ForwardMotion

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Hello,

I'm dealing with a topic that seems to have answers that are a little vague or gray. I am working in an office with multiple practitioners. All of these practitioners fall under one category, so no way to set them up under different categories. I have created GMB listings for each practitioner and set them up like this: Company Name | Practitioner Name. I have setup the main listing for the office with just the companies name. Each practitioner has their own book of business, so that is why I created a GMB listing for each. Here is where I'm confused and want to make sure I stay within Google's guidelines:

Each of these practitioners depend on their GMB listing and I need to make sure they don't get suspended. With that said, I setup each of these practitioners originally under the offices address. Because of that I was finding most, if not all were getting filtered out. Most of the practitioners (Realtors would be another good example of this.) work from home most of the time, but come into the office for appointments. Because each practitioner really is a SAB, and after multiple discussions with GMB experts, I decided to clear out the address for each practitioner. Once I did this, I found that they were no longer being filtered out and they were showing up now when doing a search for the company. I found that when I did a search for the practitioner and the business name, they showed up like they should and when I just did a search for the business and the local service area, the office GMB listing showed up first followed by all the practitioners GMB listings.

This all seems great and I'm happy with the results, but I am confused and concerned that this might not be a best practice or within current guidelines from conversations I have had. The results are good and it seems like it would be a good practice for all businesses like this with multiple practitioners under one office address. The areas in question though are:

  1. Since I setup each practitioner under the office address and then cleared the address, does that somehow go against Google's guidelines?
  2. Since each practitioner mostly work from home, but come into the office for appointments, should I change the address to their home address and then clear that out (if it is not allowed using the office address), as they do not want their home address publicized.
  3. Due to company compliance, each practitioner must show their name and the companies name in the listing, but the way Google's guidelines read, this might be a gray area.
I feel Google needs to have clearer guidelines on this and feel the way I have listed each practitioner should be best practice. It keeps the company as the main listing and then it gives each practitioner the opportunity to build their own book of business and be found when someone does a Google search for them or the company. I'm finding it kind of works like a rolodex. It also gives each practitioner the opportunity to optimize their GMB listings and grow their personal websites if they have them. This seems like a win/win and would give clear guidance on how practitioners should complete their listings when there are multiple practitioners that fall under one main category within one office location.

I would love to get feedback and learn what others are finding to be best practice, that will not get their listings suspended when dealing with multiple practitioners at the same office address (Realtors would be a great example of this. How are other SEO's setting up GMB listings for Realtors in one office?). Each practitioner in our office depends on me to keep their listings active and their business growing. I want to make sure I am doing just that and staying within the guidelines.
 

JoyHawkins

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I have created GMB listings for each practitioner and set them up like this: Company Name | Practitioner Name.
Usually, I advise not putting the company name in the business name for the practitioners. This is mainly because when you search for the company name, you probably want the company listing to show up in the Knowledge Panel. Because the practitioner listings have the company name, it makes them more likely to show up with the practice listing or instead of it, which generally isn't ideal for the parent company.
Since I setup each practitioner under the office address and then cleared the address, does that somehow go against Google's guidelines?
I doubt Google would care but "technically" you should show the address because customers do show up there. If anything, you might actually doing yourself a disservice by hiding the address as hidden addresses have been known to hurt visibility a bit.
Since each practitioner mostly work from home, but come into the office for appointments, should I change the address to their home address and then clear that out (if it is not allowed using the office address), as they do not want their home address publicized.
The reason why I suggest using the home address is due to the way the filter works. Let's say you have a real estate office in Dallas. There are 30 realtors using this address, so when you search "Realtor Dallas", Google will generally show one or maybe two, but the rest would get filtered or suppressed. That article linked to above explains why. If you were to update that listing to use the realtor's home in McKinney, then they would start ranking in McKinney, wouldn't compete with the office, and shouldn't be impacted by the filter since they no longer have 29 other realtors to compete with.

That being said, there is a huge chance the listings will get suspended when you change the addresses. The number of suspensions right now is insanely high. There really isn't a way to prevent this. I would tell the client before doing it. I'd still recommend doing it though. If you get suspended you will likely have no listing for a few days or weeks. That is still better IMO than having a listing for months or years that doesn't rank anywhere for major terms that get traffic. I don't think you should have an issue getting the listing reinstated since lots of people are working from home more now due to COVID-19.
Due to company compliance, each practitioner must show their name and the companies name in the listing, but the way Google's guidelines read, this might be a gray area.
Google doesn't enforce this whatsoever. The only real issue I see is the one pointed out in the first part of this. If that's not a problem for you, don't worry about it.
 

