The Best 7 Tips to Optimize Your Google My Business for Auto Repair

The Best 7 Tips to Optimize Your Google My Business for Auto Repair

Google My Business for Auto Repair is the solution for many auto repair shop owners that are looking for a way to increase the number of customers that visit their shops. While many of them are in a fierce battle competing with larger businesses online, their online marketing strategies are in no way working for their business.

If you own an auto repair shop, you should know that people now search online for almost every product or service they need, primarily through their mobile devices. This has made mobile phone searches the dominant method through which people find and locate local businesses.

What this means for you is that to increase visitors to your shop and increase sales, you’ll need to make yourself more visible online. Perhaps the best way to do this is to optimize your website and Google My Business (GMB) page. By optimizing both your website and GMB, you’ll be giving your customers a better experience and increases the chances of them finding you online whenever they search for your services.

Verifying your GMB page is the first step to bring more customers to your shop. In this article, we’ll offer some essential tips on how to optimize your website and your GMB page.

Tips To Optimize Your Auto Repair Business GMB Page

#1: Get Your Information Right

Thеrе аrе different раrtѕ оf your Google Mу Business listing, ѕо lеt’ѕ ѕtаrt with your core buѕіnеѕѕ information:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone Number
  • Website
  • Description
  • Category
  • Attributes

Google My Business will request your name, address, phone number and website (which is otherwise known as NAP) to begin the listing creation process. This information will be indexed by Google search and Google Maps, providing a foundation for your local SEO.

Your information should be consistent with what’s currently listed on your website as much as possible. Inconsistencies in this information can negatively impact your search ranking.

When entering your address, make sure it matches with the correct coordinates on the map and includes the same zip code (5-digit vs. hyphenated 9-digit zip) provided on your website. You’ll also want to use a local number instead of a national or call center number.

After you’ve provided your NAP, the next part to focus on is your business category and company attributes. You can add as many categories as you’d like, however you can only use Google’s pre-made list of categories. Use as many as apply but don’t use any irrelevant categories.

You should consider your keyword strategies when adding your business category and attributes. However, you need to do this with care so that you won’t be stuffing your listing with keywords.

#2: Update Your Auto Repair Shop with Events and Holidays

Google doesn’t want to send customers to your business when you’re closed, so you want to make sure your hours of operation include Holidays. There is an option for you to set special hours for the holidays and events in advance. Once logged into your GMB page you’ll head over to your dashboard, from there you’ll go to the info tab and on the left side will be a place for you to edit the special hours.

#3: Research Potential Keywords

Keywords are groups of words that people use when looking for your services. This is one of the essential tips for optimizing your GMB page. You must identify potential keywords related to auto repair in your area.

Keyword research is an entirely different subject, but if your GMB listing has been around, you can use it to get a basic idea of your keywords. Go to your GMB dashboard and click on Insights. Here, in addition to seeing how much traffic your GMB listing created, you can see the search terms people are using to find your listing already. This can give you an idea of the types of keywords you want to focus on.

To assess recent query, consider setting the date range to a three months to give you the most information. Then check the queries that seem to be the most popular based on the number of users searching for your services.

One exciting thing about Google My Business is that its metrics are based on unique users, unlike what with Google Search Console that reports on impressions. This means your auto repair business can easily note popular phrases most people use to find your website, and on an individual basis.

#4: Ask For Reviews and Respond To Them All

Reviews are the lifeblood of local search. It’s a simple equation. When you’ve got good reviews on your business page, your potential for getting more customers goes up. There are some instances where bad reviews can also present you with a golden opportunity. This may sound counter intuitive, but when users read a gracious response from the owner, they know that even if things go wrong, you’ll make sure to fix it.

most people like a second opinion — a good reason why 90% of people read reviews before making a purchase. A recent study done in 2018 found that 68% of consumers search for local businesses at least once a month. That’s a 10% increase from 2017.

