Top 3 Reasons Google Suspends Local Listings

Local Search EngineOptimization (SEO) importance continues to grow and Google My Business (GMB) listings are a big part of that.

We’ve chatted about GMB before and it happens to be one of our 3 quick ways to improve your local search strategy.

To fully leverage your GMB listing, it’s important to know what NOT to do, so you can take full advantage of its potential.

To begin, there are two types of suspensions.

A soft suspension is when you log in to Google My Business and see the “suspended” label and no longer have the ability to manage your listing. However, your listing still shows up on Google and Google Maps/Map Maker.

In this case, the listing has simply become unverified. Since you broke Google’s guidelines in some way, they have removed your ability to manage the listing, but the listing’s ranking is rarely impacted.

To fix this type of suspension, all you need to do is create a new Google account, re-verify the listing and stop breaking the rules.

The other type of suspension is a hard suspension. This is very serious and means your entire listing has been removed from Google, including all the reviews and photos. When you pull up the record in Google Map Maker, it will say “removed.”

In this case, your only solution is to get Google to reinstate it. However, the chances of that are slim.

Now that we know the types of suspensions, let’s get into the top 3 reasons why people end up there.

1. Website Field Contains a Forwarding URL

If you’re using a vanity URL, or forwarder, that sends a user to a different domain you’ll want to make a quick change. As per Google’s guidelines “Do not provide phone numbers or URLs that redirect or ‘refer’ users to landing pages.”

If you’re found violating this guideline, it will likely result in a soft suspension.

2. Adding Extra Keywords to Business Name

We’ll quote this one directly from the guidelines:

“Adding unnecessary information to your name (e.g., “Google Inc. – Mountain View Corporate Headquarters” instead of “Google”) by including marketing taglines, store codes, special characters, hours or closed/open status, phone numbers, website URLs, service/product information, location/address or directions, or containment information (e.g., “Chase ATM in Duane Reade”) is not permitted.”

Violating this guideline will usually result in a soft suspension.

3. Listing for an Online Business

A popular one for exclusively online businesses that want to improve their SEO and be listed on Google Maps. If you list your online business at a physical address and try to black hat your ranking, Google will likely find out. This will result in a hard suspension for your business.

There are many other ways to be suspended on Google My Business. Search Engine Land has listed a few more reasons.

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