Google My Business improves its options for service businesses

There has been plenty of media coverage about the competition between the internet and the high street, but relatively little about the many businesses that are neither typically “online” nor with a physical presence that customers can visit.

Numerous service businesses, such as plumbers or house movers, only have a fixed address for legal and tax purposes but operate on a fully mobile basis. Many more have a physical base, which does serve a genuine operational purpose, but also run a mobile business that makes a meaningful contribution to their profits. Neither business model has been well-served by Google My Business – until now. Here is what you need to know about the change.

If you already have a Google My Business account

If you already have a Google My Business account, you will see that the storefront address and service area have now been split, meaning that you can edit them separately.

This means that if you’ve only added an address to have access to Google My Business, you can clear it and focus on your service areas, which can be entered by area or by postcode.

These can be updated at any time, so if you choose to expand your business (or to reduce the number of areas you cover), then you can easily make changes to your Google My Business listing.

If you are setting up a Google My Business account for the first time

If you are setting up a Google My Business account for the first time, you will now be asked if you want to add a location that customers can visit.

Your answer will determine the set of prompts you are given, but the key point to note is that you can now set up a Google My Business account without having to enter a physical address. You can simply enter the areas your business covers. You will, however, still have the option to enter a physical address at a later date, should you so wish and, as before, you will also have the option to add or remove service areas as your business changes.

The main advantages of Google My Business remain much the same

Even though the internet has brought the whole world to our screens, for the most part we live our everyday lives on a very local basis. This is even more true for the service industry than for the retail industry since many services require some degree of physical interaction between the provider and the customer, hence the importance of locality.

Google has long recognised this fact and incorporated it into its (in)famous algorithm. This has meant that certain kinds of searches will return results that prioritise businesses that Google has been able to identify as being in the same locality as the searcher. As a result, there is a clear advantage to listing accurate location information in a Google My Business listing.

It’s also worth noting that having a Google My Business listing allows customers to leave you reviews that are likely to be seen by anyone making relevant searches (given that Google is the world’s most popular search engine). This could give an added boost to your ability to attract new customers.

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