Single Descriptors are now allowed on Google Places of Businesses

Google Places Now Allows Descriptors

Early this year, Google changed things up to allow businesses to add a “single descriptor” to their Google Places page.

What is a Google Places “single descriptor”? According to Google (as of 4/29/14):

1. The “Single Descriptor” helps customers locate your business or understand what your business offers.

2. The “Single Descriptor” is not a marketing tagline, phone number, store code, or URL

Website of Google Places of Businesses

Some examples of acceptable titles with “Single Descriptors”

1. Business Name + Location (Sushi Samba – Downtown)

2. Business Name + Descriptor (Jeanne & Gaston – French Restaurant)

Single Descriptors on Google Places

Some examples of forbidden titles with “Single Descriptors”

1. #1 Location + Type of Business (#1 New York Plastic Surgeon)

2. Name of Business + Superlative (Mike’s Pizza Best Delivery)

3. Name of Business + SEO term + City (Mike’s Pizza Restaurant New York)

As usual, you need to be very careful when dealing with Google. Making changes to your places page could have both positive or negative effects on your business.

Best Practices for Google Places Single Descriptors

At least for now…

The first step to setting up your single descriptors is to verify your business' Google Listing

1. Verify your Google listing (even if you are not going to play with “single descriptors” you should do this).

1. Don’t try to trick Google to rank higher for SEO purposes. It seems that this tool would work well for businesses with multiple locations. For example, a local business like Jacques Torres which has 6 NYC locations seems like a good candidate for “Single Descriptors”, not a single location local business. We’d recommend testing out one location and seeing how this affects that location before moving forward with all your properties.

2. Keep it short and sweet. Google has not defined what a “Single Descriptor” really is or how long it should be, so it is better to err in the side of caution.

3. Don’t update all your citations. We don’t know where Google is going with this…so again, it is better to wait and see what happens.

4. Don’t make changes daily. It sometimes takes Google some time to register changes, so making changes to your descriptors on a weekly or monthly basis could negatively affect the listing.

5. The descriptor should be at the end of your name. You want the page to rank for your business name if someone is searching for it.

6. Pick either a “keyword” or a “location” – not both.

7. Monitor changes. If you see a negative change – revert.

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