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Business Profile third-party policies

To help maintain positive experiences when businesses use third parties to manage their Business Profile on Google, we have third-party policies.

Definitions

A 'Third party (3P)' is an authorised agency that manages business information on a Business Profile for a business that they don’t own. Examples include: 

  • A digital marketing agency. 
  • A third-party SEO/SEM company. 
  • An online ordering, scheduling or booking provider. 
  • An affiliate network provider. 

For individual representatives (such as family members or friends), check these guidelines.

'End customers' / 'clients' are businesses who enter into a contractual agreement with a third party to manage their business information on Google My Business.

Follow the requirements

End customers have the right to expect third parties to act in a fair, honest and transparent manner and in accordance with Business Profile policies. To this end, you must adhere to the following policies. Failure to adhere to these policies may result in a suspension for the profile and/or account.

  • Ensure that the end customer understands what Google Business Profile is and where their Business Profile data is used.
  • Inform the end customer about how you’ll manage their Business Profile. Go to Transparency requirements for more details.
  • Follow Business Profile policies.

After the account is set up, we encourage you to transfer ownership of the profile to your client.

Transparency requirements

For businesses to fully realize the benefits of being found on Google, they must have the right information to make informed decisions. Therefore, we require all third parties and/or authorised representatives to be transparent with information that affects these decisions. In addition to meeting the requirements outlined below, third parties must make reasonable efforts to provide end customers with other relevant information when requested.

Honor ownership requests

Third parties and authorised representatives should proactively inform businesses about their ownership and management options. Businesses have the right to determine whether a partner should have a Co-Owner, Manager or no access at all. Third parties must honour ownership requests from business owners within 3-7 days of the ownership request.

Termination of end-customer relationship

Your end customer must be given a quick and easy way to discontinue your service. Within 7 business days of notice from an end customer, you must provide that client the ability to disassociate the Google Account used to manage their Business Profile from your services and regain exclusive control of it. If you have permission to manage or otherwise change the end customer’s account, you must also relinquish and remove those permissions accordingly. Learn more about transfer of ownership.

Management fees

Third parties often charge a management fee for the valuable services that they provide, and end customers should know if they’ll be charged these fees. If you charge a management fee, you must let end customers know that Business Profile is a free service. At a minimum, you must inform new customers in writing before you manage their profile and disclose the existence of this fee on customer invoices. Avoid sudden or dramatic changes in your fees.

Share the disclosure notice

It's especially important for small and medium sized businesses – who may not have the resources or expertise of large businesses – to know what they can expect when working with a third-party partner. Therefore, all third parties that primarily serve small to medium sized businesses need to share the 'Working with a third party' disclosure notice with all of their customers.

Have a link to the disclosure notice in a clearly discoverable location on your website. Examples of acceptable locations include the footer of your homepage, your reporting dashboard and the products or services section of your site. In addition, when you manage a new business or renew your relationship with an existing one, let your customers know about the presence of the disclosure notice on your website by either email or mail.

Reviews

Business owners have the ability to respond to reviews of their business on Google. If you respond to reviews on behalf of your end customer, you must receive their authorisation first. All responses to reviews must follow Google’s Review Content Policies.

Insights

You must give accurate information to your end customers about Google Business Profile, including the ability to distinguish between Business Profile data and data from other platforms. If your service provides reporting data from other profile management platforms, you must report the Business Profile data separately from the non-Business Profile data. If the Business Profile-specific data is also provided in an easy to access place, you can report aggregated performance data (combining Business Profile data with non-Business Profile data). You must not compare or share one customer’s Business Profile-specific data with your other customers.

If your tool provides geographic location performance data aggregated across multiple platforms (for example, Yelp, Yahoo, Bing, etc.), it must also separately provide the Google Business Profile location performance report and its required fields.

Share your Business Profile management cost and performance reports in a way that makes it easy for your customers to access the reports, such as by email or via your website. Alternatively, to meet this requirement, allow your customers to sign in to the Google Account used to manage their Business Profile directly to access their performance data.

Publicity

Use of Google Business Profile does not create, suggest or imply a partnership with, sponsorship by or endorsement by Google. You will not make any statement about your use of Business Profile that suggests these types of relationship without Google’s prior written approval.

