Changed to SAB and Traffic Dropped Big Time

ForwardMotion

Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2019
Messages
2
I'm looking for some advice on how to get my clients business back up in the rankings. His business is plumbing and when I took over his SEO, I changed his business from an address to an SAB. I did that because he was using his home as his address, which he does not service clients there. His address is in a smaller town that is outside the main city he really wants to focus on. I changed everything over to a SAB and listed the main city, plus the smaller towns around this area that he serves. Since doing this, his calls have dropped off and his listings on maps has become almost non-existent. I'm trying to figure out what I can do to get those results back up for him and get his calls back up to at least what they were, but hopefully a lot more.

I would like to know if others have seen this when changing to a SAB and what things have you done to find success in increasing traffic when switching over to a SAB? I am open to any and all feedback. We have been doing a Google post once a week and adding pictures to his listing in hopes to start seeing traffic increase, but so far we have see little change.

Thanks for any feedback and suggestions you can provide.
 

JoshuaMackens

Local Search Expert
Joined
Sep 12, 2012
Messages
1,833
What were you using to track rankings? And what were you using to track calls? What city is he specifically located in?
 

DanLeibson

Member
Joined
May 17, 2013
Messages
216
So not to be contrarian, or cross The Hawk, but I more or less always recommend that clients use physical addresses instead of SAB for listings. I have done a bunch of pieces of research on this over the years, and it has always been a kiss of death to be a SAB. Industries we have tested this on at scale:

Moving
Dog Walking
Physical Therapy
Auto Repair
 
Last edited:

Dan Foland

SEO Director at Postali
Local Search Expert
Joined
Sep 25, 2018
Messages
101
I've seen a few people mention that right after they removed their address their rankings dropped. Though, I can't recall if this was on Twitter or the GMB help forum.
 

Amy Toman

Member
Joined
Oct 3, 2018
Messages
26
I'll be the contrarian with Dan here. The SABs I worked with see this quite often.; that's why it's so rampant in some industries to show your address (however fake) to just be seen on the map. I'd love to see a case study on this. But in my experience, this is the norm, not the exception. (My strategies for working against it: make sure precise service areas are added in GMB, that all areas are listed on the home page, that there's a service area page, that service areas are listed on the contact page, and that there are individual pages for each smaller area. Oh, and internal links and social media points to those pages. Can't present results, but anecdotally it's worked.)
 

Igor

Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2019
Messages
8
So not to be contrarian, or cross The Hawk, but I more or less always recommend that clients use physical addresses instead of SAB for listings. I have done a bunch of pieces of research on this over the years, and it has always been a kiss of death to be a SAB. Industries we have tested this on at scale:

Moving
Dog Walking
Physical Therapy
Auto Repair
+1 here. Based on experience, I simply don't trust Google to properly evaluate & rank a location with no physical address. Even listing a home address (which tends to be the office location for most small service businesses here in our local market) works out better than hiding the physical address & going with SAB instead.
 

OnlineLobstar

Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2018
Messages
24
+1 here. Based on experience, I simply don't trust Google to properly evaluate & rank a location with no physical address. Even listing a home address (which tends to be the office location for most small service businesses here in our local market) works out better than hiding the physical address & going with SAB instead.
Indeed! There are so many mysteries Google simply don't want to expose. For example, Google says they don't track geo coordinates but they show near me results.
 

ladiesman540

Member
Joined
May 7, 2019
Messages
2
I had a such a huge drop in my calls and website visits after I converted from physical address to SAB in the auto repair niche. It's honestly so frustrating to be told to follow the Google Guidelines and then get punished so heavily for it.

Never again.
 

Luke Hancock

Member
Joined
May 7, 2019
Messages
11
I'm in the bin/dumpster rental business and I too lost rankings with our Toronto franchise location when I made this switch... That's frustrating.
 

Tim Colling

Moderator
Local Search Expert
Joined
Sep 3, 2014
Messages
1,111
Regardless of which way you "vote" on the "to SAB, or not to SAB, that is the question" question (see how I worked in a little Shakespeare there? :D), I can promise you this:

If you DO include your address and if it IS a residence, and if I see that while doing "spam patrol" (h/t to @Phil Rozek for that phrase), then I will find you and I will kill you, just like Liam Neeson in "Taken".


Actually, I will just suggest an edit for your listing, that it be removed as "Private place or home". But it was more fun to use the Liam Neeson reference.
 

Phil Rozek

Local Search Expert
Joined
Jul 26, 2012
Messages
1,579
@JoyHawkins (and @Tim Colling), I've gotten a couple of "Private place or home" edits approved, resulting in the removal of the listing. Google doesn't approve them often, but does occasionally.
 

Igor

Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2019
Messages
8
Here are a few cases where this has worked for me:
Does that help?
Not really - just takes the user to nowhere in Maps?

While all is fair in war (and SERPs are undoubtedly a battleground to some) I think it'd be silly for Google to disqualify SMBs based on being run from a private home. Many legitimate small businesses operate out of their house. If your business license is registered to your home address it should not disqualify you from inclusion in local pack or anywhere else for that matter. Some businesses simply can't afford the overhead of leasing a physical office space - or are savvy enough to understand it's an unnecessary expense.
 

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