Jul 2, 2019
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Curious if business/legal entity names registered with the state have any bearing on NAP consistency and where Google pulls some data from. Specifically, we have a practitioner who is registered with his state/legal entity as his own name, his real world business name is also displayed in some Google map photos as his own name, however all of his branding is slightly different.

Ideally we'd like to go with whatever his real world business name is and call it a day. However, it's all slightly gray area and we don't want to recommend changing his branding.

Wondering if anyone has any experience/pointers or can even point me to threads that may help with this question??

Much appreciated!

Rich Owings

Local Search Expert
LocalU Member
Apr 21, 2014
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Jul 2, 2019
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Thanks Rich!

I feel the same way. The hang up is that for this particular client, his signage viewable on Google Maps is a slight variation of both his business/legal name and what is considered his 'brand' or real-world business name (his sign would basically be his sole practitioner name). It's really just old signage within an office complex that needs to be updated, as it was put in place before his push to brand everything with his new(er) real-world business name.

So now we're at a point that we need to make a recommendation to unify everything. Wondering if we should be recommending updated signage, or if it matters. Or do we go with publishing his name in all NAP as "Real-world Business Name: Name of Sole Practitioner." - Which is both within Google's guidelines and includes his sole practitioner name that matches the old signage?


Jun 17, 2019
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The name registered with the State could find its way out in the ecosystem, but that is not very likely. However, if this company has a business phone line, I would be more concerned with the business name associated to the phone(eg the biz name the telco company has for the phone) making its way into the ecosystem via directory assistance files.

From the outside looking in, it sounds like you may have two different listings.
* an agent/practitioner
* the business itself
If there is no distinction between these two you are probably better off with a single listing for the business. Generally speaking, agent/practitioner listings are valuable when there are multiple agents/practitioners associated to a business (eg doctors, lawyers) that a consumer may want to contact directly.

If you look at the above link from Rich there are some more details on Google's recommendations for "Individual Practitioners".


Jul 2, 2019
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This particular client is in the dental space. He is basically setting up his business/branding ahead of time to be a business that is sell-able and branded when he chooses to do so. However, he is the sole practitioner at this practice currently and is known by his practitioner name.

I've seen other sole practitioners set up their business & GMB/directories as such [brand/company]: [practitioner name] - according to Google's guidelines and had great success in doing so. Even though technically, they are not a part of a large organization (such as an Allstate or Aspen Dental) but intend to get there eventually (every Dentists dreams of this).

I'd deem the above scenario a little shady, but gray area in accordance with Google's guidelines...

I guess my question really comes down to, if we go with "Business name used on website" for the name in NAP (matching the website branding), is there ever any ramification of exterior signage still being the "Sole practitioner" name? I've had countless fits with GMB support arguing these matters over the phone, especially when its been an issue of outdated street photos.


Local Search Expert
LocalU Faculty
Nov 19, 2015
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I try and look at this as the guidelines state it and also from a perspective of how would I need to handle this if I was suspended.

The simple answer here is consistency. The website, LLC, Secretary of state entry, the business signage etc.. are all the same as the GMB name, address, and phone.

If the signage is only the SP's name then that could be a problem. Google would ask for signage that is reflective of what is in GMB.
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