Google Places Updates Quality Guidelines to Include Business Descriptor

Google Places for Business has updated its quality guidelines to allow a descriptor of a business to be listed in conjunction with the business name ... but not everyone thinks this update is quality. 

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From the Google Places help files, the changes are reflected below: 

Business Name:

  • Your title should reflect your business’s real-world title.
  • In addition to your business’s real-world title, you may include a single descriptor that helps customers locate your business or understand what your business offers.
  • Marketing taglines, phone numbers, store codes, or URLs are not valid descriptors.
  • 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".

Mike Blumenthal of Blumenthals.com had this to say of the change: 

Obviously for Google to make this change, they must think that they can control the inane and insane abuse that is likely to occur. Either business name is no longer so important in defining search results or the descriptor (which can only be added via the dashboard) is ignored or Google is so confident that they know what the business name is that they can penalize abusers.

Comments on Blumenthal's blog also show a slightly cold reception of the update, with many believing this will open up listings to spam that won't be easy to detect and control. 

What do you think about the update?

About the author

Jessica Lee is a marketer specializing in web content strategy and B2B/B2C writing. Since 2005, Jessica has been in the business of content and communications, with the past several years focused on the web marketing space.

Prior to launching her consulting business, bizbuzzcontent, Jessica was responsible for content strategy, development and marketing for Bruce Clay Inc. – a global SEO firm, where she served small businesses and Fortune 500 clients. Jessica's background also includes positions in traditional marketing, communications, broadcasting and publishing.

Jessica has a bachelor's in communications and public relations from San Diego State University. She also contributed to the book “Search Engine Optimization All-in-One For Dummies” 2nd edition.