Tag: Result

[Quiz Result] Are Appointment-Only Businesses Allowed a GMB Listing?


We had 817 people answer this question in our 2020 Local SEO Blackbelt Quiz. The correct answer is yes.

Here’s how the answers broke down.

appointment GMB's

Google My Business currently doesn’t have an option for hours to allow businesses to indicate they are available by appointment only.  If a business is appointment-only, Google states that it shouldn’t provide hours on their listing.

For example, the home-based massage therapist can set themselves up as a storefront as long as they don’t set business hours because they don’t want people walking up without making an appointment.  If the customers are coming to the massage therapist’s house they would want to keep the address visible (not hide it).

This does not mean that virtual offices that are used to meet clients occasionally (by appointment) are allowed since they would not be regularly staffed.

So What?

Google My Business has never had a perfect way to indicate that you are a by-appointment-only business. However, removing your hours, as well as adding a blurb to your GMB description, and perhaps even your Google Posts, is a great way to indicate to customers that you are only available by appointment. Lastly, make sure to select the “Appointment Required” GMB attribute that was launched in 2020.

Latest posts by Colan Nielsen (see all)

[Quiz Result] Can a Food Truck Have a GMB Listing If They Don’t Have a Permanent Location?

can a food truck have a GMB listing?

This is part 1 in a series of posts that will dive into the questions, and answers, from the 2020 Local SEO Blackbelt Quiz. If you haven’t taken the quiz, head over there now and give it a shot. 

Here are the scores from the following quiz question.

Can a food truck have a GMB listing if they don’t have a permanent location?

We had over 900 respondents answer this question. Here’s how the answers break down. The correct answer is Yes.


Food Trucks are businesses but are often unable to use Google My Business due to their inability to receive mail.  If they don’t accept mail at their location, or their location isn’t permanent, they have two options:

  1. If they want to utilize Google My Business, they are allowed to set up a listing as a service area business using their home address but it won’t show their location or have a pin on the map.
  2. If they do have a permanent location but just can’t get mail, they can technically be added as a place on Google Maps but wouldn’t be allowed to utilize Google My Business.  This would be a better option if having a map pin & driving directions outweighs the need to respond to reviews or do posts.   According to a post on the MapMaker Forum, which has since closed:

“If a truck is always in the same spot from X o’clock to Y o’clock on (a) particular day(s) of the week then I would interpret the guidelines as saying we can map it, whether it moves at night nor not.”

To add a location via Google Maps, follow these instructions. Note: With this option, it won’t be possible to manage or verify the listing via Google My Business but the listing will still rank.

Stay tuned for part 2 in the Local SEO Blackbelt Quiz results series. 

Latest posts by Colan Nielsen (see all)

May 2020 Local Ranking Fluctuations Were The Result of a Bug


Back in November 2019, we noticed some extremely volatile local rankings for businesses all over the USA and Canada.  Rankings were so choppy that we decided to label it as an algorithm update and called it Bedlam.  We noticed the same thing happened recently starting at the end of April.

Colan compiled a list of examples of what we were seeing with our clients and on the Local Search Forum and we sent this over to Google.  They confirmed yesterday that fluctuations were, in fact, the result of a bug.

I’m really impressed with the transparency Google provided along with the quick response.  It’s important to note that all the fluctuations we saw in April & May of 2020 were not an algorithm update.  It was a technical issue and it has been resolved.  All the cases we were tracking have gone back to normal.

Are these updates related to the core update?

I don’t believe these updates are related to the core update that happened in May 2020.

If we see this pattern again should we assume it’s a technical issue?

This is the first time I have ever seen ranking volatility of this kind due to a technical issue.  If we see this pattern in the future, I would not assume it’s the result of a technical issue.  This experience has taught me, however, the importance of notifying Google when you see widespread issues after witnessing their willingness to respond.

Remember, ranking fluctuations are normal.

It’s also important to remember that ranking fluctuations are normal.  For example, this personal injury lawyer in Philadelphia has frequent fluctuations.  Due to the size of the city and how many people are competing for the same keywords, we see a lot of filtering that causes ranking graphs to look like this:


If you’re ever noticing ranking fluctuations like this and are unsure about if it’s “just you” or if there is something bigger going on, I’d encourage you to post about it over at the Local Search Forum.  I’m probably a bit biased here, but I think it’s one of the best ways to find out if something that’s going on is impacting “just you” or if there is something bigger going on.

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