It may be tempting to take shortcuts with SEO, but it doesn’t work. One temptation many companies have fallen into is trying to pull off a local SEO campaign without having a physical location in the target area.
Don’t do this.
Google wants to show search engine users accurate information about where businesses are located in the vicinity of the user location. The only way to get Google My Business (GMB) local pack results without a physical address is by breaking Google’s guidelines. Local citations play an important role in making your GMB page more visible, and an address is required to get local citations.
Relevant portions of Google’s guidelines include the following:
- To qualify for a GMB listing, a business must make in-person contact with customers during its stated hours.
- With respect to the address:
o The GMB page must be your actual, real-world location.
o If your business rents a temporary “virtual” office at a different address from your primary business, do not create a page for that location unless it is staffed during your normal business hours.
o For service businesses that serve customers at their locations (e.g., HVAC, landscapers), one page should be created for the central office or location, and designate a service area from that point. Service-area businesses can’t list a virtual office unless it is staffed during business hours.
If your business does not meet these location guidelines, you can still execute a standard SEO campaign, using a title tag and body content targeting the city/location keyword along with links back to that website page. This is not the ideal situation, however. Having a physical location adds credibility and allows for the creation of local business profile links on local association websites and other local websites and blogs. Nevertheless, a standard SEO campaign is much better than ignoring SEO, and much, much better than risking falling into disfavor with Google due to violating its terms.