Learn all about the rules to follow when using Google My Business to list a business.
Google My Business is the free SEO service offered by Google. It allows companies to define the information they want to be displayed in priority in the search results that concern 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 institution
Establishments’ 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 actually is and as customers know it. Owners can leave it up to outsiders to edit their listings using the admin 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 items 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 rent, (cottages, show homes or vacant apartments), lead generation agencies or companies as well as services, courses or meetings offered on an ongoing basis by 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, government-issued IDs, named contact information, sensitive records, 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 the potential suspension of the account and deletion of the information about the business from 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. Indeed, these aim to ensure that all published content (including media) provides internet users with 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 distracts attention in a negative way, links to malicious websites or links to websites that have nothing to do with your business.
- no inappropriate content: any content that is harassing, bullying, hateful, offensive, promotes violence, or 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 pharmaceuticals are not allowed in the posts.
- no content related to child exploitation: any posts that show or imply child exploitation will be removed, lead to a suspension of the site and will be reported to the appropriate 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 subject 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 usurp 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 Post. These responses are also subject to more rules, as are the comments from people outside the company.
Your answers must comply with these 4 rules:
- no sensitive information: you must not request or disclose sensitive information (payment card number, social security number, passport number and other identifiers for public administration, login information, etc.).
- always answer correctly: you are required to respond to customers who request a response. Note, your response must remain relevant and must not originate from the original request.
- no misleading statements or false advertising: giving false answers (eg about an identity or your qualifications) is strictly prohibited.
- commitment to rapid response: it is important to respond quickly to users. If you reply very late or if you don’t reply, Google may disable your comment area (which displays your customer reviews).