We’re learning with you on the changes we need to make. We
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We’re learning with you on the changes we need to make. We first enabled free-form entry of Categories in order to help businesses accurately describe the type of business they are – e.g. “my business is a _________.” – where the blank could now include new, more precise types of businesses like “Hookah Bar” instead of just “Bar”. Even though that flexibility opened opportunities for spam/abuse, the majority of people used it to help improve search results.
I’ll ask that we take another pass at clarifying the guidelines, since the feedback on this thread (from well-intentioned people trying to do the right thing) is evidence that guidelines are not clear enough. The guidelines may always have a degree of ambiguity due to the nature of spam; but they should never be surprising to anyone trying to improve search results in a way that s/he would be proud to show customers and competitors.
Hi Mike – it sounds like the guidelines themselves are clear enough; the questions about standards arise from citing examples of violations that we have not yet addressed. When you see those listings that run contrary to the guidelines and that appear to have gamed search result ranking, that should not be interpreted as our tacit endorsement of practices like category stuffing or adding geographic terms to categories; it just means we have work left to do. The best way to include non-categorical information about the specialties of a business is via the web site for the business; the Description and Additional Details fields in LBC are also alternatives.
To answer a few questions quickly…
today, LBC supports only businesses with at least one physical location. That’s not ideal, since many businesses service areas unrelated to a particular office location; but for now, non-physical-location businesses are best published as web pages that describe the areas you service.
If your business has multiple physical locations, there is no problem claiming each of them.
Whether your business should appear in results for searches of nearby cities is dependent on a variety of factors. For example, I’d drive 30 minutes to buy a car but not to get my dry cleaning done.
Today, a single Category is intended to classify the type of business rather than serve as a list of search keywords. A comma separated list of disjointed keywords in a single Category is spammy since we’d like users to be able to refine their search using a Category.
All good feedback we’ll factor into coming revisions of both guidelines and the service.
When entering categories, use only those that directly describe your business. Do not submit related categories that do not define your business. For example, a taxi company might properly categorize itself as “Airport Transportation”, but it would be inaccurate to also use the category “Airport”. Also, please use each category field to enter a single category. Do not list multiple categories or keywords in one field.
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