Guidelines for representing your business on Google

If your business either has a physical location that customers can visit, or travels to customers where they are, you can create a Business Profile on Google. To make sure your Business Profile won’t be suspended we require that you:

  • Avoid prohibited content and behavior. These policies apply to all of your Business Profile content.
  • Reflect your business accurately.
  • Comply with the product guidelines in this article.

Understand basic guidelines

To maintain high quality information on Google, follow this list of guidelines for local businesses. These guidelines can help you avoid common problems, including changes to your information or, in some cases, removal of your business information from Google.

For the best results managing your Business Profile:

  • Represent your business as it’s consistently represented and recognized in the real world across signage, stationery, and other branding.
  • Make sure your address and/or service area is accurate and precise.
  • Choose the fewest number of categories it takes to describe your overall core business.
  • There should only be one profile per business, as this can cause problems with how your information displays on Google Maps and Search.
Tip: If you’d like to get one-on-one guidance and tailored recommendations on how to make the most out of your profile, book an appointment with Small Business Advisors.

Content guidelines for Business Profiles

Published content should highlight what makes your business unique. For more information, go to the overview of Google Business Profile policies.

As outlined in our prohibited & restricted content policies, we do not allow content, or solicitation of content, that contains private or confidential information such as personal financial information, government-issued IDs, contact information linked or associated with a name, sensitive records, images, transcripts or links that contain personal information.

Merchants are permitted to post contact information (social media handles, email, phone number) for their own business on their own business profile or in response to reviews, Q&A, etc. However, we do not allow solicitation of personal or confidential information.

Tip: If your profile edit or post is rejected, Learn about the several reasons submitted content may be rejected.

Business description

Use the business description field to provide useful information on services and products offered, as well as the mission and history of your business.

You should be upfront and honest about the information provided, focusing on content that's relevant and useful to your customers to understand your business. Content that's irrelevant to your business or has no clear association with it isn't allowed.

In addition to our overall guidelines on prohibited and restricted content, make sure that your business description does not:

  • Display low-quality, irrelevant, or distracting content. For example, misspellings, gimmicky character use, gibberish, etc.
  • Focus on special promotions, prices, and offer sales. Examples of content not allowed include, "Everything on sale, -50%" and "Best bagels in town for $5!"
  • Display links. No links of any type are allowed.
Name

To help customers find your business online, accurately represent your business name. Your name should reflect your business’s real-world name, as used consistently on your storefront, website, stationery, and as known to customers.

Add additional details like addressservice areabusiness hours, and category in the other sections of your business information. 

For example, if you create a Business Profile for a 24-hour coffee shop in downtown San Francisco called Shelly’s Coffee, you would enter that business information as:

  • Business name: Shelly’s Coffee
  • Address: 3247 Poppy Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
  • Hours: Open 24 hours
  • Category: Coffee shop

Including unnecessary information in your business name isn't permitted, and could result in the suspension of your Business Profile. Refer to the specific examples below to determine what you can and can't include in your business name.

Business name examples

Throughout the examples below, names or parts of names in italics would not be permitted.

Your name must not include:

Not acceptable:

Acceptable
Marketing taglines
  • TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank
  • GNC Live Well
  • TD Bank
  • GNC
Store codes
  • The UPS Store - 2872
  • The UPS Store

Trademark/registered signs

  • Burger King®
  • Burger King

Fully capitalized words

  • SUBWAY
  • Subway, KFC, IHOP, JCPenney

Business hours information

  • Regal Pizzeria Open 24 hours
  • Sears Outlet (Closed)
  • Regal Pizzeria
  • Sears Outlet

Phone numbers or website URL’s

  • Airport Direct 1-888-557-8953
  • webuyanycar.com
  • Airport Direct
  • 1-800-Got-Junk

Special characters (e.g. %$@/") or irrelevant legal terms

  • Shell Pay@Pump
  • Re/Max, LLC
  • LAZ Parking Ltd
  • Shell
  • Re/Max
  • LAZ Parking
  • Toys ’’R’’ Us
  • H&M
  • T.J.Maxx

Service or product information

  • Verizon Wireless 4G LTE
  • Midas Auto Service Experts
  • Verizon Wireless
  • Midas
  • Best Buy Mobile
  • Advance Auto Parts
  • JCPenney Portrait Studios

