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Did your GBP just get suspended? Don't worry.

This blog will walk you through the how and the why your business got removed by Google.

Let’s be real. If you’re even a little bit invested in Google Maps SEO and operating a Google Business Profile, you know how volatile the whole platform is. 

From the excruciating verification process at the very beginning to editing your profile’s information in an effort to get more eyeballs and then having those edits rejected, it’s not as “easy” and “simple” as Google likes to portray it.

Many moving business owners may even experience automatic edits from Google with their business hours, phone number, and even a website, all possibly being switched with other data that Google finds “more accurate” based on the various 3rd party sources of information they use to keep Maps up to date.

Now, logging in and fixing that is annoying.

But then there is the dreaded suspension. 

gbp suspension

Yup, exactly.

If you’ve ever had your Google Business Profile (or GBP for short) suspended, you know how hard (and more importantly, slow) it is to get your business back on Maps. 

What stings is that this event is not just a plain inconvenience. It directly affects your moving company’s online reach, reputation, and revenue. Having your GBP suspended means all of your Google reviews are gone, along with photos, videos, and content you have been publishing to your GBP for weeks, months, or even years in an effort to get more business.

In today’s post, we’ll show you how to reinstate your suspended GBP (or GBPs if you’re a multi-location business) step-by-step, along with how to speed up the whole process and pointing out the potential issues you may encounter along the way. 

You want to pay attention to this, especially because Google has recently made some serious changes to their GBP reinstatement process, making it even harder for businesses to get their profiles back.

So if you’re someone who has put a lot of time and effort into their GBP and recently experienced a suspension, you’ll want to stick around until the end of this post because we’re going to show you the easiest solution to this whole saga.

Without any further ado, let’s get right into it!

Why Should You Care About Your GBP

Some of you may be like, “Wait, I don’t really care about my old GBP. I’ll just open a new one”. And that is great!

If you haven’t put much or even any work into your GBP and want to do that, go for it. But note that the new video verification process can be equally as challenging as the reinstatement process at times.

And it’s simply not worth it if you’ve got even a little bit of “prominence” built up in your old GBP listing – reviews and brand recognition – because you’ll have to rebuild that, which can take months.

And then some of you may even be like, “I couldn’t care less about my GBP at all. I don’t even have a Maps location to begin with”.

Now, that, dear friend, is a problem. A problem that, surprisingly, many moving business owners still have, but a problem nonetheless. 

It’s not just movers, though. Around 56% of all retailers have yet to claim their Google Business Profile!

An average business gets discovered around 1,000 times per month on Google Maps. These discoveries result in an action – a call, a direction request, or a website visit – around 5% of the time.

And this is just for an average location on Google Maps. Learn more about how much money you can make if you invest just a little bit more effort into your SEO compared to your competition in one of our previous blogs:

Wait, how should I claim my GBP?

That’s a topic for another day, as GBP verification poses its own unique set of challenges. Let’s stick to the GBP suspension reinstatement process for now.

Now, what happens when your GBP gets suspended is that all of this revenue gets wiped away. Your business immediately stops being displayed on Maps, and one of the most lucrative lead generation sources of the 21st century is turned off for your moving company. 

Not all hope is lost, though. Know that most GBP suspensions are Google’s mistake. And we’ll now tell you why this happens.

Why GBPs Get Suspended

You may be staring at your computer screen and wondering, “Wait, why me? I’ve done nothing wrong”. And you’re likely right.

But the answer is that somebody else has done something wrong. 

Google Maps and the Google Business Profile platform, although they may seem cookie-cutter and innocent to most, are full of spam. You’ve probably even noticed it yourself. 

Companies are opening up a bunch of additional locations on GBP when you’re only meant to have one. This makes the playing field unequal for the parties involved, as some players are breaking the rules. 

Why are they doing this?

It’s simple. They recognize the value of GBPs (the value we’ve just gone over). They recognize that value very well. And this is why they open, verify, and rank multiple GBPs – to blanket their local area and get all of the leads for themselves.

