Google My Business is an app and website tool that allows you to manage how your local business appears on Google. This section will review the best local SEO practices to optimize your Google My Business listing to improve rankings in search.
1. Business Name. Your name should reflect your business’ real-world name, as used consistently on your storefront, website, stationery, and as known to customers. Accurately representing your business name helps customers find your business online.
Throughout the examples below, names or parts of names in italics would not be permitted.
Your name must not include:
- Marketing taglines.
- Not acceptable: “TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank“, “GNC Live Well*”.
- Acceptable: “TD Bank”, “GNC”
- Store codes.
- Not acceptable: “The UPS Store – 2872“
- Acceptable: “The UPS Store”
- Trademark/registered signs.
- Not acceptable: “Burger King®“
- Acceptable: “Burger King”
- Fully capitalized words (with the exception of acronyms) or unnecessary spaces.
- Not acceptable: “SUBWAY“
- Acceptable: “Subway”, “KFC”, “IHOP”, “JCPenney”
- Business hours information, including closed/open status.
- Not acceptable: “Regal Pizzeria Open 24 hours“, “Sears Outlet (Closed)“
- Acceptable: “Regal Pizzeria”, “Sears Outlet”
- Phone numbers or website URLs, unless they reflect your business’s consistently used and recognized real world representation.
- Not acceptable: “Airport Direct 1-888-557-8953“, “webuyanycar.com“
- Acceptable: “Airport Direct”, “1-800-Got-Junk”
- Special characters (e.g. %&$@/”) or irrelevant legal terms unless they are part of your business’s real world representation
- Not Acceptable: “Shell Pay@Pump“, “Re/Max, LLC“, “LAZ Parking Ltd“
- Acceptable: “Shell”, “Re/Max”, “LAZ Parking”, “Toys ’’R’’ Us”, “H&M”, “T.J.Maxx”
- Service or product information about your business, unless this information is part of its real world representation or this information is needed to identify a department within a business. Service information is best represented by categories.
- Not acceptable: “Verizon Wireless 4G LTE“, “Midas Auto Service Experts“
- Acceptable: “Verizon Wireless”, “Midas”, “Best Buy Mobile”, “Advance Auto Parts”, “JCPenney Portrait Studios”
- Location information, such as neighborhood, city, or street name, unless it is part of your business’s consistently-used and recognized real-world representation. Your name must not include street address or direction information.
- Not acceptable: “Holiday Inn (I-93 at Exit 2)“, “U.S. Bank ATM – 7th & Pike – Parking Garage Lobby near Elevator“, “Equinox near SOHO”
- Acceptable: “Holiday Inn Salem”, “U.S. Bank ATM”, “Equinox SOHO”, “University of California Berkeley”
- Containment information indicating that your business is located inside another business (whether or not the businesses are part of the same organization).
- Not acceptable: “Chase ATM (in Duane Reade)“, “Apple Store at Stanford Shopping Center“, “Benefit Brow Bar – Bloomingdales“, “Sam’s Club Tire & Battery (part of Sam’s Club)“, “Geek Squad (inside Best Buy)“
- Acceptable: “Chase ATM”, “Apple Store”, “Benefit Brow Bar”, “Sam’s Club Tire & Battery”, “Geek Squad”
2. Categories. Categories describe what your business is, not what it does or sells. Categories help your customers find accurate, specific results for services they’re interested in.
In order to keep your business information accurate and live, make sure that you:
- Use as few categories as possible to describe your overall core business from the provided list.
- Choose categories that are as specific as possible, but representative of your main business.
- Do not use categories solely as keywords or to describe attributes of your business.
- Do not use categories that pertain to other businesses that are nearby or related, such as a business physically contained within your business or an entity that contains your business.
Select categories that complete the statement: “This business IS a” rather than “this business HAS a .” The goal is to describe your business holistically rather than a list of all the services it offers, products it sells, or amenities it features.
You should focus primarily on adding the most specific categories for your business; we’ll do the rest behind the scenes. For instance, when you select a specific category like “Golf Resort”, Google implicitly includes more general categories like “Resort Hotel”, “Hotel”, and “Golf Course.” Feel free to skip adding any category that seems redundant with a more specific category you selected. If you can’t find a category for your business, choose one that is more general. Google can also detect category information from your website and from mentions about your business throughout the web.
3. Business Location. Let customers see your business location on Google by adding a street address. Use a precise, accurate address and/or service area to describe your business location. P.O. boxes or mailboxes located at remote locations are not acceptable.
