I was speaking to a photographer about local marketing the other day, and the importance of completely filling out her Google My Business account as a local business. She didn’t like the sound of it.
“I work from home,” he said “I don’t want my address online.”
I get her concern, and I know she’s not alone. Lots of professional photographers work from home. Maybe they are an independent school shooter. Maybe they shoot destination weddings. They don’t need a studio.
But this was different. She had a studio in her basement, but didn’t want it listed online.
“If I need to meet a client at my house, I’ll tell them where I live,” she argued.
Fortunately for her, Google My Business has an answer. It’s called a Service Area Business. Registering your business at GMB as a service area business lets Google know where you should be listed without showing your address online. Service Area Businesses are used by plumbers, electricians, and lots of other businesses.
So how do you set up a Service Area Business?
To edit your service area details:
1. Sign in to Google My Business.
2. Make sure you’re using card view. If you’re viewing your locations as a list instead of cards, switch to card view by clicking the cards icon on the right side above your locations.
3. Choose the listing you’d like to manage and click Manage location.
4. Click Info at the top of the page.
5. Click the Address section.
6. Use a precise, accurate address to describe your business location, even if it is your home studio. Do not create a listing or place your pin marker at a location where the business does not physically exist. P.O. Boxes, towns or major cross-streets are not considered accurate physical locations.
7. In the window that appears, select Yes next to “I deliver goods and services to my customers at their locations.”
8. Enter your service area information. You can set your service area based on the zip codes or cities that you serve, or on a given area around your location. Keep in mind that the service areas you select have no impact on your ranking there. It’s extremely unlikely that you will rank in the local pack outside the town your home address is in.
9. Uncheck the box next to “I serve customers at my business address” so your home address does not appear on your Google Local business listing or Google maps.
10. Click Apply.
After a few days, Google will review the listing and should mark your GMB location as a local business for the area you described. However, because you choose not to list your address, you will not be listed on Google Maps.
Tip: If you make these changes but do not see a change on your Google listing, you may have duplicated listings. Go back to GMB, search for duplicate listings for your studio, claim them, then a few days later delete the duplicates.