The following information was taken directly from the Google Local Business Center help page. I highlighted some of the more interesting information for discussion. Please read what Google has to say about their quality guidelines so that you don’t break their rules and get your business listing removed from their search engine. This is really important.
Business Listing Quality Guidelines
Local Business Center Guidelines
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.
- Only business owners or authorized representatives may claim their business listings on Google Maps.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 [email protected].
- Report Spam on Maps.
- Request Reinclusion if your Local Business Center account has been suspended.
- Request Verification for your bulk upload.
- Post in our Help Forum.
For more information about the Local Business Center, please visit the Local Business Center user guide.
Fair Is Fair
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.
Over the last few months we’ve seen many business listings removed from Google maps. Some were permanently removed because they didn’t follow the rules (which is very unfortunate for the business owner) and other were removed because a more optimized listing took their place.
If you find a competitor cheating with their business listing, I encourage you to give them an opportunity to change it before contacting Google. Their cheating is costing you business. If they don’t change their listing, report them to Google with the knowledge that you gave them ample time to do the right thing.
If you’re in doubt with your own business listing, don’t take the risk. The downside can be devastating.