When Can Service-Based Businesses Have Multiple Google My Business Listings?
One of the most common reasons for Google My Business listings getting suspended is the fact that the address being used is not eligible for a listing according to the Google My Business Guidelines. For many industries like car dealers, retail, retaurants and hotels, it’s very clear that you’d only have a listing for your stores because customers have to show up to your location to get the product/service they need. Where this gets murky is when you have a business that offers professional services (like lawyers or insurance agents) or home services (like locksmiths or garage door companies) and don’t require the customer to come to them.
In cases like this, businesses often want to have “multiple locations” so that they can reap the benefit of ranking in multiple zip codes & cities. I have seen many attempts over the last decade where people try to argue different incorrect interpretations of the Google My Business Guidelines. I decided to write this article to help clarify some of the most common misinterpretations I run across. This article was updated on October 6, 2020 to reflect the new changes Google made to their guidelines around this topic.
If I’m a home-based company, can I have multiple listings?
If you work mainly from your house or you don’t have an office, you would be considered a home-based business and should use your home address in your Google My Business listing. Google has the option for you to clear the address (this is the default when you don’t check the box indicating customers also come to your location) so you won’t have to worry about your home address showing up publicly on your listing.
In their guidelines, Google says you can have multiple listings provided the following is true:
- You have different staff servicing the different areas
- The service areas don’t overlap
What industries do these rules apply to?
If you see customers at their houses/locations instead of them coming to you, you would be classified as a service area business and should not have an address displaying publicly on your listing. The industry you work in doesn’t matter.
Can I set up listings using employees’ home addresses?
When this question has come up at LocalU events in the past, Google has always said no. The guidelines say not to use a location that you don’t have the authority to represent. Employees are not owners and might not always work for your company. If that employee left your company, it would create a lot of additional headaches to remove the address from being associated with your business everywhere online. Also, updating the address on a service area business listing often causes a suspension.
Why are franchises allowed multiple listings?
There are many popular franchises in the home service space that have listings for several home-based locations that seem to violate the 2-hour driving distance rule. For example, this franchise has 3 listings within the Dallas-Fort-Worth market which are not 2 hours away from each other:
Why franchises are allowed multiple home-based listings is often because the different “locations” have different owners and are independently set up. For example, you cannot call one location to get help for a project the other location did for you. They are often also independently licensed and have unique entries when you look them up with the Secretary of State.
In these cases, we normally find that the service areas for each location do not overlap.
Can I use a co-working space or virtual office?
I asked Google if co-working spaces or virtual offices were allowed to be used on service area business listings and was told a very clear “no”. Google is pretty clear about their policy about virtual offices not being allowed but businesses still continually claim that they are staffed and should be allowed. The biggest misconception is that the staff needs to be your own, not some service you hired. For example, if you pay $150/month to get a virtual office service that gets you a receptionist at the front desk to respond to any inquiries, this does not qualify. That receptionist is not employed by you (you don’t pay her taxes) and offers this same virtual service to many other businesses. The only time a virtual office address would be permitted would be if you could prove you had an employee there all day (during your stated hours). This is almost impossible to prove which is why I rarely see virtual offices reinstated once they have been suspended.
How are you so certain you are interpreting the guidelines correctly?
The Google My Business guidelines do not spell out every possible case or scenario. When the guidelines were updated recently, I ran a ton of specific scenarios past multiple Google employees to make sure I was interpreting things correctly. That being said, if you have a scenario that you’re unclear about, the best thing to do would be to ask about it on the Google My Business forum. Also, feel free to post your questions in the comments and I’ll do my best to get you an answer from Google on it.
And See These Other Articles By SEO Joy Hawkins:
-  How to Delete or Merge Duplicate Google Business Profiles
-  How to Interpret Google My Business (GMB) Insights
This Post Has 168 Comments
We have two locations, 50 miles apart, having two locations has not been an issue, that I know of. Both are staffed with multiple employees, HVAC Contractor. Should I be concerned? Can I open more like this? Where don I report competitors that are in violation? Thanks, Dave
If they’re staffed locations (not home addresses) you can have multiple locations as long as it’s clear you operate there (you have proper signs) and customers can show up at any point during your declared open hours. You can absolutely report competitors violating this. See https://www.sterlingsky.ca/ultimate-guide-fighting-spam-google-maps/
What if they are staffed in the evening but we do have a 24/7 business.
I meant they are staffed during office hours but our techs are in the field and they are working 24/7. But by having an office we cant show 24/7 so our competitors are at an advantage.
I see lots of storefront listings have 24-hrs listed. Technically, you’re not supposed to (Google tells you not to) but I’ve only ever seen them enforce hours guidelines if the listing gets suspended. At that point, if you had 24 hours listed, it wouldn’t get reinstated until it was fixed.
Couldn’t be any clearer 🙂 Tgabks Joy 🙂
I have a client who employs insurance agents as independent contractors. In trying to wrangle their listings in the past, we have ultimately left it up to the agents to create and manage their own listings. In this case, these people typically use their home as the office address and then toggle GMB to signify they service clients outside the place of business.
How would you approach this scenario? Do I suggest that they stave off using GMB altogether to comply, and use the one singular HQ address? Or is independent representation of you’re own local business out of your home still “white hat”?
If the insurance agents are client-facing (like realtors) and are individually licensed, they likely qualify for practitioner listings. I spoke to Google and they’d be okay with the insurance agents using their home address (if that’s their preference) provided they actually meet up with clients in person. There is a fine line between employees and practitioners. In a typical insurance office you only have a few agents but tons of other employees. The other caveat here is that the agents themselves would need to be the owners of their listings. The would hold the ultimate rights to the listings, not the company that hires them. Google always views practitioner listings this way. If a dentist goes and works for a new dental practice, his listing belongs to him, not the business he just left. In your case, the listings would have to be set up by the insurance agents, especially if they are using private info (home addresses) on them.
How do you get rid of multiple/duplicate listing after you screwed up and now have duplicates?
If you remove them from your Google My Business account they will become unverified. Then you can contact GMB support to actually remove the listings from Maps or you can use “suggest an edit” on the listing to report it as “Doesn’t Exist”.