So, how do you get reviews from your customers? It’s simple. You ask them! While some sites may discourage this, Google My Business actively recommends it. You can send a link to your customers in a few easy steps.

  • Go to your Google My Business dashboard.
  • Click on Info.
  • Select the @ symbol to create your GMB Shortname.
  • Click on Home.
  • Find the section that says “Get More Reviews” and click “share profile”
  • Copy the link and send it to your customers by email, text message, or other instant messaging apps.

While the best time to ask for a review is right at the time of service, make sure you share with your previous customers by sending the link via email or text.The worst that can happen is they don’t write you a review.

After you start to gather reviews on your listing, you’ll need to respond to all of them. Even the ones that are bad – especially the ones that are bad. Take time to write a message to each reviewer using the Google My Business dashboard. 44.6% of people say they would be more likely to visit a business if the owner was responding to negative reviews.

If your reviews are arriving with a perfect 5-star rating, this is your opportunity to turn a customer into a passionate supporter of your business.

Pro-Tip: Use keywords in your responses to show Google you’re relevant. For example, if someone writes you a 5 star review, say “Thanks customer, it was a pleasure doing your brake repair in our city.”

#5: Use your Google My Business Messager

What if your customers have a question they want a quick answer to? How will they get in touch with you?

The simple answer is “They’ll call the number on my GMB” but that’s not always the case. Many people, especially younger people, prefer text based communications. Google knows this, and that’s why they implemented the GMB messenger. If you use the GMB App on your phone, you can enable instant messaging straight on your GMB listing.

Google My Business for auto repair can use the GMB messenger

#6: Use Google My Business for Auto Repair to add posts and share business updates

Google added the posts feature back in 2017. This feature allows you to share content about your business, much like a Facebook post. You can use text, photos, and even add a call to action button.

As soon as you’ve verified your GMB listing, you can begin creating posts. Click on the posts tab of your GMB listing and click the one of the different types of posts:

  • Add Update: You can create a regular social media style post here with text and images and a CTA button.
  • Add Event: If your business is doing something special, you can create the event on your GMB page so it will show up on Google.
  • Add Offer: Got a sweet discount you’re offering? You can add it to your GMB lsiting so when users find your business they see it right away.

#7: Track Customer paths through Google My Business Insights

As with any marketing strategy, it’s important to measure thei mpact of your Google My Business listing on your auto repair business. And the good news is that Google has built-in tools to help with that.

Google My Business Insights can tell you:

  • How customers are finding your business – direct vs. discovery searches
  • Where on Google your customers are finding your listing – Search vs. Maps
  • The actions your customers are taking on your listing – visiting your site, clicking on directions, browsing the photo gallery, or calling you
  • Total phone calls and time when customers are calling

Google My Business tracks user actions in the Insights section of the dashboard, which can help you understand what customers find valuable in your listing. You can even compare some elements, like photo views, to your competitors’ performance. All of these information can be used to track your customers’ conversion path, and provides a comprehensive understanding of your customers’ actions prior to reaching your website.

The Bottom Line

There are many ways customers can find your auto repair business, but there’s no denying that Google Search is an incredible gateway to your website. So get your Google My Business page optimized and position your auto repair business where the people searching for it can see it.

Optimizing your Google My Business for auto repair is just the first step to dominating the search rankings and getting more customers. Learn how we used citations to get more customers for the largest auto repair shop in Los Angeles.

Robert Portillo, founder of Nimbus Marketing, and his family.

About the author:

Robert Portillo is the founder of Nimbus Marketing. Nothing satisfies him more than expressing his thoughts well. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two sons. He can often be found at local farmer’s markets, hiking trails, and the beach.

How Citation Consistency Dramatically Helped the Largest Tire & Auto Repair Shop in L.A.

How Citation Consistency Dramatically Helped the Largest Tire & Auto Repair Shop in L.A.

