Google Places Guideline Updates

There have been two updates to the Places Quality Guidelines over the past two weeks. On July 21st, with the rollout of the new Places Page look, Google added this paragraph (bold added by me):

You cannot create Places listings for stores which you do not own, but which stock your products. Instead, consider asking the store owner to update their own Places listing with a custom attribute specifying brands or products they stock, including yours. While this data may not appear on the Place page, this information continues to help our system understand more about your business and ensure your organic listings appears and ranks appropriately on Google and Google Maps when potential customers perform searches related to your business.

This is a clear indication that while not displaying the information in the Additional details area of the Places listing they are in fact using the information for relevance and rank in retrieval of the listings and you want to still fill in the extra information.

Yesterday Google added a paragraph to the Quality Guidelines allowing stores within other stores to explicitly note their relationship with the mall or container store:

Some businesses may be located within a mall or a container store, which is a store that contains another business. If your business is within a container store or mall, and you’d like to include this information in your listing, specify the container store in parentheses in the business name field. For example, Starbucks (inside Safeway).

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17 thoughts on “Google Places Guideline Updates”

  1. I noticed those too Mike. Wonder if we use the same methods to track guideline changes? (I use 2 different services.)

    Thanks for posting as always to keep everyone informed!

  2. Thanks for another great update Mike. Does the container store clause apply to hospitals with individual physicians as well?

    1. @Joe

      I am not sure that Google was thinking in that way but it surely makes some sense. What about a real estate agent working as an independent contractor in the realty office? What about the hair dresser doing the same at a Salon? Those are still questions that Google has not adequately answered publicly but this is a good first step for some clarity on the issues.

      I use Page2RSS because it is free and not to verbose.

  3. Now, isn’t that interesting! The first time I can recall that the guidelines recommended putting anything other than the legal business name in the business name field.

    Joe’s question is a good one. Think about realtors. Should we be using ‘Joe Jones (Century 21)’?

    Wouldn’t we all love an answer to that?

  4. @Linda
    Thanks for the tip. I will try it. I like Page2RSS as my email program has a feed reader so it brings it there and also puts it in my Google Reader so I can get a second chance to see it, if I missed it the first time.

  5. Mike,

    I’d like to reiterate MariamEllis’s question – I would love an answer to it! We’ve helped set a number of our Realtor customers get set up in Google Places.

    Would YOU put their name first and then company name in brackets? In B.C., by law, all Realtor advertising must include their company name and company address and as you probably know has led to so many place page merges within an office to the point they think their colleagues are sabotaging them.

    Thanks for your great content and almost instantaneous reporting of changes within the local space.

  6. Wow… this is gonna cause some dramas I feel ( in regards to putting a container store comment).

    Does anyone else sense a never ending ‘Pending’?

  7. Hm, I’m not sure I sense never ending Pending, but I definitely sense NAP inconsistency.

    However, for me more interesting is the first change, as I have always been pretty negative about the Additional Details being (especially the ones input by the verified owner himself) a ranking factor.

  8. @Joe @Mike Yeah, interesting all right! And then there’s this. Not new but adds to the mix of the changes.

    “Businesses with multiple specializations, such as law firms and doctors, should not create multiple listings to cover all of their specialties. You may create one listing per practitioner, and one listing for the office. ” (emphasis added)

    For the above, I read this as “Dr. Jones” can have a listing at “123 Main St” and “Local Doctor’s Office” can have its own listing at “123 Main St” as well. Seems odd, but I don’t see anything in Quality Guidelines that contradicts this.

  9. Thanks for the update, Mike. I wonder if because G has made the “use but don’t show the Details” approach “official,” that means the Details will stay this way for months.

    Adding the “Container” to the Company/Organization field seems like it’ll become huge gray area. More specifically, I’m thinking that people have different ways of referring to (say) a particular mall. It seems to me the “Container” specification would work nicely as an additional (and obviously optional) field, so that people aren’t messing with the Co./Org. field, and so that there isn’t a huge “bloat” epidemic of business names getting longer and longer, and varying from how they appear on citation sources, etc.

    Just my two cents…

  10. I don’t have a comment on the container store change other than to say somebody test it and plz post results. I don’t have a client that fits that.
    On the first paragraph- You cannot create Places listings for stores which you do not own, but which stock your products. I saw a article the other day that might explain why they are concerned with this. Google has a beta program called Local Product extensions. This article is from June 14th so its aged. I have not joined the program yet,but it looks “purty neat”

  11. Today I saw this after claiming a listing:

    “Currently, we’re updating our listings approximately every four weeks. Therefore, you may experience a slight delay in seeing your listing added to Google Maps.”

    I’ve noticed this delay (for new listings) for about the past 3 months or so but now they are stating it. Is this delay just for newly claimed/created listings? Mike, do you know anything about this delay – it’s purpose? Thanks!

  12. Hi Jeffrey I know you see a lot of people mentioning it on the Mobile Local Fusion wall on Facebook. I just make a point to tell my customers it’s going to 60-90 days before things really start falling in line. That way I have time to work on things I can control and let the place page gods do their thing. I try to do so much for my clients that if 1 area is struggling they can see the overall value of my services.

  13. @Jeffrey
    I just claimed a listing for a long standing business on an email address at their domain.. the listing had not been claimed before but the business had been around for 30 years..and I did not get that message. So it may be a contextual trust factor…

  14. Mike, I think you you are right. The listing I claimed has had some dreaded “change of address” issues in the past. Very interesting. Thanks for following up on this.

  15. Hey Mike

    Does this mean that my acupuncturist who runs her business out of someone else’s salon should be Jo Shaer (Healthy 4 U Studio) and give the same address.

    Currently my client is set up as Jo ShaerAcupuncture and then added a Room or Suite Number to the main address to differentiate us from the main address and avoid us being merged together.

    I have also seen the format Jo Shaer @ Healthy 4 U Studio with the same main address being used.

    I have a number of masseurs in a similar situation who would also benefit from some clarification.

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