DClark

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In local search there are have been a few attempts at providing tools that allow SABs to define the areas that they serve:
  • List of cities/counties/neighborhoods/zips
    • Pro: easy for a business provide
    • Con: can be misleading/not granular enough (eg a pizza restaurant likely doesn't deliver to an entire metropolitan city)
  • Point-Radius (within X miles from this point)
    • Pro: a more granular representation of an area a business will serve than a list of places
    • Con: does not take real world challenges into consideration (eg oceans, mountains, road closures, traffic)
The question of "will this business serve this area?" may involve factors other than distance from the customer. For example, How big is the opportunity? If the $ is right some businesses are willing to spend more resources serving a customer that is outside their standard service area.

It would be nice to hear thoughts from LSF members on the challenges and most effective ways to help SABs best define the area the serve.
 

DClark

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Thank you for the reply Joy. Can you elaborate on the business challenges you see in being more granular than city?

A couple thoughts:
  • If service area is not represented with more granularity than city, accepting and publishing the "area served" will eventually result in bad real-world user experiences.
    • A service area should be the real world representation of the area in which the SAB will travel to a customer's location.
      • This will rarely be the same as city, county, neighborhood, or zip code boundary lines on a map.
  • I agree that, today, making "area served" anymore complex for SAB listing manager to provide is just not worth the effort.
    • This seems to be due to SABs being under served by data publishers.
      • In their defense this is a challenging segment.
    • If the area served was easy to provide for SAB listing managers and reliable for searchers, it would create quite a bit of value:
      • Increase good user experiences/decrease bad users experiences
      • Save time/money for both sides
 
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