Registering your business on Google My Business has a number of benefits. It makes it quick and easy for people to find your contact details and location on Google, and can give your business an instant presence in local searches for your products or services.
Setting up a Google My Business listing can be confusing and frustrating if you don’t know your way around the interface. Also, if you make use of shared office space, it’s possible you could run into certain issues because your business shares a street address with several other companies.
We demystify the process of getting your business listed and offer guidelines for troubleshooting any issues that occur.
What are the criteria for having a Google My Business listing?
For a business to be listed on Google My Business, it has to meet certain criteria. It can be a little harder for businesses in shared office space to meet these requirements.
However, your listing should go live with no problem as long as your business:
- occupies a physical space (rather than being a virtual office with remote workers)
- has a unique, direct phone or cell phone number
- has an office or suite number that makes its physical address unique
- has and strictly adheres to specific operating hours
- is able to receive mail via post
- is listed using the same name that appears on any business signage and in your business communications.
Note that when creating a Google My Business listing, you should choose only business categories that are relevant to your business. Don’t include categories related to the shared office space, such as “coworking space.”
If you don’t accept walk-ins – for instance, you meet clients only by appointment or take your services to clients – you’ll need to hide your address in your listing.
Also note that you can have only one listing for your business at a particular location. You can’t have separate listings with the same address for different services or product lines.
Can individual coworkers have Google My Business listings?
It’s not recommended that individual coworkers list their businesses on Google My Business. Without an office or suite number to differentiate your business address from those of other coworkers using the same space, it can be difficult to get your listing verified.
It can also cause issues when other coworkers try to register under the same address. For example, you might find that your listing is removed or even merged with someone else’s.
If you feel a Google My Business listing is important for your business, you may want to consider using a serviced office rather than coworking space.
How to list your business on Google My Business
Potential issues and how to fix them
Issues may occur when you first create and try to claim a Google My Business listing or, in some cases, even after you’ve completed the verification process.
If you list your business using an address that’s already being used by another business, you might get a notification from Google asking if you’d like to claim the existing listing instead.
This can be a bit confusing, especially if the business has a similar name or is in the same industry – but be careful not to claim someone else’s business listing by accident. Carefully compare the information in the existing listing to your own. If it doesn’t match, don’t try to claim the listing. Just create a new listing from scratch.
Google has been known to merge listings that are too similar. Especially if two listings include the same phone number – but also if there are similarities in industry, business name and physical address – Google’s algorithm might assume that one of the listings is a duplicate. It may then automatically combine the two listings.
Google claims to have solved this issue, but merges do still occur. In the unlikely event that your listing is merged with someone else’s, make sure the business details in the listing are as unique as possible and then contact Google to get the listings separated.
Google has a tendency to associate businesses belonging to certain industries with the use of remote workers and virtual offices. Tech start-ups, for example, might be incorrectly determined to be operating as virtual offices rather than physical offices with onsite staff members.
In rare cases, this can result in listings being taken down. If your listing is taken down and you suspect this to be the reason, you’ll need to get in touch with Google to explain what happened and have the error rectified. You can also get help from a top contributor on the Google My Business Community forum.