Short Names and Other Reasons for Google My Business Suspensions
July 17, 2019
Many of Google’s recent changes are causing problems on the ground for business owners. A number of Google My Business (GMB) listings were recently suspended after companies added a short name to their profile, with this feature introduced in June as a way to customize local business listings. While not all businesses are getting suspended for adding short names, it is a common theme and an apparent bug in the system. To make things even worse, there are significant delays in reinstating listings after they’ve been suspended.
Suspensions due to short names are not the only problem, with a number of commentators recognizing an overall spike in GMB suspensions and Google Search errors over recent weeks. These issues may be related to Google’s recent efforts to crack down on fraudulent local activity in Maps and GMB, where national and multi-national companies have used virtual local offices as a way to flood local markets across the country. While these efforts are to be corrected, real local shopfronts seem to be getting caught in the crossfire.
Anyone with a virtual local office may be risking all of their profiles as Google is known to penalize users rather than individual listings. While it’s important not to worry too much until Google has found a new balance, even a single fraudulent GMB listing may be putting your entire Google footprint at risk. If your legitimate local listing is being penalized, it’s important to verify your listing and remain patient in the meantime. While the algorithm will learn to discriminate between spam listings and legit local listings in time, this process always takes time and there will be casualties in the meantime.
Common reasons for suspension
There are many other reasons why your GMB listing can get suspended, including quality issues, incorrect physical addresses and contact information, and recent changes that are inconsistent with your listing or business. Most suspension issues are related to local consistency, with a soft suspension due to a lack of verification, and a hard suspension or account suspension due to violation of Google’s guidelines.
The problem, and it’s a common one with Google, is that they often won’t tell you why your listing was suspended. In order to get your listing back, you may need to provide physical proof of the business, along with tax and legal documents that prove your address. If you’re currently facing suspension issues after you added a short name, you can view and remove your name by going to the Info tab within your store’s GMB dashboard.
Chris Tabb is the creator of The Local Lighthouse where he leads tech strategy, activation and measurement of customer facing marketing efforts.
Prior to starting The Local Lighthouse, Chris was the lead technologist at Edelman where he oversaw strategy for top-tier clients including Activision, Cisco, Bush Beans, Netflix, Starz, and T Rowe Price. Chris is also recognized in the marketing space for his experience with data orchestration, tech stack alignment, and customer identity resolution.