SeoNoob

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Still trying to figure out this service area deal. Does it make sense to only add the areas and cities surrounding other areas we service, or should we be adding the areas within as well to the list?
An example below shows the area coverage from Markham to Mississisauga and from Brampton to Scarborough. Does it make any difference to add North York for example to thie service list as North York is basically directly in the middle of the map?

fdsfds.JPG
 

Phil Rozek

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@SeoNoob, I suggest adding the in-between areas.

The areas in red aren't necessarily covered by your service-area settings. Google hasn't yet figured out how to represent those on the map in a way that makes any sense. There is a "flyover country" phenomenon, where if I define a service area that consists of "Massachusetts" and "Washington," Google's map will show coast-to-coast red, implying that my service area also covers 10-15 states in between.
 

Steven12

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I research & test this SAB concept daily. I agree with Phil. You should, without a doubt, add the inner cities, zips, and areas. I strongly believe that Google changed this because too many businesses were putting in (100 mile radius) easy enough. They stopped the easy method. Did you know that you can still use a radius in Google Ads, but you pay for it. lol One of the main reasons behind this is the search terms now being used in voice. "Near Me" is huge and growing daily. When some one asks "Painter Near Me" , Google knows exactly where that person is. They are not just outside of Toronto, they are in North York. Create a "City Page" on your site for each and every one of these towns/areas. Let Google know, "Hey, I service North York, see!" If you truly do service this area, try to get a customer review from there and put it on your City Page. That's a start. "How Big is Your Near Me?" I wrote a PDF for my clients.
 

whitespark

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Based on my testing, the service area you enter has zero impact on rankings. So, you can enter whatever service areas you want, or, you could enter none. It seems like the only thing this will impact is how the area is drawn on the map on your listing.
 

Phil Rozek

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@ Darren
Yeah, I haven't seen that a service area affects rankings when Google knows where the business is located. But I wonder about when the address is not specified in the dashboard, and there's only a service area. Have you tested out that situation yet? (I haven't.)
 

whitespark

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Hey Phil,

The business I tested does not have an address listed, but it once did, so I think Google knows where it's located. A clean test would be a brand new listing with no address added. I should buy a fake listing from a spammer for testing...
 

JoshuaMackens

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Hey Phil,

The business I tested does not have an address listed, but it once did, so I think Google knows where it's located. A clean test would be a brand new listing with no address added. I should buy a fake listing from a spammer for testing...

Wouldn't you still have to specify an address even if eventually you "clear" it?
 

Steven12

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There are some important steps that you are leaving out, eg., I own the domain name "Roofers in Knoxville dot com. (clean) It's an exact match domain, but until I do the work to rank for it, the name just sits there with potential. Create a "City Page". Write an article all about North York and how nice it is to service that area. Use (POI) points of interest in the town. Neighborhoods, City Hall, maps with driving directions from your location to a POI. Have a YouTube video, titled; "Niche in North York on the page. If you can get a review from a person in North York and/or some local backlinks from businesses in NY, it's a homerun. Link out to Wikipedia page all about North York. Take most of your article ideas from Wikipedia and quote them. Link out to POI's. Insert a backlink in your YT video description back to your page. Send backlinks to your YT video, tier two link style. Write a Google Post announcing that you have expanded your service area with a link back to the page. It takes work, and content is still KING. If you want to own it, write a press release all about how your company is expanding it's service area. Do a live YT broadcast event. You can own it... Hell, try ranking for fast weight loss, your only after, Lawyer in North York.
Good Luck, You can do it...
 

whitespark

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@Steven12 definitely! All those things will help you rank in those areas. That's exactly what someone should do. I just don't think that setting the service area in GMB has any impact on that.
 

whitespark

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Wouldn't you still have to specify an address even if eventually you "clear" it?

No, you don't. Adding a brand new business gives you these options around location and service area:
4038


4039


4040

Now I have a brand new fictional business in my dashboard. It's unverified, but if I fill out the listing completely and wait a while, I might eventually get the option to phone verify. No address ever entered.
 

Steven12

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That's the way it should work,. However, you can't become a "Verified" business without a postcard being mailed to your biz. I would love to know if they let you phone verify, but I believe if that was a real biz it would never build the trust to rank.
 

JoshuaMackens

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No, you don't. Adding a brand new business gives you these options around location and service area:
4038


4039


4040

Now I have a brand new fictional business in my dashboard. It's unverified, but if I fill out the listing completely and wait a while, I might eventually get the option to phone verify. No address ever entered.

Have you actually ever gotten the option to phone verify a listing with no address?
 

whitespark

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I expect that I will get the phone option in 2 weeks. I'll keep you posted.
 

Steven12

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Hey Josh, I just now noticed looking at your attachments (I've seen plenty of times) that in the example Google uses PLUS CODES. They are trying to map the entire planet with these Plus Codes. There's not a whole lot out there about them, but I believe it's a lot like Schema markup, bonus points for speaking their language. Our forum needs to research this. There is something out there about them. They are on every knowledge panel I've seen. Thoughts?
 

JoshuaMackens

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I expect that I will get the phone option in 2 weeks. I'll keep you posted.

Are you saying you haven't gotten it before but you expect to?

The reason I ask is I've never thought about creating an unverified listing and waiting until a few weeks to see if they give the phone option. That would be very interesting.
 

JoshuaMackens

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Are you saying you haven't gotten it before but you expect to?

The reason I ask is I've never thought about creating an unverified listing and waiting until a few weeks to see if they give the phone option. That would be very interesting.

I've actually been really curious about these but haven't taken the time to research it. @JoyHawkins probably knows what's up.
 

aggiejulie12

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Based on my testing, the service area you enter has zero impact on rankings. So, you can enter whatever service areas you want, or, you could enter none. It seems like the only thing this will impact is how the area is drawn on the map on your listing.

@whitespark based on your testing, it sounds like there's no point to changing your GMB listing from a generic listing with the address hidden to a SAB listing, am I correct? Or is a business with the address hidden by default a SAB? If that's the case (address hidden = SAB by default), then is having a SAB listing still pointless because your actual address still matters and you end up playing by general GMB rules by default?
 

whitespark

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@aggiejulie12 so far, it seems that there's no ranking value in changing to SAB settings (at the moment). I think from Google's perspective the benefits for a business are:
  1. you can hide your address so people don't show up at your location when you don't serve people at that location.
  2. you can specify the regions you serve so that it draws the areas on the map. This is just for display purposes, so it shows potential customers the areas your business is willing to travel to. It's not for specifying the area you prefer to rank in.
 

Steven12

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Hey Whitespark,
I agree with you wholeheartedly. What you are saying is true. However, in order to rank for an area, that you service, it's like anything else, you need content. Furthermore, you need geo-rich keyword content. Get GMB reviews from that service area and backlinks from businesses in that area. Even better, create a YT live event announcing that you are expanding your services to that area, and then do a GMB event post. If you want to take it a step further, do a press release announcing the expansion of your service area. There are many more that I know, You know. Bottom line: Content, Content, Content= Location, Location, Location...
P.S. I love your work...
 

whitespark

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Hey @Steven12,

I wholeheartedly agree with your suggestions! It is possible to rank in other areas, and the suggestions you provide here are exactly how you'd do it. I was just commenting on the impact of the service area settings in GMB and how this feature, on its own, is not going improve your rankings in the areas you set.
 
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