A relation is basically a way for Google to connect different Google My Business listings to each other. There are 4 different types of relations in Google My Business that I have run across thus far. 2 of them are visible and 2 are invisible.
I first heard the term “relation” when talking to Google My Business (GMB) support and had no clue what they were talking about. Most people don’t know these exist because they aren’t present inside the Google My Business (now called “Google Business Places” or “GBP”) dashboard and some types are invisible on the actual listing itself.
“Located In” in Google My Business
This is meant for businesses located inside other businesses. It is not intended for practitioners or departments.
How Can You Add or Change “Located In” on Google?
As of September 2018, you can add “Located in” without contacting GMB support by suggesting an edit on Google Maps. Here’s how to add “Located in” to your Google Business listing:
- Use the Google account that manages the listing inside GMB.
- Once you press suggest an edit, you can add the place it’s located in, as per the screenshot below.
- IMPORTANT: You must also adjust the map marker and move it to be right near the place you’re moving it inside (failure to do this part often keeps the edit from publishing right away).
“Departments” in Google My Business
This is a type of visible relation that is meant for businesses with departments. There are certain business types like department stores, hospitals, auto dealers, and universities that are allowed department listings on Google. The departments should have different categories, their hours will normally differ, and they often have separate entrances. Departments can show up on your Knowledge Panel and show up in a different space than the “located in” relation. If you have a department listing, it won’t always automatically connect to your main listing. If you’re not seeing the “Departments” section on your Knowledge Panel, you can contact Google My Business and have them add it for you.
“Works At” in Google My Business
This is an invisible relation (backend) that connects a practitioner listing with the place they work. For an example of how this impacts how they show up in the search results, read this case study. In this case, an old practitioner that left the practice still had the relation on their listing. This was really problematic until it was removed.
“Chain” in Google My Business
This is another invisible relation that exists for listings that are a part of a chain. Ben Fisher detailed out a case where this didn’t get set up properly:
“We also ran a check via the GMB API called “parentChain” at the location level. This field should be set if a location is part of a chain, and it did not appear to be set for this location.”
Potentially, if this relation is not set on the listing, it could keep it from showing up for searches for the brand. This is easier to see on mobile as Google actually clumps the local pack into a carousel nested under the parent brand (below is an example of what I see on Google on my Android for “East Side Marios”). Take note of the “Locations” tab.
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