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Source: Search Engine Land

Source: Search Engine Land

Google is usually pretty public with their guideline revisions, but some of their smaller updates are easy to miss. Last week, Google made a small announcement of the Google Help forums that they have made a clarification update to their Google Places quality guidelines, which could affect local businesses who don’t update their information.

The guidelines establish exactly what business owners can name their business within Google Local. This needed to be clarified, as before it wasn’t clear why type of descriptors were allowed in business titles and how many would be acceptable. The revised guidelines make this clear:

  • 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 are (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“.

With millions of searches happening daily, it’s no secret that Google can impact your business in a positive way. Google plus is a fairly recent social media platform that focuses on interaction and sharing. Thanks to Unbounce, they have created a beyond helpful infographic that highlights the importance of harnessing this power of Google+ and the hugely beneficial aspects of this service.

Google Plus for Business [infographic]

As you have likely noticed by now, Google merged Google Plus and Google Places. This has changed the way that Places listings are showing up in a few ways. One of the changes that is most noticeable is the review system – it used to be an easy to see 5-star system. What happened?

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In the past, most local businesses never thought they could compete with major companies.  The marketing budget needed to really make a similar impact was usually way out of their capabilities.  However, with Google’s latest updates, it’s looking like the smaller business has a much better chance of staying within the public’s eyes.

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Today Google’s made a major change in Google Places (known to many as Google Maps).  The 7-box is no longer a separate entity, but is now merged with the full organic results.  This is a game-changer for SEO.

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