Google Rolls Out Major Update to Google My Business Guidelines

Google has rolled out a major update to their My Business (ie Places) Guidelines. The new Guideline offers much more concrete examples and clarifies a number of situations particularly multi-practitioner listings and their naming.

Some obvious highlights:

  • Descriptors of any sort are NOT allowed
  • Categories should be the more specific category and NOT the overarching, general category
  • Increased name and category consistency amongst multi location chains
  • Two or more brands at the same location must pick one name
  • If Different departments are to have their own page they must have unique categories
  • Practitioner’s pages, in multi location practices should have their name only and not the name of the practice
  • Solo Practitioners only can use the format of Practice: Practitioner
  • Virtual Offices are NOT allowed unless staffed. (If they are staffed then they aren’t virtual are they?
Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google Rolls Out Major Update to Google My Business Guidelines by

59 thoughts on “Google Rolls Out Major Update to Google My Business Guidelines”

  1. Hey Mike, Is it okay for a Lawyer business to have multiple business locations listed on Maps and on the website too? These addresses have unique information such as contact address, number, category and specialisation associated with one website.

    They also have their practice specialisation within their page name, for example: “Brand Injury Lawyers”, “Brand Motor Vehicle Injury Lawyers” – I doubt if it it’s fine to continue with the same. What do you suggest?

  2. @Sukh
    You are allowed one listing per actual location and the names of the business need to be as they are known in the real world, without descriptors. So it ok to have multiple listings if they do in fact have multiple locations and the specialisations need to go.

  3. I hope that Google can enforce the manned virtual office rule, and if they do, those attorneys with hundreds of “offices” spanning the entire western hemisphere are in for a rude awakening. While that approach may be a smart revenue model for them, I’ve always hated the false impression it gives to customers who are looking for a local service provider. Plus, seeing as I’m fighter for the underdog, I’m hoping these new guidelines are enforceable and will give those businesses with shallower pockets a fighting chance.

  4. I’m not expecting Google to police these descriptors, many spammy competitors are getting ranked in local easily, by stuffing keywords in their name.

    I’ve found that submitting corrections in Google maps to the name is simple to do, and often is resolved within 24 hours.

  5. Some of our senior living community names actually legally carry a descriptor and advertise that way (example: Redwood Retirement Residence). Does Google allow for this?

  6. If the locations actually go by that name in the real world (ie signage, answering phone, website) then it is allowed. If you are concerned I would 1)file a DBA for that name and 2)Use it for your full citation campaign at the primary data suppliers, 3)be sure that staffers answer the phone that way.

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