Two businesses sharing space against Google's standards?

Hi all!

This one has me stumped. It's a bit of a complicated case. It's a chiropractor.

The client came to us saying they found duplicates. After looking at the address, I actually found four listings. One practice (we manage), one Doctor, one for our doctor using KWs in the business name, and linked to a duplicate site that is using those KWs as the business name, and one for a different Dr under her own business name using her own phone number and website.

I requested a merge for the practice and Dr listing via Twitter, and advised my client to take down the duplicate website so that I can have that listing removed as well. I figured it would be easier to remove the site so Google doesn't try to argue that they are different businesses.

My plan was to leave the other Dr's listing alone since it's her own brand, website, and phone number. She is renting space from my doctor, so there is no separate Ste # for her to use... and I wasn't too concerned with that part because it's my understanding that Ste numbers don't matter for local. If she outranks my Dr, then that's what he gets for allowing a competitor to move into his building, you know? You pick your battles with these guys, and do what you can do.

Well, Twitter is giving me a hard time, and is now telling me things about Google's standards that I've not heard before. Here's the conversation. Enjoy, haha:

Me:
"Hi Google!
I found a duplicate listing for [MY DR] Chiropractic
The first listing we use [MY EMAIL] to manage. The link to this listing is: [LINK]
The second listing is unclaimed. Dr [MY DR] is the only doctor at this practice, so it’s against Google’s standards. Here is the link: [LINK TO DR LISTING]
Any help you can give to have these listings merged would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you!"

Google:
"Hi Cherie!
Thanks for reaching out! Before we can work on merging the listings, we need a bit of information from you. Can you please confirm if there are any other doctors or practitioners that work at this office?
Once we have this information we can proceed with troubleshooting your issue!
-R"

Me:
"Hi! There is another chiropractor in the same building, but they are different businesses. She is "S... Chiropractic." "[MY DR] Chiropractic" is the practice that I am requesting the merge for."

Google:
"Hi Cherie,Thanks for the info. After looking at the business, I can see that there is another practitioner showing associated with the business. Could you confirm if [YET ANOTHER DR] is still associated with the business?
Could you also confirm the relation between the business and S... Chiropractic? I know you advised that there are different business but both locations have the same address which would be a violation of Google My Business guidelines.
Once we have that information, we can assist further.
Thanks,
-B"

Me:
"Thanks, B. I have sent an email to Dr. [MY DR] asking him to confirm some answers for me. I want to be sure I'm answering you correctly.


Regarding S... Chiropractic's presence at the same address being against Google's Standards, it's my understanding that it's only a violation if they are different listings for the same business or person – except for in the case of a multiple practitioner business. Multiple listings are allowed if they work for the same business or brand – which is not the case with these two chiropractors. It’s possible that Sincere is renting space at my client’s address (that is what I am confirming with my client). If she is renting space from Dr [MY DR] (streetview images show that it’s his space, not hers) - Are you saying that her listing is in violation of Google’s standards? If so, a link to the article explaining this part of Google's TOS would be greatly appreciated. I'm not seeing where the issue of sharing an address is addressed in this: Guidelines for representing your business on Google - Google My Business Help …"

Google:
"Hi Cherie,
Thanks for the reply. The only exception for businesses sharing the same address is if the businesses in question have a suite number associated.
If there is indeed 2 separate entities working at the same address, we would need photos showing that the 2 businesses are distinctively separate. For example, each business would need it's own entrance and permanent signage displaying the different entities.
You are correct regarding the other page being in violation since the business displays as McCauley Chiropractic. In order for us to assist with your issue, the conflict with the 2 businesses would have to be resolved first.
If you have any further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to reach back out!
Best,
-B"



So, apparently they need Ste numbers to be in compliance? And separate entrances? Has anyone ever heard of this? Of course, MY client's listing will be the one left over after all of this... I think Google is wanting to remove HER listing... but I doubt that will make my client happy either...

I just have not heard of this. I mean...I know it's not the best business model for the Drs, but sharing space like this without a dedicated Ste or entrance is fairly common in some industries. Chiros, Lawyers, therapists... I've never heard of it actually being a violation of quality standards because they ARE different businesses. The only thing that is the same is the address. Plus - the rep never supplied the link I asked for, so if any of you are aware of where this is in writing, that would be great as well... If this is true, I need to change how I counsel some of my other clients...

Thanks! Sorry this is a bit long..

Cherie
 

Colan Nielsen

Administrator
Staff member
Administrator
Hey Cherie,

CO-working type setups are still very much a grey area with rather unclear guidelines when it comes to GMB. Google typically wants to see separate entrances in a scenario like this one for them to consider the scenario eligible for two listings.

Another thing that Google would need to see are the corporate records that show that these are two legally separate businesses. You should try presenting that evidence to GMB support and see what they say. If you aren't able to do that I don't think Google will be able to accept both businesses at the same address.
 
Thanks Colan,

I appreciate the insight. I've advised my client and asked for photos of signage/entrances if they exist, and also corporate records - if he cares whether or not this other listing comes down. I'm leaving that up to him.

I find it odd that support is digging in their heels about this business, but have made no mention of the one, that is also sharing an address, that is pretty obviously (to a trained eye) trying to spam results. I figured THAT would be the one that gives me trouble, haha.

Anyhoo...Google. *sigh*

The good thing is that I get to learn something new though...

For general knowledge... when I have a client come to me that is opening a new practice, or already has a practice, that is sharing space in this way (I hate this, but it happens a lot), should I let them know that I will not be able to create a GMB page for them? Or if one already exists that I cannot guarantee it won't be suspended, and cannot troubleshoot if it is?

Cherie
 

Colan Nielsen

Administrator
Staff member
Administrator
For general knowledge... when I have a client come to me that is opening a new practice, or already has a practice, that is sharing space in this way (I hate this, but it happens a lot), should I let them know that I will not be able to create a GMB page for them? Or if one already exists that I cannot guarantee it won't be suspended, and cannot troubleshoot if it is?

Cherie
I would advise clients of the challenges this scenario presents for them as well as you as their Local Search expert. But as long as they are a legally separate business that is physically present at the location during the stated business hours than you should be able to get things sorted out with Google.
 
I've had a real hard time with Google about this, especially for different departments, which seems to be the rules they're following here.

Colan's idea is genius to send them legal documents with the address. That should work.

If the doctor doesn't have that, you can still keep battling with them with signage and other things. But those docs will probably do the trick.
 

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