ServicePros

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Hi Linda!

I have a question that I was hoping you and others here might be able to help me sort out....

I know this subject has been brought up countless times, but this might be a little unique to your forum so I figured it might be worth posting here.

Here's the dilemma I'm facing. We have a residential carpet cleaning business. For quite sometime we used an office location. However, this is no longer the case and we are no longer using the office location.

The dilemma is that we also have a commercial cleaning business (janitorial, office cleaning, commercial carpet cleaning, etc.) and I was originally planning on using my home address for this business. Though I have not set up a Google+ listing for either yet (however I have listed the business in some directories). Since we no longer have an office we need to consolidate all of this.

Each business has its own DBA, phone number, website, etc. However, categories do somewhat overlap. Technically, and in my opinion of course, this hopefully would not be an issue since one is geared towards commercial clients and the other residential. While aspects of each business differs significantly, I do understand that they ultimately deal with the same thing - cleaning.

Even if using completely separate categories, etc. for each business would Google still consider this too closely related?

Also, I have read recommendations that business owners in similar situations should create a suite A for one of the listings to better help differentiate one business from the other. Does Google allow this for residential listings as well?

I do not want to irritate Google and want to do this as smoothly as possible. I guess worse case scenario we would have one listing for one of the businesses and that's it. However, the ability to focus on both markets would really be ideal.

I also want to thank you fro providing small business owners with such a great resource. This place is great!
 
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Hi Service Pros,
Great question. Linda will likely pop by, but in the meantime, I thought I'd chime in.

It does sound to me like you've got 2 legitimately different businesses...a janitorial business and a residential carpet cleaning business, but I agree...the overlap is a bit concerning.

The main thing, though, is that if you put both of those businesses under the same address (your home address) you will be making a mistake. In addition to having distinct business names and phone numbers, every local business must have a unique, dedicated street address. If you list them both at the same address, you are pretty much guaranteed to run into problems.

So, yes, then you come down to the concept of suite numbers. Personally, I have not heard of Google making an extra effort to scrutinize this in the case of home-based businesses (meaning, beyond the scrutiny employed in commercial buildings), but that could be the case in the future. Google could, at some point, decide that houses shouldn't have suite numbers, but it would surprise me if they did, because clearly, billions of houses are broken up into apartments.

Still, there is a bit of grey area here, because of the overlap in your businesses and their location in the same building. If you were running an accountancy firm and a janitorial service, I would feel more decided about the best path to take. Let's get some more feedback from the community to see what they think.
 

Linda Buquet

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Thanks for posting ServicePros, I saw your thread at the G forum but didn't have time to reply over there.

Miriam gave some good advice.

I can see in your mind how these should be classified as 2 businesses.

But Google is very strict and not very forgiving or flexible ESPECIALLY when it comes to home based businesses.

If 2 totally different industries: Let's say husband has landscaping business. Wife has bookkeeping business. He answers his business phone with the landscape name, she answers her phone. Each of them offer their own different service, no cross over. Still dicey but can sometimes get away with it. (No guarantees.)

However in your case they are too similar and are going to both have cleaning keywords in categories.

Plus Joel Headley from Google once made a distinction based on who answers the phone. Both are at same address. If I call either one and the same person answers both phones, and the same person does the work for both businesses then Google would consider it one business.

Note: Not to imply anyone is going to call necessarily that's not the point. The algo OR a moderator is just going to make a judgement call, he was just using that as an example.

For instance one thing that gets abused a lot and this example may be easier for you to see. A graphic designer working from home. He has one site and Place page for web design. Another for Graphic Design. Another for photography. But no matter which phone you call you get him and he's going to do the work. It's really one business with just different types of services within it. That I think it how Google will see your situation too.

Many cleaning companies have both residential and commercial cleaning. Many do house cleaning and office cleaning and carpet cleaning. It's all one business, just different services.

Not only is there the problem of potential suspension, for having more than one listing for the same location - but there is the problem of merged listings. If they merge what happens is then you STILL only have ONE listing BUT it's totally out of your control and the data will mishmash in unpredictable/uncontrollable ways.

So you can end up with a ONE listing but it has the carpet cleaning name, the commercial office cleaning images, description, phone and reviews for the residential carpet cleaning. Or whatever. Details from both all mixed up and still just one listing.

Much better off having one good solid listing and then cover what you can in the categories and what you can't then try to explain in the description.

I strongly advise against making up a suite number in most cases and especially this one. Google hates fake addresses. If 123 Floral Lane Suite A does not really exist, then yes it's a fake address.

So there's my 2 cents. Likely not what you wanted to hear but if you heed my advice could help you potentially avoid weeks or months of Google problems and lost business.
 

ServicePros

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Thanks Miriam and Linda.

Lisa, I agree. I'll just concentrate on one of the businesses as far as the G+ listing is concerned. I'll keep the other site active, remove any and all directory listings that might be floating around out there and hopefully avoid any potential merging issues.

Personally, I don't think Google is giving too much thought to local businesses that don't have a Google+ Local listing, but we shall see. Hopefully it'll still rank.

Thanks again to the both of you for your help!
 
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