Service Areas and Physical Address

pwarrenseo

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Jan 24, 2019
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Does anyone on here use a physical address in their GMB and have areas served? I always thought areas served would only be useful for businesses who don't want to show their address but I've been seeing some people do both. Is there any benefit from doing this?
 

Caroline S

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May 3, 2019
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It really depends on what type of business you have and what address you are using for your business. Generally speaking, if you are a "brick and mortar" business and you have customers/clients coming to you on a regular basis, then the service area won't be as important. If you are a company that visits the customer, then you will definitely want to utilize the areas served. Even if you don't have customers coming to visit you, it is still a good idea to have your physical address included. Google Maps uses your address to show searchers results with the most proximity and relevance to them. If you want the ability to rank in Maps/Local pack for search results, having an address shown will be a big help.

The only time when you wouldn't want to show your address would be if your location is a place that isn't actually an office (ie. a virtual office or an employee's home. etc.)
 

Mindquest

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Jul 10, 2013
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@Colan Nielsen @Caroline S

A follow up to this question since I have some additional questions but figured it was better to add them here instead of starting a new thread.

Scenario similar to @pwarrenseo

1. Physical, brick and mortar office (verified in GMB) in downtown Denver
2. B2B services sold so clients come to the office and sales people make sales calls to pitch new clients throughout Denver

What will adding "Service Area" zip codes (different than the zip code the office is in) for area of Denver do if anything for me to rank better in maps for key KW phrases.?

Colan, wanted to confirm that doing this does NOT help me rank better in the zip codes I list in "Service Area" section in GMB?

Colan said: What it does do is alter the way your service area appears on Google Maps when someone views your listing.

Can you clarify this for me? Is this some sort of "rich result" for maps that will show up for these area codes?

Google Reference doc on "Service Area": Add or edit your service area - Google My Business Help


@BenFisher @JoyHawkins Talked about point #8 (If you designate multiple service areas Google will rank them equally) in this thread about service area

This seems to infer that there is some sort of ranking aspect to using "Service Area" zip codes but this post was from 11/2018 so things may have changed.

Looking forward to understanding this better with your help!
 
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Caroline S

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@Mindquest, I think what @Colan Nielsen means, is that, if you list just your address without service area zip codes, then when someone views your listing in maps, your listing will come up with a pin at your exact address. When you create a listing without an address, then you get a "service area" outline that looks like this:


In my experience, if you put in the zipcodes, but also have a physical address listed, then the pin will still be the one thing to show, not the outline like above.
 

Colan Nielsen

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Jul 19, 2012
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I think what @Colan Nielsen means, is that, if you list just your address without service area zip codes, then when someone views your listing in maps, your listing will come up with a pin at your exact address. When you create a listing without an address, then you get a "service area" outline that looks like this:
Yes that is exactly what I meant. Thanks Caroline!
 

Mindquest

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Jul 10, 2013
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Yes that is exactly what I meant. Thanks Caroline!
@Colan Nielsen Makes sense now that adding service area zip codes will display the map differently than without.

So given the latest of what you know about "Service Area", will adding zip codes to GMB (in the scenario listed above) have no effect in helping the business rank better in the map pack for KW searches where the map pack is displayed and the area code is not the one where your brick and mortar business is?

The client wants to add them (no reason why other than an article he read) but given what I am hearing it sounds like it will not help ranking?
 

Scott Rawlins

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Nov 14, 2012
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Adding service areas will only change the G Map outline for SABs. The marker will still be displayed at the address of the brick and mortar location. It will not help locally ranking in those other cities.
 

BipperMedia

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Jan 13, 2019
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142
RE: @pwarrenseo @Mindquest @Scott Rawlins @JoyHawkins @Colan Nielsen @Caroline S

I do apologize for being the contrarian voice in this debate... and let me premise my comments with the fact that I love this forum, I love the information shared and the ability to interact with like minded people who share an interest in local search... I'm very thankful and consider it an honor that I even found this forum in the first place and that I'm able to take part here (so thank you for that)...

But (and now the contrarian part... but respectfully) I'm confident that adding service area zip codes, surrounding cities, counties, etc... CAN in fact increase your presence, rankings, and productivity from those surrounding markets.

I have two clients that prove this theory is real.

I would sit here and write out the whole story, but unfortunately I have podcasts that I need to get recorded, and my house is finally quiet at the moment. :)

Perhaps I'll come back here and do a more in-depth write up... but I can tell you definitively that adding surrounding geographic areas as your targeted service areas does generate production (phone calls, website visits, views in search, views in maps) for your business.

For now you can reference this post here: Service Areas Clarification Needed - Local Search Forum

In that post I went a little bit deeper into this topic and shared screenshots of the zip code targeting strategy we implemented.

And you can see from our reporting that we basically doubled this client's "Actions" productivity across the board.

I can tell you though... the reason people believe this is not possible is because the client base being referenced (i.e. GMB's where this doesn't work) is probably due to a lack of location authority.

If you do not have enough location authority, it doesn't matter what you do to optimize your GMB, website, etc...

