Google Updates Service Area Options
Service Area Business (SAB) establishment has been a growing pain for Google Maps users and local businesses. Businesses without physical locations were disfavored by the algorithm as opposed to brick and mortar local businesses. In an effort to ease this pain, Google has introduced a new sign-up flow for SAB’s.
A Brief History:
Google’s local pack algorithm has three key factors for ranking local businesses:
Relevance (Are you a Dentist?)
Prominence (Are you a notable Dentist?)
Proximity (Is your physical location near the searcher?)
With this trimodal factoring system, SAB’s outside of the area are at an immediate disadvantage with regard to proximity. They will have to overcompensate in prominence to outrank competitors who are in the searcher’s area by relying on links, reviews, and other authority factors. So what can SAB’s do to increase their online visibility?
1. Double-down on SEO content strategy.
Let's face it, you are not going to get noticed by bots unless you really PURSUE content within your desired area. This means link-building to your location pages and targeting reviews that specifically mention the areas that you want to show up in.
2. Make sure your SEO Basics align with your targeted service area.
Does your website contain strong landing pages for each city you serve? Are these pages populated with relevant content? The more content you have that is location-specific, the more likely you will be favored in local packs.
3. Reviews in target service areas matter.
Doing business in your targeted service area is best documented with review content. User reviews are one of the most trustworthy forms of content by local bots. Check out our review system for more information on how we can help boost your local feedback.
4. Multi-location maps are important.
If you serve multiple area, it’s beneficial to have a store locator on your website. According to SEJ, even points of reference with a phone contact listed will help bots rank your service areas. Any geo-tagging reference points that Google can crawl will benefit your business.
In Conclusion, time will tell if this update has any effect on SAB’s. This could improve visibility for businesses that may not have a hard location in a big city, but seek to increase their online visibility.
Source: SEO Land