Jul 24, 2012
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Hey Linda!

I know in the past, Google Place's quality guidelines said "Use the description and custom attribute fields to include additional information about your listing. This type of content should never appear in your business?s title, address or category fields."

However I do not see a section for the description in the guideines anymore. Does you know if you can use location keywords in the description now without being penalized? I see a lot of competitors doing it, along with using categories in the description, and they don't seem to be getting penalized by Google. I thought it was a best practice not to do this, but am unsure if this has changed since?

Thank you! :)

Linda Buquet

Local Search Expert
Jun 28, 2012
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Great question Rachel. Not many people have noticed what was there before much less that it's missing now.

My best practice is still to minimize/avoid any of that repetition. I've seen what I believe to be ranking penalties for repetition in description. (Others agree with me but some would dispute it.)

What I recommend in my training is main keyword once is fine. But don't repeat other keywords from categories. Don't repeat the city that's in your address. But other location keywords are fine I think. So if client is in Irvine Ca I think it would be fine to mention serving the Orange County area, I just would not repeat Irvine. I also say not to repeat business name.

Bottom line is keywords or city in description do not help rankings any more. And could hurt. The fact others do it, just says they have not gotten caught yet. Maybe have not edited page for a long time, so they have not tripped a red flag.

See 2nd half of this post re description spam and rankings : Google Places Description and More Details Section Some News and Pro Opinions from the Field - Google Places Optimization Blog

Plus customers AND Google already know name, city, keywords based on the data already entered higher on the page. So why waste part of your precious 200 characters repeating that stuff again?

So I try to use the description more for conversions. Add marketing message, features and benefits. A few more good tips about descriptions here:
Local Search Community

Does any of that make sense or help?
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