An Elephant Sized Nightmare :: UPDATED

by | Jun 14, 2022 | Branding News, Business News | 0 comments

Update: As of 6/26 roughly 2 Business weeks since this nightmare started on June 12th we have successfully resolved our Google Maps search headache. After scouring the databases I uncovered a simple Google TOS agreement that they required since 2021 that states if you have a home business address it requires a permanent signage system displaying your business branding. Without that, they require you to “Clear Your Business Address.” Once I updated this rule, and re-emailed Google My Business they reinstated our account within 1 hour.

I learned of this through reading forums of others who experienced this same issue. So if this helps others great, it’s a simple step you will see next to your info in Google My Business a “Clear Address” button. If you are a home address you’ll need to do this. It takes 3 business days to take effect.

It occurs to me we live at the whim and mercy of technology companies that largely outsource their ability to moderate content to other humans. And this means we rely on people, to a large extent. And people can be biased, and can damage the reputation of a good brand with enough power, will, money, and spare time. It’s called black-hat SEO tactics, and in just a few clicks bad actors can damage your reputation. This occurs simply by someone who’s interested in seeing your business listing lower on the Google Map Search tool that simply writes your business is suspicious under their own moderation tools. Now Google is supposed to verify this. They may make mistakes. It happens. And when it does you like me are fighting a battle to restore your reputation despite having done nothing wrong.


I think it’s important to constantly be vigilant as a business owner of your digital & social reputation. We’re currently walking this path ourselves as someone or some bot flagged our google map search listing as being suspicious. In this day and age where we’re one of the highest ranked branding agencies in South West Florida and with over 22 5 Star Google Rated Reviews it shocked me that it could happen to us.

I guess we’re all in this tight rope together, in 2022-2023 crises like this could happen to you as well. We hope the experience we gain from how we navigate this PR challenge. It’s how we overcome obstacles that define our capabilities and we hope that we can aid others who experience such online reputation challenges in the future. For now, I will share with you what we’ve learned:

If you get delisted from the Google Map Search? Well, it’s most likely to do with a Google TOS ( terms of service ) issue, if you don’t follow their rules they can de-list you. What are the most common reasons? Because someone flagged you for the suspicious activity it just takes a few clicks. Now how do you verify your business after? You have to get all that paperwork about your DBA, or LLC, and send it to prove your address and business name matches your map search listing when you appeal the suspension.

Before you start, however, review their Google Business Guidelines. What I did find infuriating and many of you will too is that you don’t know who reported you ( could be a competitor or anyone ) or why they reported you ( could be that you are #1 and they don’t like it, or it could be they have a personal ax to grind, or possibly you did something they just simply disagreed with and had a personal objective to question. Whatever the case is you will never know, from what we’re told this seems to be a major flaw in this human-moderated system.

We suggest appealing the suspension with Google’s Business team especially if you haven’t done these things:

1. Do not post any content that has intellectual property that is not your own, or without the rights to publish on your own site.

2. Do not post an offer on your google site that can not be redeemed in a fashion they deem logical.

3. You inaccurately listed the address of your DBA or LLC or Corporation or misrepresented your business name.

4. If you are a HOME BUSINESS and DO NOT HAVE PERMANENT SIGNAGE then you must “Clear Your Address” from the Google My Business Info section of your listing. This is what worked for us.

Lesson to take away: Be vigilant, someone may have a personal ax to grind, or your competition may engage in black-hat SEO tactics so always review your google my business listings notices. And while Google is important review all of your reviews, and respond thoughtfully without hastiness. Most importantly if you get de-listed get documentation to back up everything about your business you can have to wait 72 hours for Google to respond. You may as well prepare the best defense possible.

PR challenges can be a nightmare, but automated systems like the one we’re appealing are even more difficult than the regular PR challenges. Just remember to breathe and don’t overreact and the process will resolve with your organization, pertinency, and patience.

Alright, nitty-gritty – This video covers this subject they are specific to make sure you submit your ANNUAL REPORT for your LLC directly or your DBA license paperwork directly to google for appealing a suspension. The specific, name, address, and mailing address of a utility bill should all be in alignment. I am not aware of this detail however this video does cover specifically HOW this occurs. Predominately it’s up to humans who could be competition even, that want your google listing DOWN. Why? because their selfish and don’t think about the consequence it has on you, your family, your partners, your employees, etc.

The video is not PG, so if you don’t appreciate frankness don’t listen to this guy. I also don’t advertise his services or promote them, I am simply showing you what is occurring as a business owner to another business owner if you are reading this message this far.

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