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What is the Difference between Primary Owner and Owner in Google My Business

Google My Business

If you are a business owner, you must know Google My Business (GMB) and your online listing. However, it's time to catch up with those new to online listings and GMB.

What is Google My Business?

Google's business searching platform evolved in 2005 with Google Maps, a straightforward interface that allowed the business to be found within a map search. Then slowly, over time, Google's focus on local business changed from one idea to the next until Google My Business was created.

Google My Business was launched in 2014 and was designed to make it easier for local business to manage their online listing. The system is well integrated with Google Search and Google Maps, allowing potential visitors to find local businesses quickly. GMB is a free tool that enables business owners to create an online listing within Google's platform. The current platform allows you to include hours, services, descriptions, images, and more. Access to GMB also allows your business to receive and manage reviews on Google's platform – the world's largest and most popular review platform. 

Like Yelp, which will add businesses based on state registries, GMB will do the same after a period. However, manually adding and managing your business listing is always recommended.

The Beginner's Guide to Google My Business User Roles

Within the GMB platform, you have the option to assign user roles. If no users are found, the listing is unclaimed – meaning no one is managing the listing. Typically, a link on a business listing will indicate something to the effect of "claim this listing" for you to claim and manage your listing. For security purposes, claiming a listing is done through a postcard or business phone call.

Once claimed, you can add users to manage and update your listings. User Roles also allows users to respond to reviews - an essential aspect of reputation management. Please note that a Gmail account is required for a user to manage GMB. Your Gmail account can be a personal Gmail or a professional Gmail using Google Workspace. There is no universal login for GMB.

There are three user roles to choose from in Google My Business.

  1. Primary Owner
  2. Owner
  3. Manager

What is the Difference between Primary Owner and Owners in Google My Business?

The short answer is nothing. You can scour the internet to try and find the answer to the difference between GMB Primary Owners and Owners and find very little information on the topic. That's because there is no difference. Owner and Primary Owners have the same access. Any owner can switch to Primary Owner and vise versa, and it happens immediately.

The reason for the differentiation in management access between owners and primary owners is to ensure the listing is always claimed. Once a business listing is claimed, a Primary Owner can never be removed. It's simple enough to change who the Primary Owner is, but there will always be at least a Primary Owner.

Tips to Manage Your Google Listing: Primary Owner and Owners vs. Manager

Google My Business Primary Owners & OwnersThe most significant difference between a Manager and an Owner is who can assign User Roles. Managers are limited in assigning user roles. Other than that, they have the same access.

There is some debate on who manages your Google Business Listing. One point of view is to compare the actual ownership of your business to ownership of your GMB. However, this idea is unfounded as ownership of your business includes legal documentation while GMB is simply a 3rd party application service. And while it seems logical to be an Owner as the owner of your business, most businesses rely on knowledgeable and professional entities to manage their bookkeeping, taxes, finances, payroll, and other aspects of a business so the business owner can focus on their skill set. The idea with GMB is no different.

Managing Google My Business may seem simple enough. However, there are many aspects to a GMB account to consider when optimizing your online presence. If you do not have the expertise or understand these tactics, you may consider having a professional team manage your account.

When it comes down to it, Google My Business User Roles are a personal preference. It's entirely acceptable to allow a marketing or legal agent to manage your GMB. It's also perfectly fine to manage the GMB yourself. While there may be some fear that a 3rd party could hold your listing for ransom or act in revenge, these things can easily be undone, and listings can easily be restored. Imagine a bookkeeper who embezzles thousands or a financial manager stealing hours to increase their salary. Would you consider managing everything yourself due to the potential of human distrust? No. Business owners need to rely on honest people to help manage their business. The same can be said of GMB.

Considering the marketing agency you hire to increase your online presence, any level of user access would be needed. Some companies may insist on Owner access to manage the listing within their team's roles. It could become a hindrance if your marketing company had to contact you for every role change within their operations. On the other hand, some business owners prefer having a 3rd party manage all aspects of their online listing. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to owners and managers. It comes down to your trust and needs.

In light of who you allow to manage your listing and to avoid any future issues, it is recommended to research those you allow access to your account. With spam and hacking on the rise, it is easier to avoid trouble than to fix problems that come about.

Managing Your Google My Business

Optimizing your online presence requires optimization of your GMB. If you decide to manage your own listing, follow these simple steps:

  • Fill out as much information as you can. GMB platform will provide many features and areas of information. Optimize each one.
  • Keywords are important. What keywords you use for your business description, your listing title, and even image titles will impact your online presence.
  • Maintain your listing. Check on your business listing periodically. Look for changes Google roles out. And look for updates and accuracy on your account.

If you are have found yourself at a dead-end or don't know what to do about your business listing, we have the tenure and expertise to help you manage, claim, or restore your Google My Business account.


Posted on Dec 23, 2021
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