Great post! What about a contractor business with multiple business names for each service line (basements, HVAC, etc) that serves the same geographic area? Same address and phone number.
Unless they are set up as completely different businesses legally, they wouldn’t be allowed.
I wanted to get your take on department listings in relation to attorneys- occasionally we have clients that want to set up a second website for a different practice area than their main site but they only have one location. Is it okay to set up a second listing for the same business at the same location if the categories are different (one site is family law and the other is personal injury, etc.)? Does this fall under department listings since each listing is targeting a different search term or is Google still going to view it as a duplicate because it’s technically the same law firm at the same address? Does the firm choosing slightly different names helpful or making it worse (i.e. Smith Personal Injury Firm Vs. Smith Family Law Firm), assuming both names are consistent with branding on their respective websites and other entities?
These would be practitioner listings (not department listings) and lawyers are definitely eligible for practitioner listings. I’d advise NOT using the name of the firm in their business name to keep the individual attorneys from ranking for the branded terms. Also, I advise not overlapping categories if possible.
Thank you! To follow up, I think in general when this scenario comes up, the client is expecting to get a second set of listings “as the firm”, not as a practitioner because they want the firm as a whole represented on the second listing, so it sounds like we should be telling them if they have a second website and want a second listing, their only valid option is a practitioner listing, correct? We generally avoid those if we can, but if that’s the only GMB-compliant option then sounds like we should go for that instead of trying for a department listing.
What if there is only one attorney at the firm and therefore isn’t eligible for a practitioner listing but still has that second site for a different category? Out of luck?
No the law firm is not allowed 2 listings. The practitioner listings also “belong” to the attorneys, not the law firm so that’s something you have to keep in mind. If that attorney leaves the firm, they own the rights to the listing, not the firm. Technically a solo-practitioner CAN have his own listing, it’s just not advised.
Got it, thank you so much for the info!
Hi Joy , what about different companies on the same address with the same businessowner. With only one entrance .
Are they allowed to have different listings ? Or is this shop in shop ? Many thanks Jeanot
They might be able to have different listings. Depends on if the businesses are actually independently registered and if they have proper signs.
I have a Villa Hotel & a Bar & Hookah Lounge, 2 Different Businesses, 2 websites, 2 différent names, 2 different LLC & DBA
1 Owner, 1 Main Phone # 1 Address
But 2 different entrances, Google suspended my hookah bar listing, Call, got instructions to change it, was told 24/48 hours it would be re-activated, called back 5 days later, was asked to send emails of signs, 2 diferent entrances, different Brochures, different products & services, spent 1/3 of day dealing with google again, same answer, 24 to 48 hours, i called again 3 more times every 7 days, it has been 5 weeks, now google says they investigates my business & it could get weeks before they re-activate my Hookah Lounge, i Can not post my Menu, i can not post my service photos, i can not post my specials,
But at the Same time, google accepts my advertising $$$$ for my Hookah Bar, i even got propected physically by a 360 Google Photographer who told me if I sign up for $499 360 virtual Tour for my Hookah Bar, he will get my Listing re-activate in a Blink.
I felt it s Extorsion & Black Mail of Small Businesses, i am so upset Google suspended my Hookah Bar Listing just in beginning of Summer, my pick season for Students on the beach 18 & over who wants to try Hookah.
What Should I do? Can I sue Google for Damages for Lost of Business & Extorsion as Google Photographer offered me to pay $499 to get 360 virtual tour to get my Listing re-activate?
There is a huge amount of suspensions right now and it’s causing a 2-3 delay on anyone who is trying to get their listing reinstated. For now, the only thing you can do is fill in the reinstatement form (https://support.google.com/business/troubleshooter/2690129?hl=en) and wait for a response. Not a great scenario, I know 🙁
Same address, Same Business Owner, 2 different food brand , all under same EIN. Different phone number I believe with proper signage outside for each.
Would this be ok for Google ? Also would it fall under food category or Virtual Brand ? Wich is the best way to proceed ?
If it’s a delivery service, Google actually has its own set of guidelines for them: https://www.seroundtable.com/google-business-guidelines-for-virtual-food-brands-33382.html
Hi Joy. I read most of your posts. Very informative. Thanks for those. I was having trouble sending this to you in either a DM or as a new topic. I hope I didny mess things up here…
I am no stranger to GMB. I have had several run-ins with Google over 15 years. Here is my latest dilemma:
I own a locksmith company in Colorado since 2008. I think I’ve been on GB since 2011. We have 5 real physical, brick and mortar locations. (all have outside signage). All approved by google. The all share the same name, website (www.coloradolockouts.com), and phone number. The website has all the individual offices addresses listed there too. All good, at least so far.
I am trying to duplicate the business model in California. Having trouble finding moderately priced office space. I figured, since I am not having luck procuring spot(s), that I would just use my local cali home address/service area to set up shop here. I have a new and unique website (www.socallockouts.com) and different phone with local area code.
Here are my questions/issues:
Will it look weird or arouse negative scrutiny (with the Google bots!) if I add my Cali home address to my GMB account (that have the 5 Colorado locations) or do I need to start a separate GMB JUST for the California office(s)?
If the California location DOES get auto flagged/ suspended, will it take down the other 5 or will i only have to contend with the single flagged cali one ?
Will it help if i get in touch with Google, in advance just to notify them of my plans? I assume i will have several problems getting the new Cali address verified (I always have problems), but if they already know that it wont be approved, Id rather know in advance than risk my other profiles inadvertently being temporarily suspended (or god forbid permanently) for no reason.
What can I do to alleviate the day-to-day (and sometimes hour-to-hour) stress that comes with worrying that my legit and verified 5 locations will get randomly taken down? I see so many weird stories about this happening to other people who swear up and down that their addresses were in compliance with GMB…and yet still got taken down.
As long as you’re following all the rules, I wouldn’t worry about keeping them in the same account. We have over 15,000 listings in ours 🙂 Just make sure you have all your documents and vehicles ready to show Google on video verification before you set up the listing in California and keep them handy in case you get suspended (it happens a lot in your industry).
What a great Post. Thank you for the clear explanation.
I see many examples where a brand name sets up a GMB listing within a department store.
This seems spammy to me – is it within the guidelines?
