Learn all about the rules to follow when using Google My Business to list an establishment.
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 concern them. To avoid abuses, Google has implemented a number of rules to follow. They concern the presentation of the establishment, the content of the posts or the responses to the opinions left by the users.
Representation of the establishment
The description sheets of the establishments are subject to several rules, to guarantee uniformity and protect personal life. The information provided must be accurate and precise, and the sheet must faithfully reflect the proposed activity, as it is in reality, and as customers know it. Owners can leave it to outsiders to modify their listings using the administrator role, but are responsible for verifying all information. Google also specifies that anything you post must comply with generally applicable laws and regulations.
The following points constitute the list of prohibitions concerning the representation of the establishment on Google My Business:
- no non-eligible establishments: i.e. all real estate for sale or rental, (holiday homes, show homes or vacant apartments), lead generation agencies or companies, and services, courses or meetings provided on an ongoing basis in an establishment 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 details associated with a name, sensitive files, images, transcripts or links containing personal information.
- no illegal activities: applicable for any fraudulent or illicit 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 on the establishment in the 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) offers a positive experience to Internet users.
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 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 pharmaceuticals are not allowed in the posts.
- no content related to the exploitation of children: any posts showing or suggesting child exploitation will be removed, lead to a suspension of the page and will be reported to the appropriate authorities.
- no terrorist content: all content of a terrorist nature, related to recruitment or any other practice is prohibited. If an establishment must 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 posts (about prices, for example).
As with the representation of the establishment, all of these points can lead to account suspension and removal of research information.
Responses 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 left by people outside the establishment.
Your answers must respect these 4 rules:
- no sensitive information: you may not request or disseminate sensitive information (payment card number, social security number, passport number and other public administration identifiers, login credentials, etc.).
- always respond appropriately: you are required to respond to customers who request a response. Attention, your answer must remain relevant, and must not derive from the initial request.
- no misleading statements or false advertising: it is strictly forbidden to make false answers (about an identity or your qualifications for example).
- prompt response obligation: it is important to respond quickly to users. If you answer very late, or if you do not answer, Google may deactivate your comment space (which lists your customer reviews).