Google Business Profile: Address vs. Service-Area Business vs. Hybrid (Best Practices)

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There are three options to choose from regarding your Google Business Profile location.

1) List your physical address
2) List your service area(s)
3) Choose a hybrid model encompassing physical address and service areas. 

Historically, Google has given more exposure in the local pack to businesses with a physical address versus a service area. The reason is because proximity is one of the most important ranking factors

Because Google gives an advantage to those with a physical address, whenever you can use your physical address, you should. Service area should only be used if you don’t have a legitimate physical address for your business.  

What is a Physical Address, and when to Use It

A physical address is when you enter the address of your business on your Google Business Profile in a public manner. When someone searches locally for your company on Google, this address will appear along with reviews and other features.

If you have a business with a legitimate office location (and signage to prove it’s your business), you should list your business address on your Google Business Profile.

Example: Eastside Dermatology

When someone needs a skincare appointment, they visit their dermatologist’s office. It makes sense that the dermatologist lists their address on Google. The address on Google helps hundreds of people find the location for their upcoming visit daily.

What is a Service Area, and When to Use It

Service area businesses don’t put an address down on Google Business Profile (GBP). Instead, they list cities, counties, or zip codes within their metropolitan area.

When you don’t have a business address, and your company performs work by going to a customer’s location, you would be a candidate for a Service Area Business (SAB). 

When a business works out of their home or apartment, they often utilize service areas instead of physical addresses on their GBP. Another instance is when a company is trying to expand to other metropolitan areas where they don’t have a physical location.

You can choose up to 20 cities, counties, or zip codes to serve from each Service Area listing. There can only be one Service Area business profile for each metropolitan area served. 

Below is an example of DeckScience, a client. You will notice on their GBP they list out 20 service areas. In their instance, they listed the city. DeckScience is in Minneapolis, so all the cities they list are in this metro area. If they wanted to also go after Rochester (90 miles away and the third largest city in Minnesota), they would not be able to do so because they can only target one metro area. If they had an employee who could work in Rochester, they would need to create a new Google Business Profile where the service areas surround Rochester.

Another Example: Hercules Tree Stump & Grinding

Hercules Tree Stump & Grinding services customers at their homes, but they don’t have a legitimate physical business address. They work out of their apartment. Because of this, they technically can’t list their address and would need to list their service area. 

What is a Hybrid Model & When to Use It

A business that serves customers at their business address but also directly visits or delivers to customers is a hybrid business [source]. For example, a pizza restaurant that offers dine-in and delivery services or photographers who take in-person meetings but also go on-location for a shoot. 


The hybrid location is new, so there’s not much information on how this stacks up from a ranking perspective vs. just listing the physical location. 

In theory, with a hybrid location, you get the benefit of having a physical address while also being able to list different service areas. 

I would not recommend listing your business as a hybrid for a plumber. Technically, customers aren’t coming to your location, so listing just the physical address would be the better option. This sounds a little confusing and counterintuitive. You would think if you’re not serving customers at your location, then you should list the service areas over your physical location. The reason to list the physical location trumps service areas regarding ranking benefits.

Risks of Listing Physical Address 

Many businesses try to manipulate the system by listing their address, even if it’s a home residence or getting a Regus virtual office space, even when they don’t do business in that actual location. 

Moz listed spam fighting as the number three local SEO ranking factor. Competitors can now report when your Google Business Profile violates guidelines by submitting a redressal complaint form

If your business address is located at your apartment or home, you become an easy target for competitors to report you. This can lead to your page receiving a soft or hard suspension and completely disappearing from Google Maps.  

This is why I advise businesses to be forthright about their address. It’s not a good look when your home is listed as your address. You also become an easy target for spam fighting. 

Below is an example of a business that lists its physical address, but this is a home address. You should not list your address on Google if you don’t have an actual business address where you’re operating.

Example of someone listing home address within Google Business Profile.


You can get a legitimate small office space in your local market if you want your address to appear on Google. This will likely be a $700-$1,000 monthly expense, depending on your city’s size and costs. Rather than working out of your apartment, you would operate out of this new location.

Before taking this route, it needs to make sense for you financially, and there should be actual use of the space. If the office space isn’t staffed, this goes against Google’s guidelines, and your Business Profile could get suspended.

In Closing 

Service-Area-Businesses is a grey area of SEO. There are benefits to having a physical address, which is why so many businesses take this route. There’s also a risk if you try to manipulate the system. 

Hopefully, this article will give you more clarity in terms of the direction you should take with service area versus physical business address. If you have any questions about your situation, please get in touch with The Media Captain

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