Location information

  • Holiday Inn (I-93 at Exit 2)
  • U.S. Bank ATM - 7th & Pike - Parking Garage Lobby near Elevator
  • Equinox near SOHO
  • Holiday Inn Salem
  • U.S. Bank ATM
  • Equinox SOHO
  • University of California Berkeley

Containment information

  • 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)
  • Chase ATM
  • Apple Store
  • Benefit Brow Bar
  • Sam’s Club Tire & Battery
  • Geek Squad
There are additional guidelines for multi-location stores (chains and brands), departments, and individual practitioners (such as doctors, lawyers, and real estate agents) below.
Address

Use a precise, accurate address and/or service area to describe your business location. P.O. boxes or mailboxes located at remote locations aren't acceptable.

  • Create your Business Profile for your actual, real-world location.
    • Suite numbers, floors, building numbers, and so on may also be included. Only include information like cross-streets and nearby landmarks in regions where the official street address doesn’t accurately pinpoint the business's location.
    • If you must specify a mailbox or suite number:
      • Enter your physical address as "Address Line 1."
      • Enter your mailbox or suite number as "Address Line 2."
    • If your business rents a physical mailing address but doesn't operate out of that location, also known as a virtual office, that location isn't eligible for a Business Profile.
    • Businesses can't list an office at a co-working space unless that office maintains clear signage, receives customers at the location during business hours, and is staffed during business hours by your business staff.
  • Do not include information in address lines that doesn't pertain to your business’s physical location, like URLs or keywords.
  • Do not create more than one page for each location of your business, either in a single account or multiple accounts.
    • Individual practitioners and departments within businesses, universities, hospitals, and government buildings may have separate pages. For more info, go to specific guidelines about individual practitioners and departments.
  • Businesses showing their address on Google should maintain permanent fixed signage of their business name at the address.
  • If your address doesn't have a street number, or the system can't find it, you can pin your business's location directly on the map.

Service-area businesses

Service-area businesses, or businesses that serve customers at their locations, should have one profile for the central office or location with a designated service area. Service-area businesses can't list a "virtual" office unless that office is staffed during business hours.

Some businesses, like auto repair shops that have a garage for repairs and offer roadside service, are hybrid service-area businesses. These businesses can show their storefront address and designate a service area on their Business Profile. If you serve customers at your address and want to set a service area, your business location should be staffed by your team and able to receive customers during its stated hours.

Google determines how best to display your business address based on your business information and information from other sources.

Storefront versus service-area businesses

If your business doesn’t have a storefront with clear signage but travels to customers at their physical locations, you’re allowed one service-area Business Profile.

If you have different locations for your service business, with separate service areas and separate staff at each location, you’re allowed one profile for each location. The boundaries of your profile’s overall service area shouldn’t extend farther than about 2 hours of driving time from where your business is based. For some businesses, larger service areas may be appropriate.

Learn more about service-area businesses.

If you’re a service-area business, you should hide your business address from customers. 

  • For example, if you’re a plumber and run your business from your residential address, clear the address from your Business Profile.

Learn how to add or edit your business address.

Website & phone

Provide a phone number that connects to your individual business location, or provide a website that represents your individual business location.

  • Use a local phone number instead of a central call center helpline number whenever possible.
  • Do not provide phone numbers or URLs that redirect or "refer" users to landing pages or phone numbers other than those of the actual business, including pages created on social media sites.
  • The phone number must be under the direct control of the business.
  • Additional phone numbers can be used on Google Business Profile websites and other local surfaces.
  • Premium-rate telephone numbers are not allowed. These phone numbers charge high rates to the caller.
Business hours

Provide your regular customer-facing hours of operation. If applicable, you may use your current seasonal hours as your regular hours. You may also specify special hours for particular days, like holidays or special events.

Certain types of businesses shouldn’t provide hours, including those with varied hours (like schedules for different types of activities, including showtimes, worship services, or classes) and those that operate only by appointment. Examples of business that shouldn’t provide hours include, but aren't limited to:

  • Indoor lodging such as: Hotels, motels, and apartment buildings/complexes
  • Schools and universities
  • Movie theaters
  • Transportation services and airports
  • Event venues and natural features

If your business has departments, provide the business hours for each department on that department’s separate Business Profile, and provide the business hours for the main business on the main Business Profile. Learn about departments.

