Updated Google My Business guidelines disallow virtual offices as service-area businesses

Google has recently updated the Google My Business guidelines to state that virtual offices are not considered service-area businesses and that you need to have the virtual office staffed during business hours.

A new section was added under the “address” portion of the guidelines that reads:

Service-area businesses — businesses that serve customers at their locations — should have one page for the central office or location and designate a service area from that point. Service-area businesses can’t list a “virtual” office unless that office is staffed during business hours.

Some businesses, like pizzerias that have both have restaurant seating and deliver pizza to customers, are hybrid service-area businesses. These businesses can show their storefront address and designate a service area in Google My Business. If you serve customers at your address and want to set a service area, your business location should be staffed by your team and able to receive customers during its stated hours.

Google will determine how best to display your business address based on your business information as well as information from other sources. Learn more about service-area businesses.

Joy Hawkins was first to spot this change and said it was done out of confusion around how virtual businesses can use the service-area business exceptions for their benefit.

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