Local Search: Google Updates My Business Guidelines
Google just made some major changes and updates to the quality guidelines for their My Business (also known as Google Places) listings. This relates to listings and descriptions in Google Maps and other My Business locations. These are of course major, valuable tools for businesses when it comes to local search, so marketers would be wise to review the new rules and make whatever adjustments may be necessary to abide by them.
While some industry commentators have speculated that Google may not have the motivation or resources to constantly monitor listings for adherence to these guidelines, there’s no sense in taking a chance risking a painful penalty or negative impact on your local search traffic.
Among the major changes that may impact you:
– No descriptors of any kind are allowed.
– Drill down as narrowly as possibly when choosing categories. You should go with specific sub-categories as opposed to a general, comprehensive category.
– Multiple departments within a larger business that have their own pages must be listed in different categories.
– Professionals in group practices should be listed under their individual name only.
– In a somewhat puzzling guideline, virtual offices aren’t allowed to have a listing unless they actually have a physical staff (which would seem to contradict the “virtual” part of that description).
Google also included a reminder that online-only businesses (as well as some other brands and organizations) should create a brand page as opposed to a local page.
Since local pages can provide valuable search engine optimization benefits for businesses, we strongly recommend trying to stay on Google’s good side and following these guidelines.
KEO Marketing has expertise in local search, and would be glad to handle this and all of your SEO needs.