB suspension, your business is taken off of Google Maps even though you can still access your GMB dashboard. Google tends to give out a hard GMD suspension when it suspects that the listing is illegitimate for any number of reasons.
Getting hit with a hard GMD suspension can feel awful and even worse, it can have a major impact on your business. It also basically means no message, no reviews, no listing in Google Knowledge Graph, and no photos visible to searchers.
It isn’t the end of the world if you get a hard GMB suspension, but it can mean lost dollars as even those customers looking for your business can’t find you. Thankfully, Google allows you to access your dashboard so that you can figure out what the issue is.
What is a “soft” GMB Suspension?
A soft GMB suspension will leave the listing up on Google Maps, allowing customers to find it, but you won’t be able to make any edits to the listing while your listing is suspended. Not being able to update your listing can be a big deal, especially if the GMB suspension persists.
Your business can be suspended for quality issues or running a service area business but displaying a physical address. It can also be suspended if Google suspects that your business does not exist at that address or if your business has duplicate listings.
How to Get Your GMB Listing Reinstated
You may have a pretty good idea why your listing was suspended or you may have no clue. Typically, Google gives very little specifics about the suspension and merely cites quality issues as the reason for suspension. Your best bet is to review the GMB guidelines and notice if you’ve violated any of them.
To retrieve your listing you will want to fill out the Google My Business local business reinstatement request and submitting it to Google. Because of the volume of reinstatement requests, Google can take weeks or even months to respond or take action. One trick to expedite the process is to contact GMB through their social channels.
If all else fails, find a phone number to speak to someone who might be able to get you the answers relating to your GMB suspension that you need.
As stated previously, it is imperative for you to track what happens from the time of your GMB suspension. Besides any changes, you’re going to want to note a few different things:
- What things you changed before you were suspended
- Any major changes you have made in recent weeks
- Whether this is your first GMB suspension
- What you do after the suspension is issued to try to fix the problem
- And, perhaps most importantly, your listing’s map URL or dashboard URL
Depending on the type of suspension that you have been issued, you might have to take a snapshot of your dashboard URL in order to document this for the next steps in the process.
Make an Appeal
There are a number of ways that you can appeal your GMB suspension. You can fill out the form online, reach out to the support team through social channels, or use the helpline to speak to a person to help with the problem.
It is most likely that you will have to deal with someone through automated measures, so keep that in mind.
My Listing was Reinstated but My Reviews are Gone
Keeping track of the URL is important because you might have your GMB suspension lifted but find that all the reviews for your GMB listing are gone. That is nothing to sneeze at as your reviews can have a huge impact on your business.
Thankfully, this is what is known as a trending issue on the support forum, so it is one of the most common issues that Google sees. Be certain to take a snapshot of your reviews as well so that you can show Google support later on.
If All Else Fails
There may come a time when you have gone through the appeal process, are going through all the right channels, and your GMB suspension has not been lifted. So, what do you do next? How do you get your business back out there?
Starting from scratch is really the only other way. If you plan to do this, make certain that you download everything from your old listing. Photos, copy, everything needs to be grabbed. When you have done this, delete the old listing entirely and then create the new listing.
You might also want to invest in contractor SEO to ensure that your organic web presence remains active even despite a GMB suspension. When you rank keywords that your consumers search for, you can still pick up business on Google without a listing.
It is not the best solution to your issue, but it will get your business back onto GMB in shorter order so that you don’t continue to miss out on more business.