In December, Google My Business and Google Maps both revamped their guidelines to not only improve quality but also to deliver a stronger, more unified message across platforms. As Google+ Local Pages are part of Google My Business, it’s important Yext Certified Partners and their clients know what is and isn’t allowed.
The new Google guidelines go into more detail about which businesses are eligible for listing on GMB, how these businesses must be presented, and what (usually spammy) SEO tactics cannot be used.
Most notably, there are better directions for online-only and freelancer (i.e. no physical location, no service area) businesses:
Note: Brands, organizations, artists and other online-only businesses should create a brand page instead of a local page. Brand pages follow the Google+ page content guidelines. Learn more about the difference between brand and local pages.
And, Virtual offices (unless staffed) are explicitly disallowed.
The full text of the new guidelines can be found here.
The most impactful change was to practices with multiple practitioners. Google now provides better guidelines for how solo practitioners in multi-location practices should name their Google My Business pages for maximum compliance. Doctors, lawyers, and others who collect under one heading while maintaining individual service offerings now have better guidance on how to structure their pages for maximum effect — and minimum violations.
For more support regarding GMB and these changes, check out Google’s support resources for GMB, including a livechat and troubleshooting flow.
Mike Blumenthal covered the big shifts in a blog post, which Search Engine Land referenced in their coverage.