Google Places Guideline Update: Now Allowing Descriptors in Business Title

Google has announced an update to their Places Guidelines and now is explicitly allowing owners to add a descriptor, via the Places or Plus Dashboard, that helps people locate the business or describes what the business offers. From the post (bold is mine to highlight the significant change):

  • Your title should reflect your business’s real-world title.

  • In addition to your business’s real-world title, you may include a single descriptor that helps customers locate your business or understand what your business offers.

  • Marketing taglines, phone numbers, store codes, or URLs are not valid descriptors.

  • Examples of acceptable titles with descriptors (in italics for demonstration purposes) are “Starbucks Downtown” or “Joe’s Pizza Delivery”. Examples that would not be accepted would be “#1 Seattle Plumbing”, “Joe’s Pizza Best Delivery“, or “Joe’s Pizza Restaurant Dallas”.

Obviously for Google to make this change, they must think that they can control the inane and insane abuse that is likely to occur. Either businss name is no longer so important in defining search results or the descriptor (which can only be added via the dashboard) is ignored or Google is so confident that they know what the business name is that they can penalize abusers.

Or none of the above and the recent decline in the quality of their local index will continue to new lows.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google Places Guideline Update: Now Allowing Descriptors in Business Title by

59 thoughts on “Google Places Guideline Update: Now Allowing Descriptors in Business Title”

  1. It would benefit our client when people search for “Jewelers” or “Jeweler” because our client’s name is G. Falzon & Company.
    Using the categories is fine, we do that, have a business description, photos and some reviews. Adding Jeweler to the name might help. Isn’t that why Google added one descriptor to the name – so that people searching could identify what the business does?

    My question is do we need to change all of the citations to include the descriptor “Jeweler”?

  2. But that’s my point, categories and what Google can find on the net already make it so that Google knows what a business does without the need for a descriptor. When I search “jewelers” in Holliston, MA in local; your client is #2.

  3. I understand your point now – thanks for making it clear. They would not get any benefit out of using Jeweler because it’s a category. If we add the location as the descriptor it may help because Holliston Jewelers come up for “jewelers Holliston” as #1. Different search results come up for jeweler vs jewelers.

    If we were to add a descriptor for any client, for any reason, do you need to update their citations? That’s my main question. We have other clients that could benefit using the descriptor.

  4. If we were to add a descriptor for any client, for any reason, do you need to update their citations?

    I think for the most part the answer is no.

    Google is obviously confident that adding a single descriptor to a name will not disrupt their ability to attach business information from around the web to your listing cluster.

    They are capable of tracking multiple names for any given organization (you can see that in MapMaker) and Flash can speak to it better than I. So it is likely that this variation will not change their understanding of what the business is named.

    That being said, I think it is probably safest to just add the descriptor to the end of the name rather than in the middle to minimize any chance of them getting it wrong.

  5. Curious as to how this shakes out. We are going to test it on one location and see if there is an improvement.

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