A Google My Business (GMB) listing is a vital tool for any small law firm. A prominent GMB listing leads clients directly to your firm and helps them contact you quickly and easily. Google’s local 3-pack includes the three highest-quality, relevant listings in the local search area, meaning that your clients will see your listing and contact information before they see other unpaid search results.
With a GMB listing, potential clients can read your reviews or check out a more detailed profile of your law firm in the knowledge panel. Your Google My Business listing is central to your law firm’s local SEO efforts if you want your lawyers to compete in the local market.
Your GMB listing leads prospective clients to your firm, and it’s a major part of your online branding in Google. With Google My Business you can:
- Appear in the local 3-pack so your brand will appear at the top of the search results before other non-paid results,
- Put your contact information (business address, phone number and website) directly in the search engine results pages (SERP),
- Trigger the knowledge panel (a large sidebar result that shows business information from your GMB listing, a business description, reviews, and more) when someone searches for your firm.
However, Google has guidelines for GMB listings that must be followed carefully to avoid suspension. Suspended listings should be avoided whenever possible for a host of reasons.
- They are difficult and time-consuming to reinstate.
- Your firm could miss out on potential clients and lose money.
- Your firm could appear disreputable and untrustworthy to clients.
My GMB Listing Got Suspended – Now What?
GMB has strict guidelines for business profiles, and simple errors can cause a listing to be suspended. There are two types of suspensions:
- Soft Suspension – Your listing is still visible to the public but no longer verified. It is labeled “suspended,” and you can no longer manage it.
- Hard Suspension – Your listing is removed and cannot be accessed by the public. You will have to appeal to GMB to have it reinstated.
Soft suspensions are easier to remedy. Your first step is to determine why your listing was suspended. Here are some of the most common reasons for a law firm listing to be suspended:
- Your business name includes spammy keywords like your location or your area of law practice. Only use your real-world business name, and make sure it’s consistent with your signage and stationery.
- You have multiple verified listings for the same business. Google only allows you to have one verified listing for each location.
- Your listing uses a “virtual law office” address. You are required to list a physical address that is staffed during regular business hours.
Once you’ve discovered the error that caused your suspension, you can edit it and submit your listing for reinstatement.
I Don’t Know Why My Listing Is Suspended!
Sometimes it’s not that easy to determine the cause of your GMB listing suspension. If you’ve gone through the content guidelines and you can’t identify any errors, consider the other possible causes:
- Your listing may have been reported as spam via Google’s Business Redressal Complaint Form.
- You may share a street address with other similar law firms with only a suite number to distinguish your business addresses.
- You are leasing space from a company that also leases virtual offices (such as Regus), and your staffed, physical office has been mislabeled as a virtual office.
- Your listing may have mistakenly been removed in an algorithmic sweep because it’s listed in a sensitive category.
- The manager, owner, or SEO representative who controls the account was suspended for other reasons.
- The primary owner of your listing deleted their Google account.
- You listed the business as open for 24 hours without staff.
- You added too many keywords to your business name.
- You repeatedly edited the listing in a short period of time (make sure to wait at least 60 seconds between edits).
- You changed the status from Storefront to a Service Area Business.
If none of these scenarios apply, it’s time to contact GMB support. While they rarely tell you exactly why your listing was suspended, they may help you figure out where to look. You may also find support at the Google My Business Help Community.
How Can I Get My Listing Reinstated?
If your listing violated GMB guidelines, you can follow these steps to fix the issue. Once you’ve corrected your mistakes, you’ll have to appeal your suspension using the GMB Local Business Reinstatement Request Form. Then you’ll have to be patient – you may not receive a response from Google for 2-3 weeks.
When you finally hear from Google, they may ask you to prove that your firm is a legitimate business. There are several things you can use to verify your firm:
- Documents that include your address like business licenses, professional licenses and registration with the state,
- Video or photos (video is preferable) that include your signage and street address, or your office suite door with your logo and suite number clearly visible and your staff working in your office,
- Your BBB accreditation information.
Once your proof has been gathered, you may submit it to Google and request reinstatement.
If your GMB listing has been suspended and you need help getting it reinstated, get help from the law firm SEO experts at Paramaya Web Consulting. Contact us at 678-824-5560 or through our contact form.