Home based businesses can now be on Google Maps with confidence
For small businesses, especially those that are home based and working with small operating budgets, low cost internet marketing via Goolge Maps, the Bing and Yahoo equivalents, and several dozen local/regional business directories has been the primary option to gain online visibility.
A primary concern for home based businesses was the requirement on Google’s Local Business Center to enter their home addresses in the profile if they wanted to be included in Google Maps. Well, just last week, Google took this problem off the table by adding a new feature that allows businesses to define what service locations and areas they cater to instead of providing their address.
When logged in to the LBC to create or edit their business profile, users will see a new tab called “Service Areas and Location Settings”. This tab will allow small businesses to tell Google if customers come to their business location or if they serve customers at their locations (eg plumbers, electricians, etc). By selecting the latter, small business owners will see the addition of a new Service Areas and Location Settings box that looks like this
As you can see, small business owners can nowchoose not to have their business address appear in Google Maps. Business owners will also have the ability to specify whether they want their business to be listed by distance from a location or by the cities/zip codes locations they serve. This should put to rest the real fears of home based business owners about displaying their home address in the profile and on Google SERPs.
This feature is still running in a limited test mode and will become more broadly available shortly. With this new functionality, any home-based businesses afraid of making their address public should now confidently claim and complete their Google LBC profile.