Service area businesses can list their business on Google without providing an address, while brick-and-mortar businesses must provide an address to list their business.
Within the “LocalBusiness” schema, you can include the “areaServed” property to define your service areas. Specify the service areas using relevant geographic information such as city names, postal codes, or regions. This helps search engines understand the specific locations you serve.
Service Region Markup
Consider this, you use the same dog training method in 75 cities. When writing hyperlocal content for service areas that encompass multiple cities, it’s essential to strike a balance between specific city targeting and relevance for a broader audience. Here are some tips to help your team and local stakeholders write hyperlocal content in such scenarios:
- Use city-specific keywords: Incorporate city-specific keywords naturally throughout your content. For instance, instead of generic phrases like “dog training,” use terms such as “dog training in [City Park]” or “dog training services for [City Name] residents.”
- Highlight local expertise: Showcase your expertise in each city by highlighting local landmarks, pet supply stores nearby, popular dog parks, or any city-specific challenges or preferences related to dog training.
- Create dedicated landing pages: Each specialty page can emphasize the specific services offered, customer testimonials from that city, and other relevant information specific to residents of that particular location.
- Showcase testimonials and case studies: Incorporate testimonials or case studies from clients in various cities within your service area. This helps potential customers in each city feel connected and builds confidence in your services.
- Address local concerns: Identify common concerns or issues related to dog training in each city and address them in your content. For example, there could be city-specific bylaws in place, or restrictions for dogs accessing certain beaches, parks, or trails.
- Offer local resources: Provide additional resources or information specific to each city, such as local dog-friendly events, pet-friendly businesses, or relevant local organizations. This enriches your content and shows that your business is part of the community.
Google evaluates the relevance of a business to a user’s search query and location. If your verified address is not within the target service area, it may signal to Google that your business is less relevant to users searching within that specific area. Rankings for location-based search queries related to the target area could be affected as a result.
Google’s local search algorithm prioritizes businesses closer to the user’s search location. If your verified address is outside the target service area, it might lower your rankings for searches specifically within that area. Businesses with physical locations within the target service area have a higher chance of appearing more prominently in local search results for that specific region.
A unique and matching phone number on the local page is an essential aspect of NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) signaling to Google. However, it is not the sole factor that determines effective NAP consistency. Consider the following points.
Name and address consistency
If your Service Area Business covers a broader region or multiple cities, you can utilize the “serviceArea” property. This property allows you to provide a more comprehensive description of your overall service region, providing additional context to search engines.
Encouraging and managing customer reviews that mention your business’s NAP details, including the phone number, can further strengthen NAP signaling. Positive reviews that reference consistent NAP information enhance your credibility and reputation, both in the eyes of search engines and potential customers.
When there is no physical address published on the location page, Google uses various methods to connect the data to your on-page content, including:
Using schema markup on your website enables your brand to precisely define and communicate your service boundaries, which helps search engines, like Google, understand your service coverage more accurately.
3. Without a physical address published on the location page, how does Google connect the data to your on-page content?
Service area businesses can be any business that serves customers in a particular area, such as pest control, electricians, cleaners, roofing, and other service-based businesses. These businesses don’t need a physical presence in the area, as they can provide their services remotely or on-site.
Recommended reading: Boost your local SEO with location page schema
In addition to listing optimization, service area businesses face other unique challenges in local marketing, however, they also have access to specialized tools, such as the ability to designate service areas in Google Business Profiles. Getting set up correctly – and using service area business-specific tools and tactics to your advantage – helps each of your brand’s locations get found online by motivated local customers in the areas you service.
Structured data markup, such as the “ServiceArea” or “Service” schema, provides detailed and comprehensive information about the specific regions or areas you serve. It typically includes data like city names, neighborhoods, postal codes, or even geographical coordinates.
Brick-and-mortar businesses include retail stores, restaurants, offices, and other businesses that require a physical location.
Google looks for contextual signals within your content to establish connections to a particular area. This can include mentions of nearby cities, neighborhoods, or other local identifiers that indicate your business serves the target hyperlocal area. By including these signals, you strengthen the association between your page and the desired location.
When it comes to proximity to the individual searcher, Google primarily focuses on the estimated location of the user rather than the physical verified address of the business. The goal is to provide search results that are relevant and useful based on the user’s current location or the location they specify in the search query.
When verifying a service area business without front office signage, Google may require alternative methods to verify the legitimacy of your business. While submitting a photo of a vehicle with your business name is a standard option, there are other possibilities for verification, including:
- Business documentation, such as relevant business licenses, permits, or registrations demonstrating your business’s legality and operation within the service area.
- Invoices or contracts that display your business name, customer details, and service information.
- Tax documents, such as tax returns or tax registration certificates, that validate your business’s name and address.
- Professional certifications or memberships relevant to your industry.
- Online presence such as your website or other online platforms that accurately represent your business and service areas.
- Testimonials and reviews from satisfied customers located within the service areas you target.
The key difference between service area and brick-and-mortar listings is a physical presence.
- Service area businesses provide services to customers in a particular area but don’t have a physical presence there.
- Brick-and-mortar businesses have a physical location in the area – a store, office, branch, clinic, etc. – and customers can visit in person.
- Hybrid businesses serve customers at a physical address and also visit or deliver to customers.
While a unique and matching phone number is a vital component of NAP signaling, it is essential to ensure consistency in business names, addresses, citations, structured data markup, and customer reviews. By establishing NAP consistency across multiple online platforms, you provide strong and reliable signals to Google, improving your business’s visibility and trustworthiness in local search results.
5. If your physical verified address is outside the service area (which is common), how does that actually affect ranking?
A verified physical address outside the target service area can impact your rankings on Google’s local search results. Here’s how:
To properly link the GBP service area information on a location page, follow these steps:
- Obtain the Google Maps Place ID: Go to Google Maps, search for your business, and locate it on the map. Right-click on the location marker and select “What’s here?”. A small info window will appear at the bottom of the screen, displaying the coordinates. Click on the coordinates, and the Place ID will be shown. Copy this Place ID.
- Create the Google Maps URL: Construct a URL using the copied Place ID in this format: https://www.google.com/maps/place/?q=place_id:[Place ID]. Replace [Place ID] with the actual ID you obtained earlier.
- Add