When you operate several businesses from a single location, you might ponder how to set up your Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business). Questions may arise about eligibility criteria, potential penalties for errors, and the naming conventions for businesses sharing an address.
This topic frequently pops up in local SEO discussions online. While Google’s business representation guidelines offer some clarity, they can sometimes be vague, leading to uncertainties.
Let’s address some common queries that business proprietors and marketers often grapple with:
Can I list multiple businesses at one address on Google?
Absolutely, with a caveat. To list multiple businesses at one address, each business must be a distinct legal entity. It’s not rare for multiple businesses to share an address, but there are specific criteria to meet.
There are difficulties associated with having multiple businesses housed at one address. Google will often prioritize whichever listing they think has the most local SEO potential when viewed in a map search. This effectively hides the other listings at that location until you zoom in on the map.
Beyond this, Google also looks for certain key indicators that each business that shares an address is a separate entity. This includes having a separate entrance and exit for each business and permanent signage inside and outside of the building.
How do I determine if my businesses at one address are distinct enough for separate listings?
Examine Your Business Setup. If every business you run has its own legal registration, unique tax ID, separate tax filings, and a dedicated phone number, it typically qualifies for its own listing. However, there’s more to consider.
Will using different suite numbers help in getting multiple listings?
No. Google doesn’t prioritize suite numbers. Trying to manipulate listings by assigning different suite numbers won’t work.
What disqualifies me from having multiple listings at one address?
If your businesses aren’t legally distinct or lack unique phone numbers, they can’t have separate listings. If they represent different services under one brand, like a technician offering both AC and heater repairs, they don’t qualify for separate listings.
Are there repercussions for having ineligible multiple listings?
Yes, there are risks. Google might suspend one or more of your listings. A hard suspension means your listing and its reviews are removed, which can impact your online visibility. It would be fairly painful to have a business with a history on Google, positive reviews, customer images, etc get suspended. You’d be starting over… Here is more information about Google’s Suspension of Local Listings.
Can businesses that serve specific areas have multiple listings at one address?
Google’s stance on service-area businesses differs from brick-and-mortar ones. While there’s no official rule against it, it’s not recommended due to increased suspension risks.
What about businesses in co-working spaces?
If you have a unique phone number and staff present during business hours, you qualify for a listing. However, if other businesses in the same category operate from that location, there might be filtering issues.
How do seasonal businesses handle multiple listings?
Seasonal businesses, like a summer fruit stand and a winter Christmas tree lot, must adhere to Google’s seasonal business guidelines. Each must have permanent signage and distinct names, phone numbers, and categories.
How should businesses that share an address name their listings?
Naming is crucial to avoid penalties. For instance:
- A restaurant inside a larger store should be named “Subway” not “Subway inside Walmart”.
- Co-branded businesses, like a Taco Bell inside a Dunkin Donuts, should have separate listings if they operate independently.
- Departments within a business, like a car dealership’s sales and parts sections, should have distinct names and categories.
- If you’re selling another brand’s products, don’t include that brand in your business name unless you’re an authorized seller.
Can I list events or classes that share a location?
Google’s guidelines are ambiguous here. While you shouldn’t list locations you don’t own or represent, there are gray areas. For instance, a yoga instructor teaching at multiple venues might be allowed to list themselves if they have permission. However, this could be seen as spammy and lead to filtering issues.
In conclusion, while Google provides guidelines, there are areas of ambiguity. It’s essential to approach multiple listings with caution and be prepared for potential changes in the future.
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