I also see hotels (pubs AND accommodation style ones), who have separate listings for their restaurant, their gym and their betting facilities, is this ‘legal’?
Sorry – I’ve realised this doesn’t really relate closely enough to the statement. :/
Hi Joy, How do you report the ones that have a UPS Store address, but say they serve customers at customer location, thus no Google Maps listing?
Pull up the listing on Google Maps and click to suggest an edit and then select the option for “Doesn’t Exist”.
a client runs a carpentry business . One address, one company. Thing is, he has 2 completly different activities.
he is fixing wooden furnitures like tables, chairs etc … activity for which he is known regionnaly. He has a website using its own name. clients are locals , he s offering this service 50km around .
he is also building tiny houses that sell country wide and abroad. Activity that has its own brand and website. clients come to the factory once and owner delivers tiny house up to 600 kilometers away.
thoses are 2 completly different businesses within one small company, with totally different sproducts and services.
i am hesitating in creating 2 listings . it would make sense to have 2 for me.
i d love to have your opinion on this
You definitely aren’t allowed 2 since it’s the same company but just different services. I’d create a listing for the local one. It doesn’t really make sense for a nation-wide business to use Google My Business because the listing only ranks locally so people 100km from him aren’t going to see it anyway.
I have an address that uses a suite #. Full disclosure: it is a co-working space that I work at 40 hours a week (full time). I recieve freight and mail at this address. Can I use this as my Google My business address?
As long as you work there, you’re fine to use it.
If I am considering opening an additional location in he same city, can I do another listing with the same business name?
The business name doesn’t really matter – you’re supposed to use the proper name that your customers would be seeing on invoices and on your branding. The second location is allowed provided it meets all the guidelines I outlined in this article.
I have a GMB listing , we had it for almost 8 years, we’ve made changes to it over the years, like a name change was done in 2016. Just before Christmas last year it was suspended. We have mage several attempts to contact GMB and have made all the changes they suggest and even recently apples for an appeal only to be denied. We have ove 50 5 star reviews and would love it know what to do to get that page reinstated. Any advice you can offer?
I’d advise posting over at the Google My Business forum (https://www.en.advertisercommunity.com/t5/Google-My-Business/ct-p/GMB) and someone can take a look at the specific business and advise on why they think it got suspended.
Hi Joy, I am a mobile locksmith company and hired a company who set up my GMB a few years ago and used 5 locations for the towns I service. It was fine for years and I never gave it a thought. About 5 months ago all my listings were suspended. I appealed and the only response I got back was your business is not eligible to be on GMB. I called the company who set this up and they told me that google changed their policy and I need to work it out with Google. They no longer manage my site or my GMB for obvious reasons . I can log into my account and was wondering if I delete the 4 locations and just use my home address will Google reinstate my listing or am I banned for life? There are so many fake locksmiths on GMB using fake address and I have taken picture to show empty fields or UPS store that these companies are using and reported them to Google and the response I got back was there’s not enough evidence to remove the listing. It’s very frustrating for a ligament locksmith company to compete with these fake companies! I also sign up for the new service local guarantee and did Googles advance verification and passed and my ad was up and running for 7 weeks. Last week Google suspended that and said I didn’t pass their advance verification for being fraudulent, misleading or they’re having a hard time identifying me but for 7 weeks I was fine. I again appealed and it was rejected with no reason given and I have tried calling and emailing and no one will return my calls or emails. I have read that hundreds of locksmith in the USA are going through the same thing and have filed a class action lawsuit. very unfair we’re being punished for all the fake companies that Google let run wild on their platforms for so long!
That sounds very frustrating. I would definitely remove all the locations from your account except the one that is at your home address and then file for reinstatement.
I files for reinstatement after removing all duplicate location and this is the reply I got back.
Thank you for contacting Google My Business team.
We’ve looked at your account and it looks like your business is not eligible to display on Google Maps per our quality guidelines. Check out our guidelines for representing your business on Google to see what types of businesses are eligible to be on Google Maps.
If you have any further questions please consult the Google My Business Help Center.
I have read their guidelines and policies over and over again and don’t see where I violate anything.
I’d probably suggest posting over at the GMB forum and seeing if someone can look to see why it got suspended https://www.en.advertisercommunity.com/t5/Google-My-Business/ct-p/GMB
Hey Joy, do you have any idea how “lead generators “ create more then 150 funny listings in my area? Same phone number same name varetion , I reported them as you advise in your other article but most was denied, i did submit a report to the gmb Facebook, but when google removed them a few more were created same time, what is the solution for that?
I know what you are referring to and this isn’t the first time a lead gen company has found loopholes that allow them to create these listings at scale. For now my advice is to continue to report them. Over time as Google gets enough reports, they will learn the patterns and fix the loopholes but I know it won’t happen overnight. I’d continue sending them via Facebook and submit them in bulk all on one spreadsheet so they can see the volume.
This reply is for Gordon- you are probably now suspended at the account level so your page will not get reinstate ever, unless you will contact google- try true Facebook and they will ask you for new email address to transfer your main page to, its happened to me two years ago- same situation and that what i was asked to do, i needed to delete the “fake” accounts also, and google forward my main page and reinstate it to anew gmail account, contact them true Facebook- they will help
Thanks Doly I will try that. I never did have any fake accounts I have always only had and used one email!
how do I contact on facebook? through chat?
Hi Joy, awesome article. I posted a question on the Google community regarding multiple GMB listings for Franchise SABs and your article answers this perfectly. Thanks so much!
Hi , my husband has a small part time drum business and also has a handyman business …the drum business is set up in google ….how do I do another business offering different service ? Should I just offer all his services for drum teaching and handyman work on same page?
If they are in fact 2 different businesses (not one business that’s opening a new section or offering a new service), they are each allowed 1 listing so you should set up a new listing for the new business.
This has been a major pain for me. I leased a year long rental at REGUS. I actually have a private office space not just a virtual office. I’ve been trying to add but no postcards are coming. Multiple other businesses are currently doing it in violation.
My questions is should i just change my business to a service area business vs location?? I have no google listing now. This sucks because I do have a full time employee. I take walk in business and meet owners, I’m a property manager.
Any recommendations on what to do???
I would suggest setting up your listing as a service area business and using your home address instead.
