Google doesn't want you to game the system - it wants to make sure your business is listed online with the most accurate information.

For a long time, Google was just trying to make the internet a repository of information that’s as in-depth as possible. Now, the biggest challenge for the search giant is to make sure that what users see on the web is analogous to what exists in the real world. Google Places is an attempt to speed up this process by connecting internet users with the businesses around them. Companies can register to make sure they appear in Knowledge Graph that accompanies search results, as well as on Google Maps listings.

Don’t try anything fishy

SEO principles dictate that you try everything you can to make your company visible in search results, but the latest updates to Google Places listing guidelines demonstrate that the search service just wants you to be as clear and straightforward as possible. Some of the clarifications include:

  • Real-world names. There’s no point in trying to cram extra keywords into the name of your office or shop when you list it online. That’s only going to confuse Google, and the service is more than willing to overlook a place that looks like its gaming the system in favor of one that’s upfront and straightforward.

  • Single locale-based descriptors. If you were describing where your business is located to another person, and you could only use one or two descriptive words, you should use only those in your web listing. If there’s a neighborhood, part of town or district that applies, such as “Midtown” or “Back Bay,” go with that.

  • Don’t use taglines. Business listings should contain facts, not opinions. You may think that your accounting firm is the best in the area, but unless its what you’ve put on the articles of incorporation and appears on the sign above your door, don’t add it to your web handle.

The single most important rule of thumb is that you should attempt to be as accurate as possible. Google wants to answer questions for consumers, and the best way to do this is with the most specific information possible. Failing to give the search giant what it wants won’t draw its ire – it will simply make you insignificant. Connect with customers using proper SEO techniques but not over thinking things.

Alex Butzbach is a Marketing Writer at Brafton. He studied Communications at Boston College, and after a brief stint teaching English in Japan, he entered the world of content marketing. When he isn't writing and researching, he can be found on a bike somewhere in Metro Boston.