Each day, millions of people look for a pizza place, a hair salon, or a car wash in their own neighborhood. During their search, these same people are evaluating where or who they want to make their purchase from—and they read business reviews to make that decision.
Whether you’re the owner of a local shop looking for more foot traffic or you simply want a solid online presence for your business, your Google Business Profile is the first step in your online marketing strategy.
In this article, we’re going to cover a common issue that can hurt small businesses: sharing the same address with another business in your Google Business Profile.
Why Multiple Businesses at the Same Address Can Be a Problem
Generally, Google does not want multiple businesses that are not distinct business entities to share the same address. Listing multiple businesses that are not legally distinct can sometimes result in a hard suspension from Google—and the removal of your listing and reviews.
There are other 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 map search. This effectively hides the other listings at that location until you zoom in on the map.
Beyond the issues highlighted above, 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.
If you’re an eyebrow threader who rents space at a hair salon, and you try to verify your business on Google to pull in more clients using the address of the salon, both your listing and the listing of the salon may get investigated and suspended.
Why did this happen? You’re still a distinct business entity, but you are not considered a separate business because you do not meet Google’s criteria for business eligibility and ownership.
Two Common Cases Where You Can Successfully Share an Address
There are still two common situations where Google will allow multiple businesses to share an address:
- Two businesses with different business categories: This applies to businesses that are entirely separate with distinct entrances that provide different products or services while operating under the same address. It’s also the scenario that individual departments within businesses, institutions, or universities usually fall into.
- Individual practitioners: This typically references doctors, lawyers, or real estate agents with their own clients that operate independently in public-facing roles within a practice.
In our previous article covering how to create a Google Business Profile account, we provide guidelines for individual practitioners. If you’re a doctor, lawyer, or real estate agent setting up your presence in Google Maps, definitely check out our advice in that article.
If you are an owner of a business that shares an address with another business (e.g., within an office complex with distinct suites) and you are in no way connected to the other business, creating a Google Business Profile account is a simple process. Having a different name, phone number, and website makes you eligible for your own listing. However, if you have a business department within your organization, there are some additional guidelines to follow:
- Each department must provide different services
- The name of each department must be different from the name of the main business and other departments
- The business category for the department must not be the same as for the main business
Google offers some great examples of what this might look like on their Google Business Profile Help site. Some examples of acceptable distinct Business Profiles would be:
- Walmart’s Vision Center service
- The Sears Auto Center
- Massachusetts General Hospital’s Department of Dermatology
Some examples that would not qualify as distinct Business Profiles include:
- The Apple products section of Best Buy
- The hot food bar inside Whole Foods Market
Remember to verify your listing
Once you’ve created a separate listing or listings for your departments or other businesses, go ahead and verify it so it can be visible to internet users. Having separate listings is beneficial for businesses since they enable a better user experience.
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From there, we support your business goals by building a solid and sustainable marketing strategy that will help you rank higher locally. Get in touch with us! We’ll help put local SEO to work for you.