Getting featured in the Google 3-pack is critically important for lead generation and brand awareness because this is where the visibility lies. This real estate is even more powerful than the organic listings because whenever a Maps listings appear for specific keyword searches, you are featured above the organic listings. The reviews that are featured with your listings in the pack are powerful social proof, all of which makes getting featured in the 3-pack an absolute necessity for most local businesses.
You need a well-optimized Google My Business page to be featured in the pack, and Google’s guidelines are more stringent today than ever before.
If you violate any of the rules and guidelines, your listing will be suspended and this may also have some impact on your organic search ranking, mainly beause of the blended algorithms. This could have a significant impact on your organic search ranking on the major search engines.
If your listing has been suspended, there’s no point contacting Google to find out why you got suspended because they will not respond to any messages or requests until you identify and correct whatever infractions you may have made in your listing. Only then should you submit a reinstatement request for Google to review your suspended listing.
Here are the top reasons why Google suspends a Google My Business page
Your business is not eligible for a GMB listing.
This is the most common reason why Google suspends a GMB listing. Google recently updated its terms of service to clarify which businesses are eligible for a listing on GMB. One of the most common mistakes people tend to make is creating a GMB page when their business model makes them ineligible to do so.
For example, if your business is an online business such as an eCommerce store, then you are not eligilble to create a Google My Business page because you do not make in-person contact with your customers as part of your day-to-day business as Google requires. In these circumstances, instead of a Google My Business page, you should be creating a Google+ brand page.
If you are not eligible to create a GMB page but do so anyway and Google finds out that you don’t serve customers at a physical location, your entire business listing and content will be removed from Google including your videos, photos and any reviews you have accummulated. There’s no point submitting a reinstatement request because your business lising was never eligible to be on Google Maps in the first place.
You are using a virtual office address in a different region.
If you’re using a virtual office address as an actual office address, your business is not eligible for a GMB listing. For example, if you already have a physical office address in London and get a virtual office addres in Manchester in order to generate leads in Manchester, you cannot create a GMB for your Manchester location, according to the newly updated guidelines which states:
If your business rents a temporary, “virtual” office at a different address from your primary business, do not create a page for that location unless it is staffed during your normal business hours.
You run an ongoing service or class in a building that you don’t own.
This applies to businesses that rent office space for very limited periods during the day. For example, if you’re any type of instructor and you rent an office in a building for a few hours a week, you’re not eligible to create a GMB page.
Your business type is not allowed on Google Plus.
If you sell any type of regulated goods, there are additional rules and guidelines you must follow in order to maintain a verified listing on Google Plus. These include alcohol, gambing, pharmaceuticals, tobacco, weapons, firewors, unapproved supplemnets, and health/medical devices. Google states that these types of goods are allowed on Google+ if geographic and age restrictions have been set. If you sell any of these types of goods and have had your listing suspended, you will have to set the restrictions and then submit a reinstatement request to Google.
You have added keywords or unnecessary characters to your business name field.
Getting your Google My Business name right is absolutely essential. It is highly recommended that your business matches what you call your business. In addition, you should use a business name that is verifiable in any publicly listed record.
Adding keywords, marketing taglines, symbols, information about your business, products or services, store codes, business hours, URLs, etc. to your company name in a bid for whatever reason would be against Google’s terms of service, and will only get your listing suspended.
Examples of keyword stuffed business names:
- “Lucy’s Wedding Dresses – Wedding Dresses & Gowns. Cheap Bridal Shop”
- “Joe’s Plumbing – Central Heating, Leaking Taps, Boiler Installation.”
- “Bob’s Travel Agency: London, Paris, New York – Hotels, Flights & more.”
While it’s not advisable to stuff extra keywords to a business name, in some cases you can rename your business name to contain your target keywords, which would be a more optimised name for your business.
For example, if you are an electrician based in Hendon, London, you could choose to call yourself Hendon Plumbing & Heating. This is going to more closely match what people search for because people in Hendon are more likely to search for “Hendon Plumber”, rather than something like “London Plumber”.
If you have added keywords or any other unnecessary characters to your business name and it has been suspened, remove the offending keywords and then submit a reinstatement request to Google.
You’re a service-area business and didn’t hide your address.
If you serve your customers at their location rather than them coming to you, then Google requires you to hide your business address. For example, if you’re a plumber or locksmith and never see customers at your place of work, your address should be hidden on your Google My Business page.
Here’s what the guideline says:
Service-area businesses—businesses that serve customers at their locations—should have one page for the central office or location and designate a service area from that point. Service-area businesses can’t list a “virtual” office unless that office is staffed during business hours.
If you’re a service-area busines and your address is featured in your listing, Google will remove the listing entirely, along with any reviews, photos and videos you may have posted. You may however submit a reinstatement request if you have built up a solid history with the page. Otherwise you can simply create another listing that follows the guidelines.
Your website field contains a redirection
If you the URL that you originally used to setup your GMB listing has changed, you’ll need to upate your listing with the new URL. If you leave the old URL that has been setup to redirect users to your new URL, your GMB page iwll be suspended. In this case, simply make the correction and submit a reinstatement request.