Learn all about the rules to follow when using Google My Business to set up a business.
Google My Business is the free SEO service offered by Google. It allows companies to define the information they want to appear in priority in the search results that pertain to them. To avoid abuse, Google has implemented a number of rules that must be followed. They relate to the presentation of the company, the content of the posts or the responses to users’ opinions.
Representation of the company
The companies’ description sheets are subject to several rules to guarantee uniformity and protect personal life. The information must be accurate and precise, and the sheet must faithfully reflect the proposed activity as it really is and as customers know it. Owners can leave it to outsiders to change their listings using the administrator role, but are responsible for verifying all information. Google also specifies that everything you post must comply with generally applicable laws and regulations.
The following points make up the list of prohibitions regarding the representation of the company on Google My Business:
- no ineligible companies: i.e. all real estate for sale or rental, (cottages, exhibition homes or vacant flats), lead generation agencies or companies as well as services, courses or meetings offered on an ongoing basis in a company that does not belong to you or that you are not authorized to represent.
- no private or confidential information: it includes personal financial information, official IDs, contact information associated with a name, sensitive files, images, transcripts or links that contain personal information.
- no illegal activities: applies to any fraudulent or illegal activity.
Be careful, in case of non-compliance with these rules, you expose yourself to a potential suspension of the account and deletion of the information about the company in Google search results.
Content of posts
Additional posts added to complete the file as and when, thanks to news, are also subject to specific rules. These are actually aimed at ensuring that all published content (including media) gives internet users a positive experience.
The list of content to avoid from your Google My Business posts is as follows:
- no off-topic or irrelevant content: Everything posted should help customers better understand your business.
- no spam: Your listing should not mislead customers, and you should avoid spelling mistakes, meaningless content, media that distract attention in a negative way, links to malicious sites or links to sites that have nothing to do with your business.
- no inappropriate content: all content that is harassing, bullying, hateful, offensive, that promotes violence, or that is suggestive / sexually oriented is strictly prohibited.
- no content related to products or services subject to regulation: mentions of regulated products such as alcohol, tobacco, gambling, financial services or medicines are not allowed in the posts.
- no content related to child exploitation: all posts showing or suggesting child exploitation will be removed, lead to a suspension of the site and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
- no terrorist content: all content of a terrorist nature related to recruitment or other practices is prohibited. If a company is to publish information on this topic for an educational, documentary, scientific or artistic purpose, it must provide sufficient keys to understanding to prove it to users.
- no misleading statements or false claims: it is forbidden to steal the identity of a person or an organization, but also to lie in your postings (eg about prices).
As with the representation of the company, all of these points can lead to account suspension and removal of research information.
Respond to reviews
When users leave reviews on your Google My Business listing, it is possible to respond to them using the option Posts. These responses are also subject to several rules, as are the comments from people outside the company.
Your answers must comply with these 4 rules:
- no sensitive information: you may not request or disclose sensitive information (debit card number, social security number, passport number and other public administration identifiers, login information, etc.).
- always answer correctly: you are required to respond to customers requesting an answer. Please note that your answer must remain relevant and not originate from the original request.
- no misleading statements or false advertising: it is strictly forbidden to give false answers (eg about an identity or your qualifications).
- quick response commitment: it is important to respond quickly to the users. If you respond very late, or if you do not respond, Google may disable your comment area (which shows your customer reviews).