Hi Joy Hawkins,
I have a question , please help me understand this :
In addition to the business listing of the real estate business, could each of the real estate agents also have a Google My Business listing using the same address?
Yes, realtors are allowed their own listings because they are considered practitioners.
What can a business do that has one location but have a 100 miles radius to service it’s customers. Can they add more than one location
Sometimes Google allows one per state if you have more than 1 state that you service.
Say I am graphic designer in Denver and have SEO organic rank first page and GMB first. I want to start another graphic design practice in NYC. I will travel there for part of the week and use a rent-per-hour office, so no permanent address.
Question: For NYC SEO, do I start a completely new website, say BigDesignNYC.com or should I just do a landing page on my existing site, ie. BigDesign.com/NYC? Note: I can easily build another website, create lots of content, and manage.
If I do landing page on existing Denver site: BigDesign.com/NYC:
1. Will this dilute my Denver GMB and organic page rank ?
2. Since it’s just landing page for NYC, will the NYC organic SEO be ineffective with NYC address, or can I do Other Business areas served as NYC?
If I do a whole new site for NYC, i.e. BigDesignNYC.com:
1. Will it be ineffective SEO because I don’t have a NYC address?
2. Will it be ineffective because it’s a new site and better to capitalize on my original site using above /NYC landing page approach because of established status, history, backlinks, etc. ? thank you
There are mixed opinions on this but I have found that it’s hard to optimize a site for 2 different states and would suggest having a different site. You would not be eligible to have a GMB listing for NYC.
Hey my company does training in other states we have an address and office for our home location but the rest of the places we do training have a physical address but they are all addresses we rent out or the people that own the building let us use only when we have classes. Do you have any idea how we could rank in Google for those locations? I know under the terms it says you can’t create a GMB account for locations like that. If I got permission to use the address from the people that own it can I use it as a location on GMB or is it Google that doesn’t like you doing that?
This would be considered a meeting place which isn’t allowed on Maps unfortunately since you’d be operating out of another business. Google would tell you to use the events feature to have your classes listed as events at the actual place you use.
Hi Joy, you touched on this in a previous comment, but was hoping you could provide some additional clarification.
We have a franchise SAB scenario where two owners (a married couple) own multiple franchise locations from the same parent franchise company. They have two separate registered business entities, two distinct service areas, same home address, same phone number (mobile phone number but they could have two if required). Business invoices to customers carry the distinct registered business entity information (i.e. invoices are different business names).
Can you confirm if 2 listings are acceptable with a unique Store ID for each owned franchise location with the same hidden home address.
Although you wouldn’t be breaking guidelines, the scenario is a recipe for disaster. You will likely have Google automatically merge or suspend them on a regular basis. I’d suggest finding another address that the one can use for their business. It might make sense to open a small office for the one.
I have a client who has 2 divisions for their real estate company: property management & rentals, and real estate sales. Each has its own website and unique URL, but both divisions share the same location and phone. I understand that creating two Google My Business is not allowed, but I can only list a single website. Do you have any recommendations for best practices to get both websites listed? Should we create a single landing page for both (with a selector to each site)? Or will this confuse the current SEO in place?
I would try one website for 30 days and then switch it to the other and leave that up for 30 days. It should accomplish 2 things. First, you should be able to see which performed better and leave that one up long term. Second, you will get both sites associated with the entity. We did this for a client and still find that changes to the one site impact the ranking of the listing even though the listing is now linking to the second site.
I have a situation here. My client is a franchisee and deploys home inspectors in various states. They operate in multiple zipcodes and most times they are overlapping. We are trying to create GMB page for each Home Inspector. I wanted to know if it would be fine to create ‘Service Only’ listings under the Franchisor’s umbrella for each Home Inspector but operating in overlapping zipcodes.
That’s a really grey area. I don’t think Google would allow the zip codes to overlap but I’d suggest you consult with them and see what they say.
Hi Joy! I have a client who’s a Franchise like Servpro (which you mentioned) and before I worked with them, they had multiple GMB listings (19) – one for each service area in 2 different states (the company has 1 physical location per state but doesn’t receive customers there). Recently, all GMB listings have been suspended.
From a SEO and GMB policy point of view, would you recommend having only 2 listings (with the 2 physical locations) but mentioning multiple service areas (each city they serve)? The company wants the SEO to work and appear when people from these areas search for services they provide.
I personally think having 19 different listings may be redundant and violating GMB policies while not being effective in term of SEO – could you confirm?
So if each of the 19 locations have different franchise owners (like ServPro), they should be allowed if you can show Google that they are individually owned and operated. If they are simply employees’ houses, they are not allowed.
No, it’s the same owner and are not using employee’s house for addresses. I would think this is why it got suspended – but I was wondering if having only 2 listings (2 physical locations) with all area served (all zip codes and cities) would be more beneficial and would not hurt the SEO and still appear within the users’ searches in the GMB pack – while being compliant with Google Policies?
If they aren’t employee’s houses, what were they? Offices? Offices are allowed if they’re staffed and have signage. The only way they’ll rank in a local area (in the 3-pack) is by having a listing with an address there. This is part of the reason why the local results has so much spam :/ The service area you set in the GMB dashboard has no impact on where you rank.
Understood; however, even if not in the 3-pack, would the user looking for a service in his area without mentioning it be able to find this SAP location (with user’s area matching one of the service area you set in the GMB dashboard)? That way, we respect the guidelines and still can be found easily.
Hi Joy, I have a client that has two service area business that he is running out of his house. One is a gutter cleaning service and one is a demolition removal service. He has different business names, different websites, but the same phone number. The demolition service has a gmb that is all set up and running. The gutter service also has a live gmb that I requested access to. After I gained access to the listing it became suspended. Is this because I have two service area businesses under the same account? If that is the reason, do you think the suspension will go away if I reclaim it under a totally different account?
You should be able to get it appealed if you can provide Google the evidence that they are licensed separately. I’d probably suggest showing them the Secretary of State registry for both.