Sets of hours

If your business has multiple sets of hours, refer to these guidelines for particular industries:

  • Banks: Use lobby hours if possible. Otherwise, use drive-through hours. An ATM attached to a bank can use its own separate Business Profile with its own, different hours.
  • Car dealerships: Use car sales hours. If hours for new car sales and pre-owned car sales differ, use the new sales hours.
  • Gas stations: Use the hours for your gas pumps.
  • Restaurants: Use the hours when diners can sit down and dine in your restaurant. Otherwise, use takeout hours. If neither of those is possible, use drive-through hours, or, as a last resort, delivery hours.
  • Storage facilities: Use office hours. Otherwise, use front gate hours.
  • To highlight times for specific services, you can also set More hours.
    • In general, you should set More hours as a subset of your primary hours.

Seasonal hours

​If your business has seasonal hours, use the following guidelines:

  • During the season your business is open, set your regular hours of operation. You may set special hours for holidays, temporary closures, or other events.
    • You can also indicate that your business is open only for a specific seasonal period in your business description.
  • During off-season, you can mark your business as temporarily closed.
    • Set your regular business hours when your business reopens.
Categories

Categories help your customers find accurate, specific results for services they’re interested in. To keep your business information accurate and live, make sure that you:

  • Use as few categories as possible to describe your overall core business from the provided list.
  • Choose categories that are as specific as possible, but representative of your main business.
    • Do not use categories solely as keywords or to describe attributes of your business.
    • Do not use categories that pertain to other businesses that are nearby or related, such as a business physically contained within your business or an entity that contains your business.

Select your category

Select categories that complete the statement: "This business IS a" rather than "this business HAS a." The goal is to describe your business holistically rather than a list of all the services it offers, products it sells, or amenities it features.

Focus primarily on adding the most specific categories for your business; we'll do the rest behind the scenes. For instance, when you select a specific category like "Golf Resort", Google implicitly includes more general categories like "Resort Hotel", "Hotel", and "Golf Course." You can skip adding any category that seems redundant with a more specific category you selected. If you can't find a category for your business, choose one that's more general. Google can also detect category information from your website and from mentions about your business throughout the web.

Scenario

Correct Category

Incorrect Category

“Papa John’s” offers pizza takeout and delivery but doesn't offer on-premises dining.

  • Pizza Delivery
  • Pizza Takeout
  • Delivery Restaurant
  • Takeout Restaurant

“Navy Federal Credit Union"

  • Federal Credit Union
  • Bank

"Super 8" is a motel with an onsite swimming pool.

  • Motel
  • Hotel
  • Swimming Pool

“24-Hour Fitness”

  • Health Club
  • Gym
  • Swimming Pool
“A1 Check Cashing”
  • Check Cashing Service
  • Banking and Finance
"Wendy’s" is a fast food hamburger restaurant that also offers some desserts on its menu.
  • Fast Food Restaurant
  • Hamburger Restaurant
  • Dessert Restaurant

If your business contains another business that your organization doesn't own and operate, only use categories that represent your business.

Examples:

  • "Starbucks" is operated inside "Barnes and Nobles."
    • “Starbucks” category: “Coffee Shop”
    • “Barnes and Nobles” category: “Book Store.” It shouldn't add “Coffee Shop” as a category.
  • "Cardtronics ATM" is operated inside "7-Eleven."
    • “Cardtronics ATM” category: “ATM”
    • “7-Eleven” category: “Convenience Store.” It shouldn't add “ATM” as a category.
  • "Nobu" is operated inside "Hard Rock Hotel."
    • “Nobu” category: “Restaurant”
    • “Hard Rock Hotel” category: “Hotel.” It shouldn't add “Restaurant” as a category.

The following types of co-located businesses should each have their own profile. If you need to use both categories for the same business location, create two profiles instead. Be sure to use a different name for the second business. Learn about departments.

