Google Maps Updates Business Listing Quality Guidelines

Nov 3, 2009 • 8:34 am | comments (2) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Other Google Topics
 

Google has just updated the Business Listing Quality Guidelines for Google Maps. There are many changes to this guidelines page - in fact - it seems like it was completely revised.

So I will show you the old version and then the new version:

Old Version:

Google Maps aims to provide value for users and business owners alike. We've implemented a number of guidelines that align with these intentions. To protect users, businesses, and the integrity of our search results, we reserve the right to terminate Local Business Center access or broader Google access to individuals or businesses violating these guidelines.

These points cover the general guidelines for creating business listings through the Local Business Center, but are not an exhaustive list of policies. Some actions not specifically prohibited here may still be cause for removal from Maps. If you have any question about whether or not a tactic is deceptive, we recommend you stand on the side of caution. You may also request clarification by posting in our Maps Help Forum.

Quality Guidelines:

  • Only enter listings for businesses that you own or are explicitly authorized to represent.
  • Represent your business exactly as it appears in the offline world. The name on Google Maps should match the business name, as should the address, phone number and website.
  • Do not attempt to manipulate search results by adding extraneous keywords into the title field, and do not include phone numbers or URLs in the title along with your proper business name.
  • Create only one listing for each physical location of your business. Do not create more than one listing for each business location, either in a single account or multiple accounts. Service area businesses, for example, should not create a listing for every town they service. Likewise, law firms or doctors should not create multiple listings to cover all of their specialties.
  • When entering categories, use only those that directly describe your business. Do not submit related categories that do not define your business. For example, a taxi company might properly categorize itself as "Airport Transportation", but it would be inaccurate to also use the category "Airport". Also, please use each category field to enter a single category. Do not list multiple categories or keywords in one field.
  • Provide information that best identifies your individual locations and provides users with the most direct path to your business. For example, you should provide individual location phone numbers in place of central phone lines and the precise address for the business in place of broad city names or cross-streets.
  • Provide the one URL that belongs to your business both in terms of the landing page and the displayed URL. Pages that redirect to another domain, or act as "click through" sites may lead to penalization.
  • Use the description and custom attribute fields to include additional information about your listing. This type of content should never appear in your business's title, address or category fields.

If you believe that another business is abusing Google's quality guidelines, we encourage you to report the listing. Your reports help us to improve the overall Google Maps experience for everyone.

If you find that your listings were removed from Google Maps or you're unable to access your Local Business Center account, please file a reconsideration request. All requests are reviewed, and the decision of Google in this regard shall be final and binding. Please note that we won't necessarily respond to each individual request.

Your business information on Google Maps:

Should you have questions about how to add or how to edit your business information, please visit the Local Business Center help pages.

New Version:

Business Listings in Local Business Center must have correct information about physical, local businesses, as they appear in the real world. Google reserves the right to suspend access to Local Business Center or to other Google Services to individuals or businesses violating these guidelines.

Ownership
  • Only business owners or authorized representatives may claim their business listings on Google Maps.

Business Name
  • The business name on Google Maps must be your full legal business name.
  • Do not attempt to manipulate search results by adding extraneous keywords or a description of your business into the business name.
  • Do not include phone numbers or URLs in the business name.
Physical Location
  • Do not create listings at locations where the business does not physically exist.
  • PO Boxes do not count as physical locations.
  • Do not create more than one listing for each business location, either in a single account or multiple accounts.
  • Businesses that operate in a service area as opposed to a single location should not create a listing for every city they service. Service area businesses should create one listing for the central office of the business only.
  • Businesses with special services, such as law firms and doctors, should not create multiple listings to cover all of their specialties.
  • The precise address for the business must be provided in place of broad city names or cross-streets.
  • A property for rent is not considered a place of business. Please create one listing for the central office that processes the rentals.
URL & Phone
  • Provide a phone number that connects to your individual business location as directly as possible. For example, you should provide an individual location phone number in place of a call center.
  • Provide one URL that best identifies your individual business location.
  • Do not provide phone numbers or URLs that redirect or 'refer' users to other landing pages or phone numbers other than those of the actual business.
Custom Attributes & Description
  • Use the description and custom attribute fields to include additional information about your listing. This type of content should never appear in your business's title, address or category fields.
  • Please see this page of the LBC User Guide for examples of acceptable custom attributes.
Best Practices
  • Use a shared, business email account, if multiple users will be updating your business listing.
  • If possible, use an email account with a domain that matches your business URL. For example, if your business website is www.giraffetoys.com, a matching email address would be you@giraffetoys.com.
Contact Us

For more information about the Local Business Center, please visit the Local Business Center user guide.

Forum discussion at Google Maps Help.

Previous story: Sphinn Comes Out of Beta
 

Comments:

Michael Martinez

11/03/2009 06:27 pm

I wonder: do they make exceptions for Gmail users? Some people don't know how to configure the email for their Web hosting accounts (despite the fact most Web hosting dashboards make it pretty easy). Hence, these folks often use Hotmail or GMail accounts. Will those be accepted for business listings?

UKSBD

11/08/2009 07:11 pm

The problem is google are integrating Google Maps listings in to Google Local Business Center results too much. The guidelines for Google Maps were completely different and people were actively encouraged to add locations to Maps. People were encouraged to add anything, whether it was their business or not, with no guidelines about titles, with Local Business Center you can only add a business you represent and only use the correct business name. I've added loads of places via google maps in the past (when signed in to my google account) if these are now checked by google it will look as though I have abused the guidelines. The only reason I can see for google integrating maps results in to business center results is to make it look busier, effectively filling it the same way as directories fill categories to make themselves look busier. Google Maps and Google Local Business should be 2 seperate systems.

blog comments powered by Disqus