Service Areas Clarification Needed

Nathan_NZ

Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2019
Messages
16
Hi all,

I’m new to Local SEO and this forum.

I have a question and I haven’t been able to find an answer to it.

Does adding service areas help increase the visibility of a GMB listing?

If my client has an office and if I add nearby suburbs as service areas, does this mean they would be seen more often in the search results as opposed to not using service areas at all?

In the forums I have read there is no ranking value in setting service areas? Is this correct?

Maybe my understanding of what a service area is for is incorrect? Could someone please clarify what a service area is used for?

I’ve read this explanation from Google but my situation is different.

In my specific case the client would not go to see a customer. But they do cater to people that live in nearby suburbs. So are they allowed to use service areas?

Thanks

Nathan
 
Last edited:

dannanelli

Member
Joined
May 24, 2014
Messages
37
Hi all,

I’m new to Local SEO and this forum.

I have a question and I haven’t been able to find an answer to it.

Does adding service areas help increase the visibility of a GMB listing?

If my client has an office and if I add nearby suburbs as service areas, does this mean they would be seen more often in the search results as opposed to not using service areas at all?

In the forums I have read there is no ranking value in setting service areas? Is this correct?

Maybe my understanding of what a service area is for is incorrect? Could someone please clarify what a service area is used for?

I’ve read this explanation from Google but my situation is different.

In my specific case the client would not go to see a customer. But they do cater to people that live in nearby suburbs. So are they allowed to use service areas?

Thanks

Nathan
Hi Nathan,

I can't say for certain but here are some resources that may help.

Darren Shaw did a great study and he mentioned that adding service areas may have an impact but removing a service area from a GMB listing did not affect rankings. See slide 53 on his deck here: https://whitespark.ca/blog/from-zero-to-local-ranking-hero-mozcon-2019/. Keep in mind, this was just one study.

There is also a thread here about service area GMB listings: Changed to SAB and Traffic Dropped Big Time - Local Search Forum

Hopeful someone else can chime in here with some good info.
 

Nathan_NZ

Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2019
Messages
16
Hi Nathan,

I can't say for certain but here are some resources that may help.

Darren Shaw did a great study and he mentioned that adding service areas may have an impact but removing a service area from a GMB listing did not affect rankings. See slide 53 on his deck here: https://whitespark.ca/blog/from-zero-to-local-ranking-hero-mozcon-2019/. Keep in mind, this was just one study.

There is also a thread here about service area GMB listings: Changed to SAB and Traffic Dropped Big Time - Local Search Forum

Hopeful someone else can chime in here with some good info.
Thanks Dani!

I was lucky enough to be at MozCon and saw Darren Shaw’s presentation. This is the reason I wanted to seek clarification on the benefit of using a physical address and service areas.

Because I didn’t know any better I had recommended that my client add service areas but now I’m thinking its not really necessary and I’m better focusing on other more valuable activities.
 

freerunr

Member
Joined
Feb 7, 2013
Messages
81
@Nathan_NZ, here are a few comments from threads on this very forum that may answer your question (from trusted experts, including @whitespark himself!):



 

BipperMedia

Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2019
Messages
144
Hi all,

I’m new to Local SEO and this forum.

I have a question and I haven’t been able to find an answer to it.

Does adding service areas help increase the visibility of a GMB listing?
.....
Hi Nathan! This is a great question... and let me give you feedback based on our experience with a few of our clients.

We've actually tested this for one of our clients that has 2 business locations / businesses: a landscape business and a garbage pickup business; however, their offices are located in a small suburb town just outside of a larger metro area.

They, of course, do landscaping and garbage pickup all over the surrounding areas and the majority of their business comes from the adjoining large metro area.

So by all definitions... they are the typical example of a "service area business".

We decided to test the idea of including surrounding zip codes as service areas... and we really dove in on this by including every zip code within and around each of the surrounding areas they want to target.

We also included the city names of the major adjacent city and all surrounding cities that coincided with the zip codes.

So in essence, we included every zip code and every city name in their service areas.

I've attached a screenshot of the list of service areas so you can see what I'm talking about... this is just a small sample size of their total targeted service areas list within their GMB.

I've also included a screenshot of their productivity via GMB Insights of their "Actions" where you can see the huge increases in productivity since implementing this strategy (see attached GMB Insights graph).

In summary... I am definitely a believer in targeting multiple service areas within your GMB as a strategy to expand the presence and exposure for a business in Google local search.

*** BUT.... and this is a big but... this strategy is frivolous without the business / GMB having a substantial amount of location authority.

Any business / location will need enough location authority to compete at a wider radius around their verified location.

Think of this as a "radius of influence" or "radius of authority".

If you have a small amount of location authority, you need to pretty much be standing in or next to your business to see yourself at the top of local search.

If you have a substantial amount of location authority, you can be found and gain traction (productivity) at increasingly wider radiuses.

If you are defining service areas that extend out to the 5 or 10 mile radius level, you need to have a substantial amount of location authority established for that business... which means a substantial footprint of your citation distribution portfolio - both in scale (volume) and magnitude (authority)... and no... Yext, Moz Local, HIBU, etc... are not going to cut it... sorry!

Again, the main driver of location authority is the scale and magnitude of your citation distribution portfolio -- both in structured and unstructured citations.

You can read more about location authority here:


I hope this reply was helpful... let me know if you have any questions!

Bobby



 
Last edited:

Nathan_NZ

Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2019
Messages
16
@Nathan_NZ, here are a few comments from threads on this very forum that may answer your question (from trusted experts, including @whitespark himself!):



Thanks. This is a big help and has answered my specific question.
 

JoshuaMackens

Local Search Expert
Joined
Sep 12, 2012
Messages
1,834
I think the standard advice currently in the industry is that it doesn't work. You never know when Google could flip the switch though. They would do it and not even tell us. So I keep waiting for it to work. And when it does, it will probably be reported by the people looking for it, which means the people we are discounting as people who are wrong about it working currently. So it gets a little risky sometimes to discount people going against the grain. One day, one of them could be very, very, very right. But we won't listen because of all the "cried wolf". Keeps me interested in people when they say it works but so far has left me disappointed haha.
 
Joined
Oct 17, 2018
Messages
104
Just curious -- has anybody else seen a benefit from adding service areas?
All of our clients are florists/flower shops, and so they have the walk-in store but also do floral deliveries to certain postal codes/surrounding nearby towns and whatnot.

For businesses in the larger metropolitan areas like Houston and Los Angeles, we don't really notice a huge difference in ranking but it can help for showing up on searches for nearby suburbs and whatnot. For the smaller areas where a business can deliver to 10+ different small towns in a wide area, specifying the service areas is actually a huge help for showing up more prominently in the neighboring towns that are different from their address.

I can't speak for how it would work for other business types, but for our florists, it makes a big difference.
 

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