brandmastert

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Removing address doesn't affect rankings? Hmmmm....

In Jan, I removed my address from my GMB listing and lost all rankings in the map pack. I must admit that I changed the areas served to counties as well so I can cover a larger area. Could this be the reason that I lost rankings in the map pack.

No main KPIs seem to be decreasing (traffic and phone calls). GMB panel has also gotten more action since the change as clicks and impressions have increased. I'm guessing this is playing as a strong substitute for the map pack.

If I change my counties to actual cities, would that help get back rankings?

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Phil Rozek

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@brandmastert, that's got to be a coincidence, or a measurement issue, or both.

It's possible the rankings were approaching a rough patch anyway, prompting you to try something new. I also wonder whether you changed other things at the same time you changed the service area. Not sure how seasonal your business is, but it's easy to overlook the "peak season vs. slow time" factor (I'm guilty of that sometimes).

Of course, I'm not presuming any of those things is the case; I don't know the first thing about your business. Just saying there are many other, more-likely explanations. I've seen a similar phenomenon before, with several of my clients, and the service-area settings just never seem to make a difference.

You'll want to fly the plane based on what you see in Google Search Console, particularly in terms of impressions and clicks for certain queries and pages. That will tell you how you're really going. GMB insights: not so much. Those tend to be crazy.

In any event, you can very easily test out whether the service area has an effect on rankings in the way you're measuring them: you can just revert the service area settings back to exactly what they were, and see if any metrics come storming back. (If you try that out, I'd love to hear what you see.)
 

brandmastert

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Now, I'm in testing mode.

I misspoke when I said that I have surrounding areas as counties, they are actually cities. I added more of the cities that are getting top organic traffic. I'm gonna test that out to see if that moves anything. I do want to test counties as well to see if that changes map rankings. My gut says this won't make a difference, but we will see. If all else fails, I'm adding the address back.

@Phil Rozek You are correct with the fact that I made a bunch of changes on that panel when removing the address. The business is in HVAC and Plumbing, which is seasonal in some cases but we should still be ranking from Heating and Plumbing terms.

@JoyHawkins I read that thread before putting in my question. Thanks for sharing.

I'll keep you guys updated about what happens. If anything, I'll get a good case study out of this.
 

Phil Rozek

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@brandmastert, yeah, it will be interesting to see.

It's possible that you could have dropped somewhat for very location-sensitive or "near me" queries. The thing is, plenty of hidden-address SABs rank for those, in part because Google still knows your address (because you used it to owner-verify), even if the address is hidden.

Especially given the other sawdust in the air, it will probably take a couple of months before you can draw conclusions one way or the other.

One other argument for hiding the address, especially for an HVAC business: in case the address isn't 100% squeaky-clean compliant with the GMB quality guidelines, competitors' Google Maps edits seem less likely to stick when the address is hidden. In that only Google knows your address (and apparently is OK with it), and it's not something competitors can whack you over the head with.
 

DangGood

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I changed my listing to an SAB with no address back in December as soon as I realized Google didn’t like it if you didn’t use a store front address. We lost thousands of views almost over night. See image. When I took this screenshot we were still at views of 12000. Now we are just down to 900. Seasons or not it’s really hard not to believe there is a significant detrimental ranking factor. Seems so unfair for doing the right thing.

A35F78BA-975E-42CD-A1A4-226A9B2678E8.jpeg
 

JoyHawkins

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Views are often just people seeing a place label on the map, so I would expect those to decline a lot. Did you also see a decline in the actions (calls, website clicks etc) graph?
 

DangGood

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We did but to be fair I could not necessarily attribute it to the change because we are in our slow season and just moving out of it. Hopefully we will not see a downturn but with so many other factors coming into play, hard to prove the cause. However I do maintain that if over 12000 people (likely much more), are just not seeing our name anymore - which is quite distinct, isn’t that a loss from a brand recognition perspective? Just a thought.
 

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