Search4Local’s SEO team manage all our clients’ Google Business Profiles. Therefore, we’ve probably encountered the majority of problems that can occur.
Although GBPs are excellent tools for local SEO, they are also notoriously sensitive. There are a huge amount of seemingly minor mistakes that can lead to a dreaded suspension. It can then take several weeks to get your account reinstated. This is incredibly annoying for every business that it effects.
What Is A Google Business Profile?
The Google Business Profile was previously known as Google My Business. It’s a great way of giving Google key information about your business. This includes your name, address and phone number. Users can also leave reviews of your business, which helps to build your credibility. Over the years, the functionality has increased for GBPs. You can now add services and pictures, post updates and even add products.
The top three Google Business Profiles often appear high up in the search results. This is sometimes known as the ‘local pack’, ‘map pack’ or the ‘pack of three’. The results that appear here will always be locally relevant to the searcher. Businesses are more likely to appear here when they’ve got good reviews and services relating to the searcher’s query.
Why Is My Google Business Profile Suspended?
Unfortunately, there are a few reasons this might have happened. Annoyingly, Google won’t tell you what triggered the suspension. This means you’ll have to go through your profile and check that it follows the guidelines. Remember, the guidelines are subject to change, so it’s always worth cross-checking with the latest updates from Google.
Your Information Is Wrong
Double check that your business name is correct. It should be exactly as it is on all of your legal documentation. Google guidelines state that you must add extra keywords as part of your business name for SEO purposes. The same can be said for locations. However, if your business name genuinely does include these, that’s fine.
You should also make sure that your address and phone number are correct, as well as your opening hours. Have a look through your services for any discrepancies, and make any necessary changes.
Your Service Area Is Too Wide
If your GBP has a service area that covers a radius that’s more than a two-hour drive from your office, you need to make it smaller. Google Business Profiles are for local businesses. Therefore, the profile must reflect a business that serves a specific area. If you have multiple offices that are positioned quite far away, you might want to consider making separate profiles for them with different service areas.
You Have Multiple Listings
Separate profiles are allowed for businesses with multiple locations and offices. However, it is not allowed if you don’t have a legitimate branch there. If you’ve created additional Google Business Profiles so that you can rank in different areas that you don’t have permanent staff based in, this can result in a suspension of all your profiles.
You’ve Got The Wrong Business Category
This is easily done. Although Google allows you to set multiple categories, you are best off using the fewest possible. This means that ideally, you’ll have one primary business category. You can add more detail by adding as many Services as you like to your profile.
In some instances, you might have a genuine need to have more than one category. If you’re both a Plumber and an Electrician in equal measures, you can have two. However, if you’re a restaurant that also serves dessert, you should only be under the Restaurant category and not Dessert Restaurant as well.
You’ve Listed Products That Violate Google Guidelines
Before you list anything as a Product on your Google Business Profile, you must thoroughly check the guidelines. There are a few things that could get your profile suspended. For example, Google does not support ticket sales, vehicles, financial products or eBooks. This list is not exhaustive. You must check the guidelines to ensure that the products that you want to list are appropriate for your GBP.
You Made Too Many Changes
A lot of changes at once can cause a GBP suspension. There’s no harm in regularly updating your profile, but little and often is better than a total overhaul. Some industries are deemed more likely to be spam by Google. If your business falls under one of these categories, you’ll want to be even more careful. Spread any major updates out over a few days to avoid triggering a suspension.
There’s Been An Algorithm Update
Occasionally, Google rolls out updates that directly affect Google Business Profiles. If your GBP follows all of the guidelines, you still might not be safe. Some updates result in accidental suspensions. If you become aware of an update that’s triggering mass suspension, we suggest that you don’t touch your profile until things have calmed down. In the past, even minor edits would cause problems.
Everyone is likely to assume that their profile follows all the rules, but it’s always best to double and even triple check this before filing for reinstatement. As we mentioned earlier, the rules are subject to regular updates. If your profile is no longer compliant with the latest guidelines, you will be at risk of suspension.
How To Request GBP Reinstatement
Logging in to find out that your Google Business Profile is suspended is very frustrating. When it gets to this point, you’ll have to make any necessary changes before filing for reinstatement.
When you log into your profile, the warning box that tells you that your account is suspended should have a link to request reinstatement. Follow all of the instructions on there, making sure that the information you give them is accurate. The more details that you can add, the better.
Help! Someone Left A Fake Bad Review On My GBP
First of all, take a deep breath. When someone writes something negative about your business for the world to see, it’s understandable that you might have a strong reaction. However, there’s no point in lashing out at a bad review. Allow yourself time to calm down first, and clear your head before planning your response.
If the review is from a genuine customer, the best thing to do might be to respond. Be reasonable, clear and polite in your response. Getting angry and being rude with the reviewer won’t make you look any better than they do.
If the review appears to be fake, make sure that you report it to Google. You can also try to appeal negative reviews that you feel are unfair. However, it’s up to Google whether they deem the review to be legitimate. It’s less likely that Google will remove a review that you’ve replied to, so keep that in mind if you choose to respond.
Google will only remove reviews that violate their guidelines, and it can be hard to prove this. If an account has made a series of one-star reviews in a short period of time, they may be picked up by the algorithm. As well as this, if the reviewer clearly has a conflict of interest (a competitor, perhaps), then Google may side in your favour. The more information that you can give them to support your appeal, the better.
To find out more about replying to negative reviews on your Google business profile, take a look at our guide.
Why Is The Google Business Profile So Temperamental?
We know that it’s annoying and we certainly do feel your pain. However, the reason that Google is so strict with its GBP guidelines is to ensure that all content is useful. If users encounter fake information or profiles, they aren’t getting a good experience on Google’s platform.
Never use misleading tactics to try and ‘cheat’ the system. You’ll eventually be found out and get a suspension. The best way to tackle this in the long-term is to always keep in mind the user’s intent. When editing your profile, consider what information your consumers will need to see.