Google Best Practice For Different Businesses in the Same Dashboard

Google, with the release of the new Google My Business API, is perhaps suggesting one of the biggest “best practice” shifts for handling SMB Google My Business accounts in years by suggesting that it is not only ok but preferred to claim multiple listings in a single Google My Business account. Yesterday in the Google Ads Developer blog post discussing the new GMB API Google said:

 “For developers managing AdWords accounts with a large number of locations for small and medium businesses, we recommend creating one Google My Business account as a central repository for all locations. Each physical location should be created only once. If different owners and managers are involved per location or for sets of locations, we suggest using Business Accounts“.

For years as Google approached the small business market, it has long been Google’s recommendation for each business to create their own dashboard account. They made life hard for agencies in this mix and made claiming a business listing by someone other than the business an onerouse task. Despite on the ground reality Google stuck with the fiction of the small business owner claiming their own listing and barely tolerated agency involvement in the process.

So what is best practice for verification going forward? Should you claim the new listings into a master account? Its a little too early to make that call but it would appear that a possible small agency work flow would be to spreadsheet upload new listings into a master GMB account and individually verify it. Once you have access to the API that could occur within your own dashboard.

Until such time as this is clarified it makes sense to create a master GMB account and add it as a manager to all of your individually claimed listings and use the Business Accounts feature to organize them per your internal priorities.

The two worlds of bulk and single business listing management were long kept apart and the Google My Business dashboard had a singular focus on the small business owner. However with the rollout of the new integrated Google My Business dashboard and now the GMB API (can we get any more acronyms together?) Google is clearly shifting management and development priorities away from the single business towards the Adwords resellers.

Their needs in a location management product are much different than the needs of the small business and these recent developments speak to that. Larger Adword resellers need the ability to have many different companies in one account, they need the ability to easily use location extensions with these locations and they need it to be easily and centrally managed.

This would explain the lack of SMB polish in the new dashboard and why the bugs that were there at launch seem to disadvantage the single location owner more than those used to the workings of the Bulk dashboard. IE development priorities were focused on using the dashboard to manage multiple businesses not a single business.

There are many questions that remain unanswered as this shift of priorities and functionality moves forward:

Will large Adwords resellers ultimately be able to get whitelisted for individual small business verification added to this central account?

Will this single GMB account be used for AdWords and location extensions work equally well for managed as well as owned listings?

What happens for example when a small business shifts Adwords resellers will the verification go along with it?

Will adding Adwords into the already complicated GMB product (or in reality vice versa) make support totally incomprehensible?

And where does one go to get these questions answered?

When will the API for Bulk listings be opened as that seems a critical step to really make this work for larger resellers?

Will smaller resellers with Adwords accounts for 50 or 75  different small businesses be able to play?

How should they organize their accounts?

Are Business Accounts the answer?

What market driven distortions will occur short haul that are not aligned with Google’s long term goals but ultimately leave agencies or small businesses disadvantaged?

The flow and the reality within the new GMB is still unclear. So what else is new. As Google My Business appears to be pivoting yet one more time, the only thing we can count on is change.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google Best Practice For Different Businesses in the Same Dashboard by

9 thoughts on “Google Best Practice For Different Businesses in the Same Dashboard”

  1. Good questions, Mike, and to me, this seems to finally lay to rest the old advice the that the GMB page would be more trusted if created under the company’s .com email extension. That was common advice once, but not something I’ve heard mentioned in at least a few years. Now, with this agency approach to GMB, it seems that is no longer a trust factor at all.

  2. Omg, I needed to read this post this morning as it gives me some hope going forward that we could have all our small businesses under one account and Adwords with it too. That would be easier for small agencies than all these accounts and partner accounts in different places.

  3. Hey Mike,

    Thanks for the post. I came back from a week long vacation to do a few spot checks and saw the new dashboard rolled out with tons and tons of bugs – it’s a disaster. My first reaction was to go in and start editing (or call in for support), but likely as not, best idea is to wait for a few months while they roll out some patches.

    Few interesting notes, is you can actually see HTML in the description fields if you had been copying and pasting text from other areas … you’d figure they’d parse it out. There’s also a ton of “internal” links to images, as opposed to the images themselves … it’s a train wreck as usual.

    1. The issues you see in list mode are mostly absent in Card Mode. From where I sit, despite the bugs, this is the best agency level product we have seen in years.

      My suggestion is only use list view on things like changing hours for more than several locations at a time and for bulk. Otherwise stay in card mode and you will avoid most issues.

  4. This will no doubt make agency life easier, it seems like Google is finally starting to fix some of the biggest pain points.

    I still wish they would make it easier to upload a profile and cover photo for multiple locations.

    1. @Derek
      Yes they are starting to face the reality that many of the users of GMB are agencies small and large. I know that they have a lot of improvements coming not sure about profile photos.

  5. Hi Mike,

    What are your thoughts on whether or not this leaves the agency vulnerable for a major ‘blacklist’ or unverifying of all of the locations claimed under a single login. In the past, agencies have also diversified locations under multiple accounts to avoid an entire account from being flagged or penalized (remember the red bar of death and yellow for under review!?). I’m interested in hearing your thoughts.

    Meghan Trapp

    1. @Meghan
      The set up works if you are just a manager. Obviously Google is intending more but what we are not yet sure. I have heard rumors that they will be whitelisting certain larger clients to be able to add one offs without worry. We shall see.

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