Attempting to expand your local SEO reach is something every HVAC company should try, but virtual offices are not allowed when it comes to Google My Business listings. Of course, not every GMB listing with a virtual address gets banned, but you are putting your company at risk should you move forward. Google’s official statements on the matter are perplexing since they state that virtual offices are not allowed unless staffed during business hours. But how can a virtual office be staffed? Evidence shows that listings who’ve previously attempted to list a virtual office as their address are getting banned by Google.
Should HVAC Companies Use a Virtual Address?
HVAC companies should NOT use a virtual address in 2021. There’s no upside to risking your GMB listing since it will account for at least 60% of your web traffic. Instead, you can list your address as a SAB (which will hide the address publicly), or if you choose, you can publically list your office address without designating it as a SAB.
Why Do HVAC Companies Use Virtual Offices?
There are two primary reasons why an HVAC contractor or company would invest in a virtual office address. First, if the contractor currently lists their home address as their business location. This setup has several disadvantages, most notably the lack of status associated with a home business address.
Second, HVAC companies looking to expand their business to new areas often cannot afford a physical office space overhead. Virtual offices allow companies to expand their service area without ever renting physical property. In addition, it’s much easier to attract clients from a community in which your address resides and can help you earn more trust by proximity.
HOA / Zoning Immunity
Some cities and homeowners associations have legislation that prohibits certain homes from being used as a business address. Such restrictions are problematic for startup contractors who are based out of their homes. Investing in a virtual address eliminates problems like these. In addition, because virtual offices are located in areas that are not restricted, they can be used as the listing for your HVAC company while allowing you to continue using your home as your business base.
Marketing is more about perception than reality. A consumers’ subconscious prefers professional-looking businesses and is far more likely to trust them based on that quality alone. A professional business address inspires that trust, in contrast to a home address that does not. For example, a consumer looking for HVAC services in their area is more likely to consult with a professionally addressed service than one who is perceived to be working out of their home. Doing great work is most important, but you must first generate leads.
Service Area Expansion
The #1 reason why companies of all kinds invest in a virtual address is to expand their business. You may be based in a particular city or zip code but see tremendous opportunity in a neighboring location. If you know your company has the resources to meet those demands, establishing a 2nd address can stimulate lead generation. In addition, consumers in this external area are far more likely to trust a company within their location, zip code, etc. Just make sure you have the equipment and human resources to accommodate an expanded service area.
Virtual Office Alternative for HVAC Companies
Google prohibits listing a virtual address for HVAC SAB companies. So how can your company expand its service area without violating Google’s guidelines? The answer is DataPins which is a local SEO software for HVAC companies. DataPins automatically publishes pins with schema markup to validate both a service and service area. Each time your company completes a job, the software pulls geo-coordinates from the location and publishes them directly on your website. Pins appear on a corresponding page; for example, a furnace repair in Atlanta shows up on the furnace repair page and the Atlanta page, respectively.