Coworking offices have become the norm for many businesses especially at start-up or when operating with limited funds. Investors see coworking offices as a perfect benchmark to establish their presence and expand fast at minimal costs. However, many people keep asking whether their coworking offices meet the standards required for Google My Business listings? Does operating a coworking office affect the listing status? In this post, we take a comprehensive evaluation of what makes a coworking office to qualify for Google My Business listings.
Comparison between virtual office and coworking office
A virtual office provides a mailing address with no occupancy by a purchaser. In many cases, the address is not Post Office Box, but a means of communication through a receptionist, voicemail, or call centre. Virtual offices only rent spaces occasionally to make presentations to clients. As a result, a virtual office does not meet the requirements for Google My Business listing. In its efforts to drive better UX (user experience), Google has had issues with virtual offices because clients rarely get what such businesses purport to offer. Even if you are selling products online, a physical office is paramount.
Unlike a virtual office, a coworking office is a real physical location where clients can knock and be served during working hours. Several practitioners, experts, or professionals share the cost and enjoy the following;
- Reliable local area networks or stable wireless internet access.
- Lower costs of start-up especially for those with limited capital.
- Better interactions with other entrepreneurs for insights and encouragements.
- A business address apart from home address. This makes it look professional, focused, and serious.
- Lower monthly overheads because costs of most services such as internet and utility bills are shared.
- Easier networking with co-workers for better ideas and focus to lever investment to the next levels.
- Sharing amenities with other top professionals helps you to approach your operations professionally.
Unlike the virtual offices that have in the past caused a lot of issues with Google, Coworking offices are okay and, therefore, eligible for Google My Business listing.
Benefits of using coworking offices
Running a business can be a very expensive undertaking. Most offices located downtown are expensive while getting space is an issue in some cities. To address the problems, coworking offices have become a great solution. Here are other benefits of using coworking offices;
- They are cheap and, therefore, ideal for businesses for a start-up that has limited capital.
- If you do not want to feel socially isolated, a coworking office is good to give you all the required company.
- Best for work from home businesses that do not want to use a home address for online listings.
- Businesses owners who are looking for space but have limited funds to rent their building.
- Experts looking for reliable internet services and opportunity to network with others professionals.
Requirements for Google My Business Listings
It is a requirement for coworking offices to meet specific requirements to be included in Google My Business listings. Below is a guideline on these requirements to be listed in Google My Business.
- Physical occupancy in the office: The office need to be real and you are spending some time there. Customers need a place they can walk to and be attended.
- A dedicated phone number: Even if there is a number that clients can call at the receptionist, Google prefers to list a dedicated number. This is a number that is always answered using the business name.
- A mailing address: If a mail is sent to your office, can you receive it? Google My Business will always send a postcard to have your office verified. Therefore, it is very important to ensure you can receive packages and letters that are mailed to you.
- Use only one listing for the business: Even if you operate several sites, Google will not list your business if each of them has a different request. Only use one of them, preferably what you consider the main one.
- Operational hour's accuracy: Make sure to have specific hours set for operations to maintain consistency about the hours spent in the office. It is of particular importance to ensure that the working hours coincide with the Google My Business listing operational hours.
- Businesses with varying goods and services: For businesses that offer multiple goods and services, it might look ideal to create a different listing for each. However, this is the wrong thing to do. Make sure to keep all the products and services under one umbrella listing.
- Need to hide the address of the business: If your business is done through SAB (Service area business) which involves visiting clients in their offices, Google recommends that you hide the address. You should also hide the address if you do not accept walk-in clients like it is the case with many e-commerce stores.
- Operating with a professional marketing agency that understands all risks associated with listing a coworking address on Google My Business.
When the outlined guideline is followed carefully, you can rest assured of being listed and enjoying greater exposure on Google My Business listing. This includes listing your company number. Notably, this comes with several concerns that you need to be aware of; industry history and accidental merging.
- Accidental Mergers: If Google My Business notes a post from another expert emerging from the same address, it tries to merge them into one. This takes place with most coworking spaces. However, you can avoid it by providing different phone numbers for your business. If you note that your business has been merged with another, it is prudent to contact Google immediately about the confusion and have the issue sorted manually.
- Industry History: Another risk you must be aware of is negative history. If you have been working with SEO agencies, web design firms and other firms that have a negative history, you can get removed from the listing. Google utilizes complex algorithms that gather data from multiple sources and will easily establish whether the firms you are associated with had bad behaviours such as fraud or high levels of spam. If such an issue happens to your business, it might be very critical to reaching a professional at the Google My Business Community Forum.
To ensure that your business is listed and stays away from the outlined risks, entrepreneurs and marketing professionals should follow their listing to check if they are represented correctly.
What you need to know about real global businesses
Notably, Google has grown dramatically in the last two decades. In particular, search engine optimization (SEO) has grown tremendously, and Google might get it rather difficult to reflect the actual scenario in the business world in real-time. For example, while Google's impact on many industries is direct, it was only recently that they gave direct call lines to businesses. Because millions of firms, companies, and business are listed with Google, a point of direct contact both locally and internationally is very critical. Besides, many local businesses have complained of being treated as an afterthought without appreciating they are the key pillars of local e-commerce growth.
In the United States, the unemployment levels have reached about 10%. For investors, this means limited availability of funds especially at start-up when aggressive brand management and marketing are very crucial. When you factor the ever rising cost of office spaces, entrepreneurs have found coworking offices to be an affordable, reliable, and workable solution. Accordingly, when coworking offices appear to be the new norm, it is prudent that Google appreciates the current business environment and make it easier for new firms to operate and move to the next level.
Because of coworking offices affordability, start-ups have found them as the new haven to operate with limited disruptions, better support, and cooperation from professional co-workers. Well, you can start small and grow like many multinationals did. Just follow the guidelines to get listed on Google My Business as you climb from strength to another.