My client recently purchased a franchise license to gain additional resources, processes and knowledge in their current field. This is the second major move for a company that five years ago established their own entity and brand as they spun out their business from a larger company.

Their current business strategy is to slow-roll the franchise identity into the company's brand: for a 5 year period, operate their business under both brands - the franchise brand and the original brand. Their rationale is that the franchisor does not have much visibility or brand equity in the relevant markets, but the franchisor provides value in other ways. After the 5 year period, totally integrate the franchise brand.

An interesting complication is that they currently have two business entities and physical addresses: one set associated with the franchise business, another associated with their 5-year old brand. The two physical addresses are interesting in that they correspond with buildings that are on the same physical lot owned by my client. On a map, you'd see that the lot is located on a street corner, and that the you would enter the franchise business from one street, while you would enter the original business from around the corner.

The franchise business uses the franchisor's name appended with the name of the original business. The two businesses currently offer the same services. However, I believe that we could position each business to target different markets and offer a different set of services.

Each business has their own website. My client says that he is willing to maintain both websites in terms of content and SEO effort.

The questions I have are:
  1. How will Google react if I claim and optimize Place pages for each business? Will Google think that my client is trying to game the system with the existence of two entities?
  2. From a search engine visibility perspective, would my client be better off picking just one entity and investing all optimization efforts into that entity's presence?


This is my first post. Sorry for rambling. I'd appreciate any help.

Thanks from La Jolla, CA...Joe