Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 2:01 PM
(Cross-posted from the Google Small Business Blog)
With this blog post, we’re concluding our three part series about the Google Places quality guidelines. Today, we’ll discuss how to choose the best fitting categories for your business listing as well as how to provide a useful description. In case you missed the first two blog posts, you can find here the first post about business titles and here the second part about business types.
Adding useful descriptions
As a business owner, we encourage you to add a specific description of your business in the “description” field. This gives potential clients more information to understand what your business is about and see if your business matches what they are seeking. You can also use this field to provide further guidance about the location of your business which might be useful in some cases where it is hard to find, e.g. if the entrance of your business is only accessible via the rear.
Keep the description clean and concise, so it is helpful to users and catches their attention. A series of repeated keywords or categories may turn off potential customers, but a crisp and catchy summary of the services you offer help users determine if your business is right for them.
Choosing relevant categories
If you provide appropriate and accurate categories, we can better match your business listing to relevant user searches. We recommend choosing specific categories that describe the core of your business well instead of broad ones. A good way to find representative categories for your business is asking yourself the question “What is my business?” Be sure to capture what your business is as opposed to what it offers or sells - in that sense, “bakery” would be a good category as opposed to “cakes” or “bread”.
Also, do not include location information in the categories field. If you would like to provide such additional information about your business, you can use the description field and, if appropriate, the service areas feature.
You will be asked to choose at least one category from our standard list - just start typing in the categories field to see what is available via the auto-suggestions.
We recommend always choosing the best matching and most specific category for your business - for any specific category, Google will be able to automatically determine the more generic category as well. That means, if you are a Mexican restaurant, you should go for ‘Mexican Restaurant’ and not ‘Restaurant’ - Google then automatically knows that if you are a Mexican restaurant, you are also a restaurant.
You can provide up to five categories for your business listing. After picking a standard category, you can add up to four customized categories. To add another category, just click on ‘Add another category’ and an additional field will be triggered. Put only one category per entry field. Entering more than one category into a category field is not compliant with our quality guidelines and could result in your listing being suspended and not appearing in Google Places. In case you find it difficult to find an appropriate standard category to start with, just pick a category that fits best and add more specific custom categories. If you are uncertain about categorizing your business, you can also ask for advice in the Google Places help forum and discuss with other business owners.
We hope that this information helps you add a concise description and accurate categories to your business listing in Google Places. This gives potential clients more information to determine if your business matches what they are seeking. For further questions you can visit our Google Places help forum.
Posted by Sabine Borsay, Consumer Operations