S1: Who can use Google My Business[ Edited ]
September - last edited January
We’ve laid out the pros of using Google My Business in our last community post (Why should you use Google My Business?), and now, the important question is, is your business eligible? GMB is available to a large number of regions– you can view the full list here.
Google My Business is built for businesses that make in-person contact with customers during specific hours. It’s not for exclusively online businesses, homes for rent or sale, and businesses that have not yet opened.
If this sounds like your business, then you could soon be featuring your information on Google properties like Maps and Search. Still not sure, read on for a deeper look at eligible business types.
Note: There are some exceptions (ATMs, video-rental kiosks, etc) which are also permitted without making in-person contact. If you add these locations, there must be contact information for customers to get help at the kiosk locations.
[Eligible business types]
There are basically 5 business types that use Google My Business and we’ll go into more detail about each category in this article.
This is a business with a physical location where customers are invited to drop in during opening hours. They usually have a precise address and are not PO Boxes or mailboxes located in remote locations. A good example of a storefront, allows visitors to stop by during the stated business hours at the address provided in the Google My Business account.
Service Area Business
A Service Area Business could be a plumber, for example, who serves customers at their private locations. Examples of this could be plumbers, locksmiths, florists, and repair businesses, just to name a few. They must have one page for the central office or location, and then designate a service area from that point. Since the address is hidden for Service Area Businesses, you can use your home if necessary. It’s important to note, Service Area Businesses can't list a "virtual" office unless that office is staffed during business hours.
This covers businesses such as pizzerias, for example, which have both restaurant seating and deliver to customers at private addresses. They show their storefront address and would also designate a service area in Google My Business.
You can mark your business as open for drop ins and available for delivery by selecting both boxes in the address field when you sign up.
If you serve customers at your address and want to set a service area, your business location should be staffed by your team and able to receive customers during its stated hours. Learn how to set your service area here.
An individual practitioner is a public-facing professional, such as a doctor, lawyer, or real estate agent. For practitioners, the name of your listing may include title or degree certification (e.g. Dr., MD, JD, Esq., CFA) but should not include location information or tag lines. Your listing can be suspended for not following guidelines, so always make sure you’re representing your business as it’s displayed to the offline world.
If you fit into this business type, then you might be wondering if you can create your own dedicated listing. If the following criteria is applicable to you, then you certainly can:
- You operate in a public-facing role and are not a member of support staff.
- You can be directly contacted at the verified location during stated hours.
If you’re the only practitioner at the business, you should have one page for the location. Create a single listing, named using the following format: [brand/company]: [practitioner name].
Tip: Practitioners only need one listing to cover their services, rather than multiple listings to cover each specialization.
Departments or businesses within another business
Public-facing departments within larger businesses–such as universities, medical facilities and government offices–can have their own identity on Google My Business. The name must be different from the main business and any other departments linked to it. Often the opening hours or contact details differ too. Examples of eligible departments could include the dermatology section of a hospital, an auto repair shop in a car dealership, or an independent food stand in a large superstore.
Who can’t use Google My Business?
Unfortunately the following business types are not eligible to use Google My Business:
- Under construction or not yet opened to the public.
- Rental or for-sale properties, such as vacation homes, model homes or vacant apartments.
- Ongoing services, such as classes, or meetings at a location that you don't own or have the authority to represent.
- Online only businesses that do not make in-person contact with customers.
- If the business has a corporate office, it may be on Maps, with it’s category set as ‘corporate office’
Just because you can’t use Google My Business today, doesn’t mean you won’t be able to soon! We’re always looking to make the experience better so you may see some of these being tested.
For further details, take a look at the guidelines on how to represent your business on Google, and keep your eye on the Google My Business Community for our regularly updated, bite-size guides for business owners. You can also join the conversation on our social channels by sending us a message on Twitter or Facebook.
Marissa Nordahl, Community Manager, Google My Business
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