In other words, with zero location authority, you pretty much have to be standing in your office to see your GMB show up in the 3 pack.

However, with substantial location authority, you can generate productivity from local search / maps from surrounding zip codes and geographic areas.

In my view (again, I apologize for the contrarian position here) it is 100% possible... if and only if you have enough location authority to power your rankings at wider radiuses from your location.
 

BipperMedia

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Jan 13, 2019
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@JoyHawkins there's always work being done to increase their rankings...

If you don't have enough ranking power (which I call location authority) it doesn't matter how many service areas you add... you probably aren't found in maps much beyond a block of two, if that.

However, with enough authority, you can definitely generate productivity from surrounding areas (zip codes, cities, counties, etc...) -- and what I'm saying is, we are already doing it and seeing it.

(which is also why I feel a little bit nervous commenting because there are so many opinions / views that think it can't be done)
 

Colan Nielsen

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@BipperMedia
However, with enough authority, you can definitely generate productivity from surrounding areas (zip codes, cities, counties, etc...) -- and what I'm saying is, we are already doing it and seeing it.

No doubt and nobody would disagree with that. What we are saying and what we are seeing in our testing is that adding service areas inside Google My Business in and of itself does not increase your rankings in those areas.
 

Mindquest

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Jul 10, 2013
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@BipperMedia Thanks for chiming into the thread. One question for you.

You mentioned that for your examples work was done to increase rankings during that time. So if during this time the following happened:

  1. Work done by you during that time (so probably link building, citation building, adding reviews..etc)
  2. Work done or not done by your competitors during that time.
  3. Additional external factors (ex. Google tweaks)

I am guessing your definition of "Ranking Power" would be the result of some or all of above. Could be wrong so apologizes if I get this wrong.

Since we are specifically discussing the effectiveness or non-effectiveness of using the "Service Area" and adding zip code to GMB on this thread, do you think you would have had much less success only because you didn't add the zip codes?

If that is the case then it would seem like this one thing "Service Area" zip code additions to GMB would be very powerful advantage. In a local SEO where everything is so complex and layered the addition of one factor to make such a difference seems a little too good to be true.

I am not trying to troll you in any way just trying to understand your opinion on its effectiveness.
 

BipperMedia

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Jan 13, 2019
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To add context to the discussion / debate as to whether or not adding service areas to your GMB has any impact on getting found in the defined service areas.

Depending on your perspective, I guess there's actually two correct answers:

Correct answer 1) If you have no location authority, then adding surrounding service areas will have zero impact.

Correct answer 2) If you have substantial amounts of location authority, you can generate substantial amounts of productivity from increasingly wider radiuses of surrounding service areas that you define in your GMB.

I wanted to share a perspective on "how it is possible", and "that it is possible" to add surrounding areas to your service areas and get found / generate productivity from those defined areas.
 

Mindquest

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Jul 10, 2013
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To add context to the discussion / debate as to whether or not adding service areas to your GMB has any impact on getting found in the defined service areas.

Depending on your perspective, I guess there's actually two correct answers:

Correct answer 1) If you have no location authority, then adding surrounding service areas will have zero impact.

Correct answer 2) If you have substantial amounts of location authority, you can generate substantial amounts of productivity from increasingly wider radiuses of surrounding service areas that you define in your GMB.

I wanted to share a perspective on "how it is possible", and "that it is possible" to add surrounding areas to your service areas and get found / generate productivity from those defined areas.
So are you saying given "Correct answer 2" only adding zip codes to your GMB profile would be the singular catalyst to effect better rankings above and beyond what you would of gotten without doing it?
 
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BipperMedia

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Jan 13, 2019
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So are you saying given "Correct answer 2" only adding zip codes to your GMB profile would be the singular catalyst to effect better rankings above and beyond what you would of gotten without doing it?
Hmm... not 100% sure I understand what you are saying.

If you had enough location authority sufficient for the radius area, then yes... by adding the zip codes would be what unlocked your rankings, presence, and productivity in those surrounding zip codes.

But I would argue that the zip codes are not your catalyst...

Actually the location authority is the catalyst.

You simply unlocked / unleashed your untapped authority by adding the zip codes.

This is actually really interesting to think about....!

In this case / context of our discussion -- location authority is the catalyst or ranking potential of any given location or GMB.

You then create the doorways for that authority to channel through by adding your service areas (zip codes, cities, counties, etc...).

And the more location authority you have, the more you can expand your radius of productivity by defining those surrounding service areas that are further away from your main location.
 

JoyHawkins

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Jul 18, 2012
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I don't think there is a way to isolate a single ranking factor if you are doing a ton of things and then looking at traffic as the measurement. If you could show rankings before and after for those specific area you added, I think that would be more clear. This is what I've tested and found zero impact from.

Sterling Sky's service area is currently set to only Toronto. We rank nowhere and for nothing in Toronto. Where we do rank locally is near the address I used to verify it. That's consistently what I've seen on every service area business I've worked on in the last decade.
 

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