Jen Currier

Sep 18, 2018
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Happy Monday LSF Friends!

We are working with a client who is an Architect, specializing in Interior Design. They currently have 2 physical office locations - claimed and verified. These are both legitimate offices located within popular business districts and meet the criteria for a standard GMB listing. Updating and managing each of these locations is not a concern, however - we have been asked to create new listings for 2 other office locations, which has led me here.

Both new properties are located within a residential neighborhood. Neither of the locations have permanent signage. No biggie, just set them up as an SAB following the hybrid model - right? And this is where I get stuck...

My biggest concern lies within the categories - Architects & Interior Design. How would Google know this is not a Model property? Nor a standard rental property? (which would be outside their guidelines.) I should also mention the current Map listing includes a For Sale sign which really has me treading lightly instead of diving in. Hypothetically speaking, if this new listing were to be approved and later suspended, it could impact their current listings and that is what scares me.

I asked for clarification as to what exactly the locations are used for. It has been explained that they meet with current and potential clients at these properties. The residential locations are being rented as an alternative to staying in a hotel for weeks on end as well as using rooms as offices to meet with clients. We are told the properties are not used as Model homes and that the home is not going to be sold or rented to clients now nor in the future. The listing would not include hours, as the staff is available at the location based on appointments only.

So here comes the question(s) …
What would you do? Would you proceed with creating the GMB listing as a SAB?

Am I overthinking this? Is there a way to prove to Google that this is not a Model home nor a rental property; but rather a property within a residential neighborhood being rented by business owners- for the purpose of meeting with their clients?

Perhaps there is more to this situation that I might be overlooking? Please advise.

P.S. According to Google Maps one of these new locations is within 2 hours or less away from the current office. (75 miles to be exact) I was asked if Google takes into account commute traffic? It depends which time of the day you search the directions, and sometimes it can be more than 2 hours. I have always assumed that if the location is 65-75 miles from the current office that it would not qualify regardless of the commute time. Please confirm.

Thank you in advance for your time and feedback. = )
May 3, 2018
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Hi @Jen Currier - I suspect that you might get a handful of different opinions on this! Here's mine:

First, if the two new locations are by appointment only, leave your hours empty.

  • If the business meets clients there, you can show the address on the GMB listing
  • But if you're going to show the address, you'll need to install exterior signage
  • If you can't install signage, hide the address
As for the "2 hours" clause, the exact wording is "The boundaries of your profile’s overall service area shouldn’t extend farther than about 2 hours of driving time...". Note that "2 hours" is a guide, not a firm rule. More importantly, Google doesn't want companies gobbling up too much service area. In most cases, it's realistic to expect that a business won't drive much more than about 2 hours to deliver, so that's where Google suggests capping it. Don't make your service area unrealistically large.

If your service area is smaller than a 2-hour drive, that's OK. In this case, the requirement is that the service areas don't overlap. The spirit of it is that each SAB location function independently, with its own staff, phone number, service area, etc. If that's not what's happening with your client's location, this might not be the right model for your client.

Personally, I would opt for setting up a sign, setting an address and leaving the business hours blank. This strikes me as being entirely within guidelines. I have a little less confidence with the multiple SAB set-up.

Finally, if you create two new listings and they end up getting suspended, the previously existing locations won't get penalized by Google. The listings are independent. (The exception being that all listings will get suspended if a Google account that manages them all gets suspended. But that's an account level suspension, not a GMB listing suspension, and not really a concern in this scenario.)

Hope that helps!


Feb 16, 2020
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GMB listing 10000% ALL THE WAY! Why would you want to kill your reach? Start a SAB and you will get 20% of the exposure on a normal listing. (sad but true) I have yet to see a REAL business with backlinks/citations, a decent website that had a residential address get popped. Just don't overlap your service areas and will you be fine. I work with roofers, plumbers, hvac clients that use home addresses and haven't had a problem. Even the larger corporations are doing this like Rotor Rooter, look it up...
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