No interference with monitoring or auditing

To ensure compliance with all applicable policies and terms, Google may monitor and audit any Business Profile activity. You aren't allowed to interfere with such monitoring or auditing and should not otherwise conceal from Google your Business Profile activity. Any interference is considered a violation of these policies.

Prohibited practices

Do not claim a business without consent

You can claim and manage a Business Profile only if you obtained the business owner’s express consent as required by the applicable law (written consent or implying a form of positive action like ticking a box in a form). Verbal consent isn't sufficient. If there’s a conflict between the third party and the merchant, you must be able to provide written or digital proof of consent. Don’t preemptively claim a profile to encourage, persuade or force a business to become a customer.

Example:

  • Extorting client’s consent (that is, consent that's neither freely given nor informed)

False, misleading or unrealistic claims

We want businesses to make informed decisions about working with third-party partners, which means when you describe your company, your services, the costs associated with those services and the results that customers can expect, you must be upfront and truthful. Don't make false, misleading or unrealistic claims.

Examples:

  • Misrepresent as Google through robocalls (calls placed with a recorded voice) or other techniques.
  • Guarantees top placement on Google.
  • Claims that profiles will appear in Google Search or Google Maps at all times.
  • Represents free Google products as pay-for-insertion products.
  • Misrepresent as Google, or as a party directly affiliated with Google, through misleading organisation account names. This includes, but is not limited to, the use of account names that reference Google or its related entities, like 'Google', 'Google Cloud', 'Alphabet', 'Google certified' and 'Google support team'.

Harassing, abusive or untrustworthy behaviour

Businesses should get the same great service from a third-party partner as they would get when they work directly with Google. So don't harass, abuse or use untrustworthy tactics with potential or existing customers.

Examples:

  • Makes excessive cold calls without respect to do-not-call lists.
  • Puts undue pressure on a customer to sign up or stay with the agency.
  • Threatens that clients will lose their profile if they don't sign up with the agency.
  • Keeps a profile hostage in exchange for money. 
  • Engages in phishing.

Auto-reverting of Google updates and suggested edits

To ensure that the most accurate information is published for merchants and users, Google uses many different sources of data, including user-generated content and other third-party data. When you take automated actions to discard suggested updates without consulting the merchant, you violate our terms. Third parties must consult with the merchant to verify that data is still accurate. Failure to do so may result in enforcement action, which may include reduced API quota.

Account setup

Being an owner or a member of an organisation is a powerful role. Please restrict it to a few of your most trusted employees. Learn more about organisations and user groups

You’re responsible for ensuring the integrity and security of your end customers’ account credentials. Here are some best practices for profile, account, and password management:

  • After a profile has been created for a client, make the business owner the owner of the profile, and make yourself the manager of the profile.
  • If a client already has a Business Profile, ask them to invite you as a manager, not as an owner.
  • Don't share passwords with your clients.
  • If you no longer manage a profile, remove the profile from your account.

About our policies

It's important that you familiarise yourself with and keep up to date on Google's third-party policy. If we believe that you violate our policies, we may contact you to conduct a detailed review of your practices and request corrective action. In cases of repeated or serious violations, we may stop you from managing a Business Profile and may contact your customers to notify them accordingly.

Make sure to review Google Business Profile policies.

What happens if you violate policy

Compliance review: We may review your business for compliance with third-party policy at any time. If we contact you to request information related to compliance, you're required to respond in a timely manner and swiftly take any corrective action needed to follow our policies. We may also contact your customers to verify compliance.

Notification of non-compliance: If we believe that you violated a third-party policy, we'll contact you to request corrective action. If you fail to make the requested corrections within the time period given, we may take enforcement action. In cases of serious or repeated violations, we may act immediately and without notification.

Third-party programme suspension: Your participation in other Google third-party programmes, such as Google Partners or Premier SMB Partners, is predicated upon compliance with this third-party policy and may be limited or suspended if we find that you violated our policies or if you fail to cooperate with our efforts to review your business for compliance.

Account suspension: We may suspend a Business Profile and/or the Google Account you use to manage the Business Profile if you commit a serious policy violation. In cases of repeated or grave policy violations, you may no longer be able to manage a Business Profile. Furthermore, we may contact your customers to notify them accordingly.

Report a violation of third-party policy

Think a third-party partner violates this policy? Let us know: Report a violation of third-party policy.

While we may not respond personally when you contact us about a third party, we'll investigate your comments and, if necessary, take appropriate action.

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