What to Know Before Opening Up a Second Google My Business Location

This article was updated on January 1, 2021 to reflect more up-to-date information: 

If you are opening a second Google My Business page, congratulations, this means your business is growing.

The step-by-step directions to publish your second GMB page is relatively simple. It is nearly identical to how you would go about setting-up your first GMB page. There are critical strategic decisions that often get overlooked. I want to list these strategy elements first before going into the step-by-step directions.

Questions to Ask Before Opening Up a Second GMB Location:

  • Can you get mail at the new location? 
    • You will need to request a postcard from Google to verify the physical location. Making sure you can get mail is very important, otherwise, you will have to find alternative ways to verify your page, which takes longer.
  • Do you have a new phone number set-up for the new location? 
    • The best practice is to have a new phone number for the new location. A lot of businesses don’t want to switch to a new number, they want to keep the existing one for both locations. You have to weigh the pros and cons of what’s best for your business.
  • Are you ok with your original location maintaining all reviews and the second location starting from scratch? 
    • There are many times when a business opens a second location where the new location will serve as their headquarters/main hub. Yet their original location has all of the reviews and local SEO power. The business becomes upset when they realize their second GMB location will have zero reviews and they’ll have to start from scratch to build up the authority of the new GMB page. This sort of scenario takes consulting and strategy. You can contact our agency if you’re interested in further discussing this sort of strategy further.
      • Note: Below is an inquiry we received from a roofing company: 
        • Client Inquiry: Hello! My Lancaster PA-based company recently purchased a new physical location in Pittsburgh, so I’m trying to set up the new location so it shows up with our company name, but as a second location, not a completely different business. However, we would, of course, want all our Google reviews and current Google Business page associated with our Lancaster location to still be associated with this new location.
        • Media Captain Response: You would want to change your existing Google My Business page to reflect the new address. This would ensure that all of the reviews are carried over and the new address that is serving as your primary business. You would then want to create a new Google My Business page for your existing address. Your new address/location will be the authoritative page with all of the reviews. You’ll still keep your other location but it would become less authoritative as it won’t have any reviews.
  • Three Week Rule 
    • Further into this article, I do a deeper dive into the three-week rule. You want to give yourself three weeks of buffer time prior to opening up a second Google My Business location. It can take 2-weeks for the postcard to arrive to verify your GMB page. 3-weeks should give you enough time to get the postcard to verify the GMB page. If for some reason the postcard doesn’t arrive, you can try going through video verification.

How to Open Up a Second Google My Business Page 

You will want to treat the second Google My Business page as a separate entity. This means you should create a new Google My Business page for the new location, giving your business two locations. You will notice the steps to set-up up your second GMB page are practically identical to opening up your first page. There are certain steps aspects that confuses businesses opening up their second location, which is why I added corresponding notes underneath each step.

Step 1: Go to – https://business.google.com/

  • Make sure you’re logged in with the Gmail account associated with your original Google My Business page. This will make for better organization as you’ll want both of your businesses underneath the same account.

Step 2: “Add Location” and then “Add a Single Location”

  • Once you are logged into your Google My Business account with your first location, within the dashboard you should be seeing the screen shot below. You’ll want to click “Add Location” and then “Add Single Location.” A lot of people get confused when it says “Add a Single Location” since they are opening up a second location. Like I previously mentioned, the second Google My Business page should be treated as a separate entity so you want to add it as a single location to move forward.

Step 3: Add Your Business Name

  • A lot of businesses don’t know how to treat the name of their second GMB location. The best practice is to keep the brand name consistent for your second Google My Business page.
    • Let’s say Bob’s Barber Shop’s original location is in Downtown Columbus, Ohio. The name on the original GMB page is “Bob’s Barber Shop.” When Bob opens his second location in the suburb of Gahanna, he is considering making the GMB name, “Bob’s Barber Shop – Gahanna.” This isn’t a best practice that we recommend (although we see businesses do this all the time). He should keep it as “Bob’s Barber Shop.”
      • It should also be noted that if you add suburb or city level keywords into your Google My Business title and this information isn’t actually the name of your business, you can be reported for misrepresenting your business name, which can lead to a suspension for keyword stuffing the GMB title.

Visual Representation of a Company w/Multiple Locations w/Same Name: 

Kenneth’s Hair Salons & Day Spa has multiple locations throughout Columbus in different suburbs. You can see how this salon followed best practices and kept the same name for all GMB pages. When conducting a Google search, you can see how the different locations are all populating. It’s not like Google is only going to show one location if you have multiple locations. Google was even smart enough to know my search came from Westerville and put a circle around “Location A” as this is the nearest Kenneth’s location to me.

