Google Places Updates Quality Guidelines for Business Names
Google has updated its quality guidelines for Google Places, allowing businesses to now add a descriptor to be listed in conjunction with their business name.
Directly from the Google help files, here’s what marketers and business owners need to know:
1. Your title should reflect your business’s real-world title
Translation: No funny business or keyword stuffing. This should be the real title of your business that’s on your business cards and storefront. Anything more than that will confuse Google and they’ll be willing choose the straightforward listing over the one that’s playing games.
2. In addition to your business’s real-world title, you may include a single descriptor that helps customers locate your business or understand your business offers.
Translation: Think about two descriptive keywords that would help another person locate your business. Parts of districts and neighborhoods would help and are totally valid. For example, in Houston there’s “Downtown,” “Midtown,” “Washington,” etc. Including a more broad descriptor such as “Houston” will not be as helpful.
3. Marketing taglines, phone numbers, store codes, or URLs are not valid descriptors.
Translation: No taglines allowed. Business listings should contain facts and not opinions. You may believe that your company is the best there is and that you’re #1 in every way, but unless you’ve put it in the sign above your door or in your articles of incorporation – don’t do it!
Examples of acceptable titles with descriptors (in italics for demonstration purposes) are “Starbucks Downtown” or “Joe’s Pizza Restaurant”. Examples that would not be accepted would be “#1 Seattle Plumbing,” “Joe’s Pizza Best Delivery” or “Joe’s Pizza Restaurant Dallas”.
Although SEO principles dictate that you should try and make your company as visible as possible in search results, you won’t go very far with these new Google guidelines that recommend that you be as straightforward as possible.
The biggest guideline to keep in mind is that Google wants you to be accurate as possible and to answer questions for consumers who are looking for your business. Providing real, specific, straightforward information is the proper way to connect with customers and failing to do so could obstruct your position on the search engines. Just be real, be yourself, and don’t think too hard about it!
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