Home Forums All things Google+ Local Google Places for Business Dashboard & Bulk Upload Issues & Tactics Google Guidelines Flow Chart for Big Brands w Multiple Locations

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    Mary Bowling

    Many of the questions I’ve struggled with regarding Google business listing guideline compliance for big brands now have specific rules surrounding them. Brands that have locations with different names, different departments, different types of businesses, different types of services, different categories and so on, can now see how Google wants them to be represented in Google+Local.

    However, there are so many use cases that I found the new guidelines for multi-location businesses extremely confusing. https://support.google.com/business/answer/3038177?hl=en ( It doesn’t look too bad until you open up those Learn more tabs. Then it get’s pretty convoluted.)

    So here’s a flow chart I made to help all of us determine what to do in which situations. If you think anything needs to be added or changed, let me know, please. I hope it helps you out!

    You must be logged in to view attached files.

    Trying to understand what impact this will have. Previous discussions suggested that Google were relaxed about using location information in the business name, but looking at the guidelines that is no longer permitted unless the location is part of the real-world name.

    We have a multi-unit national franchise listed in this way – should we now relist the names without the location, or are we best leaving the listings as they are?

    Mary Bowling

    @Toby A lot of folks are in the same situation. Google announced it was allowed just about a year ago and now, it’s not allowed anymore. What?

    I’ve heard reports of the location descriptors being removed (without the listing owner doing it), but have not experienced that first hand.

    Personally, I’m not taking them out – at least not yet. Maybe if Google didn’t reward us for having them, people would just remove them. They quickly worked wonders for rankings when I added them, so I want to keep them as long as possible for that very reason.

    In my experience, Google tends to warn, warn, warn and then make examples of a few high profile users before getting around to actually punishing those who don’t listen to its warnings. I’m watching for sudden ranking/traffic losses and I’m keeping my ear to the ground for news regarding other people’s experiences with this. I’m ready to remove them when I see signs that Google may be getting serious about enforcing this one.

    Another alternative is to make the real world business name one that includes a location in it. It’d be a big job, but maybe worthwhile over the long run.


    Hi @Mary,

    Thanks for the quick reply. Interestingly we had one page where the location descriptor was missing, but I cannot be 100% sure that wasn’t submitted in that way by someone here so I can’t put that down to Google.

    What experience do you have using the locator descriptor across other listing sites? Some of our submissions are via Moz Local (which takes the business name from the Google+ page) so I am assuming in this case we have no choice and the descriptor would have to go across all sites? Are there advantages/disadvantages to doing this?


    Thanks Mary!

    Nice Flow-Chart

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