If I am a franchisee of a growing national service brand, with my own clearly defined service area,
should I be claiming my own GMB listing (using my own address, since our service comes
to the customer)? Or should I be letting the brand handle the GMB listing, with my defined
service area – and my contact info – as one of their locations? Is there a cost/benefit to me as franchisee for either approach? The url I use for my business, by the way, is my dedicated location landing page on the main brand website, which has all of my contact info. Thanks for considering!
To avoid creating duplicates, I’d ask the brand to create it and add you as an owner on the listing.
Thanks for the article.
We operate the a home service franchise on Vancouver Island with about 15 franchisees in 5 different cities/towns. We share the same call centre # and website.
1. We should be set up as a service area, not a physical address, correct?
2. Should we have only one listing with a service area covering the whole island, or 5 separate listings for each city?
If each franchise has a different owner and customers need to contact that specific location to get service, you might be allowed to have all 5. I would suggest contacting GMB and explaining your business model and they will be able to confirm.
Thanks for the reply.
Each franchise has a different owner, but all share the same central phone # (our call centre) and website…
The shared phone number might cause you more trouble with Google My Business. I’d just start by contacting GMB support and see what they tell you.
Ah GMB setup is a nightmare and it’s really hard to keep the listings alive. I’ve seen many many listings with same phone numbers and same website I wonder how are they doing that?. I tried a lot but always everything goes down
Very informative article, thank you!
One question I had is related to a local business that has multiple locations. Are you able to them have multiple Google MyBusiness listings? If so, do they each need to have a different phone number?
They’re definitely allowed multiple listings if the locations are storefronts (customers come to the location). It’s usually best to have different phone numbers.
We are an IT service company. We have different addresses for 4 cities. We want to do GMB listing for each city. But we don’t have separate landing pages for each city. Should I do GMB listing for all four cities with our main website? does it create any problem if we change homepage link to city-based landing page link once we create city-based pages?
Also, can we use one google account and one common phone number?
I would not use the same phone number on all 4 listings. I would also not suggest creating them if the addresses aren’t clearly listed on the website with photos of each location so that customers can find them.
I’m starting an SEO business and want to help register people on GMB. Is there a way to register as an agent for GMB. Any advice is welcome.
You can sign up to get the Google My Business agency dashboard: https://support.google.com/business/answer/7353903?hl=en
I have a client who has two different businesses in one location and people do go to them for separate services. Both entities have their own DBA. Can I include that in the same GMB or can I do a separate GMB?
If they have 2 different business names, I’d list both in the business name field if it looks okay. Example: Brand 1 – Brand 2. If they are actually different businesses, they are allowed a listing per company. If they are both the same business, just different brands, you are only allowed 1.
I am a real estate agent and I have a verified GMB listing that stated my agency’s physical address and my own website URL.
Recently I created a 2nd GMB listing (with a different name) because I am right now marketing a new condo (newly launched building with many units to sell) in a different location. For my 2nd GMB listing, it has a different physical address, different phone number but the website URL points to the same domain as my 1st GMB listing.
Both my listings got suspended one day after I verified the 2nd GMB listing (verified via postcard pin).
Do you have any idea what I did wrong?
Is it because the website that I entered for my 2nd GMB listing pointed to the same website domain of my 1st GMB listing?
Thanks for your
The listing for the condo wouldn’t be allowed. I would suggest deleting that listing from your account so that you just have one for the agency and then file for reinstatement.
Do you mind sharing with me why the listing for the condo will not be allowed?
There are a lot of other agents who have GMB listings for the condo.
Google only allows businesses to have listings for locations that are staffed. Vacation rentals are also not allowed unless they have an onsite office that has a person working there during regular business hours. An apartment building with a landlord or rental office onsite can be mapped but a single condo in a building offered for rent/sale by the owner cannot be mapped.
We are a traveling business. As a husband and wife team we travel across the country in our RV and work on other people’s RV’s either doing maintenance or repair work. Our official business address is in FL but we worked the last 4 months in NC and will work a month or so in IN, then make our way to AZ for the winter. We utilize the Thousand Trails system of RV parks as we travel and do not have official addresses in every state. How do we get google to recognize us as we move about the country?
Google My Business doesn’t support this business model, unfortunately. You would only be allowed one listing in Florida and wouldn’t be allowed to update the address since Google requires the address you use to be a permanent one.
I own a moving company, how do I post multiple listings to service different areas and zip codes?
Unfortunately the Google My Business guidelines only allows multiple listings if they are staffed locations. I know some service area businesses that have small offices in different cities with tons of exterior signs and have 1-2 staff work out of each location.
may i ask what if we have 2 locations around, one serving the west and one serving the east.. However, both businesses rely on the same website URL.
Does that get us removed from GMB if we were to submit a 2nd business location on gMB?
Thank you so much!
If both addresses are residential, you aren’t allowed 2. Having 2 puts both listings at risk to be suspended. If they are staffed storefront locations, they would be allowed.
I have a business that I am working with, they have two physical locations, Glendale, CA. and Modesto, CA. This is a commercial air conditioning contractor that covers 100% of California with employees. Am I able to get one GMB that will cover all of California? If I can what are the conditions? Can I use one of the two physical locations that they currently have along with an 800 number that covers all of California? Or is there some other way/condition that this can be done?
You are only allowed the 2 listings, both of which are only going to rank in the immediate area near that office. The farther a user is from your location, the lower you’ll rank (generally speaking). There isn’t a way to cover all of California with Google My Business as a strategy that stays within Google’s guidelines.
Hi Joy, I have a client that has 3 different home services out of one location. I realize best practices is one GMB and list the different services under that, one being primary. However, now that they’ve rolled out the Request A Quote, which has industry specific questions, you have to wonder if it’s better to create 3 listings with the primary service. They are being fed questions unrelated to the service 2/3 of the time. What is your take on this. Example GMB: https://www.google.com/search?q=aaa+home+services&oq=aaa+home+services&aqs=chrome..69i57j0j69i60j69i65l3.6615j1j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
Hi Steve, hope you don’t mind me chiming in while Joy is away. I still wouldn’t create multiple GMB’s. They will end-up suspended or marked as a duplicate. You bring up a valid point with the quote form though.
Thanks Colan. It’s very frustrating because they need to give more consideration to secondary categories. Also potentially allow businesses to have more than one “primary”, if they are legitimate categories and services for that business.