That’s the level of competition you’re up against. And although it’s not fair, you technically can’t do anything about it besides reporting the locations you believe are fake.

Besides that, it’s all on Google, and they’ve been consistently taking action for years, as this spam has been happening longer than you may think. 

Unfortunately for us fair players, Google doesn’t get rid of spam manually but rather algorithmically. This means that it’s not a real person looking at your GBP and deciding to suspend it; it’s a bot. 

Google has developed various spam filtering algorithms to help address fake locations. Some are good, but most are bound to affect legit, hard-working businesses that have just struck a bit of bad luck.

Here are some of the actions that can trigger a GBP suspension:

  • Making too many GBP edits at the same time.
  • Editing your GBP’s critical information – your business name, address, and category.
  • Making edits during Google updates.
  • Logging into your GBP account, AKA your Gmail, from multiple IP addresses.
  • Having too many manager/owner accounts.
  • Managing another location under the same Gmail account that Google finds suspicious, resulting in an all-out sweep of every GBP under that Gmail.
  • And nothing. Yup, sometimes you may just wake up and see that your profile has been suspended. This is, unfortunately, a reality for many businesses each year.

Unfortunately for you, the every-day moving business owner who has no time or wishes to spend hours of your valuable time researching this stuff, you have no way of knowing any of these potential triggers. 

Google’s explanations for most of the stuff they’re doing are pretty vague and, at times, useless.

gbp suspension email

This email serves only the purpose of notifying you of the suspension, but not much more than that.

One can only realize these after a lot of time spent managing, editing, and ranking many GBP profiles, like our experienced SEOs here at Rotate Digital, for example.

How to Fix a GBP Suspension Step By Step

Let’s now get into the actual steps to take after a GBP suspension.

1. Revert the Triggers Mentioned

Look at the triggers we’ve gone over and try to remember if you’ve performed one, or more, of them.

If you’ve made name changes, for example, the suspension is likely a result of those changes.

Simply revert your GBP to the version it was prior to the suspension (bring back the old name, remove the new owner account you may have added, etc.).

If you’re sure that you’ve made no mistakes or can’t remember, it’s okay. Just remember this:

Your GBP details should match the official company details of your business entity; this is primarily for the name and address of your GBP.

This step will aid you in the suspension process, as you’ll know what actually caused the suspension, and then you’ll be able to make the necessary changes and issue an apology message to Google addressing the trigger and saying you won’t do it again. This brings us to…

2. Initiate the Reinstatement Process

Old Way

The way you’d do this before was by filling out this form right here:

This reinstatement process, although it seems to have involved just answering a few questions at first glance, was actually pretty chaotic. Here’s why:

  • You could apply as many times as you wanted, and Google couldn’t filter out multiple applications for one suspended location.
  • After application, you’d receive an automated reply email from Google with an indication that they’d get back to you in no more than 3 business days. Of course, this has rarely happened because of the overwhelming workload of their Maps support team.
  • Slow response times meant that business owners eventually got impatient, leading them to apply once again.
  • This cycle continued, and it didn’t provide any satisfying results for both Google and numerous business owners who lost their GBPs.

However, just recently, in September 2023, Google started rolling out a completely new workflow for reinstating your profile with the goal of solving this problem.

New Way

new gbp reinstatement process

This form follows several steps, and here are the key aspects. This is perhaps the most important part of this entire blog:

  • You only have ONE chance to submit this reinstatement form. Otherwise, if you fail to complete this properly, your request will not be processed.
  • You have no more than 60 MINUTES to complete this workflow and provide accurate evidence ONCE you’ve initiated the “reinstatement wizard” (so only AFTER you’ve selected the suspended location in the account). 
  • The workflow will incur some additional changes in the following months to enhance the experience.

In an effort to assemble a new reinstatement process that should be more helpful to business owners, Google seems to have forgotten who their target audience actually is – every day mover who has no idea of these key aspects nor what caused the suspension in the first place.

So, if you’re reading this blog, you’re lucky because now you can prepare properly for the reinstatement while your competition will fail in the process and therefore leave more tableroom for your company to dominate on Maps. 

