As with all things associated with Google, there are a variety of rules that must be followed in order for a Google Plus listing to be accepted. Here are some tips on how to obey those rules.
- Establish NAP (business name, address and phone) format: Perhaps the one mistake that many businesses make is that they do not keep their business information consistent. Your business listing on Google Plus must match exactly all of the business information that is contained in all your citation listings on the web.
- It is also important to ensure that you complete all of the required information as thoroughly as possible. This includes using descriptions that are clearly written, detailed, and grammatically correct.
- Website and Phone: Provide a phone number that connects to your individual business location as directly as possible. If you provide a website URL, make sure it represents your individual business and business location. Use a local phone number instead of a call center number whenever possible. Do not use phone numbers (or website URLs) that redirect users to phone locations or landing pages other than those of the physical location or phone number of the business.
- Select the Proper Categories: With the Google Plus listing program, you must select at least one category from their available list. The categories that you select must depict what your business is (e.g. Law Firm), and not what it necessarily does (e.g. Divorce Lawyer). Additional information concerning your service or product can be placed in your description input field later. It must not appear at this level.
- Ownership: It is important to also understand that only the business owners or those persons who are authorized representatives are allowed to verify the business listings that are listed on Google Places. Generally, salespeople are not allowed to verify the listing unless they are an "authorized representative".
What To Avoid When Placing Google Plus Listings:
Just as important as knowing what you should do is knowing what you should NOT do. Here are some of the most common mistakes that businesses make:
- 800 Phone Numbers: To be blunt about it, Google wants businesses to use local phone numbers that include local area codes. The reason is simple: many consumers consider 800 numbers to lead to overseas or remote business locations and not to the actual business they are trying to contact.
- Avoid Using P.O. or UPS Boxes: As with local phone number use, Google wants to see a physical address for businesses. This is one of the rules that Google is set on. They will reject your request if you use anything other than a physical business address.
- Avoid Using Multiple Place Pages Per Location: Google will almost certainly reject your request if you use multiple place pages per location. In their mind, this makes it too confusing for consumers, and they may have a point. The main reason businesses use this tactic is because they believe it will help with their search rankings. The opposite is actually true.
- Avoid Using Phone Numbers or URLs in Business Name Input Field: This, too, has been used by some businesses who believed it would help increase their exposure. Google says this is not allowed anymore unless the phone number or URL is an actual part of the business name.
- Avoid Multiple Specializations Listings: Some business, such as medical or dental clinics, law firms, and accountants may have several individuals working in the company. With Google Plus, those businesses may only create one business listing per practitioner, and may only create one listing for the clinic or firm at large.
- Service Area, Special Rules: For those businesses that have legitimate operations within a service area rather than one single business location, care must be taken when listing with Google Plus. These businesses are not allowed to create a listing for every city that they work in or service. Service area businesses may create only one listing that depicts the main office or main location of the business and are then able to designate service areas later.
As you can see, the rules can be somewhat confusing, and Google can be very strict in enforcing those rules, but following these tips you can greatly improve your Google Plus Listing and local SEO for your local business. For more information, go directly to google's web page Creating and editing your Google Plus Page