If you have multiple businesses at the same address you may be wondering how you get listed in Google My Business. You may also be wondering how many listings you’re eligible for if you are legitimately running more than one business at your location.
You may be wondering about what determines eligibility and what penalties you may incur if you make a mistake as well as how to name your businesses at the same address.
You’ll find a wide variety of frequently asked questions surrounding this topic in local SEO forums all over the web every year. The guidelines for representing your business on Google contain the majority of the answers you’re looking for about complicated businesses, but sometimes they can err on the side of too little detail thus creating confusion.
To help demystify the process, we are going to answer some of the most common frequently asked questions that business owners and marketers alike deal with.
Question: I have more than one business at the same address. Can I have more than one Google my business listing?
Answer: Yes, But…
To have more than one Google my business listing at the same address, you must be legitimately operating multiple legally distinct businesses. It’s not all that uncommon for more than one business to be located at a shared address but you need to keep reading for more provisions and details.
Question: Are my multiple businesses located at the same address distinct enough to be eligible for separate GMB listings?
Answer: Look at Your Business Structure
If each brick and mortar business you operate is registered separately with the appropriate state and federal agencies, has its own unique tax ID which you file separate taxes with and meet face-to-face with customers with a unique phone number, then it is generally eligible for a distinct GMB listing. But you want to keep reading for more information.
Question: Do suite numbers help convince Google that I have two locations so I can have multiple GMB listings?
Answer: No, Google does not pay attention to suite numbers whether they are legitimate or created fictitiously.
Don’t waste time attempting to make a single location appear to be multiple locations by assigning different suite numbers to the entities in hopes that you will qualify for multiple listings.
Question: What makes me ineligible for more than one GMB listing at the same address?
Answer: if your businesses are not legally registered as distinct entities, or if you do not have unique phone numbers for them, you cannot list them separately.
If your businesses are simply representative of different product lines or services under a single umbrella-like a handyman who repairs both air conditioners and water heaters, you are not eligible for separate listings. You should not list multiple businesses at virtual offices, mailboxes at remote locations, or any location you do not have the authority to represent.
Question: Is there a penalty for listing multiple ineligible businesses at the same address?
Answer: You may be penalized. Google could issue a hard suspension on one or more of your listings at any time.
If you get a hard suspension, it means that Google has removed your listing and its associated reviews. This could affect your search engine rankings.
Question: Can service-area businesses list multiple businesses at the same address?
Answer: Historically, Google has treated service area businesses differently than brick-and-mortar businesses.
There is not an official guideline that forbids listing multiple service area businesses such as blacksmiths and plumbers at the same location, it is not considered industry best practice. Google appears to be more active in issuing suspensions to service area businesses in this situation, even if the businesses are distinct and legitimate. Because of this, it’s better not to co-locate service area businesses.
Question: What if I work out of a Co-Working Space?
Answer: If your business has a direct unique phone number answered by you and you are staffing the co-working space with your own staff at your listed hours, then yes you are eligible for a GMB listing.
However, if there are any other businesses at the shared location in your categories or businesses that are competing for the same search terms, it is likely that you or your competitors will be filtered out of the mapping product because of the shared elements.
Question: How many listings can I have if there are multiple seasonal businesses at my address?
Answer: If your business hosts an organic fruit stand in the summer and a Christmas tree farm in the winter, you must closely follow Google’s requirements for seasonal businesses.
In order for each entity to qualify for its own listing, it must have year-round signage and set and then remove its hours at the opening and closing of Its season. Each entity needs to have a distinct name, phone number, and Google categories.
Question: How Should I Name My Businesses on Multiple GMB Listings?
Answer: To decrease the risk of filtering or penalties, co-located businesses have to pay attention to the allowed naming conventions.
Questions about this typically fall into one of these categories:
If one business is inside another as in the case of a restaurant located inside a Walmart, the Google My Business names should be “Subway” and “Walmart” rather than “Subway in Walmart”.
Is Prague located Brands such as a Taco Bell in Dunkin Donuts share the same location, they do not need to combine their brand names for the listing. Alternatively, they should create a single listing with just one of the brand names, or if the brands operate independently, a unique listing for each separate brand.
If multiple listings reflect eligible departments within a business such as the sales and parts department of a Ford dealership, then it’s correct to name the listings for sale department and Ford parts department. No penalty should result from the shared branding elements as long as the different departments out of distinct words in their names, distinct phone numbers, and distinct categories.
If your brand sells another brand’s products don’t include the branding of the product being sold in the Google My Business name. However, Google says that if a business location is an authorized and fully dedicated seller of the brand’s product or service, such as a franchisee, you may use the underlying brand name when creating the listing.
If you are starting out with several new businesses at the same location, it is a best practice to keep their names distinct. For instance, a person operating a Pottery Studio and a pet grooming business out of the same building can reduce the chance of filters, penalties, and other problems, by avoiding Name-O and conventions like Sunshine Pottery and Sunshine Pet Grooming at the same location
Question: Is it possible to create separate listings for events, classes, or meetings that share a location?
Answer: The guidelines on this topic don’t provide definition. Google says that you should not create listings for locations that you do not own or have the authority to represent.
Even if you do own the building, the guidelines can create confusion. For instance, a college can create a separate listing for different departments on campus, but should not create a listing for each class being offered even if the owners of the college do have the authority to represent it.
Let’s say a yoga instructor teaches at three different locations. If the building owners give the instructor permission to list themselves at the locations along with other instructors, the guidelines then appear to allow creating multiple listings of this nature. However, this kind of activity could be perceived as spam and filter it out because of the shared elements with other yoga classes at a location and therefore could end up competing with the building’s own listing.
Since the guidelines are not clear here, there is a bit of leeway in this area. Use your discretion in creating listings and view them as experimental in the event that Google should remove them at some point in the future.
If you have any questions that I haven’t covered here, be sure to ask them in the comments.