Deciding Between Physical Address and Service Area on Google Business Profile

For businesses looking to optimize their online presence, Google Business Profile (GBP) is a gold mine. However, one question often leaves businesses scratching their heads: should the business list a physical address or a service area in their profiles? This decision isn’t a strategic SEO maneuver but, rather, a reflection of the business model.

Identifying Your Business Model

GBP categorizes businesses into three distinct groups based on customer interaction:

  1. Physical Location: Conducts face-to-face interactions at the business address. Examples include professional offices, retail stores, or restaurants.
  2. Service Area Business (SAB): Delivers products or services to clients at their locations, including plumbers, on-site IT services, and landscapers. Despite the lack of a customer-visited physical address, these businesses can still set up their GBP listing as an SAB.
  3. Hybrid: Operates both a physical location for interactions and provides products/services at customer locations. Examples include an appliance store offering installation services or a pizza restaurant providing home delivery.

Service Area Businesses on Google Business Profile

Until a recent update from Google, SABs faced stringent restrictions, but now, thanks to more flexible guidelines, SABs can have multiple profiles, each dedicated to a unique service area and supported by its own staff.

Even though SABs don’t have a visible location pin on the map, GBP nevertheless links an underlying physical address to the verification address of their GBP listing. This way, businesses without a physical address gain visibility in Google’s ecosystem.

Influence on Business Visibility and Ranking

Proximity is an integral part of local SEO. Businesses closer to the searcher often secure a higher ranking in map results. However, even SABs are linked to a physical location in GBP’s underlying mechanics, making the proximity a critical factor in rankings.

Some businesses in competitive markets unwisely reveal their addresses in SAB listings in an attempt to climb the ranks. Remember, the decision to show or hide your address doesn’t influence rankings; it merely mirrors your business model.

Hybrid Businesses: A Combination of Physical Location and Service Area

For businesses that operate as a hybrid model, adding a service area to an existing physical address profile makes no impact on rankings. On mobile devices (like Google Search on Android and Google Maps on iOS), these profiles show a location pin and list service areas. A key point to acknowledge is that Google will not display a marker and a service area simultaneously for the same business location.

Thriving as a Service Area Business

To protect your GBP listing from
suspension or removal, adhere religiously to Google’s guidelines. Even if not showcasing a physical address leads to a minor fall in rankings, your competing SABs are likely to face a similar disadvantage. If you discover businesses falsely showing ineligible addresses, you can report these inaccuracies via the “Suggest an edit” feature on Google Maps.

Navigating the complexities of Google Business Profile can feel daunting, particularly when making decisions that might affect your local search visibility. Yet, understanding the different dimensions and their implications for physical versus service area businesses can significantly enhance your online visibility, painting an accurate picture of your business in the digital world. Moreover, it’s crucial to remember that Google Business Profile isn’t just a visibility booster—it’s a platform to reflect your business’s true identity and mode of interaction with customers. So, as you select options that mirror your business structure, make sure they align with your actual mode of operation.

However, managing your GBP and coordinating various aspects like managing locations, posts, and photos, controlling reviews, and tracking SEO rankings can quickly become overwhelming. That’s where platforms such as Local View can be your perfect ally.

To start your journey towards local SEO success, contact Local View today! You’ll discover how efficiently you can manage your Google Business Profile and catapult your local SEO rankings.