Huge Change for Service Area Businesses in Google My Business

JoyHawkins

Administrator
Administrator
Joined
Jul 18, 2012
Messages
2,080
Likes
1,029
You can add service areas if you want to a storefront listing but it currently does nothing other than change the map layout.
 
Joined
Apr 23, 2018
Messages
37
Likes
12
Y'all some smart folks!

OK so... to flip the coin if I've got a SAB with a brick and mortar but in the wrong "city," should clicking the "clear address"
1541545754601-png.3351

make it so the address isn't shown and just make it show up in the "service area's"

As right now the full address is showing on maps
 
Joined
Apr 23, 2018
Messages
37
Likes
12
I would assume that the address doesn't matter provided there is a name & phone number match.
Agree with Joy, the address is (and always has been hidden) so there would be no impact.
So does this mean:
Goog DOESN"T add or remove weight/relevance for correct or incorrect Addresses for SAB's, it only cares about Name and Phone number?
 

JoyHawkins

Administrator
Administrator
Joined
Jul 18, 2012
Messages
2,080
Likes
1,029
@OneBlessedDude I had a client who moved who was an SAB and I updated GMB and his website only (no citations) and his ranking actually went up across all keywords the next day.

I have not seen any evidence that would show why Google would consider the address important.
 

Phil Rozek

Local Search Expert
Joined
Jul 26, 2012
Messages
1,224
Likes
581
@OneBlessedDude, my spidey sense tells me the address still matters and will continue to matter in one way or another, though maybe less than before. It's possible Google takes into account the address listed on your site and on the directories and aggregator sites where you haven't hidden (or can't hide) your address. A couple of relevant posts from Bill Slawski:

Google Local Search Patent Application on Ranking Businesses at a Location

https://gofishdigital.com/how-organic-distance-based-search-results-may-be-demoted/

The exact location of a business's address will probably matter somewhat less, in which case links and reviews will probably matter even more, especially to the extent they tell Google where you are and what area(s) you serve.
 

Yan Gilbert

Administrator
Joined
Oct 15, 2016
Messages
74
Likes
57
Makes sense Phil. Google still wants to deliver good results to a searcher. One of those ways is to check that a business is really located at a particular place by cross referencing against other directories, regardless if you have told Google to show that address or not.

I'm sure there will be some maximum distance between the address that was used to verify a listing and the area that is chosen as the service area before a flag is raised. At least I am hoping.
 

Phil Rozek

Local Search Expert
Joined
Jul 26, 2012
Messages
1,224
Likes
581
@Yan Gilbert, exactly. Info on site, info from directories, location of reviewers, text of reviews, relevance of sites from which you've got links, searchers'/customers' location data, and Google's query logs would all go into the soup, I would imagine.
 

mborgelt

Local Search Expert
Joined
Jul 22, 2012
Messages
466
Likes
147
Thanks for bringing the forum's attention to this, Tim! Thanks to everyone sharing their experiences these will indeed be interesting times for local SEO!
 

latin_sydney

Forum Member
Joined
Sep 5, 2012
Messages
11
Likes
2
Is there a maximum number of suburbs or service areas that can be added? I added +6. I did notice some movement but couldn't be sure as I'm posting daily Gpost , getting reviews weekly and adding content on the website. Will be increasing to +15 service areas to see if I see more movement.
 

Yan Gilbert

Administrator
Joined
Oct 15, 2016
Messages
74
Likes
57
@Justin Mosebach
Both show up as choices through the regular Google API as well. They both geolocate to the same spot. So many things to test, but I'm guessing that it would give the highest rankings at that point, which is where Google says is the center.
1541636468637-png.3355
 
Joined
Oct 22, 2018
Messages
8
Likes
10
@Justin Mosebach
Both show up as choices through the regular Google API as well. They both geolocate to the same spot. So many things to test, but I'm guessing that it would give the highest rankings at that point, which is where Google says is the center.
View attachment 3355
It'd be interesting to know if they both outline the whole US, if one only is the continental US, etc. BTW, Local Falcon is sweet :)
 

brettmandoes

Forum Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2018
Messages
4
Likes
4
Hello everyone, I work in the enterprise local space and have a fairly large data set that may shed some insight. For the sake of protecting client privacy I can't say anything too specific but I will say that it's in the home service sector. I'm managing over 90 local websites for this client, each on their own domain (not subdomain), and we setup each one the same way. The content is on brand, and localized so there isn't a ton of variation. They have what we call a primary market, and up to 25 "secondary" markets. The primary is where they are physically located. Secondary are the locations outside of their city/town/suburb. Locations are primarily US, and some CA. I'm tracking over 18000 keywords daily across roughly 1600 locations. Each of this client's GMB profiles are setup with service radius as an SAB.

From our dataset it is universal that proximity was a factor for the client, regardless of the fact that they were setup as an SAB. They all ranked higher in their "primary" market. For example, if I setup shop in Virginia Beach, I always rank higher in Virginia Beach than I do in surrounding areas like Norfolk. For this reason I believe the address was an important piece of NAP information, and is also why we have sectioned out the keywords as primary or secondary by location.

Theoretically this change should have prompted an improvement in those other markets. I have seen little movement, either up or down. We have not changed the Service Areas from radius targeting yet and are working on more detailed tracking to see how that goes. For the time being, it appears this change is largely cosmetic. I'll update this thread if I am able to move the needle one way or another and provide any more insight. Really hoping that proximity is removed as a ranking factor for Service Area Businesses, but also keeping it real, I don't think Google likes using data that SEOs provide for ranking signals so I'm not too hopeful this is resulting in anything meaningful.
 

Yan Gilbert

Administrator
Joined
Oct 15, 2016
Messages
74
Likes
57
It'd be interesting to know if they both outline the whole US, if one only is the continental US, etc. BTW, Local Falcon is sweet :)
Thanks.
I think it is just the continental US with those inputs. Just for comparison, here is what Google gives as the center of Hawaii. Not sure what calculations they use to come up with a center of an oddly shaped geographical area (and how that may affect rankings given these recent updates).
1541776485691-png.3358
 

JoshuaMackens

Local Search Expert
Joined
Sep 12, 2012
Messages
1,312
Likes
212
So I'm still a little confused.

There seems to be people in the thread saying that their ranking in the service areas they provided has gone up. Some are saying they've seen no effect.

Is this right?
 

JoyHawkins

Administrator
Administrator
Joined
Jul 18, 2012
Messages
2,080
Likes
1,029
I'm pretty confident that no ranking signals have been changed (yet) or we'd be seeing changes broadly across tons of clients & verticals.
 

JoshuaMackens

Local Search Expert
Joined
Sep 12, 2012
Messages
1,312
Likes
212
I'm pretty confident that no ranking signals have been changed (yet) or we'd be seeing changes broadly across tons of clients & verticals.
That's what I thought.

This is an interesting change though, no? I mean are they headed in the direction of allowing people to rank in their service area? Theoretically this makes more sense for quality search results, to have people who can cover the area ranking in that area. But practically, you have to think this would be highly abused by spammers?

Or maybe not. I mean eventually a company, if they can't service that area, would get tired of getting calls from that area, right? Maybe that's the way forward.
 

Local Search Forum


Weekly Digest
Subscribe/Unsubscribe


Google top contributor

@LocalSearchLink

Join Our Facebook Group

Top