One of the primary challenges local businesses face is expanding their reach across multiple cities or areas without violating Google’s guidelines. Navigating this can be tricky, but with the right knowledge, it can take your business to new heights.
In a recent discussion with Sarah Maeschen, our marketing consultant at Big West Marketing, we delved deep into this exact topic. Here’s a thorough breakdown of the valuable insights we gained:
Understanding Google Business Profile Requirements
Google has stringent rules for businesses aiming to list multiple locations on their platform. These include:
- Real Addresses Only: The address has to be either residential or commercial. If it’s residential, it should be hidden, while commercial addresses should be visible.
- No Virtual Addresses: Google prohibits the use of virtual addresses, PO boxes, and UPS PO boxes. They require a residential or commercial address that is backed by legitimate documentation.
- Evidence of Legitimacy: Google might ask for:
- Registration through state, county, or city.
- Business license or insurance.
- Utility bills.
- Video verification, requiring businesses to give a virtual tour of their premises.
Failure to adhere to these rules can lead to suspension, which is a challenging process to recover from. Remember, the aim is not just to be listed, but to rank and be visible to potential customers.
The Importance of Authenticity in the Digital Age
As tempting as shortcuts can be, it’s essential to prioritize long-term gains over short-lived successes. Google’s algorithms are always evolving, and they’re becoming better at detecting and penalizing inauthentic practices. A genuine approach not only ensures compliance but helps businesses build a lasting online reputation.
How to Rank in Multiple Cities
While your business may be registered in one city, you might be aiming to provide services in surrounding areas. Here’s how you can rank across different locations:
- City-Specific Pages on Your Website: Create dedicated pages for each city you service. This shows Google that you’re relevant in those areas, even if you aren’t physically present there.
- Gather Location-Specific Reviews: Encourage customers from various cities to leave reviews. Even if they don’t specify the location, you can respond, highlighting the area of service.
- Incorporate Local Landmarks in Images: This gives Google more data, reinforcing that you’re active in those locations.
- Content is King: The information on these city-specific pages is crucial. It should detail the services provided, highlight local landmarks, and even mention employees active in that area.
How Much Content Do You Need?
While the exact number can vary based on what competitors are doing, a general guideline is:
- Homepages: 400-800 words.
- Service Pages: 400-500 words.
- City Pages: At least 600 words, but this can vary depending on competition.
Remember, the quality and relevance of the content are as important as the quantity.
Expanding your local business’s reach across multiple cities requires careful strategizing and a deep understanding of Google’s requirements. While it might seem challenging, the long-term benefits, in terms of visibility and revenue, make it worthwhile.
For businesses seeking expert guidance in this area, Big West Marketing offers specialized consultations tailored for home service businesses. Whether you need a performance analysis of your website or insights into Google ranking, we’re here to help. Reach out to us at 406-493-1881 or through the link provided.
Remember, in the vast world of digital marketing, authenticity and strategy go hand in hand. The journey might be demanding, but with the right approach, the rewards are unmatched.