Hey, GMB Gorilla. Why was my Google My Business suspended due to suspicious activity?
Buckle up – The GMB Gorilla has a lot of explaining to do.
Your Google My Business account has been suspended – Now what? A tornado of questions storms through your mind, and you’re not sure how to answer them. You’ve clicked on numerous self-help articles and spammy websites to try and find the answers you need.
This isn’t an easy process. The good news is, the GMB Gorilla is going to make this ride a lot smoother.
When a Google My Business account suffers a suspension, you’re stuck with one of two outcomes: your GMB listing is no longer visible on Google or Google Maps, or you’ve lost all control of your listing.
In other words, your business listing is technically “unverified” and you’re unable to manage it. Where exactly do you begin? Sit tight – The GMB Gorilla has all the answers you’re looking for.
There are a variety of reasons why your Google My Business listing could’ve been suspended. After all, Google tends to flag accounts that practice suspicious activity.
Is it possible to retrieve your Google My Business account? The short answer is yes. You can absolutely get your listing back up and running, you just have to know what went wrong. This part is tricky, especially if you don’t believe you’ve gone against Google’s rule book.
On that note, take a deep breath. The GMB Gorilla knows a thing or two about Google My Business suspensions, and he plans on helping you sort out this digital dilemma.
Google Business Profile Suspensions: Suspicious Activity
What went wrong, exactly?
You’ve most likely heard about a Google My Business Suspension, particularly if you’re a frequent visitor of GMB Gorilla. To refresh your memory, a Google My Business Suspension happens as a result of a violation or multiple violations.
Google takes its Ads policies and Terms & Conditions very seriously to create the safest online environment possible for both users and advertisers. Accounts are often suspended because of violations to their policies or Terms & Conditions.
Realistically, there are multiple reasons why Google may have suspended your account. Get familiar with some of the most common reasons Google suspends GMB accounts to see if any of them apply to your case. Observe the following list:
- You have registered an account more than once
- You have several listings for one business
- Your business is solely online
- Google detected fake reviews posted on your listing
- There isn’t a physical location, a PO box, or a remote mailbox
- Certain business categories are often deemed high-risk by Google
- Google suspended the manager of the GMB profile
- There is keyword stuffing in a listing’s business name
- Redirect or spamming links
- Tracking URL’s
- The information or NAP is incorrect
The GMB Gorilla suggests avoiding any of these slip ups, so you don’t risk having to face another suspension down the road. Google frequently monitors a lot of your account’s data, including your location and interactions.
With all of this in mind, what exactly counts as “suspicious” activity? When a Google My Business account is suspended due to suspicious activity, Google will email the account’s owner informing them of the suspension.
However, it’s important to note that Google won’t clarify why exactly your account was suspended. Even the support team doesn’t have access to this information. It’s possible to build a new profile for your business and start it from scratch.
Carefully review Google’s guidelines for representing your business to avoid making the same mistake a second time. After all, it wasn’t fun the first time around.
Now, “Suspicious activity” could mean a lot of things. An account will get suspended when Google’s algorithm has reason to believe that either the user or the company violates one or more of Google’s guidelines.
If you’ve found the error, simply correct it on your profile. Then you’ll be able to submit a reinstatement form. Following submission, the waiting process takes around 3-5 days.
Suspicious activity suspensions of Google Business Profiles are at the account level
The GMB Gorilla is happy to explain this one.
Ever heard of the term “account level suspension”? Have no fear – The GMB Gorilla knows his stuff. An account level suspension means that a user or their business listing has been suspected of suspicious activity, resulting in their account getting suspended.
So, what differs an account level suspension from a listing suspension? Well, Google operates on a system that has soft suspensions and hard suspensions, both of which prevent a user from having control over their listing.
However, hard suspensions are considered to be more severe that soft ones. When an account suffers a hard suspension, their business’ listing is removed from Google Search and Google Maps, along with all of its reviews. This classifies as an account suspension.
You could say this is a Google My Business user’s worst nightmare. After all, their listing brings in a lot of business, and losing it will disrupt consumer traffic.
If your account has been suspended, Google will send a series of emails containing information on Shopping ads policies detected. The emails will also possess additional information regarding the account suspension.
In the event that the issues that caused the suspension go unresolved, your account will remain under a hold.
What does it mean when your Business Profile is suspended due to suspicious activity?
What classifies as “suspicious activity”?
Receiving news that your Business Profile has been suspended is extremely frustrating, even more so when suspicious activity has been detected. On that note, why was your Business Profile suspended?
There are a few possible explanations for this. Does your company name contain information about location, like an address, city, or neighborhood? Is one of your company’s classes, meetings, or services being held in a location that you own or are authorized to represent?
If your account has been flagged for suspicious activity, your profile may not follow one or more of Google’s guidelines. Typically, this type of suspension happens if:
- Several edits were made in a single section
- Profile edits were made to the business’ name, address, phone number or category
- The owner’s Google Account was suspended
More often than not, when a Google My Business account is suspended, it’s because the profile violated the community guidelines. In some cases, Google’s algorithm detected issues with your profile. Some reasons for this could be:
- Your address was identified as a residential address, co-working space, UPS Store, PO Box, or a Virtual address
- Other users reported the listing through the “Suggest an edit” feature
- Other users reported through the redressal form
- Conflicting information was found about your business on the internet
Google doesn’t tell owners of a GMB account why their profile was suspended. Even if you reach out to contact support, you won’t get the answers you’re looking for. Normally, they’ll instruct you to reread their guidelines to try and figure out the reason why on your own.
