Earlier today, I saw the news that Google was allowing home-based businesses to upload their profile to the Google Local Business Center. Here’s a Search Engine Land article written by Matt McGee:
Initially, I didn’t like this idea. There’s already too much Mapspam and figured this would open it up further. Yuck.
Because of the new mapping opportunities whether home-based or physical business locations, my mind changed to the better and would like to use an example.
In a few weeks, a bathroom and tile company are coming over to replace bathroom tile and resurface the tub. They happen to be from Pine City which is a good hour drive just to get to the northern Minneapolis suburbs. Google does have a Place Page for them and they’re definitely not right down the street.
If you go to the Google Local Business Center and you’re in Pine City you might just choose that city.
A map will show up like this.
Turns out most of their clients are in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. It makes sense for the user that they would enter multiple cities.
Here is what an expanded list of areas could look like.
Hopefully this lets people who view their Google Place page visually understand that they do business in the metropolitan area.
I decided to update Localmn. Most clients I receive are in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. But since the domain is Localmn.com, that alone made sense to include the whole state. So, I reluctantly did that quick.
The new map goes into Wisconsin a bit, and that’s fine.
Do I ever take clients from out of state? Occasionally, but I try not to advertise that. There are over 200,000 businesses in Minnesota. I’m not greedy.
I suppose this business is home-based as well which can’t hurt Google’s decision to include home-based businesses.
What does worry me a bit is you know there are people who are going to try to manipulate this. That makes things look fugly. Somewhere, someone has already listed every single state for the “areas served”. I know this is the Interwebz and we can take clients almost anywhere, but just don’t do that. That’s not what Google Maps is for.
Overall, I’m really liking this. Having a xyz mile radius map for areas served is nice in itself. But by customizing it, this can be a great user-friendly and visual tool.
Quick note: Per the Search Engine Land post linked above, Matt found a couple bugs in this. Hopefully they are very minor.