Best Practices for Listing Service-Area Businesses (SABs)
Service-area businesses, or SABs, are businesses that visit customers directly at offsite locations. SABs don’t serve customers at their own business addresses, and that fact can sometimes make it difficult for SABs to create effective Google My Business listings.
The owners of service-area businesses may not want to disclose their addresses publicly on the Google platform. In the name of safety and privacy, Google has introduced a number of features exclusively to service-area businesses. For example, rather than setting a specific address, service-area businesses can set their coverage areas to regions, cities, or zip codes, and they can designate more than one service area for Google to rank.
If you’re not sure whether your business qualifies as a service-area business, ask yourself these questions:
- Does my storefront have signage?
- Do my employees travel to customers at their physical locations?
If you answered no to the first question and yes to the second, then you have a service-area business.
If your business serves different locations, with separate service areas and separate employees dedicated to each of those locations, then you should create a separate service-area business profile on Google for each location. Google’s guidelines state that service-area businesses should have one profile for the central office and for each location with a designated service area. Service-area businesses should not list virtual offices, unless those offices are staffed by the business itself during regular business hours.
In addition to clearing your business address from your business profile, and providing a phone number that connects customers to your individual business locations as directly as possible, you should also follow these best practices when listing your SAB on Google.
Best Practices When Listing Service-Area Businesses
- Don’t try to create multiple listings for a business as a way to rank in multiple zip codes. This goes against Google’s guidelines, and it can get your listing suspended.
- Never set up listings that publicly display your employees’ home addresses or co-working spaces.
- Check that you have “cleared the address” in your Google profile, so your home address won’t show up in Google Maps or any public listings.
- Make sure to get client authorization before uploading photos of projects at client locations to your Google listing.
- Pay special attention to selecting the right primary category and secondary category for your business.
- Engage directly with customers using tools like Google Posts.
- Encourage clients to review your company on Google.
If the guidelines and requirements for creating a service-area business on Google are intimidating, then you should consider working with an agency like SOCi to optimize and manage your local listings.