Huge Change for Service Area Businesses in Google My Business

dannanelli

Member
Joined
May 24, 2014
Messages
19
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)
Hi @BenFisher, I was just reading your comment here and wanted to ask a question about #8. If a service area business is targeting a specific city (such as Tampa), but also services several entire states, would adding entire states to the service area harm the ranking for that one specific city (such as Tampa)? Your comment leads me to believe that it would not harm the rankings for that city but it's been a while since the SAB update happened so I wanted to check in to see if this is still the case. I feel like I read an article on this somewhere recently but am unable to track it down. Thanks again.
 

BenFisher

Local Search Expert
Joined
Nov 19, 2015
Messages
212
From what I understand, that was/is the intent, however, it does not work that way as of today.
 

dannanelli

Member
Joined
May 24, 2014
Messages
19
@BenFisher Thanks for taking the time to reply. If you have any other insights into how the service area field works, that would be great. I am particularly interested in knowing if adding large service areas (such as entire states) will harm the local city rankings of where the business is physically located. I'll keep looking around for info on this. Hopefully, I can find something.
 

JoshuaMackens

Local Search Expert
Joined
Sep 12, 2012
Messages
1,726
@BenFisher Thanks for taking the time to reply. If you have any other insights into how the service area field works, that would be great. I am particularly interested in knowing if adding large service areas (such as entire states) will harm the local city rankings of where the business is physically located. I'll keep looking around for info on this. Hopefully, I can find something.
Since it doesn't currently affect anything, I wouldn't try that.

GMB is fickle. You never know what can get you in trouble. And since it won't help currently, the risk vs reward is extremely low.
 

Yan Gilbert

Administrator
Joined
Oct 15, 2016
Messages
190
Can you be more specific? Like if you don't have an area chosen, the listing won't show..?
 

chadkimball

Member
Joined
Feb 21, 2014
Messages
194
Had a SAB client who noticed his address was showing, logged in and hid the address. It asked him to reverify, and at the same time changed his service area to a massive circle. Now he has to wait for reverification, and in the mean time his call volume dropped and his ranking dropped too. A few things happening at once there, but it seems the service area may be the culprit.
 

SeoNoob

Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2019
Messages
2
Maybe someone here can help figure this out. Today I tried to add 3-4 more areas to the service area and then I noticed this on my dashboard after adding the additional service areas. Where do I go from here? Am I supposed to accept this modification that removes all areas? I had 44 service areas initially, did I select too many areas by adding the additional 4? I realize that 48 service areas sounds like a lot but realistically, they are all within a about a 50km drive from the main address.
Should postal codes be used instead?

 

SteinCoffee

Member
Joined
May 8, 2019
Messages
3
Hey guys, has anyone found new information on this?

I have had my contracting business on GMB for 6 years, I entered my address and verified it at the beginning. I chose that I did not do business at my location and I went out to customer's houses or whatever those two options were.

Now I see that my business location is empty. I have the 15 towns that I service still listed in the Service Area.

When I search my company on Google, on the right hand side of the results page it says "Electrician in Mytown, New Jersey". So it still knows which town I am in. Also, I come up first in the 3 pack for that town. All other towns that I service and list I come up in various positions well below the top 3.

So does this mean that they do know which town I am in even though my address is blank in GMB?
I too am looking for any updates anybody may have.

Your situation is almost exactly what I am in, except that my physical address is not blank. This GMB update for SABs appears to have a giant zero impact.

BTW I found this forum because I've been searching for answers to this question with little success. Looks like I might stick around, as a good forum is a great thing.
 

Yan Gilbert

Administrator
Joined
Oct 15, 2016
Messages
190
Even though the address is no longer showing in the dashboard, the system still knows the verification address and bases it from that.

There is no impact yet but for sure they would not have made these changes if they were not preparing it for something.
 

SteinCoffee

Member
Joined
May 8, 2019
Messages
3
Thank you. What is the recommendation for applying service areas? I can think of about 30-50 cities within our operation radius we service (some big some small). What's your advice on what to list?
 

JoyHawkins

Administrator
Joined
Jul 18, 2012
Messages
2,586
@SteinCoffee I'd suggest adding whatever cities you service but if they all fall within a county, you can add the counties instead to make it easier. At the moment, they make zero impact on where you rank. All it does is update the little map in your Knowledge Panel.

 

Ampere

Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2018
Messages
46
Has anyone seen the Manage Locations option in GMB?

I found it today and went to it and it has my actual location, which has been missing since I made my first post in this thread months ago.
 

Colan Nielsen

Administrator
Joined
Jul 19, 2012
Messages
3,135
We've had the manage locations option for several months. I can't recall if we had it before or after we upgraded to the agency dashboard.

Can you share a screenshot of what you're referring to when you say it shows your actual location now?
 

Ampere

Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2018
Messages
46
Sure. It should be attached at the bottom.

Earlier in the thread we spoke about how our business location was now empty in GMB, BUT they still knew where our actual address was- as if they only knew behind the scenes, not somewhere that we can see or change.

So now I see my actual address listed in a different part of GMB, under Manage Locations

 

Ampere

Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2018
Messages
46
That's fascinating. I still only see the service areas specified in that section for the listings we manage that we have removed the address from GMB.
I never removed my address from GMB, they removed it for me when they made that switch a few months ago.

I don't know if I am miss-stating this or not, I am an electrician, not an SEO pro lol.
 

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