Google Business Profile Suspension From a Business Owner’s Perspective
There are thousands of marketing companies that help small businesses with their online presence which includes their profiles on Google, Apple Maps, Yelp, Facebook, and many other platforms. If you do a search for “Google Business Profile Suspended”, most article results will be written by these companies wanting you to hire them for their services. While some of these marketing agencies are reputable, the majority are preying on naive small business owners that are not familiar with how to navigate the online jungle known as the internet.
This article will be very different from the plethora of marketing articles you will find while searching for an answer to your problem. This article is written from my perspective as a small business owner who had their Google Business Profile suspended. I will cover everything from why I think our profile was suspended to how long it took to be reinstated. Enjoy!
Why Did We Get Suspended on Google?
We don’t really know for sure why our Google business profile was suspended.
Our Google My Business profile was suspended on August 29, 2022. This was around the same time Google was introducing changes to how small businesses managed their Google profiles. Around this time, we had received several emails from Google stating that business profiles will no longer be managed in the “Google My Business” dashboard. To manage your profile, you will need to use Google Search or Maps.
Years ago, when we first claimed our business profile on Google, they required you to use a real physical address. They did not allow P.O. Boxes to be used as your business address. They were very strict with this requirement, and verification was usually done through a postcard that was mailed to the address you claimed your business resided at. On this postcard was a code that you were supposed to enter online to verify you are the owner that receives mail at the property.
In the setting of your profile, there was an option you could choose that asked if you welcome customers to visit your address. If not, you could select the option that said you only service customers at their home address. By selecting the correct option, Google would provide their customers with a better experience.
Google Changed Business Profiles in 2022
First, Google My Business has been renamed to Google Business Profiles. Along with this renaming, Google is getting rid of the Google My Business app for smartphones and requiring businesses to manage their profiles on Google Search and Google Maps.
Second, small businesses will no longer be able to manage their business profiles at the business.google.com web address on a desktop computer. Just like with smartphones, Google is requiring small businesses to now manage their profiles through Google Search and Google Maps in a desktop browser.
Third, after reading the new Google Business Profile guidelines, I noticed they now state you should “hide your business address from customers” if you are a service-area business that travels to a customer’s physical location. Previously, you would fill out the address field on your profile and check a box saying you don’t service customers at your address. Now they ask you to leave the address field blank.
The guidelines state: “If you’re a plumber and run your business from your residential address, clear the address from your Business Profile”.
So, that is what we did. We deleted the address field on our Google Business Profile. Was our business immediately reinstated on Google? No. It took another month or so for the email to come through saying we had been reinstated.
How Long Did it Take to Reinstate our Business Profile?
Suspended date: August 29, 2022
Reinstatement date: November 16, 2022
It took two and a half months to have our Google Business Profile reinstated. Communication from Google support was almost non-existent as we waited two months to see a “pending” case number. This was the first sign that our case was being looked into. About two weeks later, we received an email saying our profile was reinstated.
We ended up with two case numbers because we submitted multiple request forms in a panic. I don’t recommend doing this. It’s best to be patient and wait for your “Case in progress” status to appear. Our second case was removed by Google since we already had a pending case. At that point, we just waited, thinking our profile might never be reinstated. Two and a half months later, the email came through.
We never received a definitive answer from the Google Business Profile support department as to why our account was suspended. We can only make assumptions at this point. During the whole process we were never able to speak to a human and all the email responses we received appeared to be canned responses written by a computer.
We Lost Google Reviews
Before our account was suspended, we had somewhere around 420-430 Google reviews. Once our account was reinstated, we had 390 Google reviews. All the reviews we have received were from actual customers we had done work for. I am not certain why some of our reviews were taken away. We are just happy to be back on Google, so we will take it.
Other Local Businesses Were Suspended
During this time, I reached out to another garage door owner in our area to find out if they had been suspended on Google. Sure enough, they had. The owner of this company has a local marketing individual that manages all of his online profiles for his business. He had mentioned his guy had been emailing Google for months asking for reinstatement. They, too, did not get any answers as to why they were suspended. They also had to delete their physical address off their profile, since they don’t service customers at their address.
Another local business that was suspended on Google was a local brewery. The owner of the brewery had posted on Facebook their frustrations and went into great detail about how much it was hurting their business, since that was one of the main ways they were discovered by new customers. They, too, have since been reinstated so from the looks of this, it appears that many of these suspensions might just be from the software changes that were made. All of these local businesses are honest companies just trying to make a living.
Conversation with Local Marketing Company
I did reach out to a local marketing agency in my area that builds websites and manages local business online profiles and online advertising budgets. They mentioned there has been an unusually high amount of local business that were suspended from Google around the same time we were. The only thing I can think of is there was an algorithm change that gave some businesses the boot, and they needed to be re-verified or manually reviewed by a person at Google.
We Never Received Our Verification Card in the Mail
During this process, our Google Business Profile kept saying that we needed to verify our business again. I tried verification through phone and email and the system would not let me proceed. Next, I submitted a form for Google to send me a card in the mail with my verification code, so I could prove I was the business owner. The problem is, we never received the code in the mail. We received an email one day stating our business was reinstated and there was no reason given as to why we were ever suspended in the first place.
Google Business Profiles are Still Free
The good news is, a Google Business Profile is still free as of writing this article. Google could charge every business a flat fee to have a listing, and everyone would pay it. The reason being is Google search is the modern day yellow pages. About 70-80% of all searches on the internet run through Google search. Thank you, Google, for keeping it free.
Apple Maps Business Register
The largest alternative to Google Maps would be Apple Maps. If you run a local business, you want to make sure you claim your business on the Apple Maps Business Register. I didn’t even know this existed until I went searching for it after our Google profile was suspended. Most of the information that was shown on Apple Maps in the past was pulled from Yelp.
The process of registering your business on Apple Maps was super easy. Our business was showing up a little funky with several locations showing, and some information was inaccurate. I contacted support through email, and they were on it immediately. Most errors were fixed in two business days and our business is now showing correctly on Apple Maps. It really is true… you learn something new every day.
If your Google Business Profile gets suspended, take a deep breath and calm down. It’s going to be a shock at first, but don’t freak out. From what I can see, it takes around 2-3 months to get your business reinstated. That is, if you are a legitimate local business that is not trying to scam people or game the system.
When you make changes on your Google Business Profile, take your time and move slowly. Changes don’t happen quickly, and you will need to be patient. If you are an honest local business, your profile will most likely get reinstated once your case filters through the system. If not, you could hire a local marketing agency to audit your profile to make sure it follows the updated guidelines.
I wish you good luck in getting your Google Business Profile reinstated!