Tire and Auto Repair Shop Millionaires are Impressive

 

Bob was a self-made millionaire 2 times over. We’d been in a business networking group called LeTip for many years. He owned the largest tire and auto repair shop in Los Angeles. We had coffee a few times, and Bob explained to me how he made his millions. He had worked in the tire industry for a few years as a young man when he purchased the company he worked for. He spent the next decade building the tire shop into one of the largest around.

He did so well in the coming years that he sold his auto and tire repair shop in his early 30’s and retired a millionaire. He started spending most of his time golfing and traveling. Soon he became bored because none of his friends or family had the money or free time to join him. As a result, he would often spend his time in foreign lands and on the golf course alone. That’s when he started a new business, built it from the ground up, and became a self-made millionaire once again.

I couldn’t help but notice that his auto repair shop’s website was outdated. I asked him a couple of times if he’d thought about rebuilding it or if he was interested in trying search engine optimization, PPC, Local SEO or other types of online marketing. He always rebuffed my ideas. After all, he was the self-made millionaire twice over. What advice did a relatively inexperience business owner have to offer him?

Ultimately he was stuck in his ways. He was still fixated on sending out postcards and other physical mailers. Who could blame him? They worked for him for years. So I gave up and continued to bring my vehicles to his shop for repairs and new tires. Sadly, many years later, Bob got sick and passed on his business to his grandson.

His grandson was an intelligent and extremely motivated young man in his mid-20’s. His ambition was impressive. You could almost smell the fire in his belly. While his 4 siblings went off to college to become attorneys and doctors, he was more interested in being a business person.

citation consistency for tire and auto repair shops

Citation Consistency Problems Arise

 

Sensing a new opportunity, I asked the grandson if he was interested in growing his business by increasing his search engine rankings. He quickly replied “yes” and signed up for one of our monthly search engine optimization packages.

We immediately went to work and quickly ran into a devastating roadblock. The website was built on a template shared by hundreds of other auto repair and tire shops. This made it impossible to update anything on his site except for his blog. Search engine optimization requires updating certain parts of a web page, including title tags, H1 tags, alt tags, and 11 other elements. But we were unable to access these elements of his website so we were stuck.

When we learned of this terrible situation, we contemplated calling to tell the Grandson that we couldn’t help them improve the rankings and search visibility for their auto and tire shop. In a company brainstorming session, we discovered that they had some significant citation consistency issues. They’d been in business for around 4 decades. During that time, they had multiple business names, addresses, and phone numbers. In the SEO world, name, address and phone number are referred to as “NAP”.

Google, Bing and Yahoo local SEO NAP number of ranking factors for business

These NAP citation consistency problems were causing their business to have far lower Google Maps rankings than they should have. The reason citation consistency issues cause problems is because when Google and other search engines see different business names, addresses, and phone numbers, they lose trust in a business. They don’t feel confident sending people to the wrong place.

Since we couldn’t update their website, we started correcting all the inconsistent directory listings, also called structured citations, to improve their NAP citation consistency. Since they’d been around for so many years, they had well over 200 citations.

It took us many months to get all the citations exactly consistent. As we corrected their citations over time, their local rankings grew. Their auto and tire repair shop went from 24 number one rankings to 84 number one rankings. They also went from 31 rankings in the 2-5 position to 65 rankings. Their rankings in the 5–10 position rose from 4 to 33. The chart below shows their explosive growth in #1 rankings as the top-10 and top-50 rankings. They experienced a 340% growth in 2 years.

Nimbus Marketing Delivers Big Time For Local Shop

 

Our efforts for this family-owned tire and auto repair shop paid off big time. The Grandson called me into his office and explained to me that since they hired us, their sales increased by over $800,000. He explained that although the increase in sales was not completely because of our SEO efforts, it was a large part of it.

This is one of my favorite customer success stories. It demonstrates the power of never giving up. It also highlights the importance of good research. If my team hadn’t thought to review their citation profile, we may have cancelled our campaign for them and missed out a big opportunity to help a local family-owned business.

To this day, we still can’t update their website. I can only imagine how much more their business would have grown if we could have.