Thanks Colan. It’s very frustrating because they need to give more consideration to secondary categories. Also potentially allow businesses to have more than one “primary”, if they are legitimate categories and services for that business.
I started out as a home based skin care service. Have very good Google ranking. Now I rented a room at the wellness clinic. So I cannot claim busyness address as it is already taken by the clinic. Also it is different City than my home business place. I am so scared to lose my good ranking and have no idea how to change my address on the website and Google. Please help.
For now I would suggest keeping it at your home address since there isn’t currently a good process to update the address on a service area business listing.
I own a home inspection business based out of Livermore, CA and have two websites. I’m on Google My Business… I service 20 surrounding towns… A home buyer in a distant town would search for a home inspector by typing: Walnut Creek Home Inspector … but my business wouldn’t pop. How do I get my second website setup on Googgle My Business in a distant town that I don’t live in
To stay within the GMB guidelines, you would need both locations to be staffed offices to comply. Your example wouldn’t fit under the franchise exception and if you’re using a residential address you’d only be allowed to have 1 listing.
My home inspection company is a sole proprietorship, but I service a large area… seems that I’d have to pay to have a second business address in another town, just to promote the business in a different town. When I run a Google Ad, I can setup a 25 mile radius around Livermore, CA where I live… But I’ve found that someone who wants a home inspection 20 miles away, won’t call me when they see that my business is 20 miles away… even if I’ve indicated on GMB that my service area includes their town.
I have a partnership LLC and my business partner manages one 50 mile area while I manage another, both within the same state. Is this ok to have separate addresses for both owners since we are operating in different service areas. To be clear- we have home addresses and not business locations. Any help would be appreciated.
In this scenario, you would only qualify for one listing. Where Google would allow for some flexibility, in this case, would be to let you choose whether the address you verify the listing under is yours or your partners.
Hi Colan and Joy,
I’m a Portfolio Manager with my own brand name working under a main brand umbrella. Eg: the 123 wealth group from ABC. I currently have a GMB profile for my main office that is staffed. I named the GMB profile the 123 wealth group from ABC. Now, I travel often to meet prospects in other cities across the country in the offices that belong to ABC. Now ABC has very poor GMB profiles. If there’s staff in those offices across the country with proper signage, would I able to claim a suite # + address in the other respective cities? ABC has only claimed the generic address without the suite #. I would use the suite # + address where I meet prospects/clients for my additional GMB profiles. Is that legit?
Should I take ABC off of my original GMB? Eg. The 123 wealth group and not the 123 wealth group from ABC?
For additional GMB profiles, I would use “the 123 wealth group” since 123 already has GMB profiles for those cities, but I noticed that none of the Portfolio Managers in those respective cities utilize GMB. I feel like this a great opportunity for myself to gain exposure in the other cities.
This case sounds really specific so I’m not sure I’m going to be able to offer advice without knowing and looking at the actual example. If you want to send us a contact form submission, we can always quote you on some consulting hours so that we can advise properly.
Hi, thanks for the article. My business services a regional town in Australia with a population of about 60,000 people. But my business is forced to be listed as the obscure suburb name that no one actually uses, rather than the name of the regional town. (I’m not in the CBD but only a few minutes away)
I have a service business. We have independent contractors who clean houses all over canada. Expect about 250 by end of 2020. As noted in the article I want to take advantage of multiple locations for every city/town/community where there i a cleaner but keep control over the listings so that they have our consistent brand, website, phone number, booking form and we can make the posts etc. Any advice on this?
Since the independent contractors wouldn’t be allowed their own listings (they’re not practitioners), the only way to really do this would be to have a franchise set up. Even in that scenario, Google likely wouldn’t want the listings to overlap at all. In most cases I’ve seen, they only allow 1 listing per metro area.
Do you have to use the same primary category across all global offices? We have 80 locations and some of them specialize in different service areas.
No, you definitely don’t have to.
If I own 2 SERVPRO franchises that have different service areas, can they each have their own GMB listing if I only have 1 physical location?
I just updated the majority of the article this morning. Google recently came out with some guideline clarifications that changed a lot. If the 2 listings meet the 3 criteria outlined in the first part of the article (I just updated it so you might want to re-read that), you’d be allowed 2 listings.
I still don’t see how an SAB without an address can create multiple listings. For example, an autism services group has locations in several states. But there are no offices since they provide services in the home. I don’t see how it would do any good to set up several listings at the owner’s home address. And if we aren’t supposed to use employee addresses or a virtual office, that leaves no official way to create these listings. Am I missing something?
I know of a music lessons company that did use their employees’ houses but they had agreements with the employees that allowed them to do that. I think it’s really only a safe thing to do if you don’t have high turnover or if the employee is a high-level employee. I also think having a signed agreement in place is necessary. Another address type I see used for this would be warehouses.
Thanks, Joy! That is quite helpful!
Jello Joy, thank-you for the great article and update. If I were to set up a business on my own and become a freelance SEO consultant working from home and assisting customers online or at their companies’ offices, could I set up my GMB listing as a SAB with home address? Thanks
Yep – as long as you see customers in-person you can have one.
How important is the 2-hour rule? Since data shows that it’s hard to rank outside of a few miles from a business location, our clients have been looking into properties scattered across a large metropolitan area, but the locations aren’t that far apart. Several are far into the process of considering investments in these additional locations. Since Google requires a location to be permanent with staff, this is a significant investment to make, and with the definitions changing rapidly, we are having a hard time issuing recommendations. Any advice?
I have yet to see Google act on this rule but the safe bet would be just to ask GMB support if you have a specific scenario.
Very kind of you Joy – have a great day
Thank you for the fantastic information. I know a lot has changed as of the October 2020 Google update, so I was hoping you may be able to give guidance on the following situation:
I operate a house cleaning business that serves customers in 20 metro areas in the United States. All house cleaning work is completed by independent contractors and our “Headquarters” is simply in my home. Each metro served is >2 hrs. driving distance from others and each is served by different contractors.
Under the updated Google guidelines, (1) Am I allowed 20 GMB listings (2) Given that I’m an SAB, does each address I assign to a metro need to be manned during business hours / are virtual offices now acceptable addresses for multi-location SABs?
Thank you so much!
