Google Maps Changes Guidelines for Local Businesses


Monday Google updated its guidelines for local businesses, these change affect a few of the search engine giant’s products including Google Maps and Google+. For the most parts these changes  aim at closing up duplication loopholes and preventing any type of “sales copy” from being added into results.
Over on his blog Mike Blumenthal made note of the some highlights of the update:

• 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?

One important change is having only a single brand per single address, which could come back to bite small companies that share office. This could really come back to bite very small and start-up businesses as well as alternative health care practitioners who often have separate brands but band together to keep rent costs in check. Unfortunately these are also the same companies whose customer base uses Google Maps to locate the business in the first place.

Source: Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Land



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