Best Practices for Business Listings

Google, as the dominant player in local search, has set the tone for best practices when it comes to formatting this sort of business data. Their complete guidelines can be found here.

If you’re building your listing manually, you should create a separate document with all of these fields pre-filled. You may have done this in a prior branding exercise or your business website. Be consistent in your use of strong anchor text, images, keywords and links so your data will improve your overall search engine exposure for your keywords and phrases.

Additional Insights for what to include in your business listing can be found here:

Okay, let’s go…

Your Business Name

Your name should reflect your business’ real-world name, as used consistently on your storefront, website, stationery, and as known to customers. Accurately representing your business name helps customers find your business online. Consider searching TESS at before deciding on your business name.

Add additional details like address, business hours, and category in the other sections of your business information.

For example, if you were creating a listing for a 24 hour coffee shop in downtown Kona called, Kona Gold Coffee, you would enter that business information as:

Business name: Kona Golden Seed
Address: 123 Alii Drive, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
Hours: Open 24 hours
Category: Seeds and Clones
Including unnecessary information in your business name is not permitted. Refer to the specific examples below to understand what you should and should not include in your business name.

Business Address

Use a precise, accurate address to describe your business location. PO Boxes or mailboxes located at remote locations are not acceptable.

Business Website and 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 central, call center helpline 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, including pages created on social media sites. The phone number must be under the direct control of the business.

Business Hours

Provide your regular customer-facing hours of operation. If applicable, you may use your current seasonal hours as your regular hours. You may also specify special hours for particular days, like holidays or special events.

For Individual Practitioners (e.g. doctors, lawyers, real estate agents)

An individual practitioner is a public-facing professional, typically with his or her own customer base. Doctors, dentists, lawyers, financial planners, and insurance or real estate agents are all individual practitioners. Listings for practitioners may include title or degree certification (e.g. Dr., MD, JD, Esq., CFA).

An individual practitioner should create his or her own dedicated listing if:

  • She or he operates in a public-facing role. Support staff should not create their own listings.
  • She or he is directly contactable at the verified location during stated hours.
  • A practitioner should not have multiple listings to cover all of his or her specializations.

Illegal activities

Fraudulent or illegal activities aren’t tolerated and may result in account suspension and removal of business information from website or other services.

Marketing, Promotions, or other Contests

Any promotion, marketing, contests, or other giveaways should clearly link to the terms of the activity and provide clear guidelines and qualifications. All such promises, given or implied, should be adhered to. reserves the right to suspend access to the website or other Services to individuals or businesses that violate these guidelines.