What are Service Area Businesses?
Service Area Businesses, also known as SABs, are businesses that serve a particular region or location. In the past, Google required all businesses to provide their address to be featured in their listings, including businesses that did not operate from a physical location.
With the Google My Business update, this address is replaced with the option for businesses to specify their region, city or zip code. Businesses may still list their addresses, but these will not be tied to new service area-specific features. Whichever you choose, having an up-to-date GMB profile is an important part of local SEO.
What’s New in the Google My Business Update?
Previously, using the address provided by the business, Google allowed companies to designate a service area, basically a zone around their business. For example, a restaurant could list that it served customers within a 10-mile radius of the physical location.
Now, businesses must define a particular region as their service area. Depending on the location, Service Area Businesses will want to specify the city or particular zip code in which they operate. For businesses that do not specify a precise service area, the country it operates in will be used instead.
How Will the Google My Business Update Help Businesses?
The Google My Business update intends to clear up much of the confusion surrounding Service Area Businesses that plagued prior iterations of the listing tool. As Google My Business was previously based on specific addresses, this limited the ability to organize businesses in a way that would be effective and accessible for consumers.
With the introduction of the ability to designate regions, customers browsing Google listings will be able to access the full breadth of businesses relevant to them. In addition, Google will be able to provide better location descriptions that impart valuable information to customers.
How Can I Use the Google My Business Update Effectively?
When possible, update your existing location information to reflect the new information required by Google My Business. If you’d like, you can select multiple service areas that will be displayed with equal prominence by Google.
If you previously selected a service area, be sure to update your info. Google plans to phase all existing service radiuses into its new system, displaying them as place names or zip codes. This could result in mistakes—and an incorrect GMB profile can have disastrous consequences for your business. Google’s auto-update could potentially result in inaccurate information being displayed to large amounts of people, so be sure your business is compliant with the update.