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The Name of Your Company

Google Places, until recently known as Google Local Business Center, has provided some actual guidance with regard to listing the name of your business.  They want you to provide the actual name of your business!  This would seem to be fair, reasonable, and obvious were it not for the fact that the name is the "title" of this page and therefore critical to determining how well you do in placement.  So, if the name of your business is Mario's and you are an italian restaurant, listing yourself as Mario's will work against you.   In order to optimize the listing, you want to be Mario's Italian Restaurant.

How does one deal with this dilemma?  There are several possibilities.  It appears that as long as the name doesn't look like keyword stuffing, Google Places is not going to challenge the name.  So in this example adding Italian Restaurant is likely to fly.  On the other hand if you were to use the title Mario's Italian Pizza and Pasta Restaurant of Lincoln Nebraska, you may get challenged.

But what if you have chosen your business name based on keywords and you really have a corporation or DBA like the Mario's example above,  Google Places will theoretically let you use it.  However, you may have to prove it.  And therein lies one of the big issues with Google Places.  Who do you call?  As of now, unless you have an adwords campaign and contact with the sales department, it seems almost impossible to right the wrongs of Places. 

Bottom Line about Name of Your Business.  If your company name has no keywords, you may do well to change the name - officially.  In the internet age it does not make sense to name a retail or service business with some very clever brand strategy, unless it is possible to add at least the main keyword.  The Rubber Duck might be a cute name for a toy store, but I would name my toy store The Rubber Duck Toy Store.

If you do not officially change the name, I would still risk adding one keyword to your Google Places "name."  You will want to add this same keyword to your address block on your home page and about us page of your website, you will increase the credibility of the "name" in Google's eyes, and have less chance of being challenged.