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Google My Business Jargon: Demystified

If you’ve worked in the Local Search industry for any length of time, you might be aware that the Google My Business support team appears to have their own language.  The way we talk about features on Google and describe them is not the same as how Google refers to them.

It can be helpful to know how Google refers to things so you can communicate more clearly with them when contacting GMB support for help on an issue.

Here are some examples of differences in our everyday language.

  1. Services Menu vs Services Tab

    Inside the Google My Business dashboard, there is a section for most listings to provide a list of services the business offers.  Google used to call it a menu at one point but now refers to it as a services tab and the place where you edit it in the Google My Business dashboard is referred to as the services editor.

  2. Google My Business Listing vs Places Sheet

    The listing on Google for local businesses has gone through many name changes over the last decade but I think most Local SEOs uniformly call it a “Google My Business Listing”.   Google, on the other hand, appears to be a bit too connected to the old “Google Places” wording.

  3. Located In Feature vs Relation

    Businesses that are located in other businesses are eligible to have a feature on their listing that clarifies this.  Most individuals refer to this as the “located in” feature (or something similar) but if you’re asking Google My Business to add this to your listing, you need to call it a relation or they might not have a clue what you’re talking about.

  4. Keyword Stuffing vs Descriptors

    When we see spam like this on Google Maps, we normally refer to it as keyword stuffing (stuffing your business name with extra keywords).  Google, on the other hand, calls these extra words “descriptors”.

  5. Business Owners vs Merchants

    Often we refer to small business owners as simply “business owners” but Google refers to them as “merchants” like in this example.

  6. Review Summaries vs Place Topics

    Google launched Place Topics in July of 2019 but I have honestly never heard anyone (other than Google) refer to them as that because it’s not an easy name to remember.  Most people refer to these as review summaries.

  7. Local Knowledge Panel vs Business Profile

    When we do a branded search on Google and pull up a listing for a specific business, we normally call these knowledge panels.  Google, however, refers to theses as business profiles: “Business Profiles look similar to knowledge panels, but are specific to businesses that serve customers at a particular location or within a designated service area”.

  8. Descriptions vs Editorial Summaries

    Popular listings on Google My Business have custom descriptions that are written by Google and cannot be edited by the business owner.  People often have no clue what these are called because they have a pretty odd name – editorial summaries.

Have you heard the Google My Business support team use any odd terms or phrases that I didn’t mention?  Tell us about them in the comments.

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Joy Hawkins

Joy is the owner of the Local Search Forum, LocalU, and Sterling Sky, a Local SEO agency in Canada & the USA. She has been working in the industry since 2006, writes for publications such as Search Engine Land, and enjoys speaking regularly at marketing conferences such as MozCon, LocalU, Pubcon, SearchLove, and State of Search. You can find her on Twitter or volunteering as a Product Expert on the Google My Business Forum.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. I think Google is not taking strict actions to control spam listings. I have seen many business profiles who misuse those “descriptors” and “editorial summary”. As a local guide, I used to report them to maintain quality of Google, but they’re not even taking any actions.

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