More threads by Adam Steele

Jul 20, 2012
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I recently received this query via the contact form on my blog Local SEO and Other Related Lean Business Marketing Ramblings. I am going to answer it below, but I thought, because it is such a long winded question, there might be multiple positions on what he should do. Will send him this thread link so he can take a look. He may already have an account, I don't know : ) Would appreciate your feedback ya'll.

His Question:

I have a client that currently offers a service (massage therapy) ? let?s call it ?ABC? at current location 123 Main Street. The business next door has closed ? 456 Main Street. My client has decided to combined her current location (123 Main Street) with the closed business next door (456 Main Street) and add retail to her current massage therapy business ? let?s call the new business ?ABC + XYZ? with the same address of 123 Main Street.

Now, massage therapy and a retail store are different. Though the services and the products to be sold complement one another, I feel like it would make more sense to split the company into two parts ? ?ABC? at 123 Main Street (massage therapy) which only serves the city it?s located in; and the retail side ?XYZ? at 456 Main Street which is brick and mortar as well as ecommerce. However, my client will not split the company and it will remain to become ?ABC + XYZ? at 123 Main Street.

I?m wondering?since my client is taking over another location that has an address (456 Main Street), is it possible to market ?ABC? at 123 Main Street and ?XYZ? at 456 Main Street ? creating two different websites, different social media accounts, and different citation sources, so it appears online that there are actually two businesses instead of just one.

Are there any rules against this relating to legal, USPS, Google, citations, etc? Can a ?DBA? or something similar be setup in order to ?do business? at two locations and have multiple ?locations??

From a local SEO standpoint, I think it?s going to hurt the business by trying to market one business as two different services (massage and retail) and would actually maximize the growth if split into two. Like I side, the client will not split the business into two which is understandable due to taxes, accounting, and the list goes on, but it?s just not ideal for marketing?

Do you have any thoughts or advice on this weird situation?

I?m not looking to take up a ton of your time, so any advice would be helpful. If you?d like more information, I?d be glad to give you more insight and answer any questions or concerns. Thanks again!

---------- Post Merged at 12:47 AM ---------- Previous Post was at 12:40 AM ----------

I think he should keep it simple, and stick to the one address. Stay under one website. Unless he has the budget to do so, thinning out his effort between two sites is not going to be any good. If the services are indeed so complementary, one listing/site should be sufficient.

Sure, it is possible what he suggests, but I don't see the sense in it. Re the legal/TOC implications, I think if it indeed still fell under the single DBA, then Google would expect a single listing.

If the shop/ecommerce business does well, perhaps then look at creating a separate site, etc. However, even then, from a places perspective, I can't imagine not being able to be just as successful with one listing. I suppose if you were targeting a great many keywords, 2 listings might help. Ie. If you were a Body Shop on one side and a masseuse on the other. If they are indeed THAT different, then maybe two listings, but I don't get the sense that is the case. This seems more like masseuse who sells some of the products they use to perform the massage. Similar to a barber who sells shaving cream, razers and styling gel.

Eager to hear what others think.

I think it depends on what the business owner's goals are and what the current name is - and what the combined name might be. For example...

Does the business owner plan on running a huge ecommerce store - selling products across the country and perhaps world-wide? If the answer is yes, then having a separate business name, website, address, etc. makes total sense.

What is the current business name? If it sounds local - Chicago Massage Therapy - then that would be another reason to create a separate business for the retail/ecommerce store. Because even with a combined name like "Chicago Massage Therapy & Supplies" it sounds like a local company selling services and supplies locally.

On the other hand, if the business owner is just going to have a retail space catering primarily to the local customer, then some kind of combined name with one address would make more sense to me.

You also have to consider existing citations and all that other stuff. Once you make a name change, things could get dicey with the whole local SEO ecosystem - which would be yet another reason why creating a separate business and address would make sense for the retail store.

At the end of the day, if the business owner told me he/she was going to open up a retail space with the intent of selling stuff primarily to the local customer, I would say stick with the current name and one address. Think of hair salons. Most salons have a small retail space but they don't call themselves, "Barb's Hair Salon & Supplies." They usually just call themselves, "Barb's Hair Salon."

The only way I would advise a separate business name, address, website, etc. is if the retail was going to go big and national - and perhaps world-wide.


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