Google Business : New Guidelines and Policies

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An email sent out to all Google Business Profile (GBP) managers on July 31st announced the arrival of new GBP policies and guidelines. Specifically, a clearer list of violations that would lead to the restriction or suspension of GBPs.

This email leads users to a page offering an “Overview of Google Business Profile policies” that “outlines our key policies and explains the most common issues that merchants may experience.” Despite being some of the most detailed content on the topic offered by Google yet, they warn, “it is not comprehensive” and directs readers to their page on all GBP policies and guidelines.

In this article, Google touches on various account-level restrictions, eligibility, ownership, posting restrictions, and reasons that submitted content may be rejected or fail to publish.

The clarification of account-level restrictions is important to note; these restrictions include the merchant’s Google account not being in “good standing,” their account being restricted due to repeated violation of GBP policies, and suspension due to other, non-Business Profile violations. Merchants must make sure that both the account that they’re running their GBP through and their GBP itself are in accordance with guidelines, or else they risk suspension or restriction.

In addition to this, Google touches on issues regarding eligibility and ownership, specifying what demarcates an ineligible business as well as potential issues with ownership, including a business not existing, the use of a P.O. box in lieu of an address, and unauthorized or inactive owners.

When defining ineligible businesses, Google states:

“To qualify for a Business Profile on Google, a business must make in-person contact with customers during its stated hours.

For example, the following businesses are not eligible for a Business Profile:

  • An ongoing service, class, or meeting at a location that you don’t own or have the authority to represent.
  • Lead generation agents or companies.
  • Brands, organizations, artists, and other online-only businesses.
  • Rental or for-sale properties such as vacation homes, model homes, or vacant apartments.

For more details on eligibility, review Business eligibility & ownership.”

While this may seem like a small update, it’s a big step in terms of Google’s clarity regarding guidelines, and well worth your time to get to know. Familiarizing yourself with these policies and their nuances helps to ensure that your GBP stays up and running smoothly.