Another Multi-Location SAB Question...


LloydDobbler

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Hey, guys -

After digging through a lot of threads here on SABs, I'd love to hear your take on my particular situation:

My current company is a nationwide provider of services that operate on a local level. We operate in 75 local markets, and each market has several physical locations.

These locations are strictly dispatch centers for our teams to go out and serve customers at their addresses. For instance, we may have, say, 5 different locations in the Atlanta area. They're all staffed, but they rarely serve walk-in customers on site (we do see customers during business hours, but only with an appointment. That only happens with about 10% of our base).

So we have a few hundred GMB listings. And we find a few issues:


  1. 40% of visitor actions are people are often trying to find directions to our business (something we want to discourage).
  2. People often leave negative comments about "This place is in the ghetto" when they see our actual location on a map - in spite of never having to go there.
  3. Customers often don't know which location to use to leave reviews, since there are many per town, and they're uncertain of their provider's origin.

So we're thinking about changing over our listings to SABs with unlisted addresses. Here are the questions:


  1. Is there a good reason NOT to change over to hidden-address SAB listings? (I've read some posts on here that talk about having multiple SAB locations being a good way to get your locations flagged and shut down by Google - truth?).
  2. Will making the change negatively affect our rankings?
  3. Is there any benefit to keeping the the multiple locations per town, or should we simply consolidate and go after 1 SAB location per market?

Thanks in advance for any thoughts on the matter. Long-time SEO-focused marketer, but this is my first time really dipping into Local listings.
 

LloydDobbler

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what are the other people ranking in the maps? are they SAB or brick and mortar locations?
Thanks much for the reply, David. Great question.

Some background: We take a traditional brick-and-mortar service and bring it to someone directly. For example, think in-home-dialysis service vs. a dialysis center (not our business, but a good analogy).

Because of that, our prospects are generally searching for a brick-and-mortar location. They don't realize yet that there's a service that brings what they're searching for to them. So most of the others ranking in the space generally have a specific location/address.

That being said, our direct competitors (those who also "bring the service to the customer") are positioning themselves as SABs. In some cases they're ranking in the top 10-20 in the locations they serve (but they're 1 out of hundreds who are brick-and-mortar).
 
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Hi Lloyd,

I'll take a crack at some of your questions.

Is there a good reason NOT to change over to hidden-address SAB listings? (I've read some posts on here that talk about having multiple SAB locations being a good way to get your locations flagged and shut down by Google - truth?).
I haven't ever seen that happen, but to Linda's question, it might depend on your industry. I would suspect that you're totally safe here, though.

Will making the change negatively affect our rankings?
No, hiding your address will have no negative impact on your ability to rank.

Is there any benefit to keeping the the multiple locations per town, or should we simply consolidate and go after 1 SAB location per market?
I think there is huge benefit to keeping the multiple locations per town. Each local listing can only rank within about a 5 mile radius (depending on how many other businesses there are in the city), so every location you add gives you more opportunity to rank in different parts of the city. See: https://moz.com/blog/proximity-to-searcher-is-new-top-local-search-ranking-factor

Hope this helps.
 

LloydDobbler

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I haven't ever seen that happen, but to Linda's question, it might depend on your industry. I would suspect that you're totally safe here, though.
We're in the moving industry, which I know has a good bit of spam. The difference is, unlike a lot of traditional movers who will simply open up a virtual office (or some other similar tactic), we have actual staffed locations for each of our facilities.

Given that we're in a bit of a shady industry, any thoughts on whether we'd be sending up red flags by having multiple verified SABs in a market?

(Obviously, this is SEO & we're all somewhat reading tea leaves here. But any opinions are welcome).

No, hiding your address will have no negative impact on your ability to rank.
Perfect. That's what I thought - obviously proximity it still key, but good to know.

I think there is huge benefit to keeping the multiple locations per town. Each local listing can only rank within about a 5 mile radius (depending on how many other businesses there are in the city), so every location you add gives you more opportunity to rank in different parts of the city. See: https://moz.com/blog/proximity-to-searcher-is-new-top-local-search-ranking-factor

Hope this helps.
I definitely see that logic. It gets a bit tougher, because then we have to manage reviews for each location. But in my mind that makes sense as well.

Thanks very much for the feedback!
 

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