Martin Briggs

Nov 12, 2015
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Hi everyone,

A few questions here so please bear with me.

1. I have a contractor client in Bellaire, TX, a small city, mostly residential, landlocked within Houston. Unlike some other cities in Houston, the company has "Bellaire" in the address. Does being in a separate city impede its ability to rank in local for Houston searches? The client ranks for some local Houston searches, not well but top 20. I've searched through several industries to see if businesses from these cities show up for Houston searches but they generally don't. But this could be the result of a small sample size.

2. The client is listed as a physical store in GMB. More accurately, I should probably set it as a service area business and tick the "I also serve customers at my business address." box. Firstly, I don't think there's a way to know if competitors are set up this way? They are all listed with an address so none are purely SABs. As I understand there's no real advantage to either physical stores or SABs (the radius not having much effect). But is there any risk in potentially having a set up distinct from the rest of the industry and standing out from the crowd? Would it cast some doubt over its location? Or could it be an advantage?

3. If I set it up as an SAB and tick the "I also serve customers at my business address." box, does the radius override the physical location? The client gets a lot of business from Bellaire but doesn't want to discard customers from Houston. Is there any benefit to having a really narrow service area around Bellaire? Would a narrow radius prevent it showing up for some Houston searches (depending on question 1!) even with a physical store? In other words, if it was just a physical store and would show up for a particular service + Houston keyword, would setting it up as a SAB with a narrow radius prevent this? How do they interact?

Sorry, lots of questions! Any help would be appreciated :)

P.S. Just found Joshua's related question here:

Joy seemed to suggest it was a battle. Is the situation different here because Bellaire is landlocked within Houston, and actually closer to many of the listings that are ranking than some that are further out yet still in Houston proper.


LocalU Faculty
Top Poster Of Month
Jul 18, 2012
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For #1, the client could definitely still rank for keywords with Houston in them. They would likely rank for users that are physically located near them. If you are a plumber, for example, in Houston, you aren't going to rank all over Houston. If someone is in the north end and searches "plumber houston", they'll see something completely different than someone in the city center.

For #2, I'd go with the guidelines on this one. If they are using a residential address, hide it.

For #3, the radius you pick has no impact on ranking. All it does it impact the little circle on the map that shows how far you service.

Martin Briggs

Nov 12, 2015
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Thanks so much for the reply, Joy!

#1 Good to know!

#2 I always follow the guidelines :) They have a genuine physical store - my only concern was ticking the "I also serve customers at my business address." box when perhaps no other competitors are doing so.

#3 Thanks again, I'll keep it in mind. They offer some specialization services in their industry so I think they will be relevant to most of Houston. It then makes little sense to set a narrow radius (knowing from #1 that they can, indeed, rank for Houston searches).
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