Google Maps Policy: Multiple Listings at a Single Address a No Go

Maps Guide Jen, in a comment posted in response to the article The Longtail of Local Search Mapspam, has indicated that multiple listings at a single address are not acceptable:

…I think it’s fair to say that we don’t want to see search results where multiple listings show up for the same business location. Those types of search results aren’t useful in any way for our users, whom we care most about.

Thanks!
Jen

It’s safe to say that if you are going to “rebrand your business” for Local, pick your name very carefully as you will have only per location. 

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google Maps Policy: Multiple Listings at a Single Address a No Go by

14 thoughts on “Google Maps Policy: Multiple Listings at a Single Address a No Go”

  1. Mike: Very interersting response and contribution from Google Jen.

    thank you for the clarification, Jen…and Mike thanks for provoking the conversations and points via your articles.

    Dave

  2. Hi Dave

    This one question answered begs many more be asked.

    Here are the questions that I would put to Google:

    Will it result in banishment? or just removal of some of the listings?

    If it is banishment, for how long? or what needs to be done for a return?

    If just some of the listings, which ones? And will the poster be notified?

    And finally is Google going to get proactive at looking for this type of spam? Or are they only going to respond to spam that has been pointed out?

    Mike

  3. I’m not sure about the answers to those provocative questions, but at least for this week, with your focus on mapspam in Google Maps, you have received comments from Matt Cutts and Google Jen.

    This blog is becoming a home away from home for Google employees.

    I’d get out the milk and cookies to make them feel comfortable. :D

    Dave

  4. I also wonder about those locals who had valid reasons for having more than one listing at a location.

    For example, I have a client who is a dentist. He shares space with a fellow dentist, though they do not share their practice. How do I keep from losing my local listing an the potential customers to his collegue’s listing? How would it be possible to maintain both legitimate listings?

  5. SeoNonsense

    Well in this case,

    I have noted in the medical, insurance and a few other fields Google by default offers both practitioners and the practice at a location.

    That being said, it is still unclear if Google is going to proactively search and remove listings, or wait for end user reports before they take action.

    There really is a dirth of clear Google offered guidelines in this area. And I for one am hoping that Google will make a few more public utterances so that legitimate businesses have a clear path to compliance.

    Mike

  6. What about a business that has two legitimate functions that people search for? I have a friend that I occasionally help with his web site who has a body shop and an oil change service which both have the same physical location. It seems very legitimate to me that he would rank on both terms.

    As I understand the comment posted by Jen, it would be OK to rank for different terms such as “oil change” and “body shop” but it would not be acceptable to rank twice with the same physical location for one of those searches. Am I understanding correctly?

    By the way, you have a great site. I have been subscribing to your feed for several months and enjoy the focus on only local search.

  7. Hi Brett

    Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. It is legitimate that a business rank on multiple terms…but Google wants to be the arbiter of that.

    Jen is referring to creating multiple listing entries in the Local Business Center in an effort to game the results in an effort to rank on those multiple terms NOT whether a company will show up on multiple search terms. It is possible and appropriate for a business to show up on a number of terms without entering a business multiple times.

    If a business listing is the most relevant listing to a searchers intent, it is google’s goal to show it. It is possible for a business owner to craft his entry and manage his presence in the local ecosystem in such a way as to improve their chances.

    But by changing a business name to the specific search phrase and entering that business name , 7 or 10 times a business might be able to come up on a range phrases as well. It is this latter gaming that Google has declared as “[not] useful in any way for our users”

    Just because a business has two legitimate functions, google does not want them to enter their business twice in the LBC.

    Mike

  8. Exactly! And I’ve came across local mapspam here in Spain also! Will blog about it tomorrow. Hope Google will take action before things get out of hand here as well.

  9. I realize this is an old thread, but I stumbled upon it today while reading up on ways to optimize local listings for a client. I’m wondering how this rule applies to office buildings. The building that I work in has at least 6 separate small businesses in it. I share office space with another company and we have the same suite number (despite having 3 offices among us). My company is a graphic design firm (I’m the sole employee), while the company I share office space with is an IT services firm (6 employees), so it’s not like we’re tapping into the same market. We both have LBLs with Google and share the same address. Both of our listings seem to show up fine for local searches, as well, but I’m nervous that the multiple businesses at the same address rule might end up knocking one or both of us out of the listings. It seems like this could be a problem for a lot businesses in smaller office buildings that share a single address.

  10. George

    In theory, Google wants each listing to lead to a unique business that can be driven to for an answer. In theory your business meets that criteria. In practice you always run a danger of Google merging your listing and those of your office mates if they can not adequately distinguish between the two or think they are the same. Merging is painful as half of one listing gets mixed into half of the other and vice versa. It is somewhat unpredictable.

    If you choose to list both businesses, it is important to make as many distinctions as possible in both the business listing and across the local ecosystem that Google scrapes for the content of your particular cluster. Minimally that means a unique website, a unique registrar record, a unique phone number, a unique office suite number (ie 1a instead of 1) and a unique LBC account AS WELL AS having all of that uniqueness shown in every major primary and secondary data provider that Google uses.

    Even then there is no guarantee, but it is the only way.

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