Due to a new piece of EU legislation, Google will now start to let businesses know of local listing suspensions, and the notifications will be sent out globally.
Up to now, you would only find out a Google My Business (GMB) listing was suspended when you logged into your GMB account. By that time you may have already seen a dramatic fall in web traffic, conversions and sales.
We’ve all been there. When we’re working on GMB listings there have been occasions when we’ve only caught a suspension a day or two after the suspension has taken place. It’s really difficult to manage and not a great conversion to have with a client. And those businesses that manage their own GMB listings can find it takes days before they’ve discovered the drop and it can leave them feeling hugely desperate.
Fortunately, as part of the new legislation, business owners will get notified by emails. Unfortunately, Google still won’t tell you exactly when you’ve been suspended. Still, it’s better than nothing I suppose!
here’s the confirmation from Mike Blumenthal about the EU transparency law changes:
Yes. Starting today, in an effort to comply with European transparency laws, Google will be actively notifying users of location and account suspensions
— Mike Blumenthal (@mblumenthal) July 13, 2020
In addition to the email, there will also be a link to the Google My Business Reinstatement Request Form.
Of course, this is Google and nothing is as straight forward as just being told you’ve got to do something about your SEO. There are a couple of suspension types you need to consider when thinking about Google My Business. These are Hard Suspensions and Soft Suspensions. The suspensions that result in your listing being completely removed are Hard Suspensions, whereas the ones that result in the GMB listing are still online, but the owner can’t manage them are Soft Suspensions.
Quite a lot of why this do this is to stop people spamming Google Maps and doing loads of spammy local SEO. I remember back in the day about 10 years ago when Google Maps was really bad, it was forever falling over because people were able to get random listings on there and because the datasets were all out of sync. We’re a long way from that, but no doubt, Google will remember those bad old days and be determined never go back.
If you get a suspension email, our advice would be to take your time before you press send on that reinstatement request. You’re going to want to try to figure out why it’s been suspended and actually do something that will help it come back on stream.
The problem with being overreactive when it comes to GMB listings is you risk losing all the relevant content from your GMB listing. Take your time and get it right and you should have your listing back within a few days.
Since the beginning of local SEO the most common mistake with Google My Business is incorrect address and business names. That’s probably because back in the day people used to change the address to be in the centre of a town or include the town name in the business title.
And Google can also get it wrong and to be honest, that happens a lot.
Whilst it’s got to be a good thing that Google has moved one step closer to more transparency in the way Google My Business works, it would be extra handy if Google could provide some indication as to what the problem is with the listing in the first place.
Let us know if you do need any help with your Local SEO and your Google My Business listings.