Joy Hawkins noticed that Google recently updated the steps in Google My Business for service area businesses to sign up. Joy said they changed the process for some of the clients she manages. She shared screen shots of the new process in the Local Search Forums:
Step 1 is the same, nothing changed there:
Step 2 is different, it specifically asks if you want your business location to show in Google Maps:
Then step 3 asked Joy to enter her service areas and it didn’t ask her for the address until she finished and was ready to verify the business. It also did not give her the option to verify any way other than by postcard.
Overall, I think local SEOs like this new method better. All of these changes come after Google made some tweaks to service area businesses.
Forum discussion at Local Search Forums.