If you own a business of any kind, you’ll inevitably be faced with the ever important question: should your business be on Google? Now, we’re not just talking about showing up in Google search results, because every business should be doing that, but rather, we’re talking about creating a Google My Business listing. While the answer may seem simple enough, depending on the type of business you have, the decision may not even be in your hands. This is because Google is very particular about the types of businesses that can be listed, ultimately aiming to keep search results limited to local brands that customers can physically visit. To help you figure out whether or not your company can reap the benefits of a Google My Business listing, in this article, we’re going to be dissecting the various guidelines Google has put in place.
Before we dive into the types of businesses that can and can’t create a listing, it’s important you first understand what Google My Business is and how you can benefit from it. Google My Business is a free tool created to help businesses manage their online presence across the Google platform. Not only will this increase the likelihood of your business showing up in search results, but, more importantly, it can provide a dramatic boost to your local rankings.
Another major benefit of Google My Business is being able to build instant credibility with potential customers that interact with your listing. Through Google My Business, you can share important details about your business, help customers learn about your brand, and even communicate directly with them.
Lastly, GMB is a powerful tool for learning about how your business is being found, what your target consumers are looking for, and how you can increase visibility.
Already have a Google My Business Listing? See how well it’s performing!
In order to have a Google My Business listing, Google makes it fairly straightforward by setting the requirement that businesses must be able to operate face-to-face with customers. To give you a better idea as well as some examples of the types of businesses that meet this easy-going criterion, we’ve created a general outline below.
These are easily the most popular kind of Google My Business listings because so many different types of businesses can fall into this category. Physical location businesses include restaurants, stores, salons, and so much more. In a nutshell, physical location businesses are those that customers must visit in person to make a purchase.
Companies that conduct business by visiting the physical locations of their customers fall under this category—though they still have to have an office location that customers can go to if need be. These include businesses such as handymen, delivery services, exterminators, cleaners, or anything else where you travel directly to the client.
If you have a professional business, such as a doctor, lawyer, or accountant, for example, you’d fall under the category of individual practitioners. This even includes real estate agents, with the exception of those that only have a virtual website and no office. So long as you have a physical location that customers can go to, Google will allow you to create a listing for your practice.
Expanding a bit more on the mobile businesses we covered above, you may be wondering, how can you show customers that you service their area on Google? Luckily, Google has implemented “service areas” for brands that travel directly to their customers rather than conducting business in-store so long as you have staff at the physical location during the listed hours of operation.
The service area business feature allows you to create a presence in all of the cities that you offer services in, increasing your reach while still allowing you to show up for location-specific Google searches. An example of a service area business would be a restaurant that offers on-site seating for customers that want the traditional dining experience, while also having drivers that deliver food to customers who want to enjoy at home.
Now that we’ve covered all of the business types that can have a Google My Business listing, let’s take a look at the ones that can’t.
While this one may seem pretty self-explanatory, plenty of eCommerce and online-only businesses try to get Google My Busines listings every day simply due to the benefits. Breaking Google’s requirement of being able to work face-to-face with customers, businesses of this type are unable to create listings since they’re unable to physically interact with their customers.
Similar to eCommerce and online-only businesses, virtual offices also miss the mark since they’re unable to facilitate interactions with customers in person. Even though virtual offices may have phone numbers, operating hours, and even a mailing address, since there is no one at the physical location to interact with customers, Google won’t allow you to create a verified listing.
This one can get a little tricky since leasing and real estate businesses with a central office are allowed to have a Google My Business listing. What you can’t do as this kind of business is create a listing for the properties you’re trying to sell.
If you conduct business by meeting your customers or clients at a location you don’t personally own, Google won’t allow you to create a listing. Even though you may be meeting face-to-face with your customers, since you don’t have a physical address, it’s a violation of Google’s guidelines and requirements.
Coworking spaces serve as a special exception to Google’s guidelines only if certain conditions are met. In order to list your coworking office space on Google My Business, you must meet the following requirements: you must rent and occupy office space, you must be present during the listed hours of operation, you must list a phone number that puts customers in contact with someone at your business.
As you may have already assumed, you can only have one Google My Business listing for your business. The exception to this rule is multiple locations (such as a franchise) that also conduct business with customers, in person. Remember Google’s Goal. Google’s driving focus behind creating the Google My Business platform is to create an accurate online representation of the physical world. So long as you keep this in mind when customizing your listing, you shouldn’t worry about raising any red flags with Google.
For more help with growing your business through Google, head to our Google My Business Knowledge Center below: