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Thread: How to handle 2 similar businesses operating at the same location?

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    Question How to handle 2 similar businesses operating at the same location?

    Many years ago my brother and I started a business we run out of our home offices. The official address of the business is my brother's home address plus a suite number. Because we serve an international client base, we never put any effort into local/maps search listings.

    A couple years ago, we decided we wanted to create a similar business with a focus on serving organizations in our local area. We created "business 2" as a DBA rather than an independent company. We gave it a different name (branded for our location) and different phone number, but because it's a DBA, it has the same postal address as "business 1"

    Our top priority is to setup, verify and optimize Business 2's local listings and start getting reviews. Eventually we also want to setup, verify and optimize Business 1's local listings and get reviews. So...

    ~~> What is the best way to handle the addresses of the businesses in our Google local/maps listings?
    (And by best, I mean will get us the best search rankings and is within Google's TOS)

    Officially they are both the same address with the same suite number. Should we just go with that? Or should we leave the suite number off one listing? Should we use a different suite number for one listing? If its best to use a different or no suite number for one of the listings, should we also make that same change to the address shown on the website?

    Thanks for your insight!

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    Re: How to handle 2 similar businesses operating at the same location?

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for posting! You mentioned that the first business only serves an international market. Is that still the case? If it is, than you don't need a local GMB page for that business. Instead you could create a brand page.
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    Re: How to handle 2 similar businesses operating at the same location?

    Hi Colan, Business 1 serves clients all around the world, but I think there is potential to gain more local clients. That's why I wrote, "Eventually we also want to setup, verify and optimize Business 1's local listings and get reviews." Does that make sense?

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    Re: How to handle 2 similar businesses operating at the same location?

    Thanks for the clarification. Do both businesses deliver the same product/service? In other words, would they target the same categories in GMB?
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    Re: How to handle 2 similar businesses operating at the same location?

    Good question. I'm not sure what categories are available in Google. Both provide website development and online marketing services. I'm not sure if those are 2 different categories in Google. If they are, Business 1 should be in the website development category. Business 2 could go either way - I'd probably lean towards website development but could go online marketing if it's better to be in different categories.

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    Re: How to handle 2 similar businesses operating at the same location?

    If they are that similar it's going to be very challenging to make it work. Google will likely see these as the same business and only show one of them in the search results. Or, you might not even be able to verify the second listing at all.

    Could these businesses be merged into one since the are essentially providing the same service?

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    Re: How to handle 2 similar businesses operating at the same location?

    As of last September at least, different suite numbers will do nothing to keep your businesses from conflicting with each other. Look at it as something to help your clients walk in the right entrance, it will do nothing to change how Google does things. Even two completely different dental offices in the same building with different suite numbers will likely get one filtered.

    From the client's perspective, they won't even be seeing the suite numbers anyway, right? Both of those businesses should be service area businesses (SABs). You should only have your address publicly visible if you accept new client drop ins during stated business hours. Even if you see clients at your house, if it's by appointment only it should still be an SAB.

    The real issue though, I don't think you're entitled to two listings. Looking at Google guidelines for business owners, you can see:

    In order to qualify for a Google My Business listing, a business must make in-person contact with customers during its stated hours.

    If you never actually meet any clients face to face (even if, for example, you had a purely phone-based consulting business with all local clients) you wouldn't technically qualify for a GMB listing. In practice, I don't think it would be an issue to have a single listing for a business that mostly serves international clients, but creating two businesses doing basically the same thing, branding one differently, and then creating a GMB listing for both at the same address is a clear violation of guidelines. All it would take is one competitor deciding to report you and both would get removed for spam, flushing all your review building and hard work. Even having two, one of which is at a different address, would still be a violation, though it would admittedly be very difficult then for competition to make a case against you. My suggestion, is to use organic and paid methods to advertise your international business, and only use local methods (citation building, GMB, review building, etc) for your local branch of the business.

    If it was me, I'd keep things unified as much as possible. Two websites means doubling your backlink building efforts... backlinks are a big deal for local rankings as well, and it would be a shame to have to double your work. You could have a section of your site devoted to the local side of your business and connect the GMB listing to that part of the site. That's probably what I'd try and do.
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    Re: How to handle 2 similar businesses operating at the same location?

    Thanks James. I appreciate the insight and the recommendation. Both businesses do make in-person contact with customers during business hours, though for the international business it's usually just 1-3 face to face meetings a month.

    >>
    My suggestion, is to use organic and paid methods to advertise your international business, and only use local methods (citation building, GMB, review building, etc) for your local branch of the business.

    The international business already has an unclaimed GMB listing. What do you suggest we do about that?

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    Re: How to handle 2 similar businesses operating at the same location?

    James is right, they don't qualify for 2 listings because as you mentioned, the one is just a DBA. If they share a common phone #, I would claim the international one and change the name to the local DBA.

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    Re: How to handle 2 similar businesses operating at the same location?

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulSteinbrueck View Post
    Thanks James. I appreciate the insight and the recommendation. Both businesses do make in-person contact with customers during business hours, though for the international business it's usually just 1-3 face to face meetings a month.

    >>
    My suggestion, is to use organic and paid methods to advertise your international business, and only use local methods (citation building, GMB, review building, etc) for your local branch of the business.

    The international business already has an unclaimed GMB listing. What do you suggest we do about that?
    You're going to have to choose one of the businesses to market locally in SEO. The reason for this is what everyone else has said: Google will see the businesses as too similar.

    Whichever business you choose to market, take the current, unclaimed page, claim it and change the name to the company you have decided to promote to Google online.

    The only other option is to rent another location in the area so you can have 2 distinct GMB pages. I imagine that's not worth it to you though as it isn't to most people.

    Hope that's not confusing and it helps!

    P.Ss. Now, there still may be a good reason to have a GMB page for both. Maybe the one you don't choose needs to show up when people Google that name to make it to your office for a meeting. If that's the case, I wouldn't create that 2nd page maybe a year or so down the road and not until the page you first chose is ranking well and is established. Although, there is a chance after a year if someone Google's your business name you chose not to create a GMB page for, your GMB page you did choose will show up anyway. Google is good like that.

    Just food for thought.
    Tutelary Marketing, Owner
    Local Listing Ninja

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