More threads by HoosierBuff

Dec 12, 2013
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Hi all,

I have a client with a multiple businesses in one location situation. I have researched a bit on this forum, and found some other posts:

From these two threads, the general consensus is, it is ok to have the same location so long as the businesses have seperate entrances, websites and phone numbers.

Here is my situation:

My client has 3 businesses at one location. Ted's boat repair/ Sully's Marina and new boat sales/ Boat Reconditioning LLC.

They are all different legal entities, all with the same NAP, and same website. The entrances are the same, staffed by the same people (though the legal entity is different, it is in all appearances one single business).

So, I think this guy is rather challenged. My diagnosis is:

He must either create a new website and NAP for each business, and somehow seperate them physically. OR just pick on business, and market that one.

What are everyone's thoughts on this?
The new website isn't a priority, I'd say it's fine to have different sub sections on the website. The different phone numbers though are non-negotiable. Look at Google's Guidelines:

Publicly-facing departments that operate as distinct entities should have their own page. The exact name of each department must be different from that of the main business and that of other departments. Typically such departments have a separate customer entrance and should each have distinct categories. Their hours may sometimes differ from those of the main business.

They'll all need their own separate categories as well. Seems like an edge case to me, you'd likely have to argue with Google support and jump through some hoops, and I'd be a little worried about competitor spam reporting coming along at some point. Sounds like a judgement call either way.
Are they registered as separate businesses with the Secretary of State? If so, you should make sure their About and Contact pages on their website list their business license #s along with lots of photos of signage showing/proving they are actually different businesses. I can see an active mapper thinking otherwise.
Hi all -

I wanted to get back to this post, because my knowledge of the situation has changed a bit.

The History of the situation is this:

The guy started with one business "Ted's Boat repair", but, he soon started also selling new boats, and because he is name didn't capture what he did, he started advertising a new business "Sully's new boat sales". The new business was not a distinct legal entity. He then started advertising a 3rd business "Ted's boat recondititioning".

- Ideally, all three of these should have their own profile, but, this is going to be hard to do since they really are all the same entrance, same counter

- Today the business is listed in Google as all three business. It looks like this: "Ted's boat repair / Sully's new boat sales / Ted's boat reconditioning"

- The owner doesn't want to pick one name, he feels strongly that the three names help people find him, for those three things.

I guess my recommendation should be to create profiles so that each "business" has it's own profile. Work on his website a bit, so that I can point to a unique page for each that looks unique, and have a unique phone number. I am worried that one, or all of these may get filtered, but, the name with the slashes seems like a good target to get filtered too.

any other thoughts?
If they aren't really separate businesses on paper (business license, taxes etc) then Google would most likely see this as setting up multiple pages for each service they offer, which isn't allowed. If all 3 names are on the signs you could always add additional names in MapMaker to the 1 listing.
Joy - Thanks!

So, you think Google would be ok, with the three name solution?

the name of the business would be: Ted's boats/ Sully's new boats sales/ Sully's boat recondititioning

I was worried that would get flagged as spammy. Although in fairness, that is exactly what it says on their website.
I think it would look a lot more user-friendly (and less spammy looking) if you just pick one and then list the others as alternate names on MapMaker.

Make sure that's what is listed on their signs (in street view) or it won't get approved.

I agree with Joy that the signage here is critical. We had a hospital client where 3 clinics all shared the same reception desk. Upon review, Google actually looked at the photos provided and saw all 3 clinic signs at the same entry desk and asked us to consolidate these to a single listing. The separate entrances are a big deal.

If you show signage on the exterior of the building that indicates 3 separate businesses, this may get approved.

I would also recommend a separate landing page on the website for each business entity so that your GMB pages aren't all going to the same URL.

If I were Google, I would prefer this to be listed as a single business with multiple categories for the individual services. Kind of like an auto-body shop that offers brake services, muffler repair and sells used cars. My guess is they will start using the upcoming "Attributes" feature to allow you to describe the business beyond what the categories allow, plus the attributes appear to be crowdsourced when a customer "checks in" at your location via Google. Attributes are already available via the API and are coming soon to the GMB interface. Great article on this over at SEL: Why Google is mining local business attributes

Your strategy may work for the short term. If you wanted a long-term strategy that you knew you could count on, I would do the following:
  • Consolidate to a single business entity
  • Clean up the NAP info for that entity (you'll have a lot of old stuff to clean up with the multiple previous businesses)
  • Optimize the GMB page with categories & attributes
  • Create service pages for your services (Boat repair, new boat sales, boat reconditioning, etc.)
  • Encourage customers to check in and reinforce the attributes
  • Build some industry relevant, local links to these pages
  • Provide great service and get authentic customer reviews

On the landing pages I would either tell the story of the previous businesses, or provide a link to a page where they can read the story. It's great content and will help maintain branded search volume.

Good Luck!

Adam Broetje
Odd Dog Media
Just out of curiosity were you ever able to get this listing verified?

In this case, I was being sold thru an agency, so, it was hard to keep in touch with the client, and we agreed to pursue the three location strategy. The client was to set up phone numbers, and I was getting ready with the GMB once we had the phone numbers.

There was risk here, because the existing GMB had all three businesses names in it, and was ranking fine (just not ranking for all the things he did).

and then. . . .nothing. The client went quiet, and then, the rep said he was cancelling due to budgetary issues.

So, we will never know.
You were being sold through an agency? Like a lead gen agency?

Just wanted to make sure I understood that comment correctly. Sorry if I'm dense for not catching on to that :(

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