Google has announced a new update to Google My Business listings which will enable businesses that don't have a set, physical office location better define their service areas, and ensure they show up for relevant queries.
As explained by Google:
"For business owners signing up for the first time, we’ll guide you through the setup process with prompts for your local service area business. The process kicks off with the question: “Do you want to add a location customers can visit, like a store or office?" If the answer is no, you’re routed down the path tailored specifically for service-area businesses. This path lets you add the various areas you cover instead of a static address, which helps potential customers who find your business profile on Google know you serve their area."
The location listings will help businesses show up for relevant queries in both Google Maps and Search, and you'll be able to update your service areas anytime. So if you move your plumbing business across the country, or expand scope through extra staff, you can now simply add in more places, or update your location through your Google My Business listing.
It may seem like a relatively minor addition, but considering that 'near me' mobile searches have increased more than 150% in recent times - and searches for 'near me today/tonight' have increased 900% - you can see how service-based businesses can benefit from ensuring that their location area is correctly listed within Google's system.
The growth of mobile search has lead to new habits in discovery, as has the rise in voice search usage. And as search habits shift to more casual, semantic variations, relevant listings need to also move in step. This update, while fairly basic, could have a significant impact for those looking to maximize their online discoverability.