SBS Mailbag: Many Service Areas, One Address

Filed in Local Search by Matt McGee on October 10, 2008 3 Comments

SBSM reader Doug recently wrote in with a question that describes a very common small/local business situation:

My business is home based. I do have a UPS mailing address. I have a business that is service based and typically go to clients homes in many areas. Did I miss, or do you have any suggestions in regards to setting up maps for this situation? I don’t want customers to think I have a business location somewhere I don’t, just that I serve their area. Any suggestions?

Here’s how I replied:

You describe a situation that’s not uncommon — you want to cover a lot of geo areas, but you’re only located in one. My wife’s a real estate agent covering 10-12 different cities, but we can only list her in the city where her office is located. A lot of companies try to go further and create fake listings for every area they cover, but Google has been cracking down on this and just announced “Business Listing Quality Guidelines” –

http://maps.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=107528

I think your best bet is to build out your listing as much as possible — mention all the areas you cover, discuss those areas on your main web site, try to get links that are related to each area you cover, etc. But I wouldn’t recommend creating new business listings for each city. You’d risk getting banned altogether.

Your turn: Did I answer it well? What would you say or add?

Comments (3)

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  1. martijn says:

    I think you responded well.

    LBC:

    I would add a custom attribute ‘service area’ which describes your service area.

    I would define service area in description if appropriate.

    Onsite:

    Mention your service area. Get creative! Think of use cases in certain service areas.

    For a website designer for example: make a portfolio page and mention the cities of the companies/individuals you did projects for (if they are okay with that )
    use these locations as internal anchor to your contact/location page. it might work ;-)

  2. Steve Espinosa reported out some research that shows that a #1 placement in organic gets 1.5x the click throughs of a Local 10 Pack listing.

    I would optimize the site for the long tail of local search ie a page (and as Martijn point out internal linking) for each town + service that he offers.

    I would also create MyMaps listings of service location.

  3. MiriamEllis says:

    Matt, you did a good job.

    I would mention 2 things.

    The first is that one of this reader’s questions hasn’t been answered…if he publishes an address, he fears people may think that he has a walk-in business location. He doesn’t, and this is a problem to which I have found no solution, though we have often encountered it. The client has to decide whether to take the risk that people may think his home is a physical business address, or he must forego the benefits of Local Search. That’s the decision he must make.

    The second suggestion I’d make would be that the reader get a website developed, featuring a separate page for each of his major service areas, optimized with the magic combo of service + location. This could be a big help in his specific situation.

    Nice question.
    Miriam

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