Google has recently made clear that a business can have only one listing per address and that multiple listings for that business at one address would be considered spam. They have made no clear policy statement in regards to naming the business.
Google appears to tolerate and to some extent endorses the idea that a business should be able to readily change their business name. Yahoo’s policy seems to be that you can change your business name in their local system but if you don’t subscribe to their premium listing it will revert to the business name as indicated by the upstream data providers that they buy their listings from. Is it ok for a business owner to rename their business listing for use in Google Maps?
This “tactic” was first suggested by Chris Silver Smith inÂ Extreme Local Search Optimization Tactics. Of late I have reported a number of Maps listing where listers have creatively “rebranded” a business by changing its business name. “Local Marketers” have used keyword phrases like “Brain Injury Lawyer” or “Boob Job” to replace their business names in an effort to achieve ranking. Mary Bowling recently had an insightful post on Taglines-Why You Need One and how a good tagline in your business name listing not only communicates to your customers but communicates important information to the local search engines as well. Certainly in its current iteration, Maps seems to reward business names that relate closely to the search phrase with higher rankings.
Is changing your business name for the internet a legitimate exercise? Can it ever be? Will it be considered spam or otherwise incur a penalty with Google? The answers are yes, yes and who knows but I think not. Continue reading