google_logo_smallIt seems Google has updated its guidelines for businesses listing in Local Business Centre (which gets you on Google Maps/Local Search). You can see the new guidelines here.

The most important of the changes pertains to your Business Name: “The business name on Google Maps must be your full legal business name.” That poses problems for businesses who are “trading as”, with an often unconnected/irrelevant actual registered company name.

Why is Google hot on this? Well, keywords in the business name is a strong element of its ranking algorithm, so it’s been common for “mapspam” to use keyword-stuffed business names to rank highly.

Other changes include not being able to use a PO Box as your address, which may reduce the number of listings for businesses who don’t have a physical location in a particular town and the suggestion (but not requirement) to use the same domain name as your website for your listed email address. Hopefully most people reading this will be doing the last one as a matter of course!

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