Google Maps – What is an acceptable business name under Google Guidelines?

Update: Poll closes in 3 Hours. Please provide your input.

Google recently revamped their Business Listing Guidelines and has provided much more detail about what is acceptable practice in listing a business on Google Maps.

Despite their efforts to formalize what is spammy and what isn’t, the discussion in the comment section of the announcement post last week clearly indicated that at least in the small business arena, there is still a fair bit of ambiguity on what is appropriate in naming a business for local ecosystem in general and Maps in particular. This ambiguity closely resembles my real world experience where many businesses will have one name on their legal documents, a second on their literature, a third on their website etc.

Here are the specific sections from the new Google Guidelines that apply to business naming:

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.

Let us know what you think is acceptable under Google’s current policy. I detailed some arbitrary hypothetical examples (as suggested by Stever of GeoLocalSeo). Please indicate which name below best exemplifies how far away from a smb’s legal name you would consider acceptable in a Google Maps context.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google Maps - What is an acceptable business name under Google Guidelines? by

12 thoughts on “Google Maps – What is an acceptable business name under Google Guidelines?”

  1. Good poll, good examples. I voted. After the vote is in…we should have google’s “rule makers” tell us what they deem acceptable….but not till after the poll.

  2. Ah you dreamer you.

    Google likes to set the rules but not add to fine a point to them…otherwise they might show their hand. We can ask but you may not receive.

    What does “as it appears in the offline world” really mean? I think we may have to grope our way to answer on that one. But here’s hoping

  3. I changed my business name and even sent G copies off the DBA. Maslan responded that they may discount juice of the business for that, but that he could see I was trying to complay with the rules as they currently exist.

    He said that another solution needs to be arrived at. I have always believed it is absurd to give the business name with stuffed keywords any relevance at all.

    It should be based upon PR, and back-links.

    My big problem is: (1) Businesses who keyword stuff the title always get into top ten (even though it is NOT their real name); (2) Since there is no way to claim a duplicate listing that steals all my link juice without possibly getting penalized or de listed for multiple listings for the same address (or losing all the reviews for listing one (the live one)), I am screwed.

    WTF? No one helps in the forums other than a vague and ambiguous response, or none at all. When I send e mails directly, the last time I did that, Maps Jen said that can no longer respond to one off requests.

    So we are basically left with a duplicate listing stealing all the link juice and a live one with not too much power.


    Live listing with no link juice:

    Ehline Law | Los Angeles Injury Lawyers PC?starred – more info »
    633 West Fifth Street, 28th Floor, Los Angeles, CA? – (213) 596-9642?
    Rated 5.0 out of 5.0 7 reviews – Write a review
    “I was in a really bad car accident. The other guy did not have insurance. I …”
    Coupons »

    Duplicate stealing all juice.

    Ehline Law | Los Angeles Injury Lawyers PC?starred – more info »
    633 West Fifth Street, 28th Floor Los Angeles, CA 90071? – (213) 596-9642?
    3 reviews – Write a review
    “Personally, Im not a big fan of lawyers…until I needed one!!! and Mr. …”

  4. Well, as far as I can tell, Google is doing their best to get rid of spam, the problem is, they are taking down the honest people in the process. Since google can’t manually check to see if these listings are not “spammy” then they will have to rely on software and robots, and this is where the real problem comes in.

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