Rules for Service Area data
I was wondering if there are any rules or requirements around the service area radius or zip codes. More specifically, is there a maximum radius or maximum number of zip/cities we can list for a location? Are there any restrictions for distance from the physical address for the cities/zips we list? For example, I just put in "Paris" and it auto-completed with Paris, France instead of Paris, TX.
Re: Rules for Service Area data
This is a great question. We recently discovered an account that was only utilizing city names (no state) and had their service area stretched from the Midwest to Europe when in actuality it was only a 20 mile radius so I don't believe there is a distance restriction if you're choosing cities. I'm not sure if the actual mileage radius option has a max. We've had a client that provided service to very specific areas so they provided a mix of around 100 cities and zip codes and it allowed me to enter them. Hope this helps!
Re: Rules for Service Area data
There's no restriction exactly, but there are unwritten penalties you can get for doing it wrong. In general, I've seen ranking problems for anything wider than 40mi, so if you want to be showing anywhere at all (either close by or farther out) it's definitely important to keep it below 40, I'd usually recommend less than that even. I haven't seen any ranking comparisons before to see if listing cities works better than setting a radius, not sure on that one. I'd say to go with the radius personally.
In addition, Google's going to be running off your actual physical location as the business center, regardless of what you do. You can try for example to list a city 30 miles away as your service area while your actual listed (hidden) address in the GMB profile is in a rural town, but in practice you'll find it all but impossible to actually rank for that city.
I know that with most service area businesses, it's not unusual to accept customers from dozens of miles away and in a lot of cities and towns, especially for blue collar businesses like roofing and such, but you're best off just setting a radius around your actual location, taking what traffic you can, and making local landing pages to rank organically for the outlying areas you can't reach on maps. You can also look into PPC (adwords) to get exposure outside your physical location too.
One interesting experiment you can run yourself too to see what I mean... start at the north end of your town, and do a search on your phone for your industry. Now drive south and repeat the search a few times. In spite of all the companies being SABs with a hidden address, you'll see that the results change frequently as you're driving south. Their actual location is a huge influence on where they'll rank, and it'll be the same deal for your business too.
Re: Rules for Service Area data[ Edited ]
April 2016 - last edited April 2016
Although there are no restrictions on the size of the service radius (I've seen people who apparently provide a local service to the entire of Australia), it is important to remember that in this case size definitely does not matter.
Google does not use the service radius as a ranking factor. It is only used to display your service area on a Map.
Edit: @james w - great minds!