I don't know the best way to share all the important info since I just wrote a 5 page blog post about it and there is so much to cover and I don't think I can link out to my own blog. (Plus my carpal is killing.)
So I guess I'll just try to copy and paste some of most important info, but it may not all make sense unless you read the whole thing.
Why is this post so important? Because when Google makes changes to the Google Places Guidelines, however subtle they may be – it is almost always a precursor to a coming algo change that could result in your account being rejected or sent to “Google purgatory” which is even worse! If you don’t know about “Google purgatory”, see link at bottom of this post.
NEW GUIDELINES ABOUT GOOGLE PLACES CATEGORIES
Categories should say what your business is (e.g. Hospital), not on what it does (e.g. Vaccinations) or things it sells (e.g. Sony products or printer paper). This information can be added in your description or as custom attributes.Again, subtle, but VERY important if a new algo is on the way that’s going to penalize for violating this guideline. This brings up a myriad of questions and concerns for me.
1) For those that don’t know it, the category section is where you put the most important keywords you want to get ranked for. Keywords in description and custom attributes, just don’t carry much weight with the OLD Google Places algo. (With the new Place Search algo everything is different totally different and there’s a way to compensate for this guideline change but that opens a whole other can of worms I won’t go into now.)
2) “What your business is, not what it does or things it sells” Man there are so many ways to blur the lines here. Creative copy writing could get you everywhere, or maybe get you banned! Who knows how strictly Google is going to enforce this???
SIDEBAR TO PROVE THESE SUBTLE RULE CHANGES CAN LATER RESULT IN BANS IF YOU DON'T REACT
Awhile back, don’t remember when exactly – maybe July or so, Google added this VERY subtle change to the guidelines, then a couple months later companies started getting in trouble for violating it.
“Use the description and custom attribute fields to include additional information about your listing. This type of content should never appear in your business’s title, address or category fields.”
Small business owners & SEOs alike, just skimmed over it - because it didn’t sound like much of anything. Most didn’t even really get what it meant.
What Google REALLY meant in that subtle phrase was: Any words from your business title, address (city or state especially) or category fields CAN NEVER BE REPEATED IN YOUR DESCRIPTION or you can have your Google Place page pulled off the net and have to fight for months to get re-listed!
NOW tons of people are getting rejected or banned due to that subtle rule change.
INDUSTRY PEEPS – for the Internet marketers, Google Places optimizers and LOCAL SEOs that read this blog and who I talk to by email, phone or forums – #3 is a biggie. (Sidebar about the new algo) I’m in numerous forum discussions right now where many of us are trying to decide how to morph our business (if we currently only do Places) into what the client ultimately needs due to this new algo.
Sorry, I digressed again, but this change really affects a lot of things for someone like me who is in the business of trying to help companies with their Places ranking.
OK so here are the new Google Places Guidelines.
There are other important changes too, so read with a fine toothed comb. THEN read it again and try to read between the lines on any other subtle changes that relates to your situation or your Place Page.
If you do Places for lots of clients you need to read the part with all my Dentist examples to get the full meaning of this. But don't want to copy the whole post here cuz it's too long and would be dupe content. Plus for some that aren't deeply interested it would be too much detail.
I’ll be talking to other industry leaders and doing research about this to try to decipher Google’s deeper mystery message that’s hidden in the bottle and will blog some some recommendations if I can.