Gordon.Ligon

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Hi LSF!

I work with several clients who run service area businesses, usually serving large metro areas. I see a lot of direct competitors using a Physical Address instead of a SAB designation and they rank well for key terms (even when their address does not serve clients directly or is even a bogus mailing address in a mall basement).

I'm in the process of cleaning up citations. I have dedicated NAP info for each office. Their listings (for the most part) are verified on GMB and I've got access to them all.

But now I'm torn about going with a Physical location vs SAB.

Do service area businesses find it harder to rank than similar services using a dedicated address?

If I go with a SAB designation, is it proper to still list the address in NAP Citations and on the website?

If I use a physical address, am I geographically kneecapping my ability to rank across the broader service area (they serve areas beyond a 20mi radius)?
 

Yan Gilbert

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There is no inherent ranking handicap to hiding the address vs displaying it from my experience.

- I think the ranking challenge comes from fact that not as many citations are built because the the business owner doesn't want their address to be able to found. It's the lack of those citations that affect the ranking.

-Just because Google's guidelines say a listing has to hide it's address, doesn't mean that you can't show the address on third party sites though.

- Proximity affects rankings but there is no specific distance that creates a hard stop. It all depends on the number and strength of the competitors in the area. The stronger you can increase the prominence of a site, the larger the area of influence will grow.
 

Gordon.Ligon

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Thanks for the reply, Yan!

Luckily, I have real latitude about building citations, so even if we go with a SAB, I'll still be listing a consistent address across sites where it's available, and likely on the website too. Luckily my clients are comfortable with this as long as they rank well.

Does Google check the NAP address against the verification address used in GMB even if the address isn't listed?
 

Yan Gilbert

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Exactly, since Google knows the verification address (even though it may be hidden), Google cross checks that info against third party sites.
 

Gordon.Ligon

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Based on the article posted on your agency blog, it looks like the verified address is the chief factor in ranking. If my client is running an office out of their home in the suburbs, then it looks like they may only achieve results in their home area, regardless of SAB designation.

It seems then that the SAB boundary is mostly meant as a usability feature for potential customers, and not a ranking factor.

The same article suggests moving the business address inside the metro area is a big factor (but ultimately this address should actually be a place of business to keep things above board).

But, from a grey-hat level - does that then mean that getting a non P.O. box address closer to the core metro-area is a better way to optimize results?

I'd rather not go that direction if I dont have to...
 

JoyHawkins

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The best way to go given all the points listed above would be a physical address (office) in the city they service. I know a lot of people are closing their offices right now but if this brings in a lot of traffic, it would likely justify the cost of a small lease.
 

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