Jan 25, 2017
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I own a local service business (cleaning) and am a one man show with limited budget, so among other things I am also the SEO!

I've recently been starting to get a small amount of search engine traffic and calls. I've noticed most of the calls are coming from the same neighborhood as my business address (my home). I have a service area set up on Google for my entire city, but don't seem to get calls from people in other neighborhoods. Nothing about my content is specific to the neighborhood the business address is in.

Is this normal for a service area business?

I've got a hypothesis as to why this is happening: when building citations, some sources require an actual address. Some allow only a service area. Instead of not earning the citation when they require an address, I go with the option of using my business address.

Is this practice potentially narrowing the scope of my leads? Perhaps it is also boosting my rankings in the specific neighborhood.

Please let me know your thoughts. Happy to share more details, business name, URL, etc, but don't want to spam so I'm witholding that for now. If you need that information to understand my situation better please let me know.
Oct 25, 2013
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Welcome to the forum! Running a small business can be tough, but this is a great place to get your SEO questions answered at least.

My business is with wedding photographers, so I've seen a lot of SABs vs physical locations, and gotten a sense for how things work. The first thing to realize, that 'service area' you set literally does nothing for rankings. It changes absolutely nothing about where Google shows your business. Literally all it does is change the red highlighted area on the map to show your service area when someone looks up your business by name.

Another interesting piece, even if you say you serve the larger metro area, and even if that area is centered downtown, Google will still show you around your actual physical location instead, even though that location is hidden. For all intents and purposes, there's no real ranking difference at all between an SAB and a physical storefront, you're going to rank about the same, and you're going to show for roughly the same people.

Now, the next obvious questions: if this is normal, how can you expand your reach to the rest of the city? Since last September, the searcher's distance from you has become an even more important factor, so it's just not as possible now to take all the traffic from a whole city as it used to be, but you can still probably get a bigger slice than you're getting now. A good place to start is to read this article. There's a lot of things I look at when doing an audit, but getting a solid backlink profile is one of the more important things to spend time on. This is a good place to start brainstorming if you decide to invest time there. Hope that helps!
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