"Distance from Location" or "List of Areas Served"

Joined
Oct 2, 2012
Messages
74
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 :)
 
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Linda Buquet

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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!
:p

Yep you guys owe me big for that one! :D
 
Joined
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GUESS WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU REMOVE ZIP? (And list city only?)
SHE PLOPS YOUR MARKER RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF DOWNTOWN!
:p

Yep you guys owe me big for that one! :D
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?
 

Linda Buquet

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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.
 

Marie Ysais

Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2012
Messages
242
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?
 

Linda Buquet

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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. ;)
 

m3012

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Apr 22, 2013
Messages
1
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
 

Phil Rozek

Local Search Expert
Joined
Jul 26, 2012
Messages
1,558
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 :)
 

Linda Buquet

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Jun 28, 2012
Messages
13,308
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.
 

Jo Shaer

Member
Joined
Jul 27, 2012
Messages
250
*Beats head against a wall* IT'S LIKE ALGEBRA!!!! All these ifs and buts :(

So I have a client who has one office where the address will be an SAB and she is listing the towns she wants to serve because a 'distance from' covers several towns that she doesn't want to go to.

Questions with Yes or No answers to save poor Linda's fingers :O

1. Is the issue with the map marker being in the centre of the region that those towns cover but not necessarily in a built up area a purely visual one? Yes or No :)

2. Is it about customers NOT choosing her because of where they perceive her location to be on the map? Yes or No

3. Most importantly, will selecting towns served affect Google's ranking of her for the town that is mentioned in her NAP - even though she is choosing not to show the address on the actual map? Yes or No

*Note to self: I will get my poor brain around this*
 

Linda Buquet

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Jun 28, 2012
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13,308
1) Yes

2) Yes

3) She'll likely only rank and only show up for searches for the city that's in her dashboard, even though address is hidden it would be based on that.
 

RushLocal

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Joined
Apr 29, 2013
Messages
9
I must say, this is an AWESOME forum right here, I do have a question though:

What if you are 3 doors down in the same building as another direct competitor? Would there be any way to get the leg-up on your near-bye competitor in this category, in Google Places? I understand this could be situational per industry, so let's just use Search Engine Optimization as the example industry? :D

If there are two SEO firms sharing the same office complex, do you see a way to use this category competitively?
 

Linda Buquet

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Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
13,308
Hi RushLocal, welcome, welcome... :)

Well SEO may not be a great example to pick since SEO queries don't generate local results typically. Doctors and Dentists are a good example because often they are in big medical building with many competitors and they can rank.

There are 300 factors that go into the local algo, and being in the same building is not really a deal breaker.
 

RushLocal

Inactive
Joined
Apr 29, 2013
Messages
9
Thank you for that response!

Another question concerning this, I have a client that does insurance, and he is not only in an office location, he services the greater Phoenix area.

Would you use him in Google + Local or Google Places? Reason why i'm asking this is because just recently, our client, who is an HVAC service company had their Google + Local page deleted, because they weren't a store-front, and they catered to a service area, and not an exact address. I actually have pasted the friendly Google letter below:

Thanks for contacting us about your local Google+ page. It looks like your listing is a mobile service and should have service areas instead of listing an exact address. Unfortunately, we're not ready to support service area businesses yet in Google+ Local. Please use Google Places instead, which supports service-area businesses as described in this article: https://support.google.com/places/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=177103&topic=1656883&ctx=topic


Thanks for your understanding.


Sincerely,
The Google Team

So, in your expert opinion, what would you do for someone who is both in a service area, and at a location? Or could we get away with doing both?

You're awesome, and thank you for having this forum!
 

Colan Nielsen

Administrator
Joined
Jul 19, 2012
Messages
3,275
Re: "Distance from Location" or "List of Areas Served"

Unfortunately, we're not ready to support service area businesses yet in Google+ Local. Please use Google Places instead, which supports service-area businesses as described in this article: https://support.google.com/places/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=177103&topic=1656883&ctx=topic
Wow, that's the first time I have I have heard someone at Google refer to Google Places and G+ Local as two different things. I think the Google employee has his/her terminology mixed up. At least as far as I understand it.

Google Places and G+ Local are the same beast just a different name. The back-end where the dashboard is located is referred to as Google Places for Business, and the live page is the G+ Local page. Man that's confusing when Google starts mixing the terminology. :eek:

---------- Post Merged at 08:58 PM ---------- Previous Post was at 08:52 PM ----------

So, in your expert opinion, what would you do for someone who is both in a service area, and at a location? Or could we get away with doing both?
If the business has a storefront where most business is conducted I would just do a normal listing and set no service areas.

However, you can always do a combination of the two within the dashboard and set a service area and NOT hide the address. But I have a suspicion that doing it this way can trigger some unwanted complications.
 

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