Robert Portillo, founder of Nimbus Marketing, and his family.

About the author:

Robert Portillo is the founder of Nimbus Marketing. Nothing satisfies him more than expressing his thoughts well. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two sons. He can often be found at local farmer’s markets, hiking trails, and the beach.

All You Need to Know to Get Your Business to the Top of Google

All You Need to Know to Get Your Business to the Top of Google

Gone are those days when only big businesses with big pockets can benefit from large scale marketing to get their business to the top of Google. Today, things have changed and it is now about who can smartly take advantage of the several digital channels to outrun

the competition using local search marketing.
Marketing has now turned to an “even field” where anyone can play. Many small businesses are taking advantage of the internet to promote their products and services in the best possible way. And the interesting thing about this is that it is working – they are making huge success from it.
Regardless of the size of the business, the digital age is giving businesses the opportunity to leverage the power of technology to grow their presence. As more companies get found via search engines, the online marketing trend grows stronger by the day.

What Exactly Is Local Search Marketing?

Local search marketing, which is also referred to as local SEO, is an incredibly effective way of marketing your local business online. It presents a golden avenue for you to let local customers

know about your products and services at the exact time they are searching for them online.
Whether you are a local plumber or a dentist, using local search marketing means a potential client looking for your service around your local area at a particular time will be led directly to you. It helps make your business more visible to potential clients online. Therefore, helping to improve the growth of your business offline as more customers find and locate you.

Local search marketing is achieved through a variety of methods, some of which greatly differ from what’s practiced in standard SEO. And of course, some of them are also far easier to manage.

Why Does Local Search Marketing Matter?

Organic SEO is great. As a matter of fact, if you are not a local business, that is what you should be focusing on. But if you operate a local business and looking to have more clients and customers in your geographical location, you may need to look beyond organic SEO.

In order to increase the visibility of your business, local search marketing is what you need to be using. Because the only way to get local search users to notice your business is by ranking for geographically-targeted keywords.

As a local business with a physical store, your topmost priority should be getting found on the internet. Whether you are a dentist or a plumber or shop owner selling a large variety of flowers, using your business location can help you stand out from “online-only” e-commerce businesses.

Still not convinced local SEO is important to your business? Check out these stats to see how important local search marketing is:

  • 88% of consumers who search for a local business online eventually call or visit its physical location that same day
  • When looking up the location of a local business, 86% of internet users use Google Maps
  • 46% of all Google searches include a query looking for local information
  • 72% of customers who search online for local businesses visit stores located within an 8km or 5-mile radius from them.

Now, what these numbers are telling us is that leads coming from location-based searches seem to be a major avenue for potential customers. And one thing is that those numbers will only keep increasing.

Benefits of Local Search Marketing to Your Business

The age of printed phone books is over, and more and more local customers are now turning to the internet to find local businesses – both on mobile and desktop. Learning how to rightly position your business using local search marketing has lots of ways it can benefit your business. Below are some of the effects your business can experience from local search marketing.

#1: local search marketing is timely and highly targeted

The major reason people do local searches is so they can find a local business, a product or service. When many local searchers search the internet, what they are looking for is a specific business name. But the truth is that most of these people don’t have a specific business in mind when they started their search.

#2: You will never miss out on potential customer

Mobile internet is growing, and the number of people who use tablets and phones to find the best local businesses on the go keeps increasing. As a matter of fact, in the US today, mobile digital media time is now higher (51%) compared to desktop use which is at 42%. Since local search SEO targets both mobile and PC internet access, it means you will never miss out on a potential customer. That indeed means a huge success to your business.

#3: You can enjoy the highest conversion rate

Compared to every other local advertising channels, local search seems to have the highest conversion rate. This means that by using local search marketing to get your business listed on as many online directory sites as possible, you will be able to convert 1 out of 2 leads into a permanent customer that buys from you every time.

