In the new section, Google states:
"While Google My Business is free, third-parties often charge a fee to manage your listing. They can provide valuable services like keeping your listing up-to-date, providing you with customer insights, answering your questions, and responding to reviews. It’s important to understand the benefits you may be getting from a third-party so you can evaluate whether you’re getting the best return on your investment."
Google also outlines various "best practices" on how to work with a third-party search marketer or local SEO provider. These include:
- Being selective
- Working with one at a time
- Educating yourself
- Trusting experience
- Evaluating your performance
Lastly, Google shares some insights surrounding deceptive behavior, mentioning that although "Many third-parties represent the best interests of their clients... some third-parties are less reputable." The red flags that might indicate deceptive behavior include:
- Not being transparent
- Guaranteeing placement on Google
- Claiming to work for Google
- Making threats
- Deceptive pricing
For a complete overview Google My Business guidelines for working with local SEO's, see the screenshot below of the new section (source from Search Engine Roundtable.
Get the full scoop by clicking here or check out the Google Maps Help Center for more information about Google My Business and Google Maps marketing.