"Correcting" categories - interesting corner case

Tim Colling

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Many of my firm's clients are in some way involved in providing services to the elderly and their families. Many of the companies that we serve, as well as their competitors, provide non-medical caregivers to clients in the clients' homes. The caregivers are not licensed nurses and do not provide skilled nursing services like wound care, medication administration, etc. Instead, the provide supportive services and personal care, such as helping with personal care, bathing and toileting, meal preparation, light housekeeping, companionship and other things that are not clinical in nature. While states may regulate and "license" such companies, they are regulated as non-medical services

In the USA, that sort of non-medical care is usually referred to by professionals as home care, companion care, personal care, home help, or something else like that.

It is usually NOT referred to as "home health care" because that term usually is used to refer to skilled nursing care, provided by licensed nurses, or other licensed services such as physical therapists, medical social workers etc.

Until recently, Google only offered a GMB category called home health care services, but not any corresponding ones for non-medical care. Therefore almost all non-medical home care agencies are listed in GMB with "home health care services" as their primary category.

Not long ago, though, Google added a GMB category called "home help service agency" for non-medical home care agencies. And guess what? No one is using that one yet, and new listings are still being created with the "home health care services".

Moreover, searchers almost always search for non-medical caregivers with search terms that include "home health care", because they don't know any better.

So, one tactic that firms like mine could employ is to suggest edits to our clients' competitors' GMB listings to change their primary GMB category to "home help services agency". We might even accidentally forget to change our clients' GMB categories away from "home health care services". Oops.

What do you think about that tactic?
 

JoyHawkins

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It is usually NOT referred to as "home health care" because that term usually is used to refer to skilled nursing care, provided by licensed nurses, or other licensed services such as physical therapists, medical social workers etc.
Hey Tim,

I think to validate your edits you would need to show Google where you can back up this claim. Is it listed anywhere online that you're only allowed to list yourself as home health care if you have XYZ license?

If not, I would strongly advise not making public edits because you risk getting blacklisted as a spammer.
 

Tim Colling

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the competitors category doesn't violate Google's rules
Which rules, @Colan Nielsen? I've looked for rules but I only found the URLs listed below. They're pretty vague on this particular issue. Essentially, the situation is that the selection of "home heath care services" used to be appropriate because Google didn't offer a better choice. Now, however, Google does offer a better choice.

This may matter more to those of us who operate (or in my case, used to operate) companies in the non-medical home care industry.

So, what to do? What do others think?

Guidelines for representing your business on Google - Google My Business Help
Choose a business category - Google My Business Help
 

Tim Colling

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I think to validate your edits you would need to show Google where you can back up this claim. Is it listed anywhere online that you're only allowed to list yourself as home health care if you have XYZ license?
Actually, in some states, yes, it is against the state law. California is one such state. You have to be licensed as a home health care agency in California before you can use that term to describe yourself. That's true in many other states also.

In light of that, what do you think?
 

JoyHawkins

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@Tim Colling so in that case, I'd put together a Google doc that shows the listing you're trying to change along with where the GMB team can see that it's not legal for them to be using that category and then send it to them on Twitter. This is one thing I would not suggest editing yourself because it's way too easy to get flagged as a spammer if someone at Google sees all your edits and doesn't understand the reasoning.
 

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