#4: Local search marketing provides an awesome return on investment

Unlike what it used to be with other traditional advertising such as local newspapers, direct mail, leaflets, etc., there is little or no wasted exposure with local SEO. It helps you reach your potential customers just at the time they needed you. This way, local search marketing is not only efficient, but it is also cost-effective.

#5: Perfect for businesses of any size

Many of the local SEO opportunities are actually free. For instance, claiming your listing on Google My Business, Bing Places for Business, and many other inline business directories are absolutely free. That is nothing but a free promotion for your business!

#6: It gives you a hand over your competitors

Google My Business (GMB) is a free listing by Google for almost all businesses. Getting listed on GMB increases your chance of showing up in local search results on Google. However, only 44% of businesses have claimed a spot on GMB because many of them are yet to come to the reality of how
important online marketing could be to their businesses.

This gives you a hand over your competitors before they eventually wise up and start competing with you. Strike the iron while it’s still hot!

#7: 85% of consumers trust and rely on online business reviews as much as personal recommendations

One major factor in the success of many local businesses is word of mouth. So leverage on local search marketing. Get yourself online, ask your customers to drop positive reviews about how satisfied they are with your product or services in order to increase your company’s online reputation. This has a great way of attracting hundreds of new customers to your business.

Grow Your Business Using Local SEO

Local search marketing is becoming a strong trend and could only get stronger in the future, especially looking at how much effort Google is putting into making the local search experience better. If you have not been taking advantage of local search SEO services, now is the time to do so. Use it to get your business to the top of Google before your competitors wake up. All local businesses, from local stores to plumbers, from florists to builders, and from to dentists and accountants, can improve their business and increase their income through local search marketing. So don’t be left out!

Tips to Help You Better Your Local Search Marketing

Here are some tips to help you improve your brand’s local SEO or local search marketing without breaking your wallet.

  • You will need a real physical address

One major mistake many businesses are doing today when it comes to local search marketing is not having a real physical location in the geographical area they are targeting.

It is important that your marketing goals remain in sync with the goals of Google too. Google is striving to give its users a better search experience by displaying genuine information about a business when their users search, including the location of such business.

When your business is not having a real physical address, it stands the chance of not getting featured in Google’s high-traffic local park. There is no two way about this, just make sure you have a real physical address for your business.

  • Claim your GMB profile

Don’t be like the bulk of other business owners that are still neglecting the power of Google My Business directory. You just can’t afford to ignore it. So it’s important that you claim and optimize your free GMB page in order to get valuable exposure from your local audience.

  • Get regular reviews from happy customers

The practice of asking your trusted customers to leave good reviews for your business is a great way to both optimize your GMB presence and also to encourage more local customers to trust and buy from you. According to stats, about 85% of consumers trust online reviews just like personal recommendations.

  • Optimize for voice search

This is one aspect of local search that is rapidly growing. Because of this, it is important to optimize your business for how potential customers ask questions when they speak into their devices unlike how they type out their searches.

Here, your potential customers are using more long-tail keywords when they do voice searches unlike what it is for regular search. Due to this, it’s important you adjust your content SEO to fit the more conventional tone of someone speaking.

  • Create content based on local events and news stories

When it comes to grabbing local customer’s attention, there is nothing that can be as effective as creating content that speaks directly to a local

issue. Some strategies for creating such content include:

  • Writing blog posts around local activities, news stories, or events
  • Setting up webpages that are location-specific
  • Creating videos that home in on local charities

For instance, if you run a local estate business, you can create content around changes in the local real estate market. It is an effective strategy that will get your business ranked for your target customers to see.

  • Get your website optimized for mobile

According to studies, more traffic is being generated to local stores and businesses from mobile searches. This means you will need to optimize your site for mobile being a major player in local SEO. In order to do this, you will need to:

  • Be sure your site loads quickly
  • Use readable fonts for easy reading
  • Use images and videos to grab more attention
  • Use intuitive UI for great UX
  • Home in on local keywords

What makes sense is that you choose keywords that are relevant to your local customers. There are a few tools online that help you choose keywords based on locations so that you can easily get the search terms and volumes for a given region. An example of such tools is the Google Keyword Planner. The tool allows you to search keywords based on geographical locations and allows you to create a list for such locally relevant keywords.

