Did you know that wrong local data posted online is costing US businesses $10.3 billion worth of potential sales yearly? By wrong data, we mean something as simple as an incorrect or missing address, business name, or phone number.
That’s why many business owners were so glad when search engine giant Google introduced its Google My Business dashboard, which allowed them to streamline and simplify the maintenance and management of their business information on Google and across the Web.
This week, Google introduced refinements to Google My Business: specifically, the service guidelines for representing your business. The new, updated guidelines are useful for those whose nature of business could cause some confusion when they’re hoping to post high-quality business information on Google. They’re also useful for businesses with multiple locations as well as business locations with multiple departments and categories.
Here are some highlights from the new guidelines:
- Brands, organizations, artists and other online-only businesses (such as those with virtual offices only) should create a brand page instead of a local business page.
- Properties and locations that are either for sale or rent are not eligible for a local page.
- Descriptors, marketing taglines, phone numbers, and store codes are not allowed as part of your business name. (These kinds of additional information can be included in other sections, but your page name should reflect your business’ real-world name.)
- Be as specific as possible when choosing your business category. Don’t choose the overarching category. For example: if you’re managing a federal credit union, use the category “Federal Credit Union” instead of the less specific “Bank”.
- Choose a category that only represents your business, instead of the category of a location where your business happens to operate. For example: “Starbucks” should have the category “Coffee Shop”, even if it happens to operated inside Barnes and Nobles, which would have the category “Book Store”.
- If you are running a business location with different departments, and if you wish to create local business pages on Google for each department, these must have unique categories.
- If you have two or more brands at the same location, you’re allowed to pick only one name.
- If you’re managing a chain or brand with multiple locations – say, Ford dealerships or the Home Depot – then the pages of your locations must be consistent and have the same name.
- If you’re an individual practitioner – say, a doctor, lawyer, or real estate agent – then you should have only one page to cover all your specializations.
- If there are multiple practitioners in one business location, the location can have a page that’s separate from the pages of the practitioners, each of which must exclude the name of the location.
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