In this post, we'll take a look at the most common reasons for getting Google Merchant Center suspension, and what you can do to avoid this from happening in the future.
If your Merchant Center account has been suspended even for a brief amount of time, your shopping and your Ecommerce store, in general, might be seriously impacted because you will no longer have access to all the important features and programs contained in the Merchant Center, and that could cause you to lose business.
How to Know if Your Account Gets Suspended
If it has become your daily habit to check your Google Merchant Center notifications, you may be surprised to receive one from Google which says ‘Account suspended due to Policy Violation‘, and in many cases you won't get a whole lot more explanation than that.
Sometimes you will receive an actual reason, such as ‘misrepresentation of self or product', but just as often you'll be in the dark, and you'll have to contact the Google Support Center to see what has happened.
You may also receive a series of Google Merchant Center suspension emails from Google which explains the grounds for suspension. In this email, you'll be notified that at the end of the next review period, your account will be examined and if the violations have been fixed, your suspension will be lifted.
Top 15 Reasons for Google Merchant Center Suspension
Here are the most common reasons why you might get your Google Merchant account suspended.
Inaccurate shipping costs
You may have conflicting shipping costs between your Google Merchant Center feed and the landing page. To correct this, make sure that your website shipping costs agree with what you have in your product feed and your shipping settings.
Inaccurate prices, inaccurate availability, and inaccurate condition
If any of these attributes are found to be misleading or incorrect, it will result in an account or shopping feed suspension.
Insufficient contact information
If the physical address of your business, phone number, or email address are not in the footer of your site, or are not available on the Contact Us page of your Ecommerce website, Google will flag this as an error and will suspend your account for ‘Insufficient contact information.’
If you don't ensure availability of door-to-door shipping to targeted countries, this is a violation which could result in account suspension.
Misrepresentation of self or products (Untrustworthy promotions)
This happens when any experience offered through your website is considered fraudulent or unsatisfactory for Google users, for instance unusual activity or suspicious payment transactions. Keep in mind that Google is always checking your Google Merchant Center account and store’s website to make sure you’re running a legitimate business. If they think you’re scamming people, they will flag your site until you fix whatever looks suspicious.
Policy violation: User cannot purchase
People need to be able to go to your site and purchase products if you are running shopping ads. If things are out of stock, you'll need to make them available for pre-order, so you’ll not get a violation of the purchase availability rule.
Selling Dangerous Products
Google has very strict rules on the type of goods you’re allowed to sell on their platform. If you are selling products which are considered dangerous, for example guns, explosives, dangerous knives, recreational drugs, or drug-related equipment, Google will suspend your account. Read more about Google policy on dangerous products here.
Missing Info Regarding Available Payment Methods
This error means you have failed to provide the necessary information so that customers can effectively make payments for products.
Landing Page not Working or the Destination URL is down
Shopping ads must lead to landing pages which are clear and professional. It means you cannot submit a landing page URL to Google Merchant Center which leads to a page under construction or a page with a return status code such as a 404 error.
Missing (or difficult to discover) legal pages or clarifications
You need to make sure all the required legal pages are there on your site and are not hidden or in a sneaky place. Here’s a list of the legal pages you need to have on your Ecommerce website:
- Terms and Conditions
- Shipping Policy
- Returns and Refund Policy
All of these pages must be easily accessible to your website visitors and are written in the language that’s in your target location’s language.
Watch this video to learn more about creating Ecommerce legal pages for your website.
Incorrect language or currency
This happens when you’re submitting to multiple countries and your product feed is in the wrong language or the wrong currency. To avoid this, make sure to use a language and currency that’s accepted in your country of sale.
Affiliate spam (Abuse of Network)
Google does not allow landing pages that will direct users to irrelevant pages, for instance a “Buy Now” button which is not functioning, landing pages which are directing users to the homepage, or stores that only allow businesses-to-business purchase.
Your Ecommerce website must have a complete checkout process, use a secure checkout process protected with valid SSL certificate, and provide a Back button which users can easily click if they want to return to the previous page.
Some examples of these are placeholder images, generic images showing lifestyles, images containing calls to action and service-related information: “buy now,” free shipping, or extended warranty, and watermarks with promotional elements, or the name/logo of a merchant.
Other Common Reasons for Google Merchant Center Suspension
Other reasons to get your Google Merchant Account suspended include asking for unnecessary personal details, a password-protected store, or a store that’s not globally accessible.
How to Avoid Getting Your Google Merchant Center Suspended in the Future
To avoid any suspensions of your Google Merchant Center account in the future, make sure you avoid violating the Google Merchant Center policy violation listed above. There are also a few things you should keep in mind and a couple of best practices that you can apply to your daily account check ups.
First of all, have a thorough understanding of your product lines and make sure you're not selling prohibited items. Second, make sure that your Google Merchant Center account contains all of your most recent product data from your feed, so there won't be any conflicts or mismatches. Third, monitor your Google Merchant Center account daily to be sure there are no errors, especially when you know some changes have taken place. And lastly, pay attention to any emails you receive from Google regarding data quality errors, because ignoring these can quickly lead to a suspension of your account.
Google Merchant Center Suspension Audit
Another way to get your Google Merchant Center account unsuspended is to conduct an account audit. As mentioned above, Google may or may not give you the full details of your suspensions so hiring a professional to go and have a look at your account will help you expedite the process of getting the suspension lifted.
Here at Key Commerce, we have a team of experts who can get inside your account and perform a Google Merchant Center suspension audit.
When you sign up for our suspension audit service, one of our GMC experts will go over three main areas in your account to identify the likely cause of your suspension. These areas include your main GMC account, your product feed, and your website.
You will also receive a PDF report that outlines all our recommendations and the steps of changes we might need to implement to lift the suspension on your account.
Learn more about our Google Merchant Center suspension audit here.
There are a number of very common reasons why users might have their Google Merchant Center account suspended, and if you're aware of these, you'll be better equipped to avoid all the pitfalls.
You don't want to have your account suspended for any period of time, because your shopping campaigns will stop showing in Google, which means your customers won’t be able to see your ads. And if this happens, you will lose a lot of clicks, conversions, and sales.
So, we highly recommend monitoring your Google Merchant Center account to avoid getting disapproved products and suspension. Additionally, always resolve any error notifications or emails you receive from Google. Ignoring these notifications will only result in your account getting suspended.