An optimized local SEO strategy offers significant advantages to businesses. Companies offering website marketing in Long Island provide all kinds of SEO services. Virtual businesses or virtual offices are among these strategies adopted by some businesses to gain advantage in local searches.
How the Virtual Business Strategy Works
The virtual business arrangement has been thought of by businesses to secure a well-optimized Google My Business (GMB) profile. A GMB profile is essential for prospective customers searching for related services to track your business, even if it means just visiting your website and improving its traffic. But, for a GMB listing, you need a physical office address with contact details.
That’s where virtual business services come in, providing an address for your business and even a coworking space where you can house one or two staff members, along with the staff members of another business, and get yourself a phone number. Adding these details will make your GMB profile complete. But, of course, there are many things to take into consideration, since Google isn’t in favor of virtual offices.
You Do Need a Physical Address
A virtual office is defined as a location which you don’t have ownership of, but you use it just as a mailing address. It could perhaps be a place that customers can’t actually visit. They can only interact via phone. As the location is a virtual destination, there may not be any staff members running it. Such locations aren’t listed. The solution for this could be coworking offices, where you share office space with another business.
How does having a virtual office help? Well, if you are keen to target prospective customers from a particular region, you would want a Google My Business profile mentioning a physical address for your business in that region, which would, in turn, help your website and business to be conspicuous for local searches in that region.
Google’s Guidelines Curbing Virtual Offices from Being Listed
Google has some guidelines with regard to GMB listings:
- Businesses that run online alone can’t be eligible for a GMB listing.
- Google does not allow remote locations to be listed.
- Rental properties such as vacation apartments or homes are not allowed too, with an exception provided to leasing or sales offices.
- A venue for any events or meetings you hold can’t be included as well.
- Your location has to be open to the public, and it can’t be under construction too.
- Moreover, the address on the map must be accurate.
In short, it really is quite hard to get a virtual space to be listed. There are ways to deal with this though.
How to Meet Google’s GMB Guidelines
- What you need to do first, is to ensure the basic contact details of your business are consistent in your GMB profile, website, social media accounts and other online mentions or citations of your business. Otherwise, Google can easily figure out that your location is virtual and not physical. Your brand name should also be consistent.
- Get a coworking space and then ensure that phone number is routed to someone representing your business. That’s because Google carries out calls for re-verification to visit your location and verify it. And when they express their desire to visit your location, you need to show you’re eager to welcome them. And when you answer Google calls, you need to be ready to answer all questions regarding the products and services you offer and also your location.
- The voicemail facility that your phone number has enables Google to understand that you are available for attending to the needs of customers and are serious about it. You can have automated voicemails that can invite customers. They are a proof of your existence and identity.
- Of course, if Google is serious about verification and re-verification, it would surely insist on having photos and videos of your business location, particularly showing your signage on the physical location. Your listing must explain things naturally.
- Also, ensure that you validate the NAP (name, address, phone number) information on your site since Google will validate the information you have presented for your GMB listing with the details in your website. Google does not validate using satellite locations just for getting GMB listings.
Virtual businesses can utilize local SEO services to establish a strong local presence while meeting Google’s GMB guidelines.