Huge Change for Service Area Businesses in Google My Business

Tim Colling

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Hi - Here's a new "surprise" from Google that I just noticed this morning: For some (but not all) of my SAB locations, the info panel appears to no longer have the address stored in it, as shown below. Clicking through to the actual address entry dialog also fails to display the previously-entered information.

Thanks, Google. It's probably a bug, I know. Just a little nerve-wracking because you never know for certain. :unsure:

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Phil Rozek

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This from Google's updated "guidelines":

"You can no longer set your service area as a distance around your business. If you previously entered a distance around your business, you won't be able to edit it. Instead, you'll need to specify your service area by region, city, or ZIP code."
 
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I am seeing this new option in GMB this morning that says "Add service area". Is anyone else seeing this in their accounts? This used to be in the address section but now its out on it own. I am wondering Google is just testing this or if its here to stay?
Seeing it in some of my florists' listings, but not all. Address is not hidden for mine either.
Perhaps this will have more functionality than before when it was essentially just an add-on to the address field.

screenshot-473-png.3325
 

JoyHawkins

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Thanks for sharing guys. I wanted to confirm this is an intended change and although businesses do have to enter an address to verify the listing, the address no longer has to be associated with the listing itself for SABs.
 

Phil Rozek

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Thanks, @JoyHawkins. That does not sound like the kind of change that will make the spam problem smaller. How will Google prevent people from using the same address to crank out a bunch of listings that use the same address only during verification?
 

Yan Gilbert

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Whoa that is a big change. It will help some SAB's that verified from their home address in the suburbs and look for work mostly in the city, but if the location of the verification address won't be the center point of the service area anymore, like Phil said, it will be happy days for spammers.
 

JoyHawkins

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How will Google prevent people from using the same address to crank out a bunch of listings that use the same address only during verification?
I don't think anything will change in this aspect. Google currently auto-suspends SAB listings that share the same address.
 

BenFisher

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A few things to note about this update which is rolling out to all SAB's.
1. SAB's will now be able to create a listing without designating an address (Verification may still be required in most instances)
2. Increased focus on place-based service areas to provide human-readable descriptions
3. Existing SAB's will be able to remove their address.
4. Removing your address and not designating a Service area will default to the country.
5. Existing radius areas will eventually translate to places (cities, zips etc)
6. If post card verification is needed, the address will not show on maps.
7. The core reason for this is to better match the consumer to SAB's
8. If you designate multiple service areas Google will rank them equally
9. Drastic changes to your service area could require re-verification (i.e. Changing from AZ to NY)
 

Tim Colling

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I don't think anything will change in this aspect. Google currently auto-suspends SAB listings that share the same address.
Interesting. I have not run into this before, but then again, the cases that I am familiar with are ones in which two or more legitimately separate businesses share the same address, like a plumbing business owned by one spouse and a consulting practice owned by the other spouse.
 

Tim Colling

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So, does this mean that precision-based proximity will be less important as a three-pack or local-pack ranking factor from now on?
 

Yan Gilbert

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Interesting. I have not run into this before, but then again, the cases that I am familiar with are ones in which two or more legitimately separate businesses share the same address, like a plumbing business owned by one spouse and a consulting practice owned by the other spouse.
Pretty sure that if the categories are different, then it doesn't cause a flag to be raised. Otherwise all the hidden listings at the same Regus address wouldn't pass through.
 

Phil Rozek

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I don't think anything will change in this aspect. Google currently auto-suspends SAB listings that share the same address.
I hope that's the case. It's easy enough to work around that if you just make one of the pages a non-SAB (by showing the address), and possibly use a different name.
 

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