If the contractors were listed on your website and it was clear they serviced different areas, this would likely be allowed but I would run it past GMB support to be safe. Virtual offices are not allowed.
I have 12 locations with unique names, addresses, and phone numbers that are forwarded to my main business line. These locations are in the DFW Metro area (Suburbs) and I set each business up to serve as a potential franchise that I hope to sell off individually in the next 5 years or so. In order to prove that each business is viable, I have to be able to show financials, call volume, etc. I orginally set my businesses up two years ago with the help of a GMB specialist and told them what my objective was. I was told that each business (home based) must have it’s own address (not listed), must have it’s own phone number, website, and literature. Each business has it’s own DBA set up as a sole proprietor (me) until at which time I decide to sell each location.
Recently, about a month ago, Google suspended all of my locations and claimed there were quality issues. I read through the Google Business Requirement and couldn’t find anything wrong with my listings. Trying to contact GMB has been a complete nightmare. I applied for reinstatement per their guidelines and I got a boilerplate response that said my sites were suspended for quality issues. I have gone back and forth with multiple emails and two actual phone calls from Google, but I have yet to be told what the exact problem is. After reading some post here, I believe it is from my multiple listings with unique phone numbers being forwarded to my main business line and the fact that these listing are within 2 to 10 miles of each other. Do you have any advice?
Yeah if they aren’t 2 hours apart, have different staff, and they aren’t individually licensed/owned (like a franchise) then they aren’t allowed. You mentioned you plan on selling it as a franchise but it would already have to be a franchise to be allowed the way you have it set up.
Hi, can you please explain how some companies are able to verify hundreds of listings with the same name and not too far from each other, actually spamming the whole map. Check this link out or goolge yourself doremi garage door repair :
There are lots of methods out there that people exploit to get stuff on the map. I don’t really read up on it much (as far as how they do it) since I don’t do it myself. If you report these via the Redressal Form (https://support.google.com/business/contact/business_redressal_form) they should get removed.
I’ve seen you refer to “they only allow 1 listing per metro area” and I’ve read it from Google too.
We have an employee who serves a location area which is 1.5 – 2hours driving time from our head office GMB.
The distance is 100kms.
They are in different Cities
Can we setup a GMB in this new location?
Can it be to the employees home address? (SAB GMB and we will uncheck display the location)
And we will be careful that there is no service location overlap with the GMB.
If I can’t set up the SAB GMB from employees home address, what are the option to set it up?
Google says it can’t be an employee’s house. It could be a warehouse or office or another address owned by the business owner.
Thanks Joy for great article – look at these questions!! Now for mine: – have Client who bought an exiting Franchise that covers an enormous geographical area ( Australia).
GBP is SAB. Obviously the address where the original Google postcard was sent is significant – as will start optimizing GBP for radius from that location. Problem – no one knows that original address & it could be anywhere within the franchise area!!! How to work out the GBP strategy when don’t know location keywords to rank ?
1. What would you do?
2. Any way find out SAB address from years ago ?
There isn’t a way to see what address was used so I would just suggest you update it and use the new owner’s address instead.
We are providing tuitions all over the metro areas.
My question is ,Can I create service area business for each metro area with unique phone number and same website.
Each location will be staffed.
Will that be valid
If it is a staffed location with a storefront then it should be allowed.
I think it is not a bad idea, and if it does not create any problem, it can be implemented. I am sure that this will bring positive results later in the future for the end-users. They are not done more often.
We operate a courier service company and we are opening satellite offices with licensed partners, can the partner locations have a Google listing with our brand name? Intent is to operate indipendently but under our umbrella for brand recognizion benefits for both parties. Our clients have the option to drop off packages but most of the business is full delivery service. Need to figure this out because we spend Ad dollars on our main account and we wanted those locations to generate more leads from the local exposure and local marketing efforts.
I hope I am clear. Thanks in advance.
The partners would be allowed to have listings for their companies but they wouldn’t be entitled to have a second listing set up using your brand name unless it meets the criteria for department listings as outlined here: https://support.google.com/business/answer/3038177?hl=en
Wow this was a great find. Unfortunately I think I now know the answer of what was to be my business model. I offer computer tech support and a fair amount of it is done remotely. I thought I could change my location repeatedly and show up in listings around the country (US). I thought I could promote my business and get to know people from different parts of the country too. It sounds like Google will only allow your immediate area as your service location. I’m a home business, by the way. So I couldn’t, for example, work/live in one city and add a service area of another city 2,000 miles away? That being the case, how big is the service area I can claim? Thank you for your help and for the great article.
The service area you add doesn’t actually impact where you rank so you wouldn’t rank in areas 2000 miles away without a listing that uses an address in that area. Your current listing would only rank in the town you live in and the further away you get from your home, the less likely the listing would rank.
Hello thank you for the very informative article I owe a mobile cellular phone repair busiess that provides service at the clients location. A month ago my account was disabled. I’m not certain what the violation was. I discovered a duplicate profile and deleted that. In effort to reinstate I was asked for some documents My business tax certificate shows my business at my home address but I don’t have an address on my google profile I have a service areas of only the city in which I reside. Additionally this same tax document shows a different last name and different business name than my google account shows. This is because I used to go by another last name but it was not my legal name. I used the business name of “the Iphone repair guy” on google because the public called me this. However upon filing for a fiticous business name I registered as “Iphone repair 4 less -Visalia ” So I have updated the google profile to reflect the business name as in the real world name of “Iphone repair 4 less – Visalia. ” and changed my name to show both last names using a hyphen. The one last name of Stevens is not my legal name but I was enrolled in school with that name and used it all my life and it is what people know me as. I own the phone number listed on google and it’s always been the same number and I have access to email address that has always been used with the business. I bought a domain from google and my website has been taken down now to. I send the reinstatement form and documentation but I was denied becuase google couldn’t rverify the existence of my business profile. I think maybe I had sent reinstatement for the profile that I deleted I’m not sure. So I sent one for the remaining profile which is the one that has all of my reviews etc and I get a automated reply but nothing further. I was top rated and had an excellent profile with 150 positive reviews and i was on top of the search results for years and now my buisness is dead completely. I’m unable to work now as I’m not getting any phone calls at all for repairs. How do I get reinstated or how can a create a new profile and have my reviews and rating carry over to the new profile. And how to get my website back up. Thank you for any advice you can give my case is rather complex and there’s no way to speak with google on the matter ..
