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There is a lot of misinformation about what Google says or doesn't say about a number of topics.
Instead of having to hunt each claim down to verify if what you're being told (sold by a marketing company) is true, we created a single space to get the answers you need. Each topic and question is cited below with a direct link to one of Google's own pages on that topic. There are NO 3rd party sources. No opinions. Just facts, right from Google.
Search is dynamic, google gives us a peek at how search works here https://www.google.com/search/howsearchworks/
"Meaning, Relevance, Quality, Usability, Context", plus the "Behavior" of the person searching.https://www.google.com/search/howsearchworks/how-search-works/ranking-results/
"Advertisers, partners or anyone with a financial relationship with Google gains no special advantages or treatment in Search results. They are not given ranking boosts. If they have issues, they must use the same free tools and resources that we provide to everyone."https://www.google.com/search/howsearchworks/our-approach/ads-on-search/
"False, misleading, or unrealistic claims We want businesses to make informed decisions about working with third-party partners, which means when you describe your company, your services, the costs associated with those services, and the results that customers can expect, you must be upfront and truthful. Don't make false, misleading, or unrealistic claims. Guarantees top placement on Google. Claims that profiles will appear in Google Search or Google Maps at all times." https://support.google.com/business/answer/7353941?hl=en&ref_topic=7670699
"Raters assess how well a website gives people who click on it what they are looking for, and evaluate the quality of results based on the expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness of the content." Content is reviewed and rated in detail using the Search Rater Quality Guidelines. "In 2021, we ran over 700,000 experiments that resulted in more than 4,000 improvements to Search."https://www.google.com/search/howsearchworks/how-search-works/rigorous-testing/
100%, yes. Google takes it into account as well. "The widespread availability of information - from all different kinds of sources - is great for learning new facts and perspectives from around the world. But it can also make it difficult to evaluate the reliability of information or sources." "How we help: Find high-quality information. Evaluate what's reliable. Make sense of what you find"https://www.google.com/search/howsearchworks/information-quality/
"These self-service support options are available for users of standard Google Analytics 4 properties (the free version)"https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/11828307?hl=en
"Tip: There's no way to request or pay for a better local ranking on Google. We do our best to keep the search algorithm details confidential, to make the ranking system as fair as possible for everyone."https://support.google.com/business/answer/7091?hl=en#zippy=%2Cprominence
"Google never accepts money to include or rank sites in our search results, and it costs nothing to appear in our organic search results."
"No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google"
"Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a "special relationship" with Google, or advertise a "priority submit" to Google. There is no priority submit for Google. In fact, the only way to submit a site to Google directly is through the URL Inspection Tool or by submitting a Sitemap, and you can do this yourself."https://developers.google.com/search/docs/fundamentals/do-i-need-seo
"Local results are based primarily on relevance, distance, and prominence. A combination of these factors helps us find the best match for your search. For example, our algorithms might decide that a business that's farther away from your location is more likely to have what you're looking for than a business that's closer, and therefore rank it higher in local results."https://support.google.com/business/answer/7091?hl=en#zippy=%2Cprominence%2Crelevance%2Cdistance
Note from KYC - If you have a CMS, especially WordPress, Square or Wix, don't be disheartened. All of them have similar poor results. You can use the PageSpeed Tool to check out your page speed. https://pagespeed.web.dev/
You should! Here are Google's policies on this.
"After the account is set up, we encourage you to transfer ownership of the profile to your client."
"Third parties must honor ownership requests from business owners within 3-7 days of the ownership request."" https://support.google.com/business/answer/7353941?hl=en&ref_topic=7670699
"If you charge a management fee, you must let end customers know that Business Profile is a service provided at no extra cost. At a minimum, you must inform new customers in writing before you manage their profile and disclose the existence of this fee on customer invoices. Avoid sudden or dramatic changes in your fees."https://support.google.com/business/answer/7353941?hl=en&ref_topic=7670699
"Enter complete data. Verify your locations. Keep your hours accurate. Manage and respond to reviews. Add photos. Add in-store products."
Many of these "partner" programs pass themselves off as "passive income" because agencies and digital marketing companies can white label or mark up your retail cost as a way to nickel and dime their "valued" customers.https://support.google.com/business/answer/7091?hl=en#zippy=
"High-quality, positive reviews from your customers can improve your business visibility and increase the likelihood that a shopper will visit your location."https://support.google.com/business/answer/7091?hl=en#zippy=%2Cmanage-respond-to-reviews
This page is always live and current. You can find them here. https://developers.google.com/my-business/business-partners/featured-partners
Yes. "Value all reviews" https://support.google.com/business/answer/3474122?hl=en "reply to reviews, which can help build customer trust." This link also has how to reply to good or bad reviews in detail.https://support.google.com/business/answer/3474050?hl=en&co=GENIE.Platform%3DAndroid#zippy=%2Cwrite-a-helpful-reply%2Cbest-practices-for-negative-review-replies
Not unless it violates the content policy. "Don't report a review just because you disagree with it or don't like it. Google doesn't get involved when businesses and customers disagree about facts. There's no reliable way to tell who's right about a particular customer experience."https://support.google.com/business/answer/4596773?hl=en
The list can be found here https://support.google.com/contributionpolicy/answer/7400114?hl=en&ref_topic=7422769
Create fresh, unique content. Avoid: Rehashing (or even copying) existing content that will bring little extra value to users. Having duplicate or near-duplicate versions of your content across your site.https://developers.google.com/search/docs/fundamentals/seo-starter-guide
Note from KYC - this is outside of citations on the top 50-70 places for voice and directory search. Yext is a good example of citation management and is a Google Business API Partner.
"Finally, avoid getting involved in link schemes, such as buying links from other sites to increase your ranking. This is against Google's spam policies and can result in a manual action against some or all of your site, which will negatively affect your site ranking."https://developers.google.com/search/docs/fundamentals/do-i-need-seo
https://developers.google.com/search/docs/essentials/spam-policies#link-spam (includes all types)
"Use links wisely. Write good link text. Link text is the visible text inside a link".
"Write concise text. Aim for short but descriptive text-usually a few words or a short phrase. Avoid: Writing long anchor text, such as a lengthy sentence or short paragraph of text"https://developers.google.com/search/docs/fundamentals/seo-starter-guide
Includes filtering by status, location and what they are certified in. Premier is the top 3% in spending levels, must maintain a 70% optimization rate and have 50% of the people with standard or admin access to Google Ads account must be certified with one certification.https://partnersdirectory.withgoogle.com/