How to properly setup "Service areas" feature for SABs in GMB listing?

Oleg Donets

Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2018
Messages
19
Hey guys,

I looked for a definitive answer all over the web but i'm not able to find one. I hope the local experts here will help as usual :)

So we have many SAB customers with multiple service areas that they serve and we are trying to figure out what would be the best way to setup the "Service areas" feature in GMB listing for each location. Here are the alternatives for setting up "Service areas" feature for one location listing that serves Humble, TX city:
1) Specifying service area by selecting the City - Humble, TX 2019-01-20_1320
2) Specifying service area by selecting the Zip codes associated with this city - 77338 and 77396 2019-01-20_1322
3) Specifying service area by selecting both the City and the Zip codes associated with this city - 2019-01-20_1324

Here is a little situation that I feel I have to mention because i think it directly relates to this question:
The situation: I see that there is another potential issue that could affect the judgment of how to setup service area coverage for SAB listings. This relates to overlapping of the service areas of several SAB listings. For instance, if we take the same example with the listing that covers service area of Humble TX, if we specify zipcodes in the "Service areas" feature, some of the zipcodes will overlap with other listing(s) that cover another service area because they share the same zipcode(s). Here is a specific example, if we specify this zipcode 77338 on the first GMB listing (that covers Humble,TX service area), the same zipcode is also part of the other GMB listing (that covers Atascocita,TX service area). I read many mixed theories about overlaping service areas and how they can negatively affect visibility of all those listings that have that overlap. I'd love to hear your expert opinion about this matter.

Thank you!
 

Colan Nielsen

Administrator
Joined
Jul 19, 2012
Messages
3,234
Hey @Oleg Donets as far as we know the service area that you specify still does not have an impact on ranking. So add in whatever makes sense from a visual perspective. What you define as your service area determines how your service area looks to potential customers on Google maps so think of it in that sense.

The last time I asked Google about overlapping service areas they said that it was not allowed for the same company.

Do you mind if I ask what type of business this is? Is it a bunch of franchises?
 

Oleg Donets

Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2018
Messages
19
Thanks for answering Colan!

This one is a real estate wholesaling company (investors). Does it matter what type of company it is?

as far as we know the service area that you specify still does not have an impact on ranking. So add in whatever makes sense from a visual perspective.
So how does Google determine ranking for SAB listings that hide address (besides the standard formula of Relevance, Distance, and Prominence)?

What you define as your service area determines how your service area looks to potential customers on Google maps so think of it in that sense.
There are so many groups online discuss about how various setups of "Service areas" can impact visibility of a SAB GMB listing. So you are saying that regardless how i set service area up, it won't affect my listing's visibility for the better or worse?

The last time I asked Google about overlapping service areas they said that it was not allowed for the same company.
Not allowed in a way where the same company physically is not able to set one of its listing's service area to a service area that is already used by the other listing of the same company? Or, the company still can set service areas that overlap in one or more listings but then it gets some sort of demoting penalty? Can you elaborate about this please?

Thanks in advance!
 

Colan Nielsen

Administrator
Joined
Jul 19, 2012
Messages
3,234
Thanks for answering Colan!

This one is a real estate wholesaling company (investors). Does it matter what type of company it is?


So how does Google determine ranking for SAB listings that hide address (besides the standard formula of Relevance, Distance, and Prominence)?


There are so many groups online discuss about how various setups of "Service areas" can impact visibility of a SAB GMB listing. So you are saying that regardless how i set service area up, it won't affect my listing's visibility for the better or worse?


Not allowed in a way where the same company physically is not able to set one of its listing's service area to a service area that is already used by the other listing of the same company? Or, the company still can set service areas that overlap in one or more listings but then it gets some sort of demoting penalty? Can you elaborate about this please?

Thanks in advance!
It does matter what type of company it is because Google typically only allows SAB's who are franchisees to have multiple listings in one state...particularly in overlapping service areas.

Google can still see the address even though it isn't visible in the dashboard. They can see it on the back-end and factor it into where the listing ranks.

Currently, I have seen nothing to indicate that the service area impacts ranking. This is not to say that the ranking algorithm can't change in the future. We know that Google is always making changes to the algo.

Not allowed in the sense that Google does not allow it. For example if I pointed out to google that there were two SAB listings on the map for the same company and they had overlapping service areas Google would likely remove one of them.
 

Oleg Donets

Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2018
Messages
19
It does matter what type of company it is because Google typically only allows SAB's who are franchisees to have multiple listings in one state...particularly in overlapping service areas.
Colan, can you elaborate what in your and Google's terms is "overlapping service areas?" Will the example that i gave in my original message be considered overlapping service areas?

Currently, I have seen nothing to indicate that the service area impacts ranking. This is not to say that the ranking algorithm can't change in the future. We know that Google is always making changes to the algo.
So in other words, if you want to rank in a certain city, let's say Atlanta GA, you MUST get an address in Atlanta GA? If your business is located in one of the suburbs of Atlanta GA and you specified your service are in the listing to Atlanta GA, you still won't be able to rank in Atlanta GA?

Thanks
 

Colan Nielsen

Administrator
Joined
Jul 19, 2012
Messages
3,234
Colan, can you elaborate what in your and Google's terms is "overlapping service areas?" Will the example that i gave in my original message be considered overlapping service areas?
It would be anytime the specified areas overlap for two different listings. So if one services Atlanta + Suburb A and the other listing services Suburb A as well that would be overlapping. I have seen Google be ok with this on occasion but typically they don't allow it. As with most things it's not clearly spelled out in the guidelines but you learn things over time based on feedback from GMB support.

So in other words, if you want to rank in a certain city, let's say Atlanta GA, you MUST get an address in Atlanta GA? If your business is located in one of the suburbs of Atlanta GA and you specified your service are in the listing to Atlanta GA, you still won't be able to rank in Atlanta GA?
I wouldn't say impossible but it's unlikely. Over time with enough of the other signals though (prominence and relevance) it is possible.
 

Oleg Donets

Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2018
Messages
19
It would be anytime the specified areas overlap for two different listings. So if one services Atlanta + Suburb A and the other listing services Suburb A as well that would be overlapping. I have seen Google be ok with this on occasion but typically they don't allow it. As with most things it's not clearly spelled out in the guidelines but you learn things over time based on feedback from GMB support.
So in other words, if specified areas of two different listings overlap even with a single Zip code (like with the 77338 zipcode that i described in my original message) this will be considered an 'overlapping'?

Thanks again!
 

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