Service Areas and Physical Address

BipperMedia

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Jan 13, 2019
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@Mindquest -- you failed to mention the other variable being tested here... which is / was location authority.

Since the removal of the service areas appears to have no impact, then clearly the location authority of these GMB's is sufficient enough to carry rankings and productivity at a very wide radius relative to their location.

In this case, their rankings and productivity are covering approximately a 5 county area.

Which means (and getting back to what was also being tested), it is possible to increase the authority and prominence of a location to such as degree that is covers a wide radius of surrounding areas, cities, and markets.
 

BipperMedia

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@djbaxter -- thank you for your comment.. with all due respect, your statement is completely false.

First, this term has been used multiple times in the research and context of geofencing technology, GPS infrastructure, and algorithms used to transmit data and signals within location / proximity / GPS type technology. Don't ask me to elaborate on those things, I'm just saying... your statement is false.

If you were to research this term and read up on the ideas, theories, and context in which these other technology companies have referenced it, I think you would see the logical / parallel relationship between their use of the term and the way I use it to describe rankings and presence in search relative to the distance and radius from a location.

From my perspective - and I suppose... in my opinion - it's a perfect description of the rankings and keyword data we are seeing in this experiment with the two locations.

Also with all due respect, the context within which I'm using the term makes complete sense to me... and to the 100+ clients who pay us a lot of money to keep doing this thing that you characterize as having "no meaning and no practical value". This large audience of businesses would, more than likely, adamantly disagree with you as well.

Nonetheless, I do appreciate your comment and honest feedback.

And of course, I always appreciate the opportunity for this type of dialogue (and I honestly mean that).

Thank you again

Bobby
 

djbaxter

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@djbaxter -- thank you for your comment.. with all due respect, your statement is completely false.

First, this term has been used multiple times in the research and context of geofencing technology, GPS infrastructure, and algorithms used to transmit data and signals within location / proximity / GPS type technology. Don't ask me to elaborate on those things, I'm just saying... your statement is false.

If you were to research this term and read up on the ideas, theories, and context in which these other technology companies have referenced it, I think you would see the logical / parallel relationship between their use of the term and the way I use it to describe rankings and presence in search relative to the distance and radius from a location.
Humor me. Explain why anyone needs another fictional variable to describe ranking in local search.
 

BipperMedia

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@djbaxter -- well, I've never been accused of being "humorous"... so I apologize up front... you may be disappointed :)

The "why?" is because I've learned that anytime we can explain something that helps people (clients, colleagues, students, otherwise interested random people, etc...) understand something better and in a deeper, more insightful and practical manner, that we actually end up adding more value to those people.

So that's a pretty big "why?" for me... in fact, in a lot of ways, it's the fuel that drives a lot of the things I do day in and day out.

I understand your reaction as "another fictional variable"; however, this doesn't mean that it should be outright discredited. As I've explained, there's an entire population of businesses who understand this term as their only point of reference, and who use this term as their core measurement of ROI on their investment in local SEO.

And there's a completely different population of people who, as a direct result of the impact and influence of this term, are more passionate and eager to learn and improve their skills in the fascinating world of SEO... so they can serve their clients better in helping them succeed in growing their business, which in turn helps their business / SEO agencies grow.

This is also a pretty big "why?"... to me anyway.

So perhaps to answer your question in a more simple and direct manner... the "why?" is simply to add more value in people's lives.
 
Joined
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386
I hadn’t heard the term “location authority” previous to this thread, but if Location Authority is a term to describe a location’s ability to rank in a wider radius, then I kind of like it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I think you’d need to measure it with something like Local Falcon.
 

BipperMedia

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Jan 13, 2019
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@whitespark @JoyHawkins -- so a quick update on this test...

Last week our client called and said their "phone calls have all but dried up..." since we removed the 66 service areas from their GMB.

Again, their location is in a small suburb outside a larger metro area -- so there's not a lot of people / customers in their verified location.

To me, this explained why their phone calls have all but dried up... because we removed all of their service areas.

