Google My Business is a valuable tool for every business out there. Whether you have a brick and mortar location or you travel to your customers within a specific service area, Google My Business helps you connect with customers in your immediate area. But what if you have multiple business locations? Do you need a listing for each and every one? And if so, how should you go about setting them all up? Do you need a different account for each location?
Today, we’re diving into this important topic. Read on to learn why your multi-location business needs a Google My Business listing for every location, and how to set up and manage them.
A Google My Business listing comes in handy for many things. First and foremost, it’s the cornerstone of your local SEO strategy. If your SEO company is telling you otherwise or ignoring your Google My Business listing, RUN!
Having a fully optimized Google My Business listing helps to connect customers searching for the products and services you provide with your business. When your listing is properly set up and managed, you have a better chance of your business appearing in the local pack – the top three businesses that are most visible on Google’s search engine results page. You will see the local pack displayed right below the map, and as such, these are often called maps listings. Naturally, the better your business ranks in the local pack, the more visible you’ll be and the better your chances are of attracting new customers.
In addition to the higher visibility, your Google My Business listing affords you, you will also need an optimized and verified Google My Business Listing in order to connect your maps info with your Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords) strategy. Displaying your location data along with your pay-per-click ads helps to attract more attention to them, and makes it easier for your would-be customers to reach out to you. (As a side note, we are also a Google Ads Agency. Drop us a line if you want some help with your PPC efforts!)
Perhaps most importantly, if you rely on customers coming to your business, you absolutely cannot skip this important step. A wide variety of mobile devices and voice assistants rely on Google for providing driving directions. If your business is a shoe store, for example, and someone in your area searches “shoe store near me”, without a verified Google My Business listing, your potential customer would receive directions straight to your competition down the road.
The different locations of your business are presumably spread out across a town, state, or even the country. Since Google My Business listings are designed to help your business rank in the maps results, or the local pack, it makes sense that you’d want to create a listing for each and every location. After all, if you only create a single listing for your flagship location or your corporate headquarters, you’d be missing out on all the benefits mentioned above, including the ability for your potential customers to get driving directions to you on their mobile devices.
First, you’ll want to use a centralized Google account. It might seem wise to assign a Google account to each of your locations and let the managers of each handle their own Google My Business listing, however, this would be a mistake. Not only does it make it virtually impossible to maintain a seamless brand experience from one location to the next, but mistakes, errors, or inconsistencies in your listing data, especially your name, address, phone number, and website (NAP+W) can greatly damage your overall SEO strategy.
Using a centralized Google account for all of your listings makes it easier to maintain control over your business data in the event of a change of management, as well as making it much easier to get support from Google if you need it.
It is easy to add managers to assist with managing your various locations from within the Google My Business dashboard. Keep in mind, however, that once you add a manager to the account, they will be able to edit and modify each and every one of your business locations.
If you have a large number of locations, adding each one manually can be a tedious job. Fortunately, you’re able to use Google’s bulk upload tool to add large numbers of listings to a single Google account. All you need to do is add your location information to a bulk upload spreadsheet and submit it using Google’s import tool. PRO TIP: If you have more than ten locations, you can request to bulk verify from Google by following these steps.
It’s imperative to maintain control of your business’ online presence. After all, it’s the first impression you will give a prospective customer. Whether you’re creating your listings one-by-one or using the bulk upload option, you may run into a situation where you attempt to add a listing that has been claimed and verified by someone else.
While this can be alarming, it’s relatively common. You will need to follow Google’s ownership transfer request process. You’ll be able to see which listings are owned by someone else and access the instructions for requesting ownership after you complete the upload process.
If information changes that are relevant to all locations, use Google’s bulk edit tool to update each listing with one fell swoop. Be extra careful when using this tool, and make sure that the edit you’re making really is relevant to each location, otherwise, you could be perpetuating incorrect information across the internet. Note: The bulk edit option is available only if you have ten or more locations.
For a single business type, you can add all listings to a single account. But what if you own two types of businesses or more? While it might seem helpful to have them all in one place, you really should maintain a single account for each business type. If you add your restaurant and your coffee shop into the same account, you risk accidentally updating one with the other’s information during the bulk edit process. In addition, you probably don’t want the manager of your auto body shop to be able to edit your hair salon’s listings. Remember, managers added to an account have control over all the listings in that account. It’s best to maintain a corporate account for each business type.
Again, it might seem alarming, but Google is constantly sourcing your business’ core information – your name, address, phone number, and website from hundreds of sources across the internet. It’s also receiving suggestions from other Google users, and sometimes those suggestions can take effect immediately if there is enough third-party data to back it up.
That means that at any time, your listing could be updated with an old phone number, or even a deactivated tracking number if that information was published across the web at any time. One way to combat this is to constantly keep an eye on your listings, or make sure that you pay a data provider to submit the correct information to search engines. You should also make sure to keep your website updated with your various location’s data, as Google will crawl your website to verify your information and make changes automatically if it’s not consistent.
While it might seem like a hassle to manage your Google My Business listings, especially if you have 500 of them, it is without a doubt worth the effort. It is the cornerstone of your local SEO efforts, and often the first thing one of your customers interacts with. It plays a vital role in your reputation management efforts as well, as it is one of the most trusted sources for online reviews available. Whether you’re a brick and mortar business or a service provider traveling to your customers, make sure to take advantage of this powerful and free online tool.
We understand how overwhelming managing multiple locations can be. If you’re looking for a trustworthy Digital Marketing Company that can help with everything from SEO Services, Social Media Management for Small Businesses, Website Design, and even Branding, look no further!