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Hey everyone! Sorry it's been a while since I've been around. Fortunately, I've been swamped. 2013 has been very very good to me so far so I haven't had much time to spend here lately but I try to post and read here when I can.

At any rate, I'm consulting with a client and I'm curious what everyone here thinks on this one...

A carpet cleaning company has a business location in a "bigger" city. This is easy, obviously they can have a Google+ local page.

However, he also has 10 technicians in 10 different neighboring "smaller" cities - and each one services only their respective city. Each technician has a company van but operates out of their house.

The company wants to know if they can have a Google+ Local page for each location they have these technicians in. Keep in mind, each technician works for this company but they work out of their homes. It's sort of set up like a mini franchise.

To me this seems like a real gray area as I can see both sides of the argument. Thoughts?

Travis Van Slooten
 

Linda Buquet

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We've missed you Travis!!! But glad you're busy! :p

Super gray. Dark gray. Google would likely say black. If you read the guidelines it pretty much spells it out.

Do not create a listing or place your pin marker at a location where the business does not physically exist. The business is not located there, the employee is.

Businesses that operate in a service area, as opposed to a single location, should not create a listing for every city they service. Businesses that operate in a service area should create one listing for the central office

I mean I can see their side. They have a guy that serves that city with a truck. I totally get why they'd want to try it.

But I don't think Google would allow it if they find out. ESPECIALLY since they are so hard on SABs and especially because that particular industry is seen as spammy and is VERY MUCH under scrutiny. AND part of the reason is because lots of them try this very same strategy.

The other problem besides getting deleted or suspended is merging. Then they still end up with one listing but it's not correct. It's a mishmash of bad data. Maybe they end up with their main most important listing that’s the big city, but the map marker is in the little city far away that's their least important location.

So knowing everything I know, I would not do it for a variety of reasons.
 

Linda Buquet

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FYI I don't work with clients personally at all any more as you know, refer all my leads out. And never did work with SABs so in no way target that market or anything.

Just to give you an idea. Just today 2 carpet cleaner leads. Both said "we have multiple locations" all our listings are gone, even though we hid our address. Since I'm referring out I didn't research them but I bet somewhat similar situations.

There is a forum for carpet cleaners where a bunch of them have all had listings deleted. I bet some were trying to do this same thing. All gone...
 
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Linda:

Thanks for the reply. Your thoughts and sentiments are right on par with mine. I just wanted validation before I tell these guys. They seem pretty dead set on making this work so I'm sure they won't take my advice with a smile.

I am getting a lot of calls and emails lately from service-based businesses who are trying their hardest to play this gray area. I give them the standard reply - one page per PHYSICAL REAL location and they freak. They are hell bent on "gaming" the system and don't like to hear reality. Luckily I don't work with these types of owners but it never makes for a pleasant phone call:)

Travis Van Slooten
 

Marie Ysais

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I wouldn't even attempt it as it would just give you more headaches later.
I would rank them in the maps that matches their address and then only organically for each of the other cities. You can get them top spot organically and keep them happy with click through rates!
 

Kristen

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I agree with the strategy Marie and Linda are suggesting as well. If you can cover them in their main city within local, but then rank them organically for other keywords, they might stand to get more clicks, especially if you've got great titles, descriptions and authorship in place to make the listings stand out.

You could rank them for keywords like 'professional carpet cleaning services' where, at least in my area, organic listings outrank local. I often find myself digging deep into keywords with clients like these and having to get a little creative in our approach.

By doing regular blog posts, we're able to capture more of the long tail keywords and educate visitors before they contact the client.
 

Phil Rozek

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I agree with everything that?s been said here. Another factor that might not occur to the carpet-cleaner dude is that getting even one listing visible in Google+Local can be a LOT of work. Not only are they in a worse position to git ?er dun if they have 10 ?locations,? but if even if they do all work and get decent (albeit very dark-gray) results, Google can and will crack down more diligently. Then what? It was all built on a foundation of sand.

Only then will they consider paying attention to their site. Well, maybe they should do that first: as Marie says, that?s the basis for some good organic rankings. And if they create some decent, unique landing pages for each service area, maybe they can get rolling with highly targeted AdWords campaigns focused on each specific service area.

These guys need to ante up. If they can afford 10 trucks, they can afford to invest time in their website and maybe some money in PPC.
 
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