When our client called last week, they basically said we need to add all of the service areas back and they no longer support being the subject of this test.

So last week, we went back in and added all 66 of their surrounding services areas to their GMB's.

Today, after asking our client if they've seen a difference in phone calls from surrounding areas since we added the service areas back last week... the client said, and I quote:

"Yes it has..."

I realize that Whitesparks' keyword tool / rank tracker (which is awesome by the way... and we are looking moving over to it) says rankings have not been impacted.

But our client says otherwise.

So I am standing by my belief that adding service areas DOES impact and influence rankings.

Of course, as I've mentioned before, in order for service areas to impact your presence, rankings, and productivity in the service areas you business (GMB) needs enough location authority to support the radius of those surrounding service areas.

But assuming the authority is there --- my belief remains the same... adding service areas can / does influence your rankings and productivity in those surrounding markets, limited only by your radius author

Here's a quick timeline / summary of the action insights on our client's GMB:
  • 12/2018: originally added 66 service areas
  • through 2018 - 2019... continued to aggressively build location authority
  • 8/2019: last full month prior to removing 66 service areas
  • 9/2019: month the 66 service areas were removed
  • 10/2019: continued loss after removed service areas
  • 10/21/2019: client called and said "phone calls have all but dried up"
  • 10/21/2019: we added 66 service areas back to the GMB
  • 10/28/2019: client says they are now seeing their phone calls coming back from surrounding areas
here's a screenshot:

 

keyserholiday

Local Search Expert
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Jul 27, 2017
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165
Was anything else changed or updated? The links that the GMB listings pointed to, new reviews, additional photos added? The image also seems to show ebbs and flows. I am seeing a decrease starting in Sept of each year.
Sept 18 192
Oct 18 170
Nov 18 157
Sept 19 185
Oct 19 125
How do we know that this being mirror year over year? I also know that last Sept was a brutal month for a lot of businesses nationwide as traffic took a massive hit everywhere. Most businesses have their good months and their bad months. I know the weather plays a major impact on call volumes too. Winter storms and hurricanes tend to wreak havoc on phone calls and leads.
I am attaching two screenshots of clients I work with. One started in March 2018 and the other we switched from Mozlocal to Yext in March 2017. Both clients have had their ups and downs.



 

djbaxter

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Last week our client called and said their "phone calls have all but dried up..." since we removed the 66 service areas from their GMB.

Again, their location is in a small suburb outside a larger metro area -- so there's not a lot of people / customers in their verified location.

To me, this explained why their phone calls have all but dried up... because we removed all of their service areas.

When our client called last week, they basically said we need to add all of the service areas back and they no longer support being the subject of this test.

So last week, we went back in and added all 66 of their surrounding services areas to their GMB's.

Today, after asking our client if they've seen a difference in phone calls from surrounding areas since we added the service areas back last week... the client said, and I quote:

"Yes it has..."

I realize that Whitesparks' keyword tool / rank tracker (which is awesome by the way... and we are looking moving over to it) says rankings have not been impacted.

But our client says otherwise.

So I am standing by my belief that adding service areas DOES impact and influence rankings.
But, unless I've missed or forgotten something in this rather long thread, you can't logically conclude that it influences rankings. You weren't even measuring rankings. You were measuring GMB activities.

Add to that the comments from @keyserholiday above and @whitespark at post #107 and post #113 and honestly as far as I can see I don't know what you can conclude except that the number of calls to your client decreased in September for some reason which you attribute to the changes in service areas but may in fact well be due to other factors you have not examined.

Unless of course you do have actual ranking data...
 

BipperMedia

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Jan 13, 2019
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142
@djbaxter -- but perhaps we are at another cross roads where we simply agree to disagree.

What I conclude is that service areas within your GMB, with sufficient prominence & authority, does influence rankings in those surrounding areas,

Also, productivity (phone calls, etc...) is always a function of rankings.