According to the tech giant, one way to resolve the issue is by reviewing the Google My Business Profile guidelines, ensuring your profile hasn’t violated any of these guidelines, and then asking for a reinstatement.
If your reinstatement is denied, you can appeal it. However, that doesn’t guarantee you’ll retrieve your Google My Business account.
Why are Google My Business Profiles suspended due to suspicious activity?
Something smells fishy around here.
As previously discussed, there are two kinds of suspensions in the Google universe. They are “soft” and “hard”. A soft suspension only marks your business as suspended, but it will still appear in search results.
A hard suspension, on the other hand, will completely remove your business listing from Google search results and Google Maps. As you could imagine, this isn’t healthy for your business.
The GMB Gorilla has sorted out the most common violations that get accounts suspended. That way, you can identify any violations you may be guilty of. No pressure.
Google has flagged your account due to terms of service violations
Violating Google’s Terms of Service is a pretty big no-no. To utilize a Google My Business Profile or any services related to it, you have to accept the Google Terms of Service and the Business Profile Additional Terms of Service.
Google expects its users follow each and every one of these guidelines, and they make it clear that all users are responsible for the entity listed on their Business Profile. This means that:
- You must ensure that all of your profile’s content is accurate
- You must comply with all Google Business Profile Terms of Service
- You must provide all documentation required for highly sensitive industries and categories.
- You must comply with Google’s policies that apply to using the Business Profile service
Google created their policies and guidelines to help maintain a positive, safe environment for everyone using Google My Business.
Google has flagged your account due to having multiple Business Profiles
A common scenario that we see with Google Business Profile Suspensions is that a business has more than one profile for one (or more of their locations). These duplicate profile listings can often trigger a suspension to one or more of the profiles. This is because Google prohibits having multiple profiles at the same location for the same business.
Duplicate locations often confuse people because they were not the ones to create the duplicate. It’s good to know that Google often creates profiles using data they get from aggregators and they scrape from the internet to create new profiles themselves.
It could also be a case that an older service vendor mistakenly created another profile (instead of verifying or claiming an existing one), or even a Google Local Guide that couldn’t find your business and decided to create a listing for you not knowing you already had one.
Google issues a platform update and your account gets suspended by accident
Yes, it’s possible that your account was suspended by accident. Just like human beings, technology can make mistakes, too. In a situation like this one, you can get right to a reinstatement.
Although there is a 5-7 day wait period after you’ve submitted your reinstatement form to hear back from Google, you should have no issues getting your profile looked at. Unfortunately, even if you submit a reinstatement form, if there is a bug or problem with the Google Business Profile platform, it might be awhile before you can regain editing and management access.
Does a suspended Google My Business impact your profile performance?
Let’s explore some of the potential outcomes of a suspended profile.
A suspended Google My Business profile may affect the results you are seeing from it.
If you are experiencing a hard suspension, where your profile is no longer visible when you search for you own brand, you will definitely see an impact on your results. This is because if people are unable to find your profile when they search, there’s zero chance they interact with it.
If you are experiencing a soft suspension, where your profile is still visible, but you can’t make updates or push edits live, then you will see less of an impact on profile performance and the results you’ve been getting. This is simply because the profile is still visible and accessible.
Since suspension do have the ability to dramatically impact your business, we always recommend following Google Terms of Service correctly, so that your profile doesn’t go down for a few days to several weeks.
How to fix a profile suspended due to suspicious activity
Remain calm. There’s a solution.
Getting a profile suspension notice is not the end of the world. There are simple steps you can take to fix your profile and then apply for reinstatement.
Step one – Check recent edits
The first step is to recall if you or others have made any changes to the profile. It’s a good place to start because for the most part Google Business Profiles do not get suspended for no reason.
Common items that get updated and may cause suspensions are the business name field, the website, address, and service areas. GMB Gorilla recommends not updating these profile items whenever possible, since we know they have a high rate of triggering a suspension.
Step 2 – Look for duplicate profiles
If you and your team have not made any recent updates, then the next step is to login to the Google Business Profile Dashboard to see if a duplicate profile exists. If you have a duplicate listing, then you will need to claim this profile and then either delete it or merge it with the original.
Step 3 – Review Google’s Terms of Service
After checking for duplicates, the final step is to review Google’s Terms of Service for Google My Business. Here you will find some general (and specific) requirements for every aspect of the profile. You will want to check your profile data against these requirements to ensure you are in compliance.
Step 4 – Fix and file for reinstatement
Once these steps have been completed successfully, you should know what to fix. To do this you will want to make edits directly to your profile. Although these edits will not go live until the profile is reinstated, Google will be able to see them when you submit for reinstatement. This ensures they know you took the right steps to put the profile in compliance.
Note if you are facing a hard suspension, you will still be able to make edits, and file for reinstatement.
Feeling lost in the suspension sauce? Let GMB Gorilla swing into action
GMB Gorilla doesn’t just sit around eating bananas all day. Our Google My Business Support Services pairs you with a Gorilla-Certified GMB expert who’s worked with Google to solve profile issues on thousands of occasions. Worried about the communication aspect?
Don’t be – GMB Gorilla will handle all communications until a resolution has been found. This will save you lots of valuable time and energy, and if you’re dealing with the headache of an account suspension, Google My Business Support is the right option for you.
This will make the process a lot less stressful and time-consuming. GMB Gorilla wants you to get back to business as soon as possible. Don’t waste anymore time – Work with GMB Gorilla’s Google My Business Support Service.