  • A Restaurant/Cafe/Bar inside of a Hotel/Motel
  • A Pharmacy inside of a Supermarket/Grocery Store
  • A Gas Station next to a Supermarket/Grocery Store
Menu

There are 2 kinds of menus:

  • A menu for an eating and drinking establishment (like restaurants or cocktail bars) that lists the complete set of food and drink items that are available at the business.
  • A menu for a service business like a barber, spa, or car repair shop that lists the complete set of services that are available at the business.
Both kinds of menu must follow the following guidelines:
  • The menu should be representative of the items and services that are available for customers at the business. Full menus can be meal-specific (like breakfast, lunch, or dinner) and have links to other menu pages. For example, you may choose to link to your business’s dinner menu, which in turn may include links to the breakfast and lunch menus.
  • Sample menus that only list “popular items” (or similar excerpts) should not be submitted.
  • Menu URLs can’t be direct links to third-party ordering or delivery services.
  • Third parties that manage Business Profiles on behalf of clients must notify and have the consent of the business owner to submit a menu URL for a business.
Products

If you run a retail business in an eligible country (US, CA, UK, and IE), you can turn online searchers into in-store shoppers by automatically showcasing your in-store products on your Business Profile.

To add your in-store products:

Both methods must adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Products submitted via Product Editor added automatically must adhere to the Shopping Ads Policy. Learn more about the Shopping Ads Policy.
  • We do not allow content related to regulated products and services, including alcohol, tobacco products, gambling, financial services, pharmaceuticals and unapproved supplements, or health or medical devices.
  • Submitting products that violate Google's policy may result in removal of the entire product catalog, including products that aren't in violation.

Guidelines for chains, departments & individual practitioners

Chains & brands

Maintain consistent names and categories across all of your business locations to help customers quickly identify your business on Google Maps and search results.

All locations must have the same name unless the business’s real world representation consistently varies from location to location. All locations must also have the same category if they provide the same service.

Get started with chain Business Profile.

Name consistency

All business locations within the same country must have the same name for all locations. For example, all Home Depot locations should use the name "The Home Depot" rather than "Home Depot" or "The Home Depot at Springfield".

There are 2 exceptions to this policy:

  • If you have multiple types of businesses, sub-brands, multiple departments, or various types of operations such as retail and wholesale, they may also have a distinct name so long as it is consistently applied to all locations of that business.
    • Acceptable name variations: "Walmart Supercenter" and "Walmart Express"; "Nordstrom" and "Nordstrom Rack"; "Gap" and "babyGap"
  • If some of your locations consistently use a different name on their storefront, website, or stationery, these locations can use this different name.
    • Acceptable name variations: "Intercontinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco" and "Intercontinental New York Barclay"; "PFK" (for locations in Quebec) and "KFC" (for locations in the US and rest of Canada)

Category consistency

All locations of a business must share the one category that best represents the business. If you have multiple types of locations (e.g. sub-brands, multiple departments, or various types of operations such as retail, distribution center, and office), this rule only applies within each of these sub-groups.

  • All "Gap Kids" have the category "Children’s Clothing Store"
  • All "Goodyear Auto Service Center" have the category "Tire Shop"; they also all have the category "Auto Repair Shop"
  • All "PetSmart" have the category "Pet Supply Store"; some locations may have other categories ("Pet Store", "Dog Day Care Center")

Two or more brands at the same location

If your business location combines two or more brands, do not combine the brand names into a single Business Profile. Instead, pick one brand’s name for the Business Profile. If the brands operate independently, you may use a separate profile for each brand at this location.

For multiple virtual food brands at the same location, refer to the food-specific guidelines in the Virtual food brands section below.

  • Not Acceptable: "KFC / Taco Bell" or "Dunkin' Donuts / Baskin Robbins"
  • Acceptable: "Taco Bell", "KFC", "Dunkin’ Donuts", "Baskin Robbins"

If your business sells another business brand’s product(s) or service(s), use only the name of the business, excluding the name of the brand being sold, which can't have a Business Profile for this location.

  • Not Acceptable: "Staples / UPS", "America’s Tire / Firestone"
  • Acceptable: "Staples", "America’s Tire"

However, if the business is an authorized and fully dedicated seller of the branded product or service, sometimes known as a "franchisee", you may use the underlying brand name when you create the Business Profile.

  • Acceptable: "TCC Verizon Wireless Premium Retailer", "U-Haul Neighborhood Dealer"

Virtual food brands

Virtual food brands are permitted with conditions.

Co-located food brands offering pick-up

  • Food brands that are co-located each must have permanent separate signage. They should display their address only if they offer pick-up to all customers.
    • Delivery-only brands (no-pick up option) out of shared kitchens must hide their address and add service areas to that specific brand to avoid confusing their customers.