So if you are getting increased call volume, website visits, direction requests, etc... (what I call productivity) then it's usually ("always" is probably more accurate) directly correlated to your rankings in those markets.

My final conclusion = adding service areas to your GMB can increase rankings & productivity so long as the verified GMB has sufficient levels of location authority to support the radius of those defined service areas... (of which, our client's GMB and the subject GMB of this test does in fact have).

Thank you again,

Bobby
 

djbaxter

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@djbaxter -- but perhaps we are at another cross roads where we simply agree to disagree.

What I conclude is that service areas within your GMB, with sufficient prominence & authority, does influence rankings in those surrounding areas,

Also, productivity (phone calls, etc...) is always a function of rankings.

So if you are getting increased call volume, website visits, direction requests, etc... (what I call productivity) then it's usually ("always" is probably more accurate) directly correlated to your rankings in those markets.

My final conclusion = adding service areas to your GMB can increase rankings & productivity so long as the verified GMB has sufficient levels of location authority to support the radius of those defined service areas... (of which, our client's GMB and the subject GMB of this test does in fact have).
Again:
  • you have not measured rankings so you cannot conclude that rankings were affected: that's simply a violation of logical reasoning
  • you cannot conclude that increased or decreased calls during a short period of time were due to your manipulations unless you controlled or at least measured other factors that may have affected calls: again that's a violation of logical reasoning



 

keyserholiday

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I had a situation where a franchisee had a horrible month. GMB updated how they reported views on search/ views on search at the same time. They pointed to that decrease to claim that we killed their SEO. Our ranking reports didn't show any decreases, our call tracking software also didn't nor did analytics. It turned out that they had 75 cancellations and 25 new signups that month. That was the root of them losing money that month. It wasn't until corporate looked into everything that we are able to get to the root of everything. Again, I am only getting a fraction of your data and its extremely difficult for me to agree with you, your findings or your data. I am not saying that something isn't happening, its just that I don't have enough data to agree with you.
 

BipperMedia

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Jan 13, 2019
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142
@djbaxter -- why are you so fixated on rankings? Our clients only ever call us when their phone calls drop off... our clients NEVER call us about their rankings -- and now that I think about it, anytime I've ever received a call from a client - which is hardly ever, I might add... has only ever been to tell us that they've noticed a drop off in their phone calls.

Just like my client did last week after we removed 66 service areas from their GMB's.

I've actually considered -- and we are seriously considering -- completely removing keyword rankings from our monthly reporting to clients and instead focusing 100% on productivity metrics.

We see value in tracking keyword rankings for our own internal data usage and measurements, analysis, etc... and side note: we love @whitespark keyword ranking tools and are currently testing out a few more clients on their platform -- we will more than likely shift all of our clients over.

But don't misunderstand what I'm saying... as I mentioned, we value keyword ranking data for our own internal analysis, not as the best ROI and value for our clients.

Our clients care about phone calls and SALES! period

Do you have clients who actually care about rankings?

If they do, then they probably aren't getting much productivity like phone calls... and if they aren't getting phone calls AND you are still fixated on keyword rankings, then you are probably fixated on low value / low impact keyword phrases that have zero productivity utilization and next to no competition.

Please (and not just my friend djbaxter, but everyone listening...) STOP fixating on rankings!

This drives me insane when everyone wants to focus on rankings.

Businesses care about sales and phone calls, leads, etc... and rightly so.

By the time you factor in all of the variables that influence rankings such as:
  • proximity
  • intent
  • Google AI
  • misspellings
  • voice search
  • device type
  • user browser / search history
  • and on and on...
you end up with a very skewed perspective of any snapshot rankings you take for any given keyword phrase.

Here... let me just say it like I really want to say it (kids, cover your ears!):

KEYWORD RANKING DATA IS WORTHLESS... as a true measurement of ROI and true impact on business.

There... I said it (and yes, I do feel better, thank you!) :)

My experience tells me that businesses really, truly care about one thing and one thing only... productivity! such as phone calls, leads, website visits, and above all else SALES!

Sales, my dear friends... sales! not keyword rankings.

