Is your Google Merchant Center account suspended for any of the below reasons?
- Untrustworthy promotions
- Misrepresentation of self or product
- Unacceptable business practices
- Violation of shopping ads policy
Then this extensive checklist guide will be of great use.
Before you request a review from Google, any action you take with Google, ie: call, chat, appeals, or review requests, are permanently recorded on your account. Repeated requests without resolving any issues can do more harm than good. Therefore I offer a complete Google Merchant Center Suspension Check-Up Service. However, if you are confident in determining the problem yourself, then continue reading.
As of April 2020, Google has ramped up suspending accounts for misrepresentation of self or product. Google is now using 3rd party tools to check your trust factor. Below a list of common issues related to this type of suspension.
Do not create a new website and or Google Merchant Center account. Doing this will put you in a potential lifetime ban.
Do not request reviews when you have not resolved all policy violations.
Business Details VS Payment Details
Ensure your business details match the payment details on all platforms. Especially all Google platforms.
Only have one Google Ads and One Google Merchant Center account. Creating multiple accounts when suspended is considered circumventing policy violations.
Only have one website linked to your business. Only in certain situations can you have multiple websites. In general, suspended merchants have multiple websites for no valid reason other than to gain an unfair advantage.
If you already have existing suspensions on other accounts, you must first resolve these issues before resolving your additional accounts’ problems.
Track Record of Order Fulfillment
Make sure you generate reviews from orders placed on your website. Ensure all reviews are genuine, and you have a mix of positive and negative reviews.
If you get reviews that are not verified from a purchase, remove the review.
Make sure your phone number is answered during business hours listed on the website and Google My Business.
Your business premise must have the ability to accept packages and legal documents. And have someone at the premises during business hours listed on the website and Google My Business.
Track all availability, pricing, applicable taxes, and shipping policies accurately and listed on the website.
Validate and or confirm you have the appropriate reseller license and certificates from your distributor.
Verify product status, is “in stock “or “out of stock”, and that the availability is verified with actual stocked goods—both on your website and in your data feed.
Avoid frequent availability changes during one day. Google requires stable availability information.
When ordering products, make sure no one can purchase more volume than what you stock. For example, do not allow customers to order 1000 products when you only have 20 in stock.
As with the availability status, make sure you have accurate product pricing and are up to date in the data feed and that Google has collected this info.
Only list 1 product price. If you have multiple products, consider submitting different landing pages for each product.
Don’t Sell Products You Can’t Deliver
Don’t sell products you can not deliver to the customer. And don’t sell products you can not deliver within 1.5 weeks.
Make sure to not copy-paste the same images and text from the manufacturer and or other resellers. At the moment, it seems identical to any other reseller. You will increase the quality of your ranking by taking your images and writing quality content.
Copying content from others will also lower your trust score.
Google may see you as low quality due to not adding additional or different content. The reason behind this is that Google wants to provide users with good listings and user experience. Therefore, if you are not different from any other merchant, there is no benefit.
BTW: just as a side note, this is also for organic listings. You can rank better by having your own content.
Generally, PopUps are not allowed. For example, a pop-up or banner blocks or covers important content and or information for your customers. Instead, have a small icon in the bottom corners that show/hide the newsletter subscription.
Don’t have site-wide discounts when you have never sold the item at its original price. Listing discounts when they are not real is considered misleading.
Do not mislead, make false claims or statements. Such as:
- If you are selling healthcare, medicine, or supplements, remove any claims or statements not approved by the target country government body.
- If you a reseller and not an official partner, do not show images or quotes that you are.
- Don’t suggest you have certificates when you don’t
Starting from August 2021, you can show only one contact method on your contact page. Before this policy update, you were required to show 2 out of 3.
However, this does not change the trust factor. By providing more contact methods and reliable publicly available information allows you to show more trust signals.
My recommendation is to make sure to add the following info to your contact page linked in the footer of all pages:
- Business Address (PO boxes or Virtual addresses are generally not allowed)
- Email Address (Use the email that is the same as the domain, ie do not use Gmail or Hotmail, etc.) Make sure the email link is clickable (for example: <a href=”mailto:[email protected]”>[email protected]</a>)
- Telephone Number
- Business Hours (even for online businesses)
- Contact Form
- Social links (Facebook, Twitter, …)
As of April 2020, Google uses 3rd party tools to verify the trustworthiness of your business. So by adding all the above, you increase your trust factor.
More info: https://support.google.com/merchants/answer/6150244
Also add the physical business address, telephone number and email address in the footer of all pages. And if possible also your business registration number.
Make sure to also add your exact same business address in Google Merchant Center > Wrench > Business Information > About Your Business
Do not add FAQ’s to the contact page, separate this on a FAQ dedicated page.
Make sure the below links are visible and accessible to anyone on a desktop, tablet or smartphone.
