Google Updates Local Listing Guidelines

Google has updated its local business listing guidelines to include support for individual departments within hospitals, universities, local governments and, of course, businesses; that is, as long as each department has a unique phone number and "forward-facing presence." This means that, for instance, a large clothing store's Men's Department can now be listed on Google separately from the rest of the store.

Some readers may remember that this "new" policy is actually a return to an original Google policy that changed around a year ago, and it should open up many opportunities for multi-department businesses.

In addition, this update will formalize a policy that has existed in Google Places, but not MapMaker, that officially allows practitioners with several offices/locations to have a unique listing for each one; however, they're only listed for the hours that the practitioner is actually present and "directly contactable" at a specific location. Individual practitioners must also be public-facing about their relationships to their parent organizations. If these rules aren't followed, the listing(s) could be rejected for non-compliance.