More threads by Michelle Darling

Oct 18, 2013
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Hello everyone, I have a client with a single commercial address who offers pest control, landscaping, lawn care, pool service, and handyman services (and sub-services beneath each main service category). His tagline is "Home Maintenance for Everything Outside".

We about to set up GMB Department listings (the main one being pest control, plus separate listings for the other categories using the same address/phone), but wanted to get input on whether that's the right thing to do.

We are also struggling organically. The site is set up by service - so there is a service page for each, plus supplemental content (pages and blog posts) - but we're not getting much visibility.

One challenge, I suspect, is that his competitors are just a pest service, or just a pool service, or just a landscaper ... he is so diluted, that it's hard to compete. I asked if he would consider just being a pest control service (for instance) - focus on one service - but still promote the others on his site and upsell in person.

Instead, he asked me to add 'Pool, Pest, and Lawn' to the end of his business name. Then, recently, he asked me to switch it around to 'Pest, Pool, and Landscaping' at the end of his business name. Any ideas on how to get improved visibility for a jack of all trades? Thanks much!
@Michelle Darling, at that point it's all about organic visibility. GMB does not have enough moving parts that can get your client to rank for that huge range of services, and keep him there. As you alluded to, specialists generally have an advantage on the map, and that's become more and more the case over the years.

The "department" pages strategy is shaky. Those are meant for bricks-and-mortar businesses. Could you get those pages up, and might they stay up for a while? Probably. But you'll need to sleep with one eye open, because those pages could get pulled at any time. Many businesses offer a wide range of services, and they're not all eligible for department pages. For better or for worse.

Besides earning links and getting customers to talk about specific services in their reviews, the next things I'd focus on are (1) rolling out pages on every single service your client cares about and (2) adding to the homepage a somewhat detailed section on the top 5-10 specific services your client cares about.
Thanks much, @Phil Rozek. The client has a commercial property all his crews work out of. We've got photos of numerous trucks and signage at the property. There's a different manager (employee) for each department. And a full-time office manager. And one of their large competitors uses departments (ABC Home & Commercial Services - Plumbing Services Department). This is why we thought GMB Departments would be appropriate. But if you still think it's risky, I'll take your advice.

I also just watched the replay of your "10 Bootstrap Ways to Grab More of Your Service Area in Local Search" at Whitespark as well. Wow! Terrific information. We're off to give the home page more depth and width and create niche service pages.

Really appreciate your time and expertise.
Interesting, @Michelle Darling. That's a shaky strategy on the part of your client's competitors, too. Based on a quick look, I would not say it's in-line with GMB policies. If you conclude the same, I'd try to get those "department" pages removed. If you succeed in doing so, that'll confirm that "department" pages would be a shaky strategy for you, too.

What if you can't get those pages removed? I still wouldn't suggest "department" pages for your client in this case, for a variety of reasons, but you could be somewhat more confident that they wouldn't get pulled right away. For what that's worth.

I'm glad you enjoyed the "10 Bootstrap Ways" talk. Thanks for saying so!
Hey Michelle,

Businesses of this type don't qualify for department listings. I asked Google about it recently and unless they have an extremely visible different entrance and set up for each department, they aren't allowed. Based on what they told me, the example you used is also not allowed. I agree with Phil because if someone was to report that listing example, it would get removed and the reviews possibly with it.
@JoyHawkins Thanks, Joy. That is so disappointing and frustrating. But, certainly not worth the risk it poses. Really appreciate the 'final' answer you have graciously provided, though. Marching forward with other strategies :)

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