February 14, 2024

Google Business Profile Suspension Risk Factors

Navigating the Complexities of Google's Policies

Expert’s Guide to Avoid a Google Business Profile Suspension!

GBP/GMB Suspension Risk Factors

a Google’s My Business (GMB), now called Google Business Profile (GBP), is a highly effective way for businesses to interact with their customer base. But it’s also a system that’s heavily policed. Violations of their rules can result in suspensions or worse. In this blog post, we’ll examine the most common GMB suspension risk factors and provide tips on how to avoid them.

Google Business Profile Suspension Risk factors

Table of contents:

1. Using False Addresses: The Path to Suspension

One of the quickest ways to receive a suspension from Google is by using false addresses for your GMB listing. Google’s guidelines stipulate that businesses must use a legitimate, physical address. P.O. Boxes, UPS Mail Stores, virtual offices, and other false addresses are strictly against Google’s policy. Businesses often use these methods to broaden their service areas or appear more professional. 

However, the consequence of violating this rule is a swift suspension of your GMB listing. To avoid this, ensure that the address listed on your GMB is the actual physical location of your business.

2. The Impact of Reports of Violations on Your GBP

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Reports of policy violations on your GBP are another significant factor that can lead to suspension. These violations include anything from incorrect business details to misleading content or spam. Google takes these violations seriously, and multiple reports can lead to your GBP being temporarily or permanently suspended. It’s crucial to regularly review and update your GBP to ensure it aligns with Google’s guidelines.

3. Association of GBP Accounts with Other Suppressed Listings

In the eyes of Google, the company you keep matters. If your GBP account is associated with other suppressed listings, it’s a red flag that could lead to your account being suspended. This is often seen when multiple businesses share the same address or phone number. Google’s algorithms are designed to catch these discrepancies and act upon them. To avoid this, ensure your GBP account is uniquely tied to your business and not associated with other suppressed or suspended listings.

4. The Danger of Review Gating

Review gating is the process of filtering customer reviews so that only positive feedback is displayed. This could involve discouraging or blocking negative reviews or selectively soliciting reviews from happy customers. This manipulation of reviews violates Google’s policies and can lead to a suspension of your GMB listing.

While it might be tempting to control the narrative around your business, remember that authentic customer feedback, both positive and negative, is essential for the growth of your business. Moreover, customers are more likely to trust a company that showcases genuine, unfiltered reviews. To avoid potential suspensions, encourage all customers to leave a review and respond professionally to negative feedback.

5. Site Hacked or Presence of Malware

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Cybersecurity is of utmost importance, especially when running an online business. If Google detects that your website is hacked or contains malware, your GMB listing could be at risk. This is because Google aims to protect its users by ensuring that they only engage with secure and trustworthy websites. Regularly updating your website, using strong passwords, and employing reliable security solutions can help prevent such incidents and ensure the safety of your customers and the stability of your GBP.

6. Presence of Other Profiles in the Same Category at the Same Address

Google’s guidelines permit only one GMB listing per business location. If Google detects the presence of other profiles in the same category at the same address, it could trigger a suspension. This is designed to prevent businesses from creating multiple listings to manipulate search results. If your company operates in different locations, ensure you have a unique GMB listing for each site. If you have other businesses at the same address, make sure they’re distinct and adequately differentiated.

7. Reports of Fake Reviews in Your GBP

Customer reviews play a critical role in a business’s online reputation. However, resorting to fake reviews to boost your online reputation severely violates Google’s guidelines. If Google identifies counterfeit reviews in your GBP, your listing could be suspended. Encouraging genuine reviews from your customers and avoiding any form of review manipulation is essential.

8. Keyword Stuffing in GBP Business Name

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Including unnecessary keywords in your GBP business name, also known as ‘keyword stuffing’, is prohibited by Google. Businesses often use this tactic to improve their search engine ranking. However, this strategy is considered misleading and can lead to a suspension. To avoid this, ensure that your business name on your GBP is the same as it is known by your customers and used in real-world signage.

9. Presence of Multiple Profiles with the Same Phone Number

Just as Google discourages multiple profiles for the exact business location, it also flags various profiles associated with the same phone number. Each business listing must have a unique phone number. Violating this policy can result in a suspension. Ensure each GBP listing has a unique, local phone number to avoid this.

A successful online presence involves steering clear of these common GBP suspension risk factors. Familiarize yourself with Google’s guidelines, keep your website secure, encourage genuine customer reviews, and ensure your business details are accurate and unique. By adhering to these best practices, you can maintain a robust and compliant online presence, enhancing your visibility and fostering customer trust.

10. Receiving Too Many Google Reviews Too Fast

An abnormally rapid influx of Google reviews can ring alarm bells for Google’s algorithm. If your business receives many reviews quickly, it can be flagged as suspicious behavior, potentially leading to a suspension. Google wants to ensure that all reviews are genuine and not artificially boosted. Encouraging organic growth of reviews over time is the best way to avoid triggering a suspension due to this factor.

11. Profiles with the Same Address/Phone Marked as “Permanently Closed”

Profiles marked as “permanently closed” with the same address or phone number as your active listing can create confusion and trigger a suspension. Google strives to provide accurate and relevant information to its users. To avoid such issues, ensuring all business information is up-to-date and accurate across all active and closed profiles is crucial.

12. Hiding or Removing the GBP Address

An essential element in your GBP is your business address. Attempting to hide or remove the address from your GBP is considered a violation of Google’s guidelines and is a GMB suspension risk factor. Google requires the visibility of an accurate address to help customers find your business. Always make sure that your business address is correctly displayed on your GBP.