Do you realize that for any top level / category level keyword phrase that shows, let's say, 100 searches per month via something like ahrefs, semrush, or whatever tool you use...

That in reality, there's more than likely 100X of true search volume happening around that keyword phrase?

Think about... and pick any keyword phrase... when you factor in variables like the ones I listed above... there are literally thousands -- no, probably hundreds of thousands -- of keyword phrases and keyword phrase variations, that are ACTUALLY being used to find a products or services, even in the local markets.

Again, my final word on this = adding surrounding zip codes, cities, and service areas to your GMB does in fact influence rankings, presence, and productivity.

It's that simple.

And our clients have responded with the most relevant and empirical data that's available...

phone calls and new customers (SALES) in their business.

And my confidence in this assessment is stronger than ever because our client (an actual business owner) spoke up when they saw (and felt) the true impact they were seeing on their business.

Thank you again

Bobby
 
Last edited:

BipperMedia

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142
you have not measured rankings so you cannot conclude that rankings were affected: that's simply a violation of logical reasoning
from my experience, if a business isn't ranking for a high value / high impact keyword phrase, then they aren't getting phone calls.

By measuring productivity, rankings are implied and therefore irrelevant in determining the outcome.

Our client did not call me, and could care less, about their rankings -- they called because their phone calls dried up > we added service areas back > phone calls sprang back to life.

You tell me what to conclude from that... I mean truly, honestly?
 

BipperMedia

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Jan 13, 2019
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.... I am only getting a fraction of your data and its extremely difficult for me to agree with you, your findings or your data. I am not saying that something isn't happening, its just that I don't have enough data to agree with you.
please see my reply above on keyword ranking data as a way to show / prove / value to a client... in my opinion, this also applies to trying to use keyword ranking data as a determining factor in deciding the outcome of this test.
 

keyserholiday

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Jul 27, 2017
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@BipperMedia what will it take for anybody to see solid data to substantiate your claims other than “trust me.” How do we know that you didn’t do a social media blitz, pass out fliers, run any form of ads. I find it extremely rare that a client is not concerned about their rankings, especially when their phone isn’t ringing. I have lost count how many times I’ve had a franchisee complain that they are not ranking because they aren’t seeing a constant increase in phone calls. I’ve had clients not understand about seasonality or that their staff just wasn’t closing leads. We have call tracking metrics in place to tell where the leads are coming from, GMB, website, ppc, or social media ads.
I would to pull back the curtain and see what all is happening or driving the results, calls and traffic. Are you able to share screenshots of analytics to show the increase or the UTM traffic to attribute to GMB clicks? I’d be willing to buy all in, if I could see more data. I have check independent resources and I am unable to see any data to corroborate your statements. How may I see some data to fully vet this?
 

keyserholiday

Local Search Expert
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Jul 27, 2017
Messages
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@BipperMedia I am going to remain a sceptic until you can convince me otherwise. I will remain unconvinced then. If you’d like to chance my mind, please provide me with cold hard proof in the form of the following data:
Analytic data
GSC
Keyword ranking data
Local Falcon/ Local Viking
Until that day and time comes in, I can’t buy in.
 

BipperMedia

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Jan 13, 2019
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@keyserholiday - I have an idea.... how about you call my client directly?

He gave me permission for anyone who wants to ask him about this "test" to feel free and call him directly... on his cell.

If you'd like to call him, I'll DM you his cell #.

Would that be sufficient?

We do not do any social media campaigns, ppc, or whatever else you were referring to...

We build straight up location authority that drives his rankings and presence in Google at a massively wide radius around his business -- pure and simple.

The presence in search drives massive growth in their business from real customers who are finding their business in search and calling -- also pure and simple.

P.S. I'm not asking you to trust me... I honestly could care less if you "trust me" with the data (whatever that means!?) and I have nothing to prove or convince anyone of otherwise.

And are you serious... a social media blitz, pass out fliers, run any form of ads...? not even sure how to respond to that...
 

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