Nothing is more frustrating to a business owner than to hear that they don’t show up in Google searches. That could potentially make the difference between success and failure. To make it worse, Google won’t tell you that you got suspended or even why. In their defense, if they did this, those who like to manipulate things to their benefit (read that “rule breakers”) would just figure out ways around it.
While it is possible to appeal to have the suspension lifted, it may be just as easy to delete the listing and create a new one. Either way, it’s best to avoid violating Google’s rules to avoid future problems. (Go to https://support.google.com/business/answer/3038177?hl=en for full guidelines.) Below are nine reasons why your business may not be showing up in Google searches.
1. Your website field contains a forwarding URL
Using phone numbers or URLs that redirect or ‘refer’ users to landing pages is prohibited.
2. You are adding extra keywords to your business name field
Adding unnecessary information to your name is not permitted.
3. You are a service-area business that didn’t hide your address
According to Google’s guidelines on service-area businesses, you should only show your address if customers show up at your business address. Violation of this results in a hard suspension, since the listing was not eligible to show up on Google Maps based on the Map Maker guidelines.
4. You have multiple verified listings for the same business
I often find this has happened accidently. People who are trying their best to handle their own marketing get overwhelmed and may not always understand all the online marketing tools. I had a client who created a Gmail account using one set of login info, and a google docs account with another, not realizing one google account covers both (and more). Let’s face it, this stuff gets confusing at times, even for the best of us.
5. Your business type is sensitive or not allowed on Google Plus
Obviously, things like illegal drug sales would be on this list, but regulated goods are also subject to suspension unless they set geographic and age restrictions.
6. You created a listing at a virtual office or mailbox
If your business rents “virtual” office at a different address from your primary business, it is important to know that you Google guidelines clearly prohibit creating a page for that location unless it is staffed during your normal business hours. While you may want your business to rank in multiple towns, the penalty, if Google finds out, is a hard suspension.
7. You created a listing for an online business without a physical storefront
The first rule for eligible businesses is that they must make in-person contact with customers.
8. You run a service or class that operates in a building that you don’t own
Example: An AA group that meets at a local church would not be eligible for a listing on Google Maps. According to the guidelines, “Ineligible businesses include: an ongoing service, class, or meeting at a location that you don’t own or have the authority to represent.”
9. You didn’t do anything wrong, but filters for your industry are tighter which can lead to unwarranted suspensions.
It’s a headache, but you can fight to get the suspension lifted.