Google Maps updated the business listing quality guidelines over the weekend. The new guidelines are welcomed by those who have noticed an influx of spam or borderline spam submissions to the Google Local Business Center over the past couple years.
Here are the new guidelines, as of June 1, 2009:
- 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.
Will it prevent spam? I doubt it. But it should make reporting and removing spam a bit easier.
Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.