- Make sure that your page is created at your actual, real-world location.
- Suite numbers, floors, building numbers, and so on, may also be included. Information like cross-streets and nearby landmarks should only be included in regions where the official street address doesn’t accurately pinpoint the business’s location.
- If you need to specify a mailbox or suite number, enter your physical address as “Address Line 1,” and enter your mailbox or suite number as “Address Line 2.”
- If your business rents a temporary, “virtual” office at a different address from your primary business, don’t create a page for that location.
- Don’t include information in address lines that doesn’t pertain to your business’s physical location, like URLs or keywords.
- Don’t create more than one page for each location of your business, either in a single account or multiple accounts.
- Individual practitioners and departments within businesses, universities, hospitals, and government buildings may have separate pages. For more info, go to specific guidelines about individual practitioners and departments.
- If your address doesn’t have a street number, or you’re sure that you’ve entered the address correctly but the system still can’t find it, you can pin your business’s location directly on the map.
4. Service Area. If you don’t have a business location, let customers know where your business provides deliveries or services. Service-area businesses, or businesses that serve customers at their locations, should have one page for the central office or location and a designated service area. Service-area businesses can’t list a “virtual” office unless that office is staffed during business hours.
Some businesses, like pizzerias that have restaurant seating and deliver pizza to customers, are hybrid service-area businesses. These businesses can show their storefront address and designate a service area in Google My Business. If you serve customers at your address and want to set a service area, your business location should be staffed by your team and able to receive customers during its stated hours.
Google will determine how best to display your business address based on your business information as well as information from other sources.
5. Hours. Regular business hours.
6. Special Hours. Enter hours for days when this business has an irregular schedule.
7. Phone Number.
8. Profile Short Name. If you’re a verified business, you can create a short name, or a custom name, for your Business Profile to make it easier for customers to find you. When you share your short name, customers can enter the short name URL in the browser’s address bar, like “g.page/[yourcustomname],” to go directly to your Business Profile. Your selected short name should be associated with your business name or the name by which people commonly refer to your business. We recommend including your location to make the short name more distinct. For example, you can use your business name with your location, like your city or neighborhood. Keep your short name simple so you can easily promote it, and customers can remember it. If you have a short name, you’ll get a short URL to request reviews from your customers. Your short name can be changed 3 times per year.
10. Appointment Links. Let customers make appointments through Google by adding a link to an contact us page.
12. Description. Published content should highlight what makes your business unique. You can use this field to provide useful information on services and products offered, as well as the mission and history of your business.
You should be upfront and honest about the information provided, focusing on content that is relevant and useful to your customers to understand your business. Content that’s irrelevant to your business or has no clear association with it isn’t allowed.
Content published in this field should not:
- Be misleading to users. Do not provide inaccurate or false information about your business or the services and products offered.
- Display low-quality, irrelevant, or distracting content. For example, misspellings, gimmicky character use, gibberish, etc.
- Focus on special promotions, prices, and offer sale. Examples of content not allowed include, “Everything on sale, -50%” and “Best bagels in town for $5!”
- Display links. No links of any type are allowed.
- Display offensive or inappropriate content:
- Harassing, bullying, or hateful content. Published content must not promote hatred or incite violence against individuals or groups based on ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
- Content containing obscene, profane, or offensive language.
- Terrorist content. We do not permit terrorist organizations to use this service for any purpose, including recruitment. We also strictly prohibit content related to terrorism, such as content that promotes terrorist acts, incites violence, or celebrates terrorist attacks. If posting content related to terrorism for an educational, documentary, scientific, or artistic purpose, be mindful to provide enough information so viewers understand the context.
- Sexually suggestive or explicit content. Content must not include profanity, sexually graphic and offensive slang terms, terms that are common signals for pedophilia, content that promotes pedophilia, bestiality, or sexual violence, or content that promotes escort services or other services that may be interpreted as providing sexual acts in exchange for compensation.
- Display unpermitted content:
- Do not upload content related to the sale of dangerous and illegal products or services.
- Do not upload content that exploits or abuses children.
Important: We do not allow content that contains private or confidential information such as personal financial information, government-issued IDs, contact information linked/associated with a name, sensitive records, images, transcripts or links that contain personal information. We also do not allow solicitation of the above information through local posts/business description other than user’s own name, email and phone number.
13. Opening Date. Add an opening date to your Google My Business listing to tell customers when your business first opened, or will open, at its address. Only the year and month of your opening date are required. You can enter a date up to one year in the future, but it won’t show on Google until 90 days before the date.