Once you have such keywords, they are your gold, and you should include them in your site’s Meta content, URLs, and copy.

  • Don’t neglect other online business directories; take advantage of them

These are such websites like Yelp, MapQuest, Foursquare, and YellowPages, among many others. Getting your business details like the name, address, and phone number into these sites will both help your visibility and also boost your local SEO.

Local Search Marketing: More Important Than Ever

SEO changes all the time, and you never can tell when Google will be rolling out the next updates and features. That is why you need to take advantage of local search marketing to regularly stay on top of the game. You can’t afford to neglect this almost free opportunity to achieve your business goals. Start building a solid foundation for your business today; start focusing on local SEO.

The best tip of all is to stay on top of changes by finding reliable newsletters from industry experts. Make sure you’re paying attention to all the experts because unless they have a lot of testing behind them, you’ll have to do some filtering to find out if they actually know what they talk about.

Often times, if you ask 10 SEOs the same question you’ll end up with 10 answers. Or, you’ll end up with 9 wrong answers. A great example of that is the 

power of nofollow links. Google stated years ago that nofollow links do not pass any “link juice” but testing has shown that to be false. Even though there have been reliable tests disproving Google’s words, nearly everywhere you look you’ll see SEOs saying nofollow links don’t pass link juice.

Thank you for taking the time to read my article. If you know anybody who might like this article, please share.

How are you running your business without a fully staffed office, and what has been your experience with Google My Business? Please share your story in the comments.

Robert Portillo, founder of Nimbus Marketing, and his family.

About the author:

Robert Portillo is the founder of Nimbus Marketing. Nothing satisfies him more than expressing his thoughts well. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two sons. He can often be found at local farmer’s markets, hiking trails, and the beach.

Are Coworking Spaces for Google Maps Legitimate in 2019 and Beyond?

Are Coworking Spaces for Google Maps Legitimate in 2019 and Beyond?

Are You a Scammer if You Use a Coworking Space for Your Google Maps Listing?

On June 20th, the Wall Street Journal published an article revealing that millions of Google Maps listings are completely fake. Given the current environment surrounding fake listings, are you safe to use coworking spaces for Google Maps listings? Or are you in jeopardy of having your Google Maps listing removed along with all of your hard-earned reviews?

 

An older article by one of the most respected SEO news sources in existence stated: “if a coworking space is not manned full-time, meaning that there’s nobody there to greet visitors who show up unannounced, then the coworking space does not meet the eligibility requirements for a Google Maps listing”. In the article referenced above, there are two points that I contend are misleading at best, and completely inaccurate at worst. They are (sic):

  1. You must physically occupy the space. Any other scenario revokes eligibility.
  2. Your Google My Business listing hours of operation must accurately reflect the hours that you are actually at the office.

Both of these statements are simply false, and based on fear of the consequences of old, grey-hat and black-hat search engine optimization techniques. Moreover, they are statements that are bewilderingly ignorant of the range of different professional lives that modern day business owners live. Worst of all, these proclamations are now enforced by Google.

The fear-based element of these two statements originated at a time in the past when businesses realized they could create a new Google Maps listing (now called Google My Business or GMB for short) with a P.O. Box address and boost their local search marketing efforts. This allowed business owners to quickly grow their business by adding new “locations” in adjacent areas. Google cracked down on these SEO techniques and many companies lost their Google Maps listings, along with all their reviews.

This had devastating consequences for many businesses. Our online marketing agency has direct experience with the catastrophic consequences of Google’s “Crackdown.” We know of some business owners who were using P.O. Boxes to “game the system” and relied on a dozen or more Google Maps listings to drive leads. Despite our advice that they stop, they continued and eventually went out of business when Google cracked down.

