Google Maps: Updated Quality Guidelines for Business Listing

Google rolled out updated quality guidelines today:

Quality Guidelines:

  • Only enter listings for businesses that you own or are explicitly authorized to represent.
  • Represent your business exactly as it appears in the offline world. The name on Google Maps should match the business name, as should the address, phone number and website.
  • Do not attempt to manipulate search results by adding extraneous keywords into the title field, and do not include phone numbers or URLs in the title along with your proper business name.
  • Create only one listing for each physical location of your business. Do not create more than one listing for each business location, either in a single account or multiple accounts. Service area businesses, for example, should not create a listing for every town they service. Likewise, law firms or doctors should not create multiple listings to cover all of their specialties.
  • When entering categories, use only those that directly describe your business. Do not submit related categories that do not define your business. For example, a taxi company might properly categorize itself as “Airport Transportation”, but it would be inaccurate to also use the category “Airport”. Also, please use each category field to enter a single category. Do not list multiple categories or keywords in one field.
  • Provide information that best identifies your individual locations and provides users with the most direct path to your business. For example, you should provide individual location phone numbers in place of central phone lines and the precise address for the business in place of broad city names or cross-streets.
  • Provide the one URL that belongs to your business both in terms of the landing page and the displayed URL. Pages that redirect to another domain, or act as “click through” sites may lead to penalization.
  • Use the description and custom attribute fields to include additional information about your listing. This type of content should never appear in your business’s title, address or category fields.
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Google Maps: Updated Quality Guidelines for Business Listing by

22 thoughts on “Google Maps: Updated Quality Guidelines for Business Listing”

  1. Interesting this comes out a couple days after the publication of the 2009 Local Search Ranking Factors report. Certainly not a coincidence.

    I’m not a fan of not permitting the adding of keyword rich taglines to a business title. Obviously Google wants to cut down on the spam but it’s short sighted. Some business names, on their own, give no clues, whatsoever, to what a business does. Adding a keyworded tagline, I would argue, is indeed appropriate information for users.

    Otherwise I’ll now be advising clients that it’s time they “officially” change their name.

  2. Stever

    Clearly business title is an area of huge abuse. Google is wielding their “hidden hand” and will use when convenient but probably not evenly.

    But where do they draw the line and what is inappropriate?

    Many local businesses should probably look at a name change.

  3. Indeed hard to define a specific line there. I know what’s appropriate and not when I see it, usually, but can’t give a specific definition of what that is.

    Agreed, Google will probably police this only when complaints or other issues come up for individual cases. And it will likely be enforced un-evenly.

    I would then warn any business owner to tread lightly in that area. Keep it very clean looking.

    examples;

    Jones Brothers – official name on own is meaningless, even boring

    Jones Brothers – Dallas Plumbing, Heating, Air conditioning, Emergency Repairs, Hot Water Heaters – obviously over doing it, too spammy)

    Jones Brothers – Plumbing and Heating – this would probably be as far as I would go. If you’re not doing anything else spammy this should be appropriate and not raise red flags.

  4. I would agree with you on your definition of how far to go. The question is, is that legal or not under the current system?

    Part of the issue is that smb’s are pretty loose with their naming and often use 2 or 3 themselves.

    It would strike me that 1)a dba might be appropriate and 2) it should be consistent across the local ecosystem and the phone books.

  5. this title thing is not something they can regulate and has to be monitored manually. Something Google is not going to do considering amount of resources it would cost. I agree they have to take actions to cut down on spam but there are some certain limits. In the end for Google it is all about the user experience so I think that specific titles will not be removed instantly but only when complaints come in and they have the guidelines to say ‘hey we told you so ‘.

  6. Also, many small businesses have already been using such kinds of taglines in their store front signs, vehicle decals, business cards, etc… Including them in the graphic logo of the website might also be a means of legitimizing their use in Google Maps.

  7. And often have ambiguity about their name…its one thing in the yellow pages, another in their lit and a third on their website.

  8. I have to agree. It will be pretty hard for Google to police their “biz name” bylaw. They barely have enough hands on deck to deal with the more serious flaws that crop up on a daily basis.

    I know the sales folks in my organization are happy to pad out the business name for the client in order for them to be a bit more relevant in a search. I always send it with a cavate that it Google could come down with a slap on our wrists for doing so.

    But it is interesting to see the Commandments having come down from the Mount.

    I’ll print them out and frame them and then hang it in my cubicle next to my neices most wonderful abstract picture of me. ( At least I think it’s abstract)

    Joan

  9. Very interesting comments from knowledgable people about the impact of these new guidelines, the implementations of names vis a vis the guidelines and the ability to enforce these guidelines.

    Thanks, Mike. Thanks, commentators.

  10. hey Body thanks for your advice last time on google maps it worked
    now how do i optimyez it what do i need to do pls.

    thanks. karim.

  11. I own two bars and somehow my home office number is listed by google yellow pages as the business number. I get calls in early mornings meant for the bar. I’ve gone to Yahoo yellow pages and corrected theirs but i can’t find out how to get google’s corrected. Mapquest also has an error on my street location. i live in a waterfront canal location and the location skips across the water requiring different access streets which confuses everyone from the fire department to delivery services and private services. I would like to update all this once and for all. Can someone direct me to the best place to fix these issues.
    Ron

  12. You need to go into Google Maps, search on your business name + city and locate the specific listings. View more info/edit/edit/ claim as owner and you will be taken to the Local Business Center (after creating account) where you will be able to adjust and verify the listing

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