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Why Does Google Suspend Your Local Listings?


Like it or not, but you cannot survive on this earth without the internet. And, if you own a business, it is difficult for you to do well in the world of business without a website. But, having a website alone cannot guarantee you all the success. If you want to beat the competition, you need to have a robust online marketing strategy. Talking of an online marketing strategy, one thing that you cannot ignore while formulating your strategy is Google. Regardless of the vertical and place where you do your business, you have to factor in Google to get ahead of your competitors.

But what will happen if your Google My Business listing gets suspended all of a sudden?

If you want a Google employee to come and tell you the reason for suspension, it is not going to happen. But Google is very clear on one thing – they are not interested in helping those who break the rules.

So, what should you do?

You need to know the reasons why your local listing gets suspended so that you can avoid all the inconveniences that come with it.

For local search results, it is vital for businesses to get listed on the Google search results. So, what is the importance of Google My Business listing?

Why Google My Business listing is important?

Online purchases are on the rise. Customer reviews and Google are the most popular resources that people use these days when making a purchasing decision. What do you do when you want to know something about a product or service? You Google it, don’t you? And, it is not unusual to trust what others have to say about a business. Google My listing is important because it combines the two together which makes it a powerful marketing platform.

The importance of Google My Business is because it helps businesses generate trust, website traffic, sales, and customer engagement.

Before getting down to the reasons for suspension, let us try to find out about the type of suspensions.

Types of suspension

Suspensions are of two different types – soft and hard.

Soft suspension – It happens when you log in to your Google My Business Page and see a “suspended” label which does not allow you to control your listing. You still are listed on Google and Google Maps/ Map Maker. To get over this type of suspension, you need to create a new Google account and re-verify the listing and make sure that you adhere to all the rules in the future.

Hard suspension – It is a more serious type of suspension where your complete listing is deleted from Google along with all your reviews and photos. When you check it up in Google Map Maker, all it says is “removed’. The only thing that you can do is to request Google to reinstate it. However, it is next to impossible to get your listing reinstated because Google removes it only after it decides that listing is not appropriate to be a part of Google Maps.

So, what are the reasons because of which Google suspends your local listing?

Reasons why Google suspends your local listing

Some of the reasons why Google can suspend your local listing are:

  • If your website URL gets forwarded to a different domain – Google has confirmed it publicly that in case your website URL in Google My Business is a vanity URL which gets forwarded to a different domain, then your listing can be suspended. If you don’t follow this guideline, it results in a soft suspension. According to the guidelines, you should not provide phone numbers or URLs that redirect users to landing pages.
  • If you add extra keywords in the business name field – According to the Google guidelines, you should not add needless details to your business names like phone number, marketing taglines, address, product details, location, address, or direction, containment information, store codes, website URLs, special characters, etc. It results in a soft suspension because you are still eligible to be on Google Maps with a different name.
  • If your business is service area related, and you did not hide your address – Google’s service area businesses guidelines state that you can only show your address if customers show up at your address. It results in a hard suspension because the listing is not eligible to show up on Google Maps according to the Map Maker guidelines. It is essential for a business owner of a service-area business to verify its listing because Google My Business allows you to do it, but you can’t do it on Map Maker. What it means is that any non-verified listing which appears on Google Maps for a service-area business can get deleted. And, you stand to lose all your reviews and photos.
  • If you have several verified listings for the same business – Google’s guidelines state that you should not create more than one page for each location of your business (be it a single account or multiple accounts). In most cases, Google suspends both the listings (original as well as the duplicate). It will un-verify the original listing (soft suspension) and delete the duplicate listing (hard suspension).
  • If your business is of a sensitive type or is not permitted on Google Plus – A new and uncommon rule. If your business type (firearms, tobacco, alcohol stores, etc.) is not allowed on Google Plus, it can result in a soft suspension. Google Plus does not allow these business types which can leave your business listing un-verified for Google Maps. The Google Plus guidelines state that regulated goods are only allowed if they set a geographic or age restriction, hence it is still not clear whether Google will reinstate your business or not.
  • If you create a listing at a virtual office or mailbox – According to the Google guidelines, in case your business rents a temporary virtual office at another address (other than your primary business), then you should not create a page for that location unless it is staffed during your normal business hours. Many businesses create multiple listings of virtual offices because they want to be ranked in multiple towns apart from their actual office location. In case Google comes to know of it, it can result in a hard suspension.
  • If you create a listing for an online business without having a physical storefront – The primary eligibility criteria for businesses to get included in the listing is that they must make in-person contact with their customers. And, because online businesses don’t have a physical storefront, Google states that they should create a Google Plus brand page in place of a local page. It means that these businesses cannot rank in the 3-pack on Google Maps. If you don’t follow this guideline, it can result in a hard suspension.
  • If you run a class or service that operates in a building which is not owned by you – Google’s guidelines state that ongoing service, class, or meeting at a location which you don’t own or have the authority to represent are ineligible businesses and cannot be listed on Google Maps. For example, if you run a dance class in the basement of a gym which you don’t own, it cannot be listed on Google Maps.
  • If the industry you are in is cluttered with spam – Despite following all the rules, at times your listing still gets suspended which happens because of the industry you represent. For example, if you have a locksmith business, the listing can get suspended because the spam filter inadvertently takes it down. It results in a hard suspension, and the best you can do is post on the Google My Business forum so that a top contributor can take up your case with Google.

If you want to climb the local search results, you should get in touch with vStacks Infotech now. We will do all the spadework for you so that your website can rank high on the local search results.