Google My Business Guideline Updates for Virtual Offices
Some businesses don’t have an actual storefront or office—and if this is the case for you, take note! Google My Business guidelines have been updated. The new guidelines explain how a business without a literal storefront should list their address.
The new information is titled “Service-area businesses” (under “Address” section):
“Service-area businesses—businesses that serve customers at their locations—should have one page for the central office or location and designate a service area from that point. Service-area businesses can’t list a “virtual” office unless that office is staffed during business hours.
Some businesses, like pizzerias that have both have restaurant seating and deliver pizza to customers, are hybrid service-area businesses. These businesses can show their storefront address and designate a service area in Google My Business. If you serve customers at your address and want to set a service area, your business location should be staffed by your team and able to receive customers during its stated hours.”
Here you can find how to add and edit a service area.
Perhaps you’re a remodeler with professionals who service homeowners at their actual homes but you have a local showroom. This is the perfect example of a hybrid-area business mentioned in Google’s updated guidelines (many of our clients actually fall into this category). Make sure you designate the right service area for your business and don’t try to get around Google’s guidelines. Being dishonest with Google is not a good long-term strategy and will end up doing more harm than good!
Insights for You, the Business Owner
“Will I still rank on Google?” you may be asking. “What should I do?” No need to worry—yes, you can still rank on Google. Here’s what we suggest you do:
- Be honest (don’t say you have a real office and try to list it when you don’t) and always follow Google guidelines and best practices. After all, it’s up to Google—and Google alone—about how your information is displayed and who ranks where.
- Continue monitoring your offsite efforts (don’t get caught up in blogging or other onsite work so much that you neglect local SEO).
- Make sure your NAP consistency is good (having the same name, address, and phone number listed consistently across the web can help you maintain a better overall presence—it’s believed Google and the other search engines cross-reference your NAP information across a variety of websites as a validation that you are a legitimate business).
Want to learn more about local SEO and NAP consistency? Download our free eBook!
Want to talk about a local SEO strategy? We’d love to talk.
About The Author: Alanna is the Quality Assurance Manager in Blue Corona's Maryland office. When she's not triple-checking websites and content for errors and consistency, you can find her at the gym with her twin sister or urban exploring with her husband.
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The information on this website is for informational purposes only; it is deemed accurate but not guaranteed. It does not constitute professional advice. All information is subject to change at any time without notice. Contact us for complete details.