Delivery-only food brands

  • Delivery-only brands (i.e. those operating out of virtual kitchens) are permitted if they have distinct branded packaging and a distinct website.
  • Multiple virtual brands operating out of one location are permitted, but are subject to additional verification steps.
  • Delivery-only brands must add their service areas and hide the address on their business profile to avoid confusing their customers.
  • If there is a partnership where a food brand has authorized the virtual kitchen as a verified provider of the food, the virtual kitchen may manage each authorized brand’s business profile once the authorization is confirmed.
  • The facility that houses the delivery-only brands, i.e. Doordash Kitchens, is permitted to have its own separate business profile. Only someone affiliated with the facility can claim and verify this profile.

Rebranding

Your Business Profile may be eligible for rebranding (defined as an eligible name change without creating a new Business Profile) if you make a minor name change, in which the proper nouns and services described in the business name remain unchanged and the business category remains unchanged.

You may also be eligible for rebranding if you have multiple locations and the business name changes.

If your business meets the rebranding criteria above, you can update your business name when you edit your business information. 

If your business changes its name but doesn't meet the criteria above, then it's considered a new business. You must mark the existing Business Profile as closed and then create a new Business Profile with your new business name. Learn how to mark a profile as closed.

If you encounter any issues with rebranding, contact our support team. You can also ask questions and get answers from experts in the Business Profile Community.

Tip: If you assume ownership of a Business Profile, you first need to have the previous owner add you as an owner and transfer ownership to you.

Departments within other businesses, universities, or institutions

Departments within businesses, universities, hospitals, and government institutions may have their own Business Profiles on Google.

Auto dealers and healthcare providers have specific and separate guidelines. Get started with Business Profiles for auto dealers and healthcare providers.

Publicly-facing departments that operate as distinct entities should have their own page. The exact name of each department must be different from that of the main business and that of other departments. Typically such departments have a separate customer entrance and should each have distinct categories. Their hours may sometimes differ from those of the main business.

  • Acceptable (as distinct Business Profiles):
    • "Walmart Vision Center"
    • "Sears Auto Center"
    • "Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Dermatology"
  • Not acceptable (as distinct Business Profiles):
    • The Apple products section of Best Buy
    • The hot food bar inside Whole Foods Market

For each department, the category that's the most representative of that department must be different from that of the main business and that of other departments.

  • The main business "Wells Fargo" has the category "Bank" whereas the department "Wells Fargo Advisors" has the category "Financial Consultant."
  • The main business "South Bay Toyota" has the category "Toyota Dealer" whereas the "South Bay Toyota Service & Parts" has the category "Auto Repair Shop" (plus the category "Auto Parts Store").
  • The main business "GetGo" has the category "Convenience Store" (plus the category "Sandwich Shop") whereas the department "GetGo Fuel" has the category "Gas Station", and the department "WetGo" has the category "Car Wash."
Individual practitioners

An individual practitioner is a public-facing professional, typically with their own customer base. Doctors, dentists, lawyers, financial planners, and insurance or real estate agents are all individual practitioners. Business Profiles for practitioners may include title or degree certification (for example Dr., MD, JD, Esq., CFA).

An individual practitioner should create their own dedicated Business Profile if:

  • They operate in a public-facing role. Support staff should not create their own Business Profiles.
  • They can be contacted directly at the verified location during stated hours.

A practitioner shouldn't have multiple Business Profiles to cover all of their specializations. Sales associates or lead generation agents for corporations aren't individual practitioners and aren't eligible for a Business Profile.

Multiple practitioners at one location

If the practitioner is one of several public-facing practitioners at this location:

  • The organization should create a Business Profile for this location, separate from that of the practitioner.
  • The title of the Business Profile for the practitioner should include only the name of the practitioner, and shouldn’t include the name of the organization.

Solo practitioners that belong to branded organizations

If a practitioner is the only public-facing practitioner at a location and represents a branded organization, it's best for the practitioner to share a Business Profile with the organization. Create a single Business Profile, named using the following format: [brand/company]: [practitioner name].

Acceptable: "Allstate: Joe Miller" (if Joe is the sole public-facing practitioner at this Allstate-branded location)

Marketing, promotions, or other contests

Any promotion, marketing, contests, or other giveaways should clearly link to the terms of the activity and provide clear guidelines and qualifications. All such promises, given or implied, should be adhered to.

Important: Google reserves the right to suspend access to Business Profiles on Google or other Google Services to individuals or businesses that violate these guidelines, and may work with law enforcement in the event that the violation is unlawful.

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