SEO Tips for Businesses Sharing the Same Business Address In GBP
Business owners who have multiple businesses registered at the same address or share their business location can often experience problems when creating Google Business Profile listings.
This article will cover all the potential pitfalls which could cause your Google Business listings to be suspended if multiple legitimate businesses are operating from the same address.
It will also answer all the frequently asked questions such as what penalties can be occurred if mistakes are made, how many businesses can operate from the same physical location, and Google’s main policies on co-located businesses.
If I have multiple businesses at the same address, can I create multiple Google Business Profile Listings?
Yes. It is common for businesses to co-locate, and this will not prevent you from creating separate Google Business Profile Listings. However, you will need to ensure that each business using the physical business address is legally distinct. This means that you’ll need separate Tax IDs, contact details and staff for each of the co-located businesses.
Yet, even when businesses are legitimate and legally distinct, complications do still arise, read on for further details.
How do I make my businesses which share the same address legally distinct?
To make co-located businesses legally distinct each business will need to be uniquely registered with federal and state agencies. You will need a unique taxation ID, unique contact telephone details and your own staff to answer calls during normal operating hours.
Each of the co-located businesses will need to operate separately, and each of them will need some level of face-to-face interaction with customers.
Can Service-Area businesses share the same address?
Yes. However, historically, co-located Service-Area businesses have been treated a little differently to brick and mortar stores when it comes to creating Google Business Profile listings.
Google can be slightly stricter on Service-Area businesses as there is a higher chance of the businesses being illegitimate. Yet, at time of writing, there is no official rule which states that multiple Service-Area businesses such as builders, locksmiths, and plumbers can’t share the same business address. It has just become best practice not to co-locate Service area businesses for SEO purposes – especially if the other companies fall under the same Google category such as construction.
What will put my Google Business Profile Listing at Risk if I Share the Physical Address with Other businesses?
There are multiple reasons why your Google Business Profile listings could be suspended if you co-share with other businesses or run multiple businesses from the same location. The main ones are as follows:
- Your businesses are not separately taxed or recognised as separate by state or federal agencies.
- Your multiple businesses all share the same telephone number and/or telephony staff.
- Your businesses all fall under the umbrella of a single business. For example, if you’re a handyman who repairs both air conditioners and water heaters, you won’t be able to make separate listings. As technically, this counts as two different services from the same business.
- You use PO boxes, remote locations, virtual offices or mailboxes to get around issues which can arise from sharing the same location. Using any location other than your registered business address will increase the chances of your listing being suspended.
What penalties can occur if I list multiple ineligible businesses at the same location?
If you make a mistake with a listing, or your businesses aren’t legally distinct, your Google Business listings will be suspended. If multiple listings are suspended, or Google finds that you have violated their terms and conditions, you may see that your account is fully suspended.
Each time an individual listing is removed, all the reviews associated with that listing will also be removed. So, it is worth ensuring that your listings follow GBP’s policies before placing a listing.
Can I just use different suite/office numbers for co-located businesses?
No. When Google reviews your listings, it pays no mind to suite numbers. That includes both legitimate suite numbers and suite numbers you’ve created fictitiously to avoid making it seem like multiple businesses are operating from the same location.
Google can’t be fooled that easily, and they will be more likely to suspend your listing if it appears you’ve attempted to deceive them.
Can my business be classed as a co-working space if multiple businesses are operating in the same location?
If multiple business owners run their business from the same location it is still possible for each business to create separate business listings. However, Google will only class the location as a co-working space if each business has unique phone numbers which are only answered by their staff.
Furthermore, co-sharing with other business owners in the same trade as you can cause additional SEO problems and affect Google ranking positions. Therefore, you should avoid this where necessary. Either your business or your competitors can become filtered out on Google search results or Google Maps if in the same category and using the same location.
Can I seasonally share my business address and be eligible for GBP listings?
For seasonal businesses which only operate for a certain period of the year, knowing where to stand when it comes to co-located businesses and GBP listings can be even more difficult.
There are specific guidelines in place for seasonal businesses using GBP listing which you’ll need to familiarise yourselves with before creating a listing.
But in short, all businesses using the location must have clear signage displayed all year round and remove opening hours from business listings when the business is out of operation. Furthermore, each business should have its own name, contact details, and Google business categories.
Can business names cause issues when multiple businesses are sharing the same location?
Yes. For best practice when creating business listings, all businesses should be separately named to avoid listings being suspended or allowing it to seem as though the businesses are not separate.
Issues can arise when businesses operate within other business premises, such as McDonald’s operating in Walmart. If brands do co-locate, the names should never be combined in business listings.
It is also advised that you never use another brand in your company name, this often happens when businesses sell branded products, or a franchised store operates within a business.
Additionally, if you own multiple businesses at the same location, keep the names as distinctive as possible. For example, if you open a café and an art shop at the same physical location, avoid using names such as ‘rainbow café’ and ‘rainbow art supplies’.
Can I make separate GBP listings for meetings, events and classes which share the same location as my business?
At time of writing, there are no definitive answers to this question. But as a general rule of thumb, it is advised not to create listings for locations which you do not have the authority to represent or own.
For example, a college campus can create listings for events happening on its campus, however, it is advised that the number of listings created is restricted to avoid listings being classified as spam.
If you don’t own the building or have authority to represent the building, it can get even trickier when it comes to knowing where you stand. As even if permission is granted to create listings, the listings could compete with the building’s own listings. Always use your own discretion.
How should I set GBP hours if sharing a location with businesses which serve different functions?
This question applies to businesses which exist on the same premises but serve different purposes. This can apply to business such as petrol stations which are also convenience stores and restaurants which have different opening times for dine-in and takeaway options.
For example, a petrol station may make its pumps available 24 hours a day, whereas the convenience store only operates between 8am and 8pm. This makes it difficult to choose which opening time to use on your Google Business listings.
As a general rule, banks should use lobby hours, car dealerships should use sales hours, gas stations should use the hours the pumps are available, restaurants should use dine-in opening hours, and storage facilities should use office hours.
Can my GBP listing get confused with other businesses at my location?
Yes. Especially if you share names and phone numbers, with other businesses you co-locate with, your listings can be confused with the other businesses. Making the businesses as distinct as possible and removing similarity will help you to limit the chances of this happening.
Why is only one of my businesses ranking in Google’s search results?
When sharing a physical location, one or more of your businesses can be filtered out on Google search results, especially if the businesses share the same Google categories.
Which company gets filtered out will usually depend on who has the lowest SEO ranking. So, if this is the case, businesses have 2 options, the first is to improve your SEO rank, and the second, which is slightly more drastic is to relocate to avoid the competition.