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  1. #1
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    What's OK To Use As A Website in Google Places

    In regards to websites and phone numbers, the Google Places Quality Guidelines state:

    Website & Phone: Provide a phone number that connects to your individual business location as directly as possible, and provide one website that represents your individual business location.

    • Use a local phone number instead of a call center 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.

    What would be an acceptable website URL to use for a business that doesn't have a website?

    Is it acceptable to purchase a domain name and have it re-direct to a local business directory page for that business?

    What are options for businesses without websites, other than simply leaving it off?

    ---------- Post Merged at 10:56 AM ---------- Previous Post was at 10:46 AM ----------

    Has anyone used - http://www.gybo.com/
    Colan Nielsen l GMB Top Contributor
    Vice President, Local Search at Sterling Sky
    Connect on Google + and Twitter

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  3. #2
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    Re: What's OK To Use As A Website in Google Places

    Great Q Colan and I don't have a definitive answer. As a general rule though I don't think Google likes redirects. Plus I've seen some sites ranking decent that just use the G+ page and I would think G would prefer that over a directory page on some other 3rd party directory. However I've also seen some of those rank high, so who knows.

    But I do have a very hot little tip... it's on my to-do list for a post with examples, etc.

    But I've been seeing some #1 ranking listings, in some very competitive markets even that are using... a certain free site, made by a certain huge company we know.

    But it deserves it's own post. Could be kinda of a big deal. So let me see if I can get it done today and then will come link to it here. Don't want to take your post totally off topic.
    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".

  4. #3
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    Re: What's OK To Use As A Website in Google Places

    Colan, I tend to agree with Linda and think that the website listed on the Local page should be the actual domain and not a redirect. A few months ago, I set up a client's Google+ Local page and I used a different domain name instead of the actual domain just because it was shorter. The shorter domain was 301-redirected to their site. But their rankings in Google were pitiful. When I changed the domain that was listed on their Local page, they started ranking. I can't say for a certainty whether it was because of this change that I made to their Local page, but I can tell you that I had not been doing any type of SEO for them since setting up their site and creating some citations for them.

    Of course, this is just one small example, and you can try it out yourself and see, but I tend to agree with Linda that it's best to list the actual domain on the Local page or just not list one if they don't have a site. As Linda said and as I'm sure you've seen, businesses can rank well in local results even if they do not have a website. But I'd push your client to get a site, even if it's just a simple one-page.
    David @ Touch Point Digital | New Orleans Local SEO & Web Design
    Circle me on Google+ or follow us on Twitter

  5. #4
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    Re: What's OK To Use As A Website in Google Places

    Thanks Linda & Dave.

    I have also always thought it is a no-no to use a redirect on the Places Page. I do think that Google's guidelines in this regard are pretty vague.

    The situation that got me thinking about this is a potential client who has a VERY local business directory (it covers one street of businesses). Most of the businesses don't have websites and I was thinking of the best way to deal with that if we were to manage these businesses Google Places listings.

    And yes, Dave, pushing them to get websites is on my mind as well
    Last edited by Linda Buquet; 02-08-2013 at 09:43 AM. Reason: Bold by Linda - linking here and want that part to stand out.
    Colan Nielsen l GMB Top Contributor
    Vice President, Local Search at Sterling Sky
    Connect on Google + and Twitter

  6. #5
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    Re: What's OK To Use As A Website in Google Places

    Lack of clarity in Places guidelines aside... In my training I teach people and encourage them to "THINK LIKE GOOGLE" think like the algo and like the spam filters do.

    Think about pure organic and the old days when it became known Google did not like redirects. The reason porn and other bad actors??? joesplumbing.com if it has a redirect COULD be redirecting you to xxxland.com.

    Quote Originally Posted by Colan Nielsen View Post
    The situation that got me thinking about this is a potential client who has a VERY local business directory (it covers one street of businesses). Most of the businesses don't have websites and I was thinking of the best way to deal with that if we were to manage these businesses Google Places listings.
    My hot tip could be super hot for this case!!!
    Will try to work on that post this AM.
    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".

  7. #6
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    Re: What's OK To Use As A Website in Google Places

    Check it out Colan. What do you think? (It's a doozy!)

    http://localsearchforum.catalystemar...gle-local.html
    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".

  8. #7
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    Re: What's OK To Use As A Website in Google Places

    What I tell people is that if they don't have a website, they're not even at the poker table. This is 2013. There's no excuse. Doesn't need to be pretty, but it does need to exist.

    As for what is "acceptable" in the URL field, I've seen businesses that list their Yahoo or YP listings in the Google Places URL field (!). And rank well. But that was a while ago, so for all I know those businesses' Google listings are swimming with the fishes.

    I can't help but wonder whether Google would accept a Facebook URL.

  9. #8
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    Re: What's OK To Use As A Website in Google Places

    +1 for Phil's comment. Setting up your own website has become easy as pie. 1. Buy a domain name; 2. Register for a cheap hosting account. 3. Upload a simple HTML template (or a cms) 4. Write a short intro for your business. In Germany it's even easier than that: usually your internet and phone service provider sends you a website package with .DE domain name, hosting and a very easy to use website builder.

    Instead of building your business on a subdomain (and maybe even compromising your Google+ Places listing), why not take the safe way?

  10. #9
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    Re: What's OK To Use As A Website in Google Places

    Quote Originally Posted by apolodor View Post
    In Germany it's even easier than that: usually your internet and phone service provider sends you a website package with .DE domain name, hosting and a very easy to use website builder.
    Very interesting. Talk about having no barriers to entry (e.g. "I don't know how to build a website" or "I don't know where to get one"). I guess I learn something new every day. Thanks!

  11. #10
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    Re: What's OK To Use As A Website in Google Places

    Regarding using something like their Facebook page or using a redirect to a directory. The overall rules for Maps to which all claimed places are also subject state to refrain from third party sites. They aren't explicitly banned, but in practise they are highly discouraged, and both editors and reviewers will remove them all the time. If someone has a poor website and a great Facebook page that they are trying to use, the URL is supposed to be changed to the actual website.

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