As I’ve written before, there has been a seismic shift in Google’s local search engine results over the last 18 months. Google has improved its local search capabilities, and is now using an address-based system to serve what Google considers relevant results for its users.
The key phrase is “what Google considers relevant to its users.” For instance, from my office here in the Greater Boston area, I searched on the term “basement contractor”.
Google displayed a map that featured basement contractors that are closest to my location. Most of the points displayed are within a ten mile radius of Boston.
My search results met Google’s definition of “relevancy.” However, they also pose a real marketing problem for most home improvement companies, which often service a much wider area than Google believes.
For example, many home improvement companies serve the entire Eastern Massachusetts area. The longest possible drive within that area, depending on traffic, is 2-2 ½ hours or about 100 miles.
So, while your company may cover a territory that’s 200 miles wide, Google isn’t going to serve your listing unless Google deems it close to the physical address of its user.
Needless to say, this is a problem for larger, regional home improvement companies. They may cover a wider area from a single location, but Google will only display their listing if the user is “nearby.”
What to do? One approach is to wait for Google to evolve its maps to display a wider area that more accurately describes your service area.
A better approach, however, is to tell to Google that your business indeed serves a larger area. You do that by creating Google listings for any and all sales offices, storage facilities and even the addresses of your sales reps. In short, establish a listing in Google for every possible address that you can connect with your business.
All this is perfectly acceptable in the eyes of Google and other search engines. In fact, search engines like knowing about extra listings, because that enables them to improve the local nature of their search results.
Don’t be shy. These local listings are becoming more and more important every day, so claim as many as you possibly can!