How to Name Your Google Listings for Local SEO
Google’s local search is your first step towards increasing store traffic
When it comes to optimizing for Google’s local search, what is more, important than an accurate business listing information? Nothing! Google My Business signals such as listing name, category, and listing description account for nearly 20% of how Google ranks businesses in the local search results.
Google alone handles over 2.5 million local searches every day making it one of the best resources for generating new customers. People are turning to Google to find new businesses because it gives them everything they need to make their decision. They can easily see your physical location, phone number and store hours while comparing your ratings, reviews and photos to those of your local competitors.
Ranking on page one of Google’s local search results is huge for any business looking to convert online searchers into in-store customers. However, with so many different signals to optimize for and so many conflicting opinions on the most successful strategies, it is hard for businesses to decide exactly what strategy to follow.
Is your listing name pushing you down in the local search results?
“What should I name my store in order to optimize for local search results?”
This has been a popular questions lately with many people having a hard time weeding through all of the different naming strategies, some of which seem feasible, but will actually lead to Google pushing your listings down in the search results.
For example, many people have been attempting to get ahead in the local search rankings by including common search terms and keywords in their business name. For instance, “Katie’s Grill”, located in San Diego, may want to use the name “Katie’s Grill San Diego” on Google to attempt to rank higher among local San Diego restaurants.
Another circumstance where businesses may think they can get ahead is by including their area of practice or business category within their store name. For example, the Greenfield Law Office may call their business “Greenfield Law Office – Personal Injury Lawyer” in an attempt to rank higher for the keyword Personal Injury Lawyer.
Using this strategies may seem like a good idea and could even lead to a short boost in local search rankings, however it will actually end up severely hurting your listings in the long once Google catches on to your unauthorized naming strategy.
Here is your guide to everything you need to know about properly naming your business on Google:
Do not use any Marketing taglines:
- Not acceptable: “TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank“, “GNC Live Well”.
- Acceptable: “TD Bank”, “GNC”
Do not include store codes:
- Not acceptable: “The UPS Store – 2872“
- Acceptable: “The UPS Store”
Do not use Trademark/registered signs:
- Not acceptable: “Burger King®“
- Acceptable: “Burger King”
Avoid Fully capitalized words (with the exception of acronyms) or unnecessary spaces:
- Not acceptable: “SUBWAY“
- Acceptable: “Subway”, “KFC”, “IHOP”, “JCPenney”
Business hours information, including closed/open status, should be kept in the hours of operation section of your GMB listing:
- Not acceptable: “Regal Pizzeria Open 24 hours“, “Sears Outlet (Closed)“
- Acceptable: “Regal Pizzeria”, “Sears Outlet”
Phone numbers or website URLs should not be included in your name, unless they reflect your business’s consistently used and recognized real world representation:
- Not acceptable: “Airport Direct 1-888-557-8953“, “webuyanycar.com“
- Acceptable: “Airport Direct”, “1-800-Got-Junk”
Do not use special characters (e.g. %&$@/”) or irrelevant legal terms unless they are part of your business’s real world representation:
- Not Acceptable: “Shell Pay@Pump“, “Re/Max, LLC“, “LAZ Parking Ltd“
- Acceptable: “Shell”, “Re/Max”, “LAZ Parking”, “Toys ’’R’’ Us”, “H&M”, “T.J.Maxx”
Service information is best represented by categories (see “Categories“). Therefore, keep it out of your listing name, unless this information is part of its real world representation or this information is needed to identify a department within a business (see “Departments“):
- Not acceptable: “Verizon Wireless 4G LTE“, “Midas Auto Service Experts“
- Acceptable: “Verizon Wireless”, “Midas”, “Best Buy Mobile”, “Advance Auto Parts”, “JCPenney Portrait Studios”
Your name must not include street address or direction information: Location information, such as neighborhood, city, or street name should only be included in the appropriate sections of your GMB listing. The exception to this is if that information is part of your business’s consistently-used and recognized real-world representation:
- Not acceptable: “Holiday Inn (I-93 at Exit 2)“, “U.S. Bank ATM – 7th & Pike – Parking Garage Lobby near Elevator“, “Equinox near SOHO”
- Acceptable: “Holiday Inn Salem”, “U.S. Bank ATM”, “Equinox SOHO”, “University of California Berkeley”
Exclude containment information indicating that your business is located inside another business (whether or not the businesses are part of the same organization):
- Not acceptable: “Chase ATM (in Duane Reade)“, “Apple Store at Stanford Shopping Center“, “Benefit Brow Bar – Bloomingdales“, “Sam’s Club Tire & Battery (part of Sam’s Club)“, “Geek Squad (inside Best Buy)“
- Acceptable: “Chase ATM”, “Apple Store”, “Benefit Brow Bar”, “Sam’s Club Tire & Battery”, “Geek Squad”