But, first, you have to get the reinstatement done right, which brings us to the next step.

3. Provide Proof

After the last screenshot you’ve seen above, you’ll be prompted to select your suspended location and then provide evidence. Again, note that after you’ve selected the GBP you want to reinstate, there is no going back. You also have only 60 minutes to get the workflow done.

So, it’s best to have evidence ready right away. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Official business details from your state (company formation letter, annual filings, DBA documentation).
  • Original utility bills (make sure they’re the most recent): internet bill, electricity bill, gas bill, trash bill, sewage bill, water bill, etc. Make sure the name and address MATCH the GBP name and address EXACTLY. So if you’ve forgotten to add your suite number to your GBP, now is the time to do it. The more, the better provide all the bills you have.
  • Moving license documentation with your company name. 
  • Rental invoice from your landlord with your BUSINESS name and address.
  • If you can provide a certificate of insurance moving (COI), use that too.

Again, when it comes to GBP reinstatement evidence, the more, the better. Don’t just provide one of these pieces of evidence; provide all of them. Pack them up in a .zip file and upload them to Google’s workflow. 

That’s it. This is your one shot. Make sure you take all of the necessary steps so that you can ensure a successful reinstatement of your GBP.

Remember, if you skim this process and try to do as little as possible, you may not be able to get your GBP back, along with the dozens or even hundreds of reviews you’ve assembled over the years of doing business.

How to Prevent Another GBP Suspension

Got your GBP back? Amazing! Congratulations.

Now, it’s still not over. You have to make sure you don’t experience this again.

Note that GBPs that Google has already reinstated have some sort of algorithmic “trust” with Google. They should be less likely to be suspended in the future.

However, this doesn’t mean you should be reckless after reinstatement. Here are the things you want to keep in mind:

  • Do NOT add any sort of keyword or additional information to your business name.
  • If you’ve got to change the address, first add the Service Area that encompasses both of the addresses involved (the old and the new address). After you’ve done that, wait for a day or two. Then just remove the old address (essentially making your GBP stand without an address) and leave it like that for a week. This is unlikely to affect your performance a lot, if at all. After the week has passed, add the new address.
  • If you want to change your number, first add the new number as a secondary number. After a few days, switch the old and new numbers. In another few days, you can remove the old number if you wish (or you can simply leave it; it won’t be displayed either way).
  • When it comes to categories, apply the same principle as you would with the numbers. Add the category you want as secondary. Wait a week. Switch between old and new categories. Wait for another week. Then remove the old category. The categories you’re switching HAVE to be relevant to each other – you can’t switch from “Mover” to “Roofing contractor”.
  • Do NOT do any of the aforementioned edits at the same time. Only do them one at a time and wait AT LEAST a week between each major change.
  • Do NOT add more than one new Owner or Manager account in the same week.
  • Do NOT log in from more than one new IP address/device in the same week.
  • Do NOT manage more than one GBP with the same Gmail account.
  • Do NOT make ANY edits during Google updates. How should you know when Google updates are happening? Well, you can either follow their Twitter account or have someone professional and experienced in SEO manage your GBP.

GBP Guidelines

All of these suggestions come from our own experience. Of course, you can also read Google’s policy and what actions violate it. This will help you be perfectly intact with all of their requests and what they want you to avoid doing.

Again, note that some of Google’s explanations can seem pretty vague, but this link has the best insights into how they want you to operate.

Conclusion - The Easiest Solution for All of Your GBP Problems

And this brings us to the easiest way to handle everything we’ve gone over so far – reinstatement, edits, and overall SEO of your GBP profile – a team of SEO Experts behind your business

Any SEO worth their wage has done each of these processes countless times, generating incredible results for our clients. It’s not rocket science, but it does take a skilled hand and precise timing.

If you’ve hired an SEO Agency to help your business grow, ask them about where your business stands in regards to all of the GBP changes and reinstatement process. Ask them what proactive steps have been taken to secure your GBP, your greatest asset on Google’s Search Engine.

We hope this guide was helpful to you. Of course, if you have any questions, just book a call with us.