If you are following the guidelines correctly, Google Business Profile (GBP) suspensions. it should only be for major issues, right? And even restoring your profile shouldn’t take weeks and weeks.
But, for a few weeks in October, it seemed like all it took to get suspended was looking at your GBP the wrong way and the current profile reset response time is almost a month. So what’s going on?
What Happened: A bug caused Google’s business profile suspensions to skyrocket
Ben FisherGoogle Diamond Product Expert and owner of Steady Demand, explained to BrightLocal via email that there were a number of suspension causes at the time:
“Causes of suspension at this time:
- Press the verify button (instant suspension)
- Adding parameters to the website (33% suspended)
- Change times
- Changing a description
- Change of name
- Changing categories
- Change address (this is normal, a little bit)
- Mark yourself ‘temporarily closed’
- I breathe too hard with a pound (OK kidding!)
“Normally when changing GBP, you will have to wait for a review, it will be accepted, it will cause a re-verification or it will suspend the profile. Until a few weeks ago, the number of false positives has grown exponentially. ”
As you can see from our quick Twitter poll, more people have been hit by unprecedented suspensions in the past few weeks.
Have any of your Google Business profiles been suspended recently? 🚫
Let us know 👇
– BrightLocal 🇺🇦 (@brightlocal) September 28, 2022
What has the local SEO community experienced?
Via email and Twitter DM, we spoke with local SEO experts who had been suspended for a variety of small reasons.
Harmony HuskinsonPortent’s Local SEO Specialist told us:
“I was screen sharing with my client when their ad was suspended at the end of September, an agency’s worst nightmare. I was showing them how to update their profile to a more accurate main category and that triggered a hold. I have another client who needs me to add UTM parameters to their URLs for weeks, but that project is on hold until Google fixes this bug.
“At this point, we’ve been waiting for reintegration for three and a half weeks, so we’re only halfway back, probably. I’ve read that people are waiting up to six weeks for a response from Google. The venue that was suspended lost quite a bit of business because of it, they ranked pretty well in their local community and all that progress is undone by this unprecedented suspension. As a marketer whose first priority is helping local businesses see results, I feel pretty stuck.
“They lost a lot of business because of this, from what I’ve heard.”
Ashley Romer of PaperStreet, who works with numerous clients in the legal sector, was equally frustrated by what happened:
“So right now I’m dealing with a client who has multiple locations. She went to add a new location and was immediately suspended. I filed a reinstatement and continue to follow. I believe we are in the fourth week without a resolution.
“Most law firms, especially smaller ones, rely on their Google listing for business. So waiting weeks to get it back online can really cause a strain.”
Bug fixed, but recovery times are still affected
As of the afternoon of Friday 21 October 2022, the suspension bug has been fixed.
“Google just confirmed that the bug causing minor tweaks to activate suspensions should be fixed now.”
through Joy Hawkins on the local search forum:
But reinstatements still take a long, long time. So we talked to the experts about the problem to see what you need to know and what you can do.
Tim CapperGoogle Platinum Product Expert and owner of Online Ownership, states:
“You need to identify the reason for the suspension, resolve the issue and submit a reinstatement request. A long delay in getting a response from your reinstatement request is not the bug. The current response time for a reinstatement request is approximately 25-30 business days. “
Tim explained that the bug occurred when you received a response to your reinstatement request.
A normal answer is:
- We need more information on the business.
- I am happy to confirm that we are able to restore the company profile and no further action is required.
A non-standard response (bug) is:
- This case is sent to a specialist.
- Your profile is active and verified (but it won’t be when you check it out)
While the bug was active, when you replied to one of the previous replies, you received the exact same reply a few days later. So perhaps this can be described more as a reintegration cycle. If that happens, restoring your profile is in the bug cycle!
You may have noticed that GBP displays your case ID and progress on all company support pages, support requests, and even on the support forums home page.
The progress also updates every time you get a non-standard response, so you think a human is viewing your request, but unfortunately not.
Google enterprise product expert Stefano Somborac (from Marketing Metrology), shared the experience he had in helping re-posts on the forum:
“The support team is taking 3-4 weeks to respond to US reinstatement requests. I suspect there is a regional factor here. I solved a Canadian case in 2 weeks and an Australian case solved in less than a week … Recommendation: be patient.
What can you do to avoid reintegration problems?
If you are aiming for reinstatement, all advice strongly recommends doubling, possibly even triple, checking your GBP and the reasons it was suspended. Create a strong case and be sure to provide Google with a thorough explanation, with documentation, that demonstrates why your GBP should be restored.
How Amy TomanLocal SEO at Marketing of digital law and Google Gold Product Expert, explains:
“As responses are progressing slowly, it is best to prepare the case thoroughly before submitting the reinstatement request. Make sure you update your listing to comply with Google’s guidelines, and make sure the supporting documentation is consistent and correct. By providing proof of your listing’s accuracy and compliance with guidelines, you help Google get your listing back online quickly.
“The point is, if you send Google all the information it needs early in the process, the timeline should be shorter.
“More [reinstatements] I see four weeks, but this is my experience, nothing formal from Google. It is not consistent, however; I’ve also seen some take less time, but that’s rare.
Elizabeth ruleLocal SEO Analyst at Sterling Sky and Google Gold Product Expert, echoes Amy’s advice:
“While there is still an average wait of 22 days (or more) to hear about reintegration cases, I anecdotally see faster action taken for companies that have tons of evidence that their business is legitimate and is where. they say they are, compared to companies that don’t have a lot of evidence and say things like “my business has been verified for 5 years with no issues.” That might be true, but if you don’t have definitive evidence, Google is less likely to reinstate you, despite how long you have been verified “.
Joy HawkinsOwner of Sterling Sky, she told us her business was not affected by the suspension bug, but she provided some great advice on how to ensure GBP quality so your profiles won’t be suspended in the future:
“At Sterling Sky, we have not undergone any suspension due to changes and are proceeding normally with our customers. We never suggest making any substantial changes to things like business name, phone number, website, etc. at the same time.
“If you work in spammy industries like locksmiths, drug rehab centers, or personal injury lawyers, be very careful not to submit too many changes to your listing in Google My Business at once or you might activate a suspension. For example, I wouldn’t suggest add attributes, a description of the task and edit categories at the same time. Instead, spread this work out over time and only make one or 2 changes at a time. ”
Our key points from the current issues with suspensions and reinstatements in GBP:
- Before the suspension was fixed, experts advised you not to update your Google business profile unless it was absolutely critical.
- Suspensions occurred for all kinds of basic reasons, sometimes just to click “verify” or perform basic changes.
- Reintegrations still take at least 22 days and in many cases even longer.
- When submitting a reinstatement request, prepare a thorough reinstatement case and double-make sure your listing complies with Google’s guidelines.
Now that the suspension bug has been fixed, things shouldn’t be that bad for local businesses and marketers. It is worth saying that while many suspensions have occurred for seemingly superficial reasons, it is essential to stick to Google’s guidelines for GBP. This is particularly true of the issue of slow reintegration.