If the documents don’t match what you use on Google, they often will not reinstate it. You might want to send in different documents that do match.
I have a client who has multiple practitioners located across the United States. They wish to create multiple Service Area listing without showing the physical address of each location.
Can they set up multiple listings across cities without showing a physical address? Once a listing is verified using a physical code sent to a particular address, can we add service area codes of another city?
Basically create a Service Area listing by using a physical address (for verification only) of city A.
Add service codes of city B to this listing.
The listing doesn’t rank based on the service areas so if you created it in city A, it would rank in city A not city B.
Thank you for the informative article.
I am a healthcare practitioner and under a franchise. The franchise originally had just optometrists (each store have different franchisee owners) but now they have started offering franchisees to audiologists. I am currently located in an optometry practice with my own private office. We share the share the staff, phone lines and same business address.
My audiology practice is registered to me and the optometry practice is registered to the optometrist.
I created a separate GMB listing with the same address and telephone number but it’s under a different category ie Audiologist and different services listed. My name of the audiology practice went as the Franchise name but ended in audiology eg. AB Chicago Audiology
Google has picked it up as a duplicate and the franchise media agency has asked me to remove my listing. My questions are:
1. Are two listings allowed since we both are separate legal entities with different categories (different healthcare practitioners) and services?
2. How do I prevent future duplicates or possible suspensions?
It likely got flagged as a duplicate because you used the same address and phone number. It’s a best practice to make sure you use a different phone number when creating practitioner listings.
How can you get rid of competitors listings who have a service area business but have multiple listings that overlap service areas. I’ve tried to report using the duplicate listing option with no success.
You can report them via the redressal form https://support.google.com/business/contact/business_redressal_form
I started a cleaning business 6 years ago in a major city as a “Service business” with a residential address and I now want to expand into the surrounding cities. However, I’m not sure if I’m allowed to add the second location and so forth, to another residential address in the surrounding city. For the second listing do I have to get a commercial address, or could I create another residential location as a SAB. I don’t want to get suspended for my main listing, so I want the safest way to this.
Thank you for taking the time to answer everyone!
It doesn’t necessarily need to be a commercial address. If it’s a residential address that is associated with your business and that you have the authority to use (ie: not an employee’s home), you should be allowed another listing provided the service areas don’t overlap with your existing one and that it’s staffed with different staff.
I actually have 2 showrooms in my garage door business. My issue is that we only have 1 website. We use 2 different phone numbers. I’m not sure how to organize these phone numbers on my website to keep NAP consistent.
I would only list one phone number in the header of the site but then on each location page list the local phone number for that showroom.
We recently started our agency in Phoenix but also operate in multiple cities. Less then one day after we listed our original listing, we were taken down. I have reached out to the big “G” multiple times and they refuse to do anything.
The site does show up in Google, we are a legitimate operation, yet we get trashed and discriminated by the Google monster.
I have been told if we completely wipe out the gmail account and business profile and redo it from scratch signing up using the company email, we can recreate the listing.
The big issue is we have multiple teams operating with our clients in multiple cities. While we do not have a “real storefront” (IE Home Depot) per say, we do operate in many metro areas and each area is independent of the others. We do provide the services in all areas, but a rep would not handle a clients account in Phoenix, if the reps area was Dallas.
The questions are
1. how do we just redo the whole thing
2. if we use office space in other cities, do we just skip the “address” part
3. Our clients do not visit us at any offices (We mostly use meeting spaces or go to them) , does that even matter
4. A legitimate business operating in the local area should not just be “suspended”
what are your recommendations for a happy resolution, because google keeps sending us “$500 ad spend credits” for a business we cannot even list!
You would only be allowed listings in the different cities if you have the authority to use the address as the business and it’s not a virtual office/coworking space/po box. It would also only be allowed if your staff in those cities did in-person contact there with clients. I have employees all over the USA but we have not created multiple listings because we don’t go see clients in-person anywhere outside the greater Toronto area (where our 1 listing is). The in-person contact with customers is necessary to stay within the guidelines. If you don’t see customers at your location, you can hide your address. Keep in mind that there are also account suspensions which have nothing to do with the listing and the issue is actually the account you’re using has been blacklisted. See this article for more details on that: https://www.sterlingsky.ca/top-reasons-google-my-business-suspended-your-listing/
that is very helpful. We are a “service based business” which means we have reps in all those cities that service the “local” clients. We recently deleted everything and are no awaiting postcards from google to the various locations for what is called “hard verification”, I am hoping this resolves everything!
Hey, and thank you for your Post.
I was wondering how to add several locations if I have a home office based business. We are a home inspection company and I am trying to expend in new locations. My home inspectors do not require a physical office. My office manager works from home so there is no Storefront, Warehouse or office space. How would I be able to add locations?
Thank you for your help,
You wouldn’t be able to use the home inspectors’ homes as there is no official documentation linking the company to that address. Google usually looks for things like utility bills, insurance, and business licenses with those addresses on them.
I feel like you have the knowledge to point me in the right direction.
I’m a contractor looking to franchise out my business to sub-contractors throughout the US. They would be using the same company name, but different locations. Each sub-contractor would have their own number and location in order to get leads. How would I be able to verify this with google my business? Do I branch off of the main location? Or do I have to add a single new business for each one?
Hi Joe! You would need to create a new GBP for each franchise location. As long as each franchise has its own unique business license you should be good to go. Make sure that their service areas do not overlap.
I’m a licensed massage therapist. My private practice consists only of myself. Every time I move (and my business with me) my posting gets suspended and it’s always a hassle to go through the reinstatement process which always gets denied multiple times without any explanation why. I provided them with my massage license (which serves as a business license) and my sublease showing that I’m subleasing the space. Any ideas?
Moving is always tricky – it’s harder if you’re set up as a service area business. There isn’t a way to avoid the suspension but if you have the proper documentation, you should be able to get it reinstated. This article goes more into detail on that > https://www.sterlingsky.ca/top-reasons-google-my-business-suspended-your-listing/