More threads by Meghan Trapp

Jan 5, 2016
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Hi Experts,

I wanted to hear how you interpret these guidelines for SABs and represent your multi-location SAB clients. Maybe goes without saying, but our client abides by all other GMB guidelines and leases physical space at real addresses in each city.

"Service-area businesses--business that serve customers at their locations--should have one page for the central office or location and designate a service area from that point."

Today, a Google support agent explained that we would represent this client using 1 location/listing and list all the cities/ZIPs nationwide.

If you owned multiple SAB companies, you'd have multiple listings - so how does a SAB business compete with local SABs if a brand of SAB can only have 1 listing? We continually tell client's that what you select for your radius/service area and your listing's reach is still related to your physical location, other algo factors etc.

Also if this is the proper understanding of the guideline, than there are a TON of companies that would be considered as spam/non-compliant - home service companies that are franchisors with Nationwide coverage that should only have 1 pin at corporate, listing out their service area markets.

Thanks for clarifying, didn't want to act on the words of 1 rep, but the Google Support doc doesn't explicitly say how to setup multi-location SABs.

Hi Meghan,

What industry? What type of space are they renting?

And how far apart are the locations? Let's say for a major metro, how many in the surrounding areas? How many total nationwide?
Hi Linda,

Unfortunately, the industry and space would be too much info to give publicly about the client (it's a small competitive industry), but it is a completely legit business leasing and operating in the space at the physical address.

The service is provided to the client at the client's location and the client uses the leased space for business operations. Our client's use case would apply to any franchised home service or concierge service; so to give you a little more to work with for this use case imagine:

- a carpet cleaner that visits your house and does his bookkeeping and has an office manager and equipment in a leased office space.
- a car mechanic that picks up your broken down car, brings it to his shop, and then returns the fixed car.
- a shipping company that picks up freight and delivers it across town.
- a mold remediation company that has an office for business management.

In these examples, the business could in theory serve a client (or book an appointment, complete an agreement etc.) at the physical location since there are employees physically present, but the business model and convenience lend itself to the business serving the client at the client's location. For this reason, our client has not advertised or added signage to the leased space since they are not greeting clients at the office. (But they may adding signage soon since this would be easier for GMB compliance!)

They currently have nearly 50 locations in most of the major US markets, coast to coast. Only 1 or 2 markets have 2 locations, which at best are 10-15 miles in proximity from each other.

I hope this provides enough info to help advise on this situation. If not, I'd really be interested in hearing your thoughts offline where I could potentially disclose more information.

If the physical locations are staffed and having signage you can have listings for the locations, just don't hide the address on them. Also the hours should match the hours they are staffed so don't put them as 24-7.
Hi Joy,

Sorry for any confusion. The business does not really serve clients at the office location so they do not currently mark their office with signage. So they are not eligible to show their address.

My questions is - How would you recommend setting up/representing a multi-location SAB with physical locations across nearly 50 US markets?


You can only create a GMB listing where the offices are. The offices should have some type of sign (even on the door to the suite) if they're actually there.

They honestly are eligible to show the address via Maps guidelines if they physically exist and the space actually has employees. I have lots of SABs I work with that show their address if they have an office. I only hide it if they are using a home address. You can list a service area and not hide the address. The service area is honestly a useless feature in my opinion since it has no impact on ranking.

The best outline I have ever seen on what types of SABs are allowed on the map was written by Flash over at the MapMaker forum:!topic/map-maker/0-0wplytssg

If they actually have 50 offices, they could have 50 listings. I would, however, never do this without sufficient proof on the website that these locations exist. They each need their own location page that shows the address and invites people to stop by (even if they never do). I would also advise they post lots of photos showing the physical location proving they are there. Here is a live example of what I'm referring to with photos: The Handyman Company | 813-626-3663 | Tampa FL
Thanks for your advice Joy!

It's my recommendation that our client adds signage so that we can show our addresses and have 50 pins.

Was the Google support rep correct in that if we don't add signage, and were to hide our address that we would only use 1 listing and 50 "service areas"?

Hiding the address on 50 listings is pretty much a sure way to get them suspended :)

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