ForwardMotion

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Usually, I advise not putting the company name in the business name for the practitioners. This is mainly because when you search for the company name, you probably want the company listing to show up in the Knowledge Panel. Because the practitioner listings have the company name, it makes them more likely to show up with the practice listing or instead of it, which generally isn't ideal for the parent company.

I doubt Google would care but "technically" you should show the address because customers do show up there. If anything, you might actually doing yourself a disservice by hiding the address as hidden addresses have been known to hurt visibility a bit.

The reason why I suggest using the home address is due to the way the filter works. Let's say you have a real estate office in Dallas. There are 30 realtors using this address, so when you search "Realtor Dallas", Google will generally show one or maybe two, but the rest would get filtered or suppressed. That article linked to above explains why. If you were to update that listing to use the realtor's home in McKinney, then they would start ranking in McKinney, wouldn't compete with the office, and shouldn't be impacted by the filter since they no longer have 29 other realtors to compete with.

That being said, there is a huge chance the listings will get suspended when you change the addresses. The number of suspensions right now is insanely high. There really isn't a way to prevent this. I would tell the client before doing it. I'd still recommend doing it though. If you get suspended you will likely have no listing for a few days or weeks. That is still better IMO than having a listing for months or years that doesn't rank anywhere for major terms that get traffic. I don't think you should have an issue getting the listing reinstated since lots of people are working from home more now due to COVID-19.

Google doesn't enforce this whatsoever. The only real issue I see is the one pointed out in the first part of this. If that's not a problem for you, don't worry about it.

Thank you Joy!

Much easier to follow than short tweets. lol I really appreciate all your help. I'm going to take what you have sent me here and do some testing to see what happens. It seems at times Google is definitely a moving dart board.
 

ForwardMotion

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Hello, @ForwardMotion! I have a similar issue on my end and was wondering what changes you implemented and how this is working for you? Thanks for the help!
I decided to list each practitioner in this case with the company name and then their name, so the listings look like this: Company Name | Practitioner Name. I decided to keep the main business listing with the address and then since I already had some of them set-up with the office address, I just hid that and made them an SAB. All new practitioners for the business, I have them use their home address and then hide it and they are also SAB. I have found that the office comes up first when searching for the business name, but then all the practitioners will show up on the Google Maps under the listing. In our case we always want the office to show up for the main business name, so that is working. Now, if anyone does a search for the practitioner, their GMB listing comes up unless there are multiple other GMB's with that name then you might find that the graph doesn't show. I have found in every case that if someone does a search for the practitioner and company name the graph for that practitioner does come up, so that was my main goal. Our practitioners are starting to get business from their GMB listings and I'm teaching them all how to post and get Google reviews. That is definitely improving traffic. Hopefully that helps. If you have any other questions, please let me know. Good luck!
 

BekahBerry

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Thanks so much for the feedback—I greatly appreciate it! I'm implementing the same strategy in the insurance domain. I have 10 independent insurance agents (selling for one company / brand) with their own books of business, using the same office address, but they primarily work from home unless meeting with clients face-to-face. I'm going to create a main GMB profile for the agency and create practitioner profiles for the 10 agents.

Do you find that the practitioner profiles are being found by way of discovery searches, and not just by way of direct searches?
 

ForwardMotion

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Thanks so much for the feedback—I greatly appreciate it! I'm implementing the same strategy in the insurance domain. I have 10 independent insurance agents (selling for one company / brand) with their own books of business, using the same office address, but they primarily work from home unless meeting with clients face-to-face. I'm going to create a main GMB profile for the agency and create practitioner profiles for the 10 agents.

Do you find that the practitioner profiles are being found by way of discovery searches, and not just by way of direct searches?
You are welcome! Yes, I am finding that. Some are just starting to see more of that, but the ones that have been around longer and that are active on their accounts are starting to see more. I definitely think a combination of reviews, posts and photos has helped that. A lot of these are still new, so still have to get more time in to really see the results. Hopefully 6 months to a year from now I will really be able to see the differences.
 

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