Last night, Google Maps released massively revamped quality guidelines for local pages which could have a heavy impact on businesses who don’t ensure their pages conform. Jade Wang from Google shared the news in the Google Forums stating:
We’ve updated and clarified our quality guidelines for local pages. Please read the new version here, and, as always, feel free to contact our support team with any specific questions about your account.
You can see a screenshot of the old guidelines here courtesy of Barry Schwartz, but the most important revisions to the guidelines are highlighted below:
- Descriptors of any sort are NOT allowed
- Categories should be the more specific category and NOT the overarching, general category
- Increased name and category consistency amongst multi location chains
- Two or more brands at the same location must pick one name
- If Different departments are to have their own page they must have unique categories
- Practitioner’s pages, in multi-location practices should have their name only and not the name of the practice
- Solo Practitioners only can use the format of Practice: Practitioner
- Virtual Offices are NOT allowed unless staffed.
Many aren’t taking the update seriously as Google Maps local pages are far too often neglected, but the updated rules may be a sign that Google intends to clean up the mess in the near future. It is always better to be proactive than to find yourself smacked with a penalty.