Step 4: Select Business Category

  • Choosing the best primary category is very important for local SEO. When setting-up your second GMB page, this is where you’ll choose your primary category. You will be able to add secondary categories once the page is set-up.
    • A lot of businesses try and go after a different primary category for their second Google My Business page. If they are ranking well for their primary category with Location 1, they think they can start ranking well with a new primary category for Location 2. I don’t recommend doing this. You should keep your primary category consistent for your different locations.

Step 5: Determine whether or not customers or clients can visit your location

  • Can customer or clients visit your location? If yes, you should select yes, you want to add a location customers can visit. You want your business to show up on Google Maps and Search, which is why it’s so important to mark this as yes if customers can visit your location. 
      • Let’s say you are an accountant and you only conduct face-to-face meetings once or twice per month… We still recommend stating that customers can visit your office.
      • If you work from a home office with your family and you don’t want your location to show-up on Google, this is an example where you would put that you don’t want customers or clients to visit your location.
        • These are just two common scenarios. If you have a unique scenario, feel free to get in touch with The Media Captain.

Step 6: What’s the Address?

  • This is where you’ll input the address.
    • It’s important that the new address of your second Google My Business location is consistent with other references of this address on the web.
      • If you built your office from scratch, this can get a bit complex. Sometimes the address isn’t recognized by Google Maps, especially if it hasn’t been registered with the post office. This is why it’s important to give yourself buffer time, in case you run into scenarios like this one [continue reading as we talk about the 3-week rule to give you proper buffer time]. 

Step 7: Contact Information

  • Enter your phone number within the contact detail section. We discussed earlier in the article the importance of having a different phone number to differentiate your second Google My business location from your original one.
    • You will also want to enter your website. A website isn’t required but we strongly encourage you to have a website associated with your business.
      • One other interesting thing to take into consideration is to link to the respective location pages on your site. For example, for a steakhouse with two locations, it could provide a better user experience directing them to the URL on the site with the hours, contact information and menu for that location. You can read more about this from this blog post of mine: the best linking practices within GMB.

Step 8: Complete and Verify

  • At this point, you’ll receive a thank you message letting you know that your postcard is coming. There are some instances when you can verify your GMB page via email or other methods. The postcard is the most common method when you are opening up a second Google My Business page. After you verify the postcard once the PIN arrives in the mail, you will be able to manage both of your Google My Business pages within your one centralized account.

This is the perfect segway into the next section. Often times, the postcard doesn’t arrive, which is why you need to give yourself 3-weeks of buffer time! [continue reading].

The 3-Week Rule for Opening a Second Location

A mistake we’ve seen a lot of businesses make is they open a second location prior to getting this second location verified on Google My Business.

The reason this is an issue is because customers will type in your brand name onto Google, hoping to be directed to the new location and will be taken to your original location, causing confusion and potential issues for your Google My Business page.

I recorded a video on this topic below!

[youtube url=”https://youtube.com/watch?v=X8NK89Kl8qE”]

I strongly recommend not opening your second location until it has been verified on Google. Consider your business open for operation once it has been verified on Google My Business.

You should request a postcard to verify your Google My Business 3-weeks before opening. Why 3-weeks? It can take 2-weeks to receive your Google My Business verification postcard in the mail, if you’re lucky. When you are moving into a new office, we frequently see issues with mail forwarding not properly working, the address not getting recognized by Google (among other things).

If you don’t get the postcard in the mail (which happens frequently, especially when opening up a new business) you will have to wait 2-weeks before being eligible to go through the video verification process.

To make a long story short, 3-weeks should give you enough time to verify your Google My Business page prior to customers and employees coming to your location. It also allows you to get organized on items such as the phone number and cleaning up directories.

Example

In the example below, you can see Bob’s Barber Shop opened their second location in a suburb. The original downtown location is verified. Bill was so excited for the grand opening of his second location, he forgot to check the mail and get the second location verified on Google My Business.


What will happen is when people type “Bob’s Barber Shop”on Google to get directions, this will take them to Bob’s original downtown location, since the suburb location isn’t verified and the downtown location is verified. This causes mass chaos and has the following ramifications:

  • Wrong Directions for Customers
  • User Suggested Edits for Wrong Location
  • Unverification of Page
  • Merging of Pages
  • Bad signals sent to Google

In Closing 

Business owners and marketers are busy. There’s so much focus on what goes into opening a second location that they can forget about thinking through all aspects involved in opening up a second Google My Business page.

Hopefully this information will make the opening of your second GMB location a more seamless one!