Google Changes Guidelines AGAIN!

Stefano Gorgoni has pointed out that Google has once again changed the Business Listing Guidelines as regards to legal business name, switching back to the standard that was in use previously:

Previous Guideline New Guideline
The business name on Google Maps must be your full legal business name. 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 or a description of your business into the business name. Do not attempt to manipulate search results by adding extraneous keywords or a description of your business into the business name.
Do not include phone numbers or URLs in the business name. Do not include phone numbers or URLs in the business name.
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Google Changes Guidelines AGAIN! by

19 thoughts on “Google Changes Guidelines AGAIN!”

  1. I’ve seen many businesses listing as the keyword for their location, it looks spammy, but in some cases it’s actually the name of the business (Dallas Plumbing, etc). However, I’ve also seen many businesses that are LLC, Inc, PLC, or other. That could get in the way (imo) of a nice clean listing.

  2. Actually, there are lots of listings which violate the former and new guidelines for business names. I don’t think Google actively polices the listings — instead, Google apparently relies on reports of listing quality violations from users.

    1. @Paul
      What Google does with the guidelines if often left intentionally vague so as to not encourage abuse. I think that you are right that any new guideline, short term is not actively enforce. That being said, Google uses reports of spam to help create future algo based spam “proof” systems. So what you see as a guideline now, an excuse to kick out a violator, becomes the basis for an algo in the future.

  3. I was glad to see this change. Google seems to have moved towards acommon sense approach that I applaud them for. Now if they could only take the same stance on so many of the other issues that plague the algos

  4. I’m sure you’re right Mike. I’m also wondering if Google is a little more tolerant of listing quality violations in organic listings from businesses that are also PPC clients. I was wondering if anyone has noticed a trend in that direction.

  5. Well the reporting form is a pain in the ass and requires you to list things like the fake number, the real number, the fake name, the real name, the fake url, the real url, even if there is only one, or NONE of these issues. If not, it won’t send.

    My guess is many like me, just gave up reporting due to the hassle the new form gives. My current issues simply dont get resolved in the forums no matter how many times I ask for help so I am still left coming here.

  6. I’d agree with Michael D about company endings (LLC, Inc in the US; Ltd, PLC here in the UK). These are a part of the “full legal business name”, but just provide extra noise (and little value) when a searcher is scanning the listings. Does Google expect us to include these?

  7. I recently had a client (who does local search) call me and ask why his Google LBC account has been suspended. I checked through my records and found that he was severely stuffing his LBC title(s) with things like ‘founded in 1982’ etc etc.

    I’m a little disappointed that Google has adopted the ‘proper business name’ stand point. I very much liked the idea that I could tell a consumer about my business by putting extra information in the title tag, much like an optimized website.

  8. Mike: Every so often I am struck by how little penetration Google Local Business Center has: I suppose if G’s LBC has little penetration than Yahoo, bing, and so many web marketing entities have little penetration.

    Looked at the top 15 listed restaurants in google maps for restaurants and dentists, using a local phrase.

    3 businesses had claimed their local listings. 3. Not much penetration.


  9. At the end of the day until google start policing this properly then people will try and game the system by kw stuffing.

    Given the clear disadvantages against it who can blame them?

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