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  1. #1
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    "Distance from Location" or "List of Areas Served"

    Hey guys, I've been wondering about this for some time, and I've tried a few different methods for various clients.

    I'm wondering if any of you can shed some light and your experiences. As a heads up, yes, I've already read Mike and Phil's post on this but it didn't really clear up what the best plan of attack might be.

    Let's say you're a service based business (let's go with a plumber), and you've chosen to 'hide' your address in the Google Places dashboard as your a home based business.

    Are you better off:

    a.) selecting distance from location (say up to 100miles) to incorporate other cities / local regions you'd hope to rank locally for.
    b.) select 'list of areas served' and insert multiple cities that the business services and you hope to rank for.
    c.) select 'list of areas served' and insert postal (I'm Canadian) or zip codes that the business services and hopes to rank for.
    d.) it won't matter because the local algo will only rank you in the local region you're in based off of your postal / zip code

    Any information is appreciated! Thanks in advance
    Last edited by Linda Buquet; 02-13-2013 at 11:52 AM. Reason: Moved from General discussion to "Service Area Business Issues" forum to make eaiser for others to find.
    Andrew Forster | Online Marketing & Local SEO
    Adster Creative

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  3. #2
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    Re: "Distance from Location" or "List of Areas Served"

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Forster View Post
    d.) it won't matter because the local algo will only rank you in the local region you're in based off of your postal / zip code
    Hi Andrew, even though D above is correct and you will likely only rank in the city your address is in, there are other important considerations.

    a.) selecting distance from location (say up to 100miles)

    IMO that's a scatter gun approach and that service area is too wide. You won't rank in those other cities anyway usually. (Depending on competition.)

    I suspect, setting radius that wide 'could' possibly even water down ability to rank in your own back yard.

    b.) select 'list of areas served' and insert multiple cities
    OR c.) zips

    BAD BAD IDEA if you are hiding address. When you hide address G puts the marker right in the very CENTER of all the cities or zips. EVEN IF IT'S OUT IN A FOREST outside the town your trying to rank for - EVEN IF IT'S in the middle of a lake!

    I've had SABs in the G forum complain "Google is so stupid, they made it look like I'm out in the desert. There isn't even a city there and no customers." She put him smack dab center between the 3 city triangle he listed in service area settings!

    BEST SETTING & HUGE TIP! Best setting in my opinion is your location and 20 mile radius.

    TIP: By default I think G puts your city AND zip in that top service area box. If you leave it like that she'll put marker in the middle of THAT ZIP. If that looks fine and is advantageous, then cool.

    HOWEVER if your zip is near the outskirts of town, it may look like you are far away and inconvenient to some customers.

    GUESS WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU REMOVE ZIP? (And list city only?)
    SHE PLOPS YOUR MARKER RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF DOWNTOWN!


    Yep you guys owe me big for that one!
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

    Don't Miss Important News & Tips! Subscribe to Daily Email Digest Here

    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

  4. #3
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    Re: "Distance from Location" or "List of Areas Served"

    Quote Originally Posted by Linda Buquet View Post
    GUESS WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU REMOVE ZIP? (And list city only?)
    SHE PLOPS YOUR MARKER RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF DOWNTOWN!


    Yep you guys owe me big for that one!
    Are you suggesting we remove postal / zip code hehe? O.k thanks for the advice. I think by default Google has it set to a 20mile radius.

    In what circumstances would you recommend using the 'list of areas served' then?
    Andrew Forster | Online Marketing & Local SEO
    Adster Creative

  5. #4
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    Re: "Distance from Location" or "List of Areas Served"

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Forster View Post
    Are you suggesting we remove postal / zip code hehe?
    To be sure I'm clear, not up in the address but in the "Distance from one location" box.

    I would personally not use the areas served and list different cities UNLESS the actual business need required it. (It's not going to help ranking one iota in a city you aren't located in, just because you added it to service area.)

    So let's say by law or license a business could only service clients in city 1 and 3 but city 2 in the middle they could not service and want to reduce calls from there. Then maybe I'd list city 1 and 3 for the customers sake. BUT if address hidden that would drop them in the middle in city 2.

