Recent Update: Setting Up Google My Business for Service Area Businesses

SEO

When it comes to service area businesses, Google My Business listing (GMB) can be confusing. In this article, we’ll go through the most common problems service area businesses face when creating a GMB listing and how to quickly solve them.

So, What’s A Service Area Business?

Service Area Businesses are those that don’t have a physical location for customers to visit. Employees must go to their customers instead. Some examples would be plumbers, electricians, landscapers, roofers, etc. Normally, these businesses are operated out of the business owner’s home.

Because they do not have a physical business location, many service area businesses have inadvertently set up their GMB listing incorrectly and are violating Google’s Guidelines for Representing Your Business on Google without knowing it. Violation of the guidelines can cause immediate issues when trying to verify the listing or later down the road.

We’re here to help! Let’s go through the most common Google My Business service area business problems and how to avoid them.

Google My Business Service Area Changes

The previous GMB claiming process was not in favor of service area business because when Google would ask for a business’s address and there were two small checkboxes that didn’t provide any information as to what they meant.  Many people would skip over them not knowing their importance and resulting in thousands of GMB listings in violation. Luckily, there’s been an updated claiming process to make things easier and much clearer.

In the new process, businesses are asked if they want to give a location for customers to go to by selecting “yes” or “no”. If the business owner selects “no”, they’re then given the option to add service locations. At the end of the process is when they’re asked for their address so Google can mail them their verification PIN. The best part is Google already knows they’re a service area business so when they log into GMB they won’t see their address displayed.

GMB Page Set up Incorrectly?

If a business already has its address listed, then it must delete it and select service areas instead. A good thing to keep in mind is to select areas that are within a 2-hour driving distance. When making this change, just know that sometimes deleting the address could cause a suspension or a re-verification of the listing.

In the case that this does happen, the solution is to provide Google with legitimate proof of the business with documents that include the business’s name and address on them. This might seem like an extra step, but not removing an address will result in the GMB listing being suspended, so it’s better to play by the rules. Changes made to GMB listings will typically be under review for 2-3 days.

Service Area Business GMB Guidelines to Note

Only One Profile for Main Office and Service Locations

As stated in Google’s guidelines, a service area business should only have one profile for its main office and nearby service areas. Most likely your home or somewhere customers can’t go to. You can add up to 20 locations.

Multiple Locations with Separate Staff and Service Locations

The exception to the first rule is if you have different locations, each with its own staff and different service areas. For most service area businesses this isn’t the case, so do avoid setting up your Google My Business this way.

Only One Profile for the Metropolitan Area You Serve

This one is self-explanatory.

Google My Business Service Area Boundaries Are Within a Two-Hour Driving Distance

Larger areas are appropriate for some companies but for most service area businesses that won’t be the case.

In truth, physical business locations rank better than service area businesses so trying to outsmart Google with a P.O box address, a virtual office, or a co-working space will just end in your listing getting suspended. Google knows where the co-working and virtual offices are thanks to Google Maps. These office locations must have permanent signage, receive customers, and are staffed by your employees during business hours.

Google My Business Categories

Categories can have a direct impact on your ranking so selecting the right categories is important, make sure you select the categories that are the most specific to your business. You can choose up to 10 and may need to be changed depending on the season but use caution because changing these categories could result in the need to re-verify your listing.

Google My Business Service Area Business Suspension

There are some industries that are more prone to getting suspended than others due to certain categories having more fake business listings. Unfortunately, many of these happen to be service area businesses.

If you are having trouble with your GMB listing, please let us know and we can help walk you through the steps to get your business verified. It can be a lengthy, confusing process, but in the end, it is worth the time. Your GMB page is just one part of the whole scheme of great SEO, and Top Floor would be happy to answer any questions. Let’s get in touch!