Google My Business: Department Listings

June 20, 2016 by Mike Wallace in Local Search

Google My Business

As we all know, Google Maps makes up a very important portion of Google’s search results. Fifteen percent of searches within Google show these map results, and an even higher percentage of searches show a knowledge graph for an individual business on the right-hand side of the results. These listings are based on information provided by Google Maps and Google My Business.


You can control these listings for your business by claiming them and verifying them through Google My Business. These listings are extremely important for companies with heavily frequented brick-and-mortar locations.


But what about departments within your business? If your business features a pharmacy, for example, have you claimed that listing separately from your main business listing? Most businesses probably haven’t, and that’s because Google creates these listings using third-party information without notifying the owners of the main listing.

What Are Department Listings?

Department listings are subsidiary Google Maps listings for departments that exist within a parent store and have a direct phone line, as well as different operating hours than the main store. An excellent case in point is Costco Wholesale. Each Costco location has different departments, such as a pharmacy, optometrist, food court and auto center, just to name a few. Google has begun creating Google Maps listings for each of these departments and tying them to the main listing.


As an example, the bakery within a Costco Wholesale closes before the rest of the store and has a separate phone line, allowing customers to reach the bakery department directly. As a result, Google Maps has created listings for each Costco location’s bakery department, which Costco has yet to claim or verify.


These same department listings are on the Google Maps app as well. Below are some images that illustrate how these department listings are being linked, and the user experience that results from that link.

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Why Is This Important?

For businesses, these department listings are very important, as they provide an additional means of improving the user experience for both customers and potential customers. However, each listing is one more thing that needs to be claimed, maintained and optimized. If department listings are not claimed and maintained it could result in a number of issues, such as user edits, unchecked reviews and unconfirmed listing information.

For users, this update is useful and will help improve their individual experiences with multi-department businesses that have brick-and-mortar locations. The list of benefits includes:

  • Better hours information for the specific department you need.
  • Phone calls directly to the specific department rather than the customer service department.
  • Reviews specific to the department you are looking for.

In conclusion, this is a great update from a user experience standpoint, but has not been well publicized by Google or managed by the companies it is directly affecting.

If you would like to learn more about these new types of listings or find out how you can leverage them to your advantage, please reach out. 855.Ethology


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Michael Wallace

About the Author

Mike is the Local Search Senior Specialist at Ethology. He focuses on improving our clients’ visibility on Google Maps and other citations through Local Search and analytics in order to directly improve their bottom line. He plays a lot of tennis and is also a die hard New England Patriots fan. Go Pats!


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