Coworking Spaces are an Inspiring New Norm

Was Google’s Crackdown was legitimate? Without question. This is because a business owner cannot meet a potential customer at a P.O. Box and present as a legitimate business. Even worse, if a potential customer just showed up at a P.O. Box without notice, they would find no trace of the business in question resulting in a frustrating experience that Google instigated. Google was absolutely right to crack down because they care about their reputation. It is in Google’s best interest to refer to the best possible businesses. This results in a better user experience and ensures that Google’s customers keep using their search engine rather than Bing or Yahoo.

Enter the world of coworking spaces. Coworking spaces are mixed use spaces. They have everything from full blown large offices complete with minimum lease requirements, to smaller and virtual offices. If all you need is a regular desk space to work at, coworking spaces have that too. Coworking spaces are also mixed business spaces. There are usually as many different types of businesses at a coworking space as there are available spaces. Attorney, graphic designers, artists and many other types of businesses use coworking spaces their home office.

If you need a moderately quiet place to meet with someone, a place less distracting than a coffee shop, there are spots for that as well. Coworking spaces are ideal for meeting clients. Not only are the facilities well-stocked, the ambiance is often awe-inspiring. You would be hard pressed to find a space better to impress a new potential customer.

Coworking spaces often feature a host of amenities such as: 

  • Event space – including projectors, sound systems, lighting and more
  • Wellness rooms – for nursing, praying, meditating, or quiet time
  • Recording suites – 4k video, audio and screening
  • Outside offices – work under the sun on a shady desk

One would have to spend a small fortune to stock their office with the arsenal of equipment found at even a run-of-the-mill coworking space. Its no wonder that more and more business professionals are migrating to them part or full time.

If you are considering Coworking spaces Google Maps listings, know that they offer wide open and shared work spaces that feel distinctly less lonely and far more inspiring. Some even include loads of freebies and discounts from local businesses, daily events and specials, and in some cases, full bars and cafés – all included in the monthly subscription or lease. The point is that people who use a coworking space have total control of how and where they want to spend their day. They are not limited by a cubicle or home office. They can move around in expansive and widely varied settings at will. For many business owners this is a much more satisfying work lifestyle, especially creative types.

Managing Your Business Address

The crucial distinction between a coworking space and a P.O. Box is that you can confidently meet a client there. You can easily set up an appointment and book a conference room space, even if you only have a virtual office set up for your company. And a client is much more likely to be impressed with your coworking space amenities. Most people have never visited a coworking space and are they in for a shocking delight when they do. Anybody that shows up at the WeWork La Brea space, for example, is likely to have their mind blown by the facilities and staff. If a stranger shows up at a coworking space looking for a specific business they would undoubtedly find a very well-run and organized professional environment, and one certainly more welcoming than an office space in a generic business building or strip mall.

 

Since anybody can randomly shows up at a coworking space, the business owner should be mindful of this situation and take precautions to ensure they don’t leave a potential customer hanging. If a business is located at a coworking space and it is not fully staffed at all times, the business owner should indicate “by appointment only” on their website, Google Maps, and any other online listings. Additionally, if the business located at a coworking space is rarely or never staffed, such as a mobile service business, they should adjust their Google Maps listing settings to “service area business” to hide their address.  Yes, for the unfortunate few that show up at a coworking location unannounced, they may be disappointed. And that is okay and relatively normal in today’s modern business environment.

Why? Because many modern business professionals whose office is not located in a coworking space do not keep regular hours. There are countless professionals who are one-person operations, and who have an office building with signage and do not fully staff the location at all times. Does this mean they should not be able to have a Google My Business listing? Of course not.

Take for example a one-person financial consultancy located in a high-rise downtown. They may have an office complete with signage that somebody could potentially visit, unannounced. Here are some other scenarios for why this sole proprietor may not be able to be at their office during opening hours:

  • What if the consultant is out to lunch when the customer stops by unannounced?
  • What if they’re attending a business meeting off-site?
  • What if this professional meets with clients at their location just as often as his own office?
  • What if they were out of town for a week, at an important business seminar or conference?
  • What if they had to pick up their sick child from school?

