When it comes to local searches, Google My Business (GMB) is the holy grail, and people have questions – lots and lots of questions. This is especially true for business owners who share a business address with other businesses. No matter how many questions you have, however, savvy digital marketing professionals have answers.
Can My GMB Listing Be Intermingled with Another Business at the Same Location?
The fact is that businesses often share a location and address. In fact, it’s a popular practice. It wasn’t too long ago that this could turn into a Google conundrum known as listing conflation. Thankfully, this conflation has receded, and funhouse results – like reviews for another business featuring on your listing – don’t happen much anymore. Nevertheless, these past issues are a good reminder that, if you share your business address with other businesses, the following should be true:
- Your business has its own separate phone number.
- Your business’s name is distinctly unique (not similar to the names of any other businesses at the address).
- Your business listing is categorized correctly.
If you’ve got these covered, you should be good to go with GMB.
What Can I Do about MY GMB Being Filtered as a Result of Co-Location?
Google’s 2016 Possum filter – the goal of which is diversity – can filter out those companies in close proximity to one another that are deemed too similar. Because moving your business to a remote part of town probably isn’t an option, it’s important to address this issue head-on. If you share an address with – or are close in location to – a competitor who seems to be getting all the Google love, it’s time to audit that competitor. Compare your metrics against theirs to help you determine why Google is so darn smitten. Experienced digital marketing professionals can help you crunch the data and create a strategy that nudges you to the front of the line and filters your competition out of Google’s mapping product.
If I Own More than One Business at the Same Address, Can I Have More than One GMB listing?
If you have more than one legitimate business operating out of the same address, you can likely create a GMB listing for each of them, but legitimacy is key. This means legally distinct businesses with distinct business identification numbers. Google doesn’t like funny business, and you don’t want its wrath upon you.
Are My Businesses Distinct Enough?
If you run more than one brick-and-mortar business out of the same location, there are several elements that must be present in order for them to qualify as separate businesses, including:
- Each business is registered separately at the state and federal levels.
- Each business has a unique tax ID, and you file each business’s taxes separately under its distinct number.
- You meet with customers face to face – and separately – for each business.
- Each business has its own distinct phone number.
If your businesses each meet all of these criteria, you should be good to go, but there are – naturally – other considerations to keep in mind.
What Are the Markings of Businesses that Are Ineligible for Multiple GMB Listings at the Same Address?
If your businesses hit all the required marks, you’re likely doing ok. It’s important to recognize, however, that workarounds aren’t going to work with Google on this one. In other words, if your separate businesses are separate only in the sense that you sell different kinds of products or provide different kinds of services under the banner of a single business entity, they don’t qualify as separate businesses. For example, if your business sells heating systems and plumbing equipment, you won’t be able to list them separately. Finally, attempting to use a PO box, a remotely located mailbox, or a virtual office isn’t going to cut it with your friends at Google.
What about Service-Area Businesses?
Google takes a harder line when it comes to service-area businesses (SABs), which are businesses that provide services outside of any address they might have. While Google doesn’t overtly disallow multiple SABs at the same address, doing so doesn’t make the list of industry best practices. Google is not above issuing hard suspensions when two SABs list at the same address – even when the businesses themselves are, in fact, separate – so it’s best to give this practice a pass.
What if My Separate Businesses Have Different Suite Numbers?
The short answer is that Google doesn’t care. Assigning suite numbers – or even legitimately having different suite numbers – isn’t going to help you legitimize multiple GMB listings.
Can I List My Business That Is in a Coworking Space?
If your business is in a coworking space but maintains a direct phone line with a unique number that you and your staff answer during your listed business hours, you should be ok. If you and the other businesses in the space are competitors – in terms of category or search terms – you again run the risk of being filtered out of Google’s mapping product.
What Are the Consequences of Cheating the System?
If you attempt to list multiple businesses that do not qualify as separate businesses, in reality, Google can come down on you pretty hard – in the form of a hard suspension. A hard suspension means having your ineligible listings and their associated reviews removed entirely.
Keep Your GMB on the Up-and-Up by Consulting with Our Digital Marketing Specialists Today
Your Google My Business listing matters and those guys at Google can be pretty fussy about it. Never fear, The Web Guys are digital marketing masters who are well prepared to help you tighten up your GMB listing(s) and ensure that you don’t get sidelined by a Google filter. Local searches are important to your business, and GMB is the gatekeeper of local searches. We’re here to help you maximize your online game, so connect with us or give us a call at 317-805-4933 to learn more today.