- return & refund page
- delivery / shipping page
- terms and conditions
Delivery / Shipping Page
Add a delivery page with your handling time, estimated delivery time, pricing, and warehouse location. Make sure to write the information clearly, and it can be easily read.
Link this page in the footer of all pages.
Terms and Conditions Page
This is a rather technical page and should be written by professionals/lawyer. Some eCommerce platforms, such as Shopify, have a template available for you to use.
Link this page in the footer of all pages.
The terms and conditions page is a technical page and should be written by professionals/lawyer.
Link this page in the footer of all pages.
Returns & Refund Page
The return policy should be based on the delivery day. Not purchase day. The reason is that an item could theoretically be in transit beyond the return policy days, meaning a consumer can never return the goods. In this case, it is considered dishonest. So make sure to mention it on delivery day.
Under what circumstances you offer a return. For each of the listed items below, you need to explain what happens for each scenario.
- To cancel an order
- Damaged on arrival
- Faulty manufacturing or broken after use (What is your warranty)
- They changed their mind
- For an exchange
- Or it’s a wrong product
Explain the initial steps a user must take to initiate a return, such as do they need to call you, do they email you, or do they need to submit a contact form?
Also, explain what documents they need to show and if they need to take a picture of the product.
Also, explain the complete steps to initiate a return, such as an address, email process, what info they need to give you, etc.
Do not mention things you don’t sell. For example, don’t mention flowers if you don’t sell flowers.
This policy page seems to be a copy-paste from somewhere else. You need to write a professional policy page. To do this, contact a lawyer or policy professional.
Explain when your user can expect a refund and if the refund is to their card, item of equal value, or a store gift card.
In short, provide as much information a client needs to understand the entire process of a return.
More info: https://support.google.com/merchants/answer/6363310
Remove User Based Modifications
Remove all IP, browser, user modifications. Such as automated currency conversions or changing the website content or design. All users must see the same info, regardless of where they are located.
Allow for guest checkout and do not force customers to accept terms and conditions.
The checkout requires the following policies linked from the footer of the page.
- Return and Refund
- Delivery / Shipping Policy Page
Read All Policies
Complete All Google Merchant Center Settings
Complete all the settings found in the top right corner > gear icon >
Verify Phone Number
You also need to verify your business phone number.
You can verify your phone number by going to GMC > Gear Icon > Business Information > About your business
Advertise Only Products Google Allows
Make sure you sell what Google allows: https://support.google.com/merchants/answer/6149970
Submit Accurate Product Identifiers
When submitting product identifiers, the following should be applied.
If a manufacturer has assigned a bar code, then submit brand, MPN (if available), GTIN, and set identifier exists to yes.
If the manufacturer has not assigned a bar code, then remove the values brand, MPN, GTIN, and set identifier exists to no.
While the official documentation does mention, you can submit brand + MPN and ignore GTIN. However, in most cases, this will cause issues and generate warnings such as limited performance due to missing identifiers.
And as of June 2021, specific categories and or countries require barcodes to be submitted, regardless if you have any. So, in this case, you need to get official GS1 barcodes.
A secondary reason for issues is that most merchants tend to use SKU as the MPN values, which is incorrect.
SKU stands for “stock keeping unit” and — as the name suggests — it is a number (usually eight alphanumeric digits) that retailers assign to products to keep track of stock levels internally.
An MPN, or manufacturer part number, is a manufacturer-assigned, unique, alphanumeric value used to identify a product among other products from the same manufacturer.
Resolve Disapproved Products
Ensure all products don’t have any errors or warnings. To check, go to Google Merchant Center > Products > Diagnostics
Remove Disapproved Products
If you had disapproved products before receiving the suspension and cannot resolve the individual product disapproval, then remove the products from the feed.
Accurate Shipping & Tax Settings
Ensure in Google Merchant Center. You have accurate shipping and tax settings. You can test the shipping and tax prices on individual products by going to Products > All Products > click on your product > scroll to the center of the page.
The tax settings need to be accurate, so double-check your product information page.
Ensure that the SKU in the structured data matches the product id in the data feed submitted to Google Merchant Center.
To check the id in the feed, go to Google Merchant Center > Products > All Products > and view the Item ID column. These values need to match with the SKU in the structured data.
Double-check you have no errors here: https://search.google.com/test/rich-results
Offering a promotion or discount that does not exist.
Not Adding Accurate Product Information
Make sure you add accurate product information and that you follow Google’s editorial guidelines.
Stop Watching Hype Videos
Don’t watch easy big-money drop-ship videos or buy in get rich quick scheme. These don’t work.
Check your Google Merchant Center every week or even more frequently and fix all issues before getting suspended. I offer a complete data feed management service if you do not have the time to do this yourself.
Request A Review
Only request a review once you have resolved all issues. For example, do not request a review when you have done half the job. Requesting a review is permanently recorded in your account and can lead to a permanent ban.