More threads by randy

randy

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A prospect is locked into 2010-era thinking and wants to put location and type of business into their GBP business name. In fact he's already done it for his two locations, which otherwise look pretty good. I've explained why this is a bad idea, and the prospect's business is specialized so there's not even a lot of competition that would make keyword stuffing desirable. Normally I'd probably just decline the business and be done with it, but the owner is in one of my business networking groups, so declining would be awkward. Not sure what to say further. I charge a flat monthly fee for GBP maintenance but thinking I should add to any contract that reinstatement etc. would cost extra if the GBPs are suspended because of the keyword stuffing. Are we as SEOs obligated (like attorneys) to do what a client wants even contrary to our advice? I'd appreciate any thoughts on this. Thank you in advance.
 

whitespark

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We manage hundreds of Google Business Profiles through our SEO Services, and this comes up fairly often. We get new clients come onboard that already have keyword stuffed names, and we get clients asking us to add the keywords.

Here's how we communicate this issue to our clients:
  1. Yes, keywords in the name will significantly increase your rankings.
  2. Adding keywords that are not your actual brand name is against Google's guidelines and puts you at risk of suspension.
  3. Google does not police this. Your risk comes from competitors that might report you for violating the rules.
  4. Some businesses can fly under the radar for years benefiting from a keyword stuffed business name, while some businesses might get suspended a few days after adding keywords.
  5. Note that the first step from Google is usually a "soft suspension". This means that your business will still rank, but you won't be able to publish any updates to it.
  6. If suspended, you would have to file a reinstatement request, and it will take at least a few weeks to get reinstated, perhaps months.
  7. Repeat offenses can trigger a "hard suspension", which means your profile will disappear from the rankings.
  8. The best way to get the benefits from the keywords in the business name without any risk is to actually rename your business in a full rebrand (new name, logo, references on the website, update government registry, update citations). You can't get suspended if it's your actual business name. We have helped many clients through this process and can help you with it too.

We recommend the rebrand approach, but if you prefer to not rebrand then we leave it to you to decide if the reward is worth the risk. Please let us know how you would like to proceed.

Keep in mind that if you advise him to remove the keywords from his business name, then his rankings will take a nose dive, and he will blame you. This is why we tread carefully with this. We want to educate them on the risks, but we certainly don't want our advice to do the exact opposite of what they hired us for.
 
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randy

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As long as it's a legitimate rebrand and they take the steps to make everything aligned with the guidelines for GBP, you should be fine.

I appreciate your response, but that’s exactly the problem: It’s not a rebranding, it’s just keyword stuffing in violation of the guidelines. I may yet convince him to be compliant after all, but he’s been resistant.
 

Colan Nielsen

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If they are not willing to update all of their real world branding such as signage and the logo on the website then I agree with you and I would advise against this.
 

randy

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If they are not willing to update all of their real world branding such as signage and the logo on the website then I agree with you and I would advise against this.

Thank you for helping me clarify my thinking. I think I was overly focused on the potential personal conflict, but that can’t take precedence over doing the right thing.
 

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