What does this really mean to millions of small businesses on Google Places?!?I have been largely missing from my own blog for the last six months or more. That is basically because Google has been in so much flux with Google Place, Maps, Plus, algo changes, and even changes to providing tracking on keyword success, that I felt anything I said on one day might be wrong the next day. In point of fact, most of what is on this blog right now is still the best practice.
Now Google has changed a major aspect of the way that you Name your business. The Title of your Page, which is the same as the Name of your business, has, until now, had a requiarement that it be the exact name of your business. It should be the name on your corporate charter, your dba, your business card, your sign outside. You will find many places on this blog where I have recommended that you go ahead and add one additional word to your name if your name was not descriptive. So, if your name is Joe's, go ahead and add Restaurant or Pizza or Seattle. But my advice was, only add one word. Moreover, I had suggested that it would be better to change the name of the business legally, and that way you could be Joe's Seattle Pizza Restaurant. It was my analysis that Google was never going to catch you or ban you for one extra word.
Moreover, I stated in several places that this Name or Title with the extra word should be the same everywhere on the internet. You need the NAP (Name address and Phone) to be consistent anywhere it is found on directories, blogs, websites, etc.
Google has now announced a change in their Title policy allowing that extra word. Maybe they read my blog. You can add the word without chaning your name legally. The fact this has gone from tacitly to specifically legal may result in some issue of spam. However, I think the decision is correct.
Be sure that if you change your name on Google Places, Maps, or Plus, that you change it everywhere. You still need that consistency throughout the web.
My consulting business on these issues has the maximum number of clients that we will handle, but if you need help and don't mind being on a waiting list, please contact me at 310-910-1848.