Should this type of professional no longer be eligible for a Maps listing because their office is not staffed at all times and their listed business hours did not accurately reflect the actual hours of operation? Absolutely not. This would steeply penalize a business owner who’s work depends on varied office hours and could not afford a full-time secretary or receptionist! As long as a business owner pays due diligence and makes it clear on their Google Maps listing, website, and other online profiles that meetings are by appointment only, their Google Maps listing should be completely valid.

A business that consists entirely of one person, such as an electrician, plumber, or consultant cannot staff their office full time. If Google Maps is working for them, they’ll often be in the field performing their work. Are they ineligible for a Google My Business listing? Absolutely not. They are in fact just as eligible as any other business professional with an address, no matter where the office is located or what their staffing schedule was. As long as the service business indicated to Google that they only performed work at the customer’s location, their Google My Business listing  should be considered completely legitimate.

Google Is for Marketing Your Business, Not Telling You How to Run an Office

For Google to require unequivocally that every business owner be present during business hours at all times, or have a full-time receptionist whose hours exactly match their listed hours is ridiculous and unfair. This assumed requirement is also highly biased toward businesses that are already more successful than startups and one-man operations, and is just plain unfair. It should not, cannot, and never will be up to Google to require a business to have their location fully-staffed at all times. It is ludicrous to attempt to dictate in any way what a particular business professional’s office hours should be in order to have a free business listing like every other business. This job is solely the responsibility of the business owner.

If a business owner is never at their location during business hours, and people continue to show up at their location for nothing, then the business owner is acting unprofessionally. Eventually the visitors will start writing bad reviews and the business will suffer. If Google really cares about the user experience, then why don’t they wake up and make a Google Maps option for “by appointment only” in the GMB dashboard. They have really screwed over service professionals over the years. For way too long they have demonstrated that they simply do not care about how a service professional’s work schedule differs from that of a storefront.

Your Business Is Valid, and So Is Your Google Maps Listing

When you inform Google that you are a service-based business, your listing is just as valid as a listing with a physical address or office. We have successfully done this for many of our clients who are service professionals.

Take our long-time customer Aquatech Aquarium Service. Their Google My Business listing was verified at an office they rarely occupy, in this case the owner’s home, where his office is located. Google knows it’s in a residential condominium complex. And they don’t care, so long as the address is not listed and nobody goes to the wrong address. An example of our client’s listing is here.

A big problem arises if a Google Maps listing is suspended. Google will no longer reinstate a Maps listing unless the business has signage and is staffed during the posted business hours. Many business owners are currently struggling to get their maps listings reinstated after having them suspended for no apparent reason. Its too bad that fake listings are impacting legitimate businesses.

The Future of Business Strategy

Coworking spaces and service-area professionals are not only here to stay, they are the future. Retail is a dying industry, while home-based businesses and local service businesses are growing rapidly. More and more professionals are using coworking spaces not just to expand their reach, save money, and relocate their business closer to their client base; they are using them as networking spaces and places to break up the loneliness of being a nomadic sole practitioner road warrior, or a service professional with a lonely office.

Using coworking spaces for your Google Maps listing is totally legitimate. As long as you have considered all of the possibilities from your potential customer’s perspective and made the necessary changes in the proper places online, you and your customers should not have a problem.

Thank you for taking the time to read my article. If you know anybody who might like this article, please share.

How are you running your business without a fully staffed office, and what has been your experience with Google My Business? Please share your story in the comments.

Robert Portillo, founder of Nimbus Marketing, and his family.

About the author:

Robert Portillo is the founder of Nimbus Marketing. Nothing satisfies him more than expressing his thoughts well. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two sons. He can often be found at local farmer’s markets, hiking trails, and the beach.