13. Incorrectly-placed Map Marker in GBP

The map marker in your GBP is an essential tool that helps customers locate your business. If the map marker is placed incorrectly, it can confuse and may lead to a suspension. It’s essential to ensure that your map marker is accurately placed, representing your business location precisely.

14. Category Confusion: The Risk of Unrelated Categories

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Including unrelated categories in your listing can cause confusion and mislead users about your business offerings, leading to a potential Google Business Profile suspension. This practice, known as category confusion, typically involves businesses adding categories from entirely unrelated industries to their GMB listings in a misguided attempt to broaden their visibility. 

Google’s policy, however, requires businesses to choose classes that accurately represent their services. Select only relevant and accurate categories for your business to avoid this pitfall.

15. The Pitfall of an Incorrect Primary Category

The primary category on your GMB listing is pivotal in determining how Google understands your business and ranks it in search results. An incorrect primary type can misrepresent your business and lead to a suspension. Therefore, ensuring that your primary category precisely reflects your main business activity is crucial.

16. Risks Associated with Listing an 800 Number as the Only Phone Number

Listing an 800 number as the sole phone number on your GBP may seem like a convenient option, but it can be a red flag for Google and a GMB suspension risk factor. Google prefers that businesses list a local phone number, providing users a direct line to the business location. While toll-free numbers can be included, there should be other numbers listed. To avoid potential suspensions, provide a local phone number in your GBP.

17. The Importance of a Crawlable NAP on Your Website

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NAP, an acronym for Name, Address, and Phone number, is crucial information that should be easily crawlable on your website. If this information is missing or not easily accessible to search engines, it can lead to GBP suspension. Ensure that your NAP is presented in text format on your website, preferably in the header, footer, or contact us page, for easy crawling and indexing by search engines.

18. Mis-matched NAP and Tracking Phone Numbers Across the Data Ecosystem

Inconsistencies in your NAP and tracking phone numbers across various online platforms can create confusion and result in GBP suspension. Google values consistency in business information as it helps provide reliable and accurate results to users. To prevent this risk, make sure your NAP and phone numbers are consistent across all platforms where your business is listed.

Avoiding GMB suspension risk factors requires a deep understanding of Google’s policies and meticulous attention to your business’s online representation. By ensuring consistency in your business details, choosing relevant and accurate categories, and providing crawlable NAP on your website, you can safeguard your GBP, bolster your online visibility, and foster a robust digital presence for your business.

19. Incomplete/Missing Data on Primary Data Sources

Google relies on primary data sources, like your business website, to verify the information listed in your GBP. If crucial data like your business name, address, phone number, and operating hours are incomplete or missing, Google may consider this a red flag, potentially leading to a suspension. Ensuring that all information on your primary data source is complete, accurate, and up-to-date is crucial to avoiding this risk.

20. Presence of Stock Photos on Profile

Using stock photos on your GBP instead of genuine images of your business can also be a GMB suspension risk factor. Google encourages companies to use authentic images to represent their services and offerings accurately. While stock photos can be visually appealing, they can be misleading, and Google may see them as an attempt to deceive users. To avoid this, include actual images of your business, products, or services in your GBP.

21. Absence of Crawlable NAP on GBP Landing Page

Similar to the need for crawlable NAP (Name, Address, Phone number) on your website, it’s also crucial to have this information accessible on your GBP landing page. If your NAP is not easily crawlable on the landing page linked to your GBP, it could result in a suspension. This can be avoided by ensuring your NAP is displayed in text format on the landing page, allowing Google to verify your business details quickly.

22. Presence of 3rd Party Reviews of Schema/JSON on Website

Including third-party reviews in your website’s Schema or JSON violates Google’s guidelines and is a GMB Suspension risk factor. Google aims to provide users with accurate and authentic assessments, and including third-party reviews can lead to a suspension. Including only genuine, first-party reviews on your website and GBP is essential.

23. Keyword Stuffing the Title Tag for GBP Landing Page

Just as keyword stuffing in your Google Business name is a violation, stuffing keywords in the title tag of your GBP landing page is also prohibited. This practice can lead to a suspension, as it’s considered an attempt to manipulate search rankings. Your landing page title tag should accurately reflect the page’s content without overloading it with keywords.

24. Quantity of Negative Google Review Attributes

Many negative Google review attributes can be detrimental to your reputation and also are a GMB suspension risk factor. While Google understands that negative reviews are sometimes inevitable, an unusually high volume could trigger a suspension. Responding to negative reviews professionally and resolving issues promptly can reduce the volume of negative review attributes and maintain the integrity of your GBP.

25. Mis-matched Address on GBP Landing Page

Consistency is critical when it comes to the details of your business across all online platforms. Discrepancy, such as a mismatched address between your GBP and your website’s landing page, can trigger a suspension. Google considers such inconsistencies as potentially misleading for users. Always double-check to ensure your business address is identical to your GBP and landing page.

Conclusion

In conclusion, understanding and adhering to Google My Business guidelines is paramount for the digital success of your business. At Momentum Digital, clarity, consistency, and authenticity form the bedrock of a robust online presence. By paying meticulous attention to the accuracy of your information, avoiding common pitfalls like keyword stuffing, category confusion, or the misuse of images, and responsibly managing your customer reviews, you can effectively mitigate GBP suspension risks. 

We are committed to helping you navigate these complexities and develop an impeccable online profile that strengthens your reputation and fosters sustained growth. Remember, in the digital landscape, your momentum is directly proportional to your commitment to transparency and quality. Keep this momentum going, and the digital world is yours to conquer.

Call or contact us if you want Momentum Digital to optimize Your Google Business Profile to increase sales or generate leads.

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“My name is Mac and I used to work for Google. Now I help small businesses grow online and rank higher on Google”