What Do I Do if My Google Business Listing is Suspended?
In this week's episode we detail the steps you should take when your Google listing gets suspended!
Here are the steps we outlined:
Call Google immediately: Talk to a specialist here.
Fill out "Google My Business local business reinstatement request."
Follow their instructions and ask for an email response so you have a record.
Adam: Hey Jamie. All right, we're ready to go. Ready to go. What do we got this week? So this week I wanted to answer the question which some of my clients have undergone is what do I do if my Google business listing has been suspended? That happens. How in the world would that happen? Well earlier this year it happened to I would say thousands upon thousands upon thousands of people and their businesses. How it happened was Google sent out an email that said, Hey, we have this new feature. It's called a short name feature. And you're going to now be able to have an act whatever magnified media business is name for. So that way you can ask for reviews, point people more to your site. It becomes more kind of like a Facebook or Twitter kind of thing where you have an act next year name.
Adam: So when people did that, Google immediately suspended them. And it was a nightmare for a lot of businesses. Sounds like in traffic. Well actually what happened? What happens? Google is kind of a large company. If you didn't know, but what happened is right around the same time, the wall street journal came out with this article that excoriated Google about the rank and rent basically listings that are inundating Google. These are fake businesses. So it's not really a business, it's more like a call center or a lead generator. And so they're not actually providing the service when you call, which is against Google's terms of service. So what the wall street journal pointed out is there, Google is turning a blind eye to these fake businesses and the consumers are suffering because of it. So there would be like a solar company there and they'd have a fake website, and then that fake website would call up other local solar companies and say, Hey bro, I got like a 10 leads per day and I'll sell you those leads for 120 a day, or 120 for six of them.
Adam: Or you can just buy this fake website and this fake Google listing and I'll change the number over the years. So now you're on two or three places on Google. So for a lot of businesses that was really, really tempting and it still goes on, but dozens of those emails every week. So do I anyone who's been in any business for a little while anyway, you'll start getting these. If you have a website you just gotta be really, really clear and understand that if you're going to take that risk, you can definitely do that. But the way these rank and rent websites or businesses run is they give you a discount for buying a year in advance. And so you'll have this digital billboard is what they call them and you'll have it for a year. They'll give you a discount on that year, but Google can definitely suspend them right away.
Adam: When they find out and your competitors, if they're savvy enough, they'll spot these and they'll report you to Google, you'll get suspended anyway. Normal businesses were kind of caught up in this this net where Google just basically said any changes we require re verification of your business. So if this has happened to you, you've changed your address, your phone number your name, just a little, any of those little things, even actually just approved of a Google review, like a approved of a Google edit that someone else's that Google is recommending. You can get tat, you can get your business instantly suspended. So what that means is your business won't be on Google anymore. So that is possible. Some people couldn't Google me, they would, they could Google you, they just wouldn't find you and no one would call you. And that would S that that can, that's, we had clients who this happened to.
Adam: It was quite a blow and there's no real recourse. So in this podcast, I just want to go quickly through if that happens you're going to call Google my business immediately. So you can look in our show notes. I'll, we'll put up the link to that. Uonce you go through their process, it's really fast actually, that you'll put in your number. They'll call you right away. You'll unfortunately probably talk to a call center in India and they'll tell you the same thing. They'll say, yeah, it's the algorithm. Hmm. Maybe they copied Yelp. We can't control that. They'll say, but we will kick this up to our specialists and they'll be sure to review your business. Now make sure that, and then they might give you some other steps to fill out. One of the other steps, we'll put it in the show notes as well as there's something called a Google reinstatement form that they put up and you'll type in your business information, you'll submit that and then it'll go into their circular in-basket
Adam: But they'll ask if you did that. And so you can say, yes, I did. The other things they're going to ask you, or they may not ask you. It's good if you have all this prepared anyway. If your business name is different than your Google name. So you want to make sure that you have some kind of DBA, some kind of official documentation that says, my business name is this DBA, is this. So that way if it's a name thing, then you can fit. They can see that. Another thing they'll ask for is a utility bill at that address. They'll also ask for signage, photos of signage. And what they need is photos of signs outside and inside your business with your business sign on it. So if you're a regular brick and mortar, that's no big deal. Make sure that it has your, you know, if you have hours posted on the outside of your, your business, take a picture of that.
Adam: If then they're going to also ask you to do a video. So there, take your phone from the outside, walk into your business, open the door, say hello to everybody. Make sure that you're getting your signage and your place of business in that video. If you're in an office building, you're and you can tell them, Hey, I'm an office building. They're going to say, give us a picture of your directory listing. So if you have a mailbox downstairs, take a picture of that. Make sure that you know, inside your mailbox. Get one of those old sticky creators and just type, you know, or a sticker, even put your sticker put that sticker inside that mailbox, have your business name on it. Take a picture of that. Then take a picture of the outside of your office with your sign, hopefully. And that is usually sufficient. Holy moly. Now, once you have all that, so when you're talking to that Google representative, you're going to ask them, give me your email address or actually email me, send me an email to tell me what to do. So that way you have somewhere to email all this stuff. So w and then it does and then what they're gonna say is, okay, we'll get back to you in a few days.
Adam: Then you never hear again. Pretty much. No, you won't hear from them again. So you're going to call them again. You're going to say, Hey, what's going on? And they're going to say, we kicked this up to the specialists, the specialists that are looking at it. Our lead time now is not three days. It's a one to two weeks. Then you're going to call them again in one to two weeks and they're going to say our lead time now is four to six weeks. So when you're in this hell hole of worried about this, of worrying about this, then it, it's, it's very, very, very frustrating. So before any of this happens to you or your business, do all, get all this stuff ready first and upload it to your Google my business account. Meaning in your Google my business account. Under photos, there's a place where you have interior photos, exterior photos, so make sure to upload those, those exterior photos, upload the interior photos.
Adam: 10 of each is what we recommend. Make sure that those, those photos and those videos, especially the photos are taken with your cell phone. Because when that happens, the data from that photo will go up and it will be also included in the information that Google looks at for your business, the longitude and latitude. So it's another way that your vote, your, your location is verified. And Google loves this. So I'm not saying that will protect you, but it couldn't hurt. And once it's up there, you can always point that Google rep to that stuff and say, Hey, we already did a video. Hey, here's our signage. It's all out there. What's going on? And then they can you can kind of please, please, please, what would you do? Kind of a B act really dumb but really needy and you know, you could really help me, that kind of stuff.
Adam: You can kind of convince that person because it is a person and you just go, they can someone in Google can click the unsuspend button for you. So we're hitting 30 more seconds. Yes, you have to give everyone as your parting thoughts do this before it happens. So get all that stuff ready. So all the photos, the videos, especially your utility bills, copy of your lease, that kind of stuff. Just keep it somewhere where you can easily take a photo of it. But the other stuff, make sure your, it, your Google, my business listing is filled out. If you're really worried, there's there are some services like local Viking you can look up that, it'll be in the show notes. They have a safe API that Google doesn't generally suspend if you make changes. But just be really, really careful when you're changing stuff. It's kind of like a minefield. It is, and there's no, there's no way to really know if it's going to happen. So be careful prepare for it. And if you have any other questions, you can definitely send us a message through our Facebook page and we'll try and help.
Jaime: All right, that's great. Those are all amazing information and we'll wrap it up here. So hopefully everyone is enjoying this podcast. If you are kindly leave us a review on iTunes and anywhere else that you're listening to the podcast so we can keep it going.
Adam: All right, that sounds great. Thanks everybody. All right, thanks Adam. Bye.