Google My Business Update

Last night Google updated their quality guidelines for their My Business local pages. These new updates are affecting naming practices, category selections, and other conditions. It even has the potential to remove a whole industry as a Local SEO strategy. However, many influential people don’t believe in the enforcement capabilities of Google with these updates, so what will you do?

Business Information Name

All forms of descriptors in your business name is now not permitted. This is the key quality update specified by Google, reducing all business names to reflect your business’ real-world name – not permitting any marketing taglines, store codes, trademark signs, special characters or irrelevant legal terms, plus more, found here.

How will this affect you?

Firstly, the practice of attaching keywords or enticing customers from your business name is now not permitted. This could affect new business acquisition through Google Maps of even local searches, enforcing the need to build brand awareness through other mediums, ie content creation, organic searches, or PPC.


The second core change for these quality guidelines is their reduction of categories per business. In the previous guidelines for categories it states, “Select at least one category from the list…” With the new update it states, “Use as few categories as possible to describe your overall core business…” This new change illustrates that in the past, businesses likely took advantage of this category selection to add multiple keywords into their My Business local page. However, these new quality guidelines are making you think more specifically about what your business is. Google aims to help you select your main category with this guide:

“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.” – Category Guideline for Google My Business Local Pages

How will this affect you?

If you were one of the businesses that were benefiting from keyword stuffing within the categories, this will have to be modified. Along with this, the additional guideline of any added co-located businesses requiring their own page and individual category, businesses can no longer add these services as a part of their own business to help promote their company.

End of Virtual Office Local SEO on Google Maps

If your business uses a temporary “virtual office”  at a different location than your primary business, the only time you can create a new page for this location is if it is staffed during normal business hours – which most wouldn’t be as it is a temporary location. This guideline is reducing the clutter of unstaffed businesses for local searches, to create a more precise and accurate location for search inquiries finding the help and location the need.

How will this affect you?

Virtual offices are not only a great place to get work completed at temporary locations, but a great way to increase your brand awareness across different locations. However, this strategy is now being killed off by Google, which means if you want to compete in multiple locations, a significant investment to build a new office is now needed or help with local search strategies. If you need help in mastering your local search, this expert webinar is one to check out.


With these drastic changes, many influential marketers in the local SEO expected, especially the deletion of descriptors. Along with this, others are questioning whether Google is capable of enforcing these new guidelines. However, for business owners and local SEO marketers, if these guidelines are enforced, greater pools of competitions around the selected categories and deletion of value added business names creates the need to be seen by consumers by other marketing strategies. So my question to you is, is Google creating these guidelines to promote a better user experience for consumers, or force their dominating AdWords platform?

By the way, if you need help with your local SEO efforts, make sure you schedule a free 30 minute consultation with us or download our local SEO report card.

Tagged with: AdWords, google maps quality guideline update, Local SEO, my business, PPC

About Joel Smith

Just arriving from The Land Down Under (Australia), he is excited to help businesses with their digital marketing on an international level. Passionate about SEO, CRO and E-Commerce, he is always open for a chat.