Author: Lane Houk
Table of Contents
- 1 Understanding Google’s New GBP Listing Suspension and Re-verification Process for Local SEO
- 2 Decoding the Updated GBP Appeal Process
- 3 Reasons for a GBP Listing Suspension
- 4 Appealing GBP Listing Suspensions
Understanding Google’s New GBP Listing Suspension and Re-verification Process for Local SEO
In the dynamic world of digital marketing, Google’s updates to its GBP (Google Business Profile) listing suspension and re-verification process are pivotal. For agencies specializing in local SEO, grasping these changes is essential. This article offers an in-depth analysis of the latest updates and the actionable steps to navigate through them. In short, Google has announced a new process for appealing a hard or soft suspension of a GBP listing. Read on for all the details…
Why is GBP Crucial for Local SEO?
Google Business Profile is a complimentary tool that enables businesses to manage their online footprint across Google, including Search and Maps. For agencies focusing on local SEO, the GBP is foundational. It empowers clients to boost visibility, oversee reviews, and provide vital business details to prospective customers. More importantly, it provides the potential for the GBP listing to appear on page one in search results for relevant keywords. As agencies, we know that when this happens, the amount of new leads to that business dramatically increases, and this is the underlying purpose of performing local SEO for clients.
Decoding the Updated GBP Appeal Process
Before diving deep, it’s crucial to grasp the highlights and nuances of this revamped process:
- One Shot at Reinstatement: Agencies now get a singular opportunity to apply for reinstatement. It’s a one-and-done deal.
- Clarity on Violations: While the policies remain unchanged, there’s now enhanced clarity on which specific policy was breached. Instead of vague reasons, you’ll receive guidance pinpointing the exact violation, such as a content discrepancy.
- Time Constraint: Once you embark on the reinstatement journey using the designated “wizard,” a 60-minute window is all you have to furnish evidence of your business’s legitimacy.
- Preparedness is Rare: Based on my experience, maybe 5-10% of profiles are equipped with the appropriate documentation if needed now/today.
- Evolving Process: Expect the procedure to undergo tweaks and refinements in the upcoming weeks to enhance user experience.
- Expert Advice: A valuable suggestion? Rope in an expert to scrutinize your profile and pertinent documents before any suspension occurs.
The Process Simplified: Upon suspension, you’ll receive an email notification. This message will not only inform you of the suspension but also provide a hint about the guidelines you might have inadvertently violated. Accompanying this will be a link directing you to the relevant section of the existing guidelines, which, admittedly, can be a tad ambiguous.
- Appeal Tool: https://support.google.com/business/workflow/13569690
- Support Documents: https://support.google.com/business/answer/13597551#zippy=%2Cfor-suspended-or-disabled-profiles
Reasons for a GBP Listing Suspension
Google might suspend GBP listings due to:
- Algorithmic sweeps, often triggered by setting business hours to 24/7 or misconfiguring address details.
- Account discrepancies.
- Manual suspensions.
- Prohibited address.
- Too many changes in short period.
- Changing the business name.
- Changing the business address.
Types of Suspensions
- Hard Suspensions: The listing is eradicated from Google and Google Maps, potentially leading to review losses.
- Soft Suspensions: The listing remains visible but becomes uneditable and unverified.
Guidelines for Representing Your Business on Google
To avert suspension, businesses must adhere to Google’s stipulations:
- Portray the business authentically, as acknowledged in the real world.
- Ensure the address and service area are unambiguous and not in violation of Google’s address guidelines.
- Opt for pertinent categories to depict the core business.
- Maintain a singular profile per business.
- Make sure the listing address is the same as the address for the company/entity in their corporate filings! I see this wrong ALL THE TIME.
- Make sure you have a legal DBA or fictitious name filed if the name of the company in the GBP listing is different from the corporate filing.
- Get signage! Size doesn’t matter but usage of signage will greatly help in re-verification.
Appealing GBP Listing Suspensions
Preparing Your Evidence
Prior to appealing, amass evidence to substantiate your claim. This can encompass:
- Official business registration.
- Business license.
- Tax certificates.
- Utility bills for the business.
- Fictitious name filing document (if applicable).
- Office lease.
- Any available licensure documents.
Ensure the business name and address on the documents align with the suspended profile.
Submitting Your Appeal
- Access the Google Business Profile appeals tool.
- Log in to the Google Account associated with the GBP.
- Choose the suspended profile.
- Attach the evidence and submit the appeal.
Google will assess the appeal and inform you of their verdict.
Practical Steps for GBP Listing Reinstatement
- Review and Audit: Periodically inspect your GBP listing for compliance with Google’s guidelines.
- Avoid Suspension Triggers: Refrain from adding extraneous keywords to the business name, utilizing virtual offices, or creating duplicate listings for identical businesses.
- Amass Evidence: Before appealing, collate all pertinent documents that validate the legitimacy of your business. More is better here as long it is relevant to the business and location.
- Lodge Appeal: Utilize the GBP appeals tool to lodge your appeal, furnishing all requisite evidence.
- Stay Abreast: Google’s guidelines are subject to change, so always remain informed about the latest modifications.
Understanding and adapting to Google’s fresh GBP listing suspension and re-verification process is paramount for agencies concentrating on local SEO. By heeding the guidelines and proactively managing GBP listings, agencies can ensure their clients stay visible and esteemed in Google’s perspective and among potential patrons.