Over the years, since the creation of Google My Business, there has been an awkward relationship with Google, Google Maps, Google My Business, and service area businesses. The main reason why there was trouble with these types of businesses and Google is the fact that there is no physical location for service area businesses. However, Google has since improved on this shaky relationship with revamping their sign-up flow when these businesses sign up for Google My Business.
Before this change, Google has made strides to help with this issue by allowing businesses to add radius-based service areas. This basically told Google that this business works around a designated address, however, they have since forfeited this method. What replaced it was the option for businesses to specify certain cities and zip codes the businesses work in.
Additionally, SEO Specialists had to come up with creative ways for their business to show up for different local searches. One method that has been a big success has been marketers creating local landing pages for each location they want to rank for. Specialists also use schema extensively, build local links, use local services ads, and claimed profiles in relevant directories (such as Yelp) that outrank local businesses.
The New Method
The solution Google has come up with is to have a new sign-up flow for these types of businesses. The first prompt asks the user if the business has a store or office. If the response is “no” then the sign-up form brings them down a specific path for their service areas that include:
- Entering the cities or zip codes where the business offers their service.
- Asks for the region the business is based in.
- Asks for the business category.
- Enter in contact information such as website URL and phone number.
- Optional section to choose if you want a free website or not from Google.
With service area businesses making up a substantial chunk of the 28 million small businesses in the country, this enhancement is another step closer as Google continues to address some of the challenges these businesses have with search results.