Are Coworking Spaces Against the Google My Business Guidelines?
Posted by Joy Hawkins
Recently I have seen more and more discussions around coworking spaces and how Google My Business deals with them. We actually use co-working spaces here at Sterling Sky for meet-ups regularly and love the flexibility they provide. But are you allowed to use a coworking space for your address on your Google My Business listing? The answer is “it depends”.
What this article covers
- Can you use a coworking space for your business address?
- How to properly use coworking spaces with Google My Business
- Can you use an address where you have a dedicated desk?
Can you use a coworking space for your business address?
In February of 2021, Google updated their guidelines and added a section addressing coworking spaces. The following section is new:
“Businesses can’t list an office at a co-working space unless that office maintains clear signage, receives customers at the location during business hours, and is staffed during business hours by your business staff.”
Coworking spaces often aren’t allowed in Google My Business because:
- They generally aren’t permanent (businesses can come and go as they please).
- They aren’t staffed during your office hours listed on the GMB listing by your own staff (someone on your payroll).
- All the signs and logos on the physical location are for the coworking space, not your business. This makes it almost impossible for Google to confirm who is actually at that location and who is not.
- Like virtual offices, they are often used by companies who want to get listed numerous times on Google. People who like to game the system make it harder for everyone who are legitimately using coworking spaces for their day-to-day business.
How to properly use coworking spaces with Google My Business
If the items above don’t apply in your circumstance, you can use a coworking space on your listing but I would suggest you have the following set up:
- Make sure you have your own dedicated space. In order for the listing to qualify, “A business must make in-person contact with customers during its stated hours”. It’s almost impossible for Google to confirm you exist at a location if there isn’t physical evidence there of your business. For example, this business was able to get reinstated because they had this dedicated space with their logo on the door.
- Have your own suite number but do not make one up. I often see businesses just adding random letters to suite numbers or making them up entirely. This is not a good strategy if you’re trying to convince Google that you’re telling the truth about something.
Even if you do those 2 things, you will likely experience more suspensions than if you were to rent your own dedicated space because having signs on a location doesn’t prove that you are staffed there regularly. It’s frustrating but I currently do not suggest any type of address sharing to clients we work with due to the fact that we want to avoid suspensions and also don’t want the listing to get filtered.
Can you use an address where you have a dedicated desk?
Recently, someone asked the following on the Google My Business forum:
I”m considering renting a dedicated desk and am curious if it would qualify to get a Google Business listing. I have to sign a one-year lease and the desk can only be used by me. I get a unique suite number for mailing purposes and I’ll be sitting at the desk just about every day. My business will be listed on the building directory and have a sign on the desk with my company information, logo, etc. There is also a conference room I’m able to use to meet with clients should they choose to visit.
When I asked Google about it, they confirmed that there is nothing wrong with using a dedicated desk in a shared space (or co-working space) as long as all the other eligibility criteria are met. The three things they look for are:
- Permanent signage, even when the merchant is not present. This includes a permanent presence on the building’s business directory (e.g. suite number).
- Must be staffed by employees of the merchant and available for walk-in customers during the stated hours of operation. Virtual office employees are NOT considered to be the merchant’s employees.
- Phone number must be a direct line to the business.