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Thread: Signage Penalty

  1. #1
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    Signage Penalty

    I may be working with a client and have noticed the signage for their business isn't the official name the use now.

    I'm assuming Google uses street view to verify signage for the business. Any thoughts on how strict they are on discrepancies in the business name?


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    Chris McCreery - Local SEO & Technology Strategist
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    Re: Signage Penalty

    Great question, Chris. Iím trying to figure that out, too. Itís unclear to me where Google stands, because theyíve been toothless about enforcing their policies. Iíve reported businesses at UPS stores, where the UPS logo is visible from Street View. Blatant violations. Most of those have stayed put.

    Right now, Google is like a lazy and slightly corrupt cop who only leaves his box of donuts for long enough to billy-club someone and restore fear - just enough fear to deter good guys from doing what bad guys do, but not enough to deter bad guys from doing what bad guys do.

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    Re: Signage Penalty

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Rozek View Post
    just enough fear to deter good guys from doing what bad guys do, but not enough to deter bad guys from doing what bad guys do.
    Well said Phil! That's about where we're at right now.
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

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    Re: Signage Penalty

    That's Funny!

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Rozek View Post
    Right now, Google is like a lazy and slightly corrupt cop who only leaves his box of donuts for long enough to billy-club someone and restore fear - just enough fear to deter good guys from doing what bad guys do, but not enough to deter bad guys from doing what bad guys do.

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    Re: Signage Penalty

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Rozek View Post
    Great question, Chris. Iím trying to figure that out, too. Itís unclear to me where Google stands, because theyíve been toothless about enforcing their policies. Iíve reported businesses at UPS stores, where the UPS logo is visible from Street View.
    Just curious Phil, how are businesses who may run out of their homes and decide to invest in a mailbox at the local UPS store supposed to build a presence? Is it wrong for businesses not to have an office or physical location? Should they be hiding their location in their Google Places account? I want to be sure I'm not misinterpreting what you are saying.

    Personally, I cannot see how Google would be able to utilize this unless they made a pass in front of the business every year or on a shorter frequency than they do now. Some businesses come and go and the signage stays put for a while or until ownership changes. I would wager it's different from place to place, city to city, but, I've seen signs in NYC for businesses that have not been in the location for over a year. The space is still empty but by all accounts, it would like they are still in business if you saw it on street view. Or the previous business signage is still present. That would be more diligent on Google's behalf then I would be willing to give them credit for...lol

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    Re: Signage Penalty

    Quote Originally Posted by Laustin1878 View Post
    Just curious Phil, how are businesses who may run out of their homes and decide to invest in a mailbox at the local UPS store supposed to build a presence? Is it wrong for businesses not to have an office or physical location? Should they be hiding their location in their Google Places account? I want to be sure I'm not misinterpreting what you are saying.
    Phil is right Luke and I've posted about it a ton.

    Google does not allow virtual offices, PO boxes or addresses that appear to be street addresses that are really at a postal center of any kind.

    It's not that it's wrong in the real world, you just can't use that address in your Places dash.

    Guidelines: "Do not create a listing or place your pin marker at a location where the business does not physically exist. P.O. Boxes are not considered accurate physical locations. Your business location should be staffed during its stated hours."

    If you check the service area business section here in our forum, there are a bunch of posts, but in that situation the only allowed option is to use the home address and of course you MUST hide it.
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

    Don't Miss Important News & Tips! Subscribe to Daily Email Digest Here

    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

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    Re: Signage Penalty

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris McCreery View Post
    I may be working with a client and have noticed the signage for their business isn't the official name the use now.

    I'm assuming Google uses street view to verify signage for the business. Any thoughts on how strict they are on discrepancies in the business name?
    Chris I would not say there is a "Signage Penalty" per se.

    But it would be a signal that something is not matching up.

    I would def ask them what their official business name is, if they have a DBA for the new name and check citations on both. Sometimes companies unofficially rebrand and willy nilly just decide to use another name OR change name for ranking purposes and it's not the real name. If a company officially rebrands they would normally change signage too.
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

    Don't Miss Important News & Tips! Subscribe to Daily Email Digest Here

    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

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    Re: Signage Penalty

    We have a lot of issues in my area, which is mostly rural and does not have street delivery so verifications via postcards in the past were a nightmare. Few, if any match in the USPS database and whole tract maps are off.

    Same issues with the old signage remaining. I tend to ask for the DBA, brand names, and variations they may use but it is one darn big headache more often than not. Doesn't matter if you are hiding address or not.

    As a practice we tend to hit the private properties online, social and citations and then tackle the big G. Tends to help a little. The virtual tours done by the GTiPs certainly help and maybe that is something you can explore.
    Online since 1995, Team ARK offers assistance with business reputation, marketing, lead generation, online business training & more.

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    Re: Signage Penalty

    @Chris

    Business owners who use their home addresses are fine. Ones who use a PO box or UPS address are not.

    If the home-business-address users are squeamish about privacy - to the point they don't want their home address anywhere online - then Google Places is not the marketing channel for them.

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    Re: Signage Penalty

    In my case the business just has an old sign they haven't updated since their name change. Didn't think it was too big of an issue but thank you all for clarifying.


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    Chris McCreery - Local SEO & Technology Strategist
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