    Maybe a better scenario - Dry Cleaner or Florist with visible location but also does deliveries. Physical location therefore address SHOWING, therefore don't need to worry about the map marker. BUT they only deliver to certain cities and not others, so then maybe list the specific cities.
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

    Don't Miss Important News & Tips! Subscribe to Daily Email Digest Here

    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

  6. #5
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    Re: "Distance from Location" or "List of Areas Served"

    Quote Originally Posted by Linda Buquet View Post
    To be sure I'm clear, not up in the address but in the "Distance from one location" box.
    Thank-you, thank-you I didn't know this Ya, learn something new every day.
    Andrew Forster | Online Marketing & Local SEO
    Adster Creative

  7. #6
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    Re: "Distance from Location" or "List of Areas Served"

    Quick question. I have tried to take out the zip in the area you just mentioned and it just always adds it back once I submit.
    Is there a special way to delete the zip code?

  8. #7
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    Re: "Distance from Location" or "List of Areas Served"

    Marie, really? I'm sorry I only did it once when doing testing on my own listing.

    Can't test it now because I'm merged but I'm thinking I'll just delete the G+ page so I can get back to my dashboard to do edits. (One of these days... when I have time)

    But when I did it, I just entered City, State. IN FACT I'm about 30 miles north of San Diego in a little town. Just for fun I put San Diego Ca in the box and it dropped me into downtown San Diego.
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

    Don't Miss Important News & Tips! Subscribe to Daily Email Digest Here

    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

  9. #8
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    Re: "Distance from Location" or "List of Areas Served"

    hi Linda
    From a ranking perspective
    do you think Entering the postal code, instead of a radius from one location, provides more accurate area coverage and listing and rank get higher

  10. #9
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    Re: "Distance from Location" or "List of Areas Served"

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Forster View Post
    Hey guys, I've been wondering about this for some time, and I've tried a few different methods for various clients.

    I'm wondering if any of you can shed some light and your experiences. As a heads up, yes, I've already read Mike and Phil's post on this but it didn't really clear up what the best plan of attack might be.

    Let's say you're a service based business (let's go with a plumber), and you've chosen to 'hide' your address in the Google Places dashboard as your a home based business.

    Are you better off:

    a.) selecting distance from location (say up to 100miles) to incorporate other cities / local regions you'd hope to rank locally for.
    b.) select 'list of areas served' and insert multiple cities that the business services and you hope to rank for.
    c.) select 'list of areas served' and insert postal (I'm Canadian) or zip codes that the business services and hopes to rank for.
    d.) it won't matter because the local algo will only rank you in the local region you're in based off of your postal / zip code

    Any information is appreciated! Thanks in advance
    My quick answer is: "D."

    If you play your cards right with on-site optimization, reviews, and a clean house of citations, you may be able to pick up visibility in cities/towns that adjoin the one you're in. But it has nothing to do with the service area you set - or how you set the service area (ZIPs vs. radius) - in my experience.

    I'd also like to second the caveat that Linda mentioned: that there's nothing to gain and possibly a little to lose by setting a big "service area." I've seen a guy use a 600-mile one, and he didn't rank outside of his Mayberry town.

    What was the post or thread in which Mike and I weren't clear? I'd like to amend myself, if possible

  11. #10
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    Re: "Distance from Location" or "List of Areas Served"

    Quote Originally Posted by m3012 View Post
    hi Linda
    From a ranking perspective
    do you think Entering the postal code, instead of a radius from one location, provides more accurate area coverage and listing and rank get higher
    Nope. I'm with Phil and don't think anything you put in the service area radius affects ranking at all. Service area settings only affect 2 things IMO...

    If a customer checks the service area to see if you cover their area, it could affect calls and CTR. So for instance if you do appliance repair and they are in the next tiny town over and want to know if you service their city. (But I honestly don't know how many consumers even know to go to maps and look for that setting.)

    Most important, if you have address hidden it affects location of the map marker. If it puts you in center of town or good location could get more calls/clicks if someone is shopping for someone that is convenient. But again if you picked several cities or zips it could put your map pin out in the boonies.
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

    Don't Miss Important News & Tips! Subscribe to Daily Email Digest Here

    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

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