More threads by Erin Adams

Jul 18, 2013
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Should lawyers utilize the service area option on their Google listings?

They can do house visits but also have an office where clients can come to them.
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Hi Erin,

Sure, just make sure to check the box "I serve customers at my business address" in addition to checking "<label id=":9t.lbl" class="bw">My business has service areas where I visit customers at their location"

Don't set your service area too wide, try and keep it under 20 miles as it has been suspected of diluting ranking if set to wide.</label>
I agree with Colan, it's allowed and not prohibited.

HOWEVER my paranoid alter ego that deals with Google local problems all day long wants me to paint another side of the picture.

1st I have to ask WHY? There is usually not any good reason to do it that way.

Google has a bias against service area businesses. (Hundreds of thousands of service area businesses were deleted at one point.)

PLUS IMO the Google algo almost always paints with a broad brush. Attorneys normally don't set service area and almost always see clients at their office. Sure they'll go out and meet a client but that's not the norm. The algo gets confused sometimes or a red flag is tripped so why even risk it unless there is a good reason.

Additionally attorneys are under HEAVY scrutiny because so many of them break the rules and set up secondary locations that are not valid and violate the guidelines. Then their whole account gets suspended. SOME of them try to get around it by trying to set up service areas.

One of the things I always teach is learn to think like Google, identify patterns the spammers and problem listings use and avoid them.

If there was any upside at all, maybe consider it but I don't see a good reason.

SOME want to set service area thinking then they can rank in the other towns in the service area. It does not work that way and won't help you rank in other cities at all.

The other big thing is the average consumer does not search on maps. They search on Google. Service area does not show up there. Service area also does not show up on the G+ L page.

Even IF a consumer finds you on maps, most have no idea the show service areas feature exists or do not even know what it is. And even if they used it once on a carpet cleaner, they would not think to use it on an attorney listing.

I just don't think any consumers would see it. It would not help anything at all and could possibly cause problems. So it's not the place to even address it. If it's some unique feature they offer that no one else does, then put "We'll come to you on the web site and in the description."

My paranoid alter ego feels better now. Thank you for listening. :eek:

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