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Good morning, all!

I'm hoping that some of you will have some thoughts on this topic specific to SABs as I'm not really sure where else to turn at this point.

My agency has been working with a nationwide home services company for several years and sadly GMB continues to be a thorn in our side even though we have been pleasantly surprised with many of the updates over the last few years. :ROFLMAO:

The company is a franchised home service provider who's service areas (licenses) are broken out by zip code. Since they go to their customer's homes and customers never go to them, we followed Google's GMB guidelines and set up each location by hiding the address of the franchise and instead, created the service area radius via zip codes. This was a BIG project, especially for larger franchise locations with 100+ zip codes.

Initially, we had issues getting the radius to display correctly and after several messages with (what is now) GwG support, we were advised to use:
whatever dimension covered the most area
(for example, listing a county may replace adding 20 zip codes, etc.) - then the update was made that included a maximum of 20 locales. We were then forced to try and list via county but quickly found that some franchises split counties and once again we were back to square one with inaccurate radius areas - to which GwG advised us:
GMB is meant to be a guide, and not to be taken so literal....


As surprised as we all were by that statement, we began to take a step back and research how our competitors were listing themselves on GMB and we quickly found that most home service area business providers do not take advantage of the SAB field and instead display their address.

This entire situation causes the most friction in areas where there are several franchise locations in operation and users are being presented with the wrong location via GMB.

My questions to you all:
  1. Do you think this is best?
  2. Do you already know from your own experience?
  3. Would you test out a combination of showing your address and using a service area?
    1. Has the algorithm gotten so good at understanding a user's proximity from a service provider that how it's entered on GMB doesn't even matter today?
  4. Would you simply not use the SA field and only show the address of the franchise?
Of course, if you have questions before you can answer, please share and thank you in advance for any and all assistance.

 
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Hey @Colan Nielsen,

Thank you for reaching out! I am not a member, could you please send me those tips as well as how I go about subscribing??

Thank you again, I appreciate the assistance more than you know!
 

Eric Rohrback

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The big issue with displaying the address when people can't visit you is that it creates a potential for a bad user experience scenario.

If the address is listing, it's likely someone will get driving directions then travel to the "location" which might end up being someone's home. Not a great thing for anyone if someone randomly shows up at your house (if you're the services company) expecting help and the customer is told they need to call to make an appointment at THEIR home.

Why not allow for overlapping service areas if the counties are split? The better location match depending on proximity et. al. will show the franchise that (in an ideal world) would be better suited for the searcher.
 

DClark

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It seems that the tools GMB has given your to describe your areas of service do not fully "scratch the itch" of showing the real world area that a business will serve. Overlapping service areas across franchises of the same brand is major issue for those business owners/franchisees.

In this case, unfortunately, it seems that the issue (at least partially) originates from breaking area out by zip codes. Zip code is a USPS mail delivery standard, not a geography. This breakdown creates inconsistencies in areas served, such that they that do no make much sense in the real world. Take this example of zip code 92081 - Vista, Ca. Notice that there is a different zip code represented in the middle of the 92081 zip code.

1582731711443.png

In the real world, an SAB servicing this area would not think twice against providing services in the non-92081 zip code area on this map. Using zips makes a ton sense for delivering mail, but do not make a whole lot for segregating different areas of service across franchisees.

Franchisees that divvy up areas served in the same geographic proximity need more effective tools, to say "Hey these related (eg chain/brand) businesses cover serve similar "areas" (cities, neighborhoods, counties) but do not overlap." One challenge is giving you a way to provide & manage this information in a way that does not make you want to pull out your hair.

FYI - a similar thread
 
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The big issue with displaying the address when people can't visit you is that it creates a potential for a bad user experience scenario.

If the address is listing, it's likely someone will get driving directions then travel to the "location" which might end up being someone's home. Not a great thing for anyone if someone randomly shows up at your house (if you're the services company) expecting help and the customer is told they need to call to make an appointment at THEIR home.

Why not allow for overlapping service areas if the counties are split? The better location match depending on proximity et. al. will show the franchise that (in an ideal world) would be better suited for the searcher.

Thank you @Eric Rohrback! I'm not quite sure that I understand your last paragraph, specifically, "Why not allow for overlapping service areas?" - Can you elaborate a bit?
 

chadkimball

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the service area field doesn't affect rankings at this point, just thought I'd throw that in here
 
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is this the chad from B*W if so thats great ..this must be a super local SEO forum.

At the risk of getting flamed ...our advice especially for new start ups in major population areas (hard not to be in London and South East of England) is to configure your business so you at have facilities such as a shared reception (eg co work location with rentable offices) for appointments if necessary to meet clients. The 3 pack is really important we find for new businesses as its one of the quickest ways for them to get eyeballs. Obviously need to comply as much as possible with Google Terms of Service .......
 
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Hey Stephanie,

If you subscribe to our training, there are detailed tips on this exact scenario that can be found here Does Hiding Your Address Hurt Your Ranking? – The Expert's Guide to Local SEO If you're not a subscriber yet just let me know and I'll PM you the tips.

Thanks

Hi Colan,

I stumbled across this thread as I'm in a similar situation with Stephanie. I'm not a subscriber yet but would be interested in reading your article if it's available.

Thanks in advance,

Brittany
 
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