If you have a service area business, you can—and should—set up a Google Business Profile service area. Creating your service area on Google Business Profile is essential for your local SEO strategy. It lets potential clients know what services you offer and where you offer them.
Service Area Business Vs. Brick-and-Mortar—What’s the Difference?
The average person may be confused by the term service area business. A service area business refers to a business that services a wider area than where it is physically located.
Nonetheless, some service-area businesses may have an office, but that is not a requirement. They will not typically, however, display their addresses on the listing. This contrasts with brick-and-mortar businesses that have a physical store.
The key differentiators between a service area Google Business Profile and a brick-and-mortar store are:
→Service area businesses visit their customers, while customers visit brick-and-mortar businesses.
→Service area businesses do not have an official address or physical location, but brick-and-mortar stores do.
→Service area businesses serve customers within a wide geographic area, while brick-and-mortar stores only serve customers inside their store (pop-ups, fairs, etc., would be mini-stores).
To help you understand what a service area business is, consider some common examples:
→Pest control companies
→House painting companies
→Garage door contractors
When talking about Google Business Profile service area optimization, it is also worth noting that some businesses are hybrids (those that straddle the line between service area businesses and brick-and-mortar). We will discuss those in more detail below.
How Do I Set Up a Service Area Business on Google Business Profile?
We mentioned that setting up your Google Business Profile service area is crucial for your local SEO. It gives clients a place to read and leave online reviews, and it becomes one of your local citations.
The good news is that Google makes it simple to set up your service area business. Just follow these steps:
Step 1: Claim and create your listing.
If you haven’t already claimed your Google Business Profile or Google Business Profile listing, start by doing so.
If you want to create a new listing, you will have to start by confirming that there isn’t already a business listing for your company. So, if there is, you will need to claim it.
Step 2: Choose a business category and services.
Assuming you create a new listing, Google will prompt you to choose a business category. You can choose one, such as a gardener or garage builder, to start. You will be able to add more later.
As you create your Google Business Profile profile, you will also be asked to list your services.
Step 3: Indicate you are a service area business.
Then Google will ask whether you have a location that customers can visit. If you don’t, your profile will be for a service area business.
If you have a physical location, such as an office or a showroom, be sure to list it. Otherwise, no address will appear with your listing on Google Search and Google Maps.
Step 4: Select your service area.
Next, Google will have you define your service area. This will become one of the local search ranking factors. It will also help searchers decide if your business is right for them.
Google lets you enter a combination of countries, counties, zip codes, and city names. You can list up to 20 of these.
Make sure that you list places in your service area to cover the outer limits of it. You don’t want to accidentally miss out on clients because Google doesn’t think you serve their area.
Step 5: Enter your contact information.
Now, Google will have you enter your company’s contact information. Enter your business phone number and your company’s website. If you don’t have a website, you can skip that step. (But you should prioritize creating a website and do some local keyword research to help it rank.)
Step 6: Verify your business.
Google will also ask you to verify your business. Verification requires you to enter your mailing address. Google doesn’t display the address on your profile; it is only used for verification.
Step 7: Edit as needed in the future.
After you have made your service area business listing on Google, you can easily go back and edit it in the future.
- Find your business profile by entering your business name or typing “my business” in Google Search. (In Google Maps, tap on the profile icon, and select “Your Business Profile.”
- Navigate to “Edit Profile.”
- Click on “Business Information.”
- Select “Location and areas.”
- Tap “Edit” next to “Service areas.”
- Enter additional service areas.
- Save your changes.
Step 8: Know how to remove a service area.
While the previous step lets you add a service area, you should also know how to remove one. To do so, start by following the above steps one through five.
Instead of adding extra service areas, remove them.
Google only lets you remove all of your service areas if you are a brick-and-mortar business and have your address on your business profile.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Setting up a Service Area Business on Google Business Profile
To ensure that you set your service area business up correctly, avoid the following mistakes.
Not Following Naming Guidelines
Adding a geolocation indicator to your business name can be incredibly tempting, but do NOT do this.
The most important reason not to is that Google explicitly says you cannot. So, if you add a city or other geographic qualifier to your business name (that doesn’t already have one), you would violate Google’s terms of service. In the best-case scenario, it hurts your ranking. In the worst case, Google removes your listing.
Making More Than One Profile
Do not make multiple profiles for your service area business. You can only create a single one for your metropolitan area.
The caveat here is that you can claim a listing for each location if you have several locations, each with separate service areas and staff. There cannot be any overlap between them. If there is overlap in staff or service area, you only get one profile.
Choosing the Wrong Business Category
You want to be extra careful when choosing your business category. Remember that this is a major ranking factor, as Google uses it to decide whether your business is relevant to someone’s search.
Remember that you will be able to add secondary categories, and these are important.
However, it is even more important only to add categories that you offer. If you show up for irrelevant keywords, your bounce rate will increase and hurt your SEO efforts. It will also frustrate clients.
Listing an Address That Isn’t for Customers
Assuming that you do not have a physical location that customers can visit, you should NOT list an address on Google. Don’t list your home address or a warehouse that is not staffed and doesn’t allow clients. You don’t need to do this. Entering your service areas will be enough.
If you have an address listed on your Google Business Profile despite not letting customers there, you should remove it. Just be aware that your profile may need to be re-verified, or it may be suspended until Google re-verifies it.
Service Areas for Hybrid Businesses
A hybrid business will have a business address where they serve customers, but they will also offer services at the customers’ location. Perhaps the most common example of a hybrid business would be a restaurant that offers food delivery.
According to Google, if your business doesn’t have permanent on-site signage, it is not eligible as a storefront and does not qualify as a hybrid business.
Hybrid businesses can use their Google Business Profile to show their storefront address, show the operating hours of that location, and designate a service area. If your business is a hybrid business, listing your address as well as defining your service area will help potential customers decide if you’re the right business for them.
Make the Decision Easy for Potential Customers
If you do not have a physical location and instead visit clients, you are a service area business. Google has a unique type of Google Business Profile for service area businesses. Instead of listing a physical location, you will list your services and service area. Doing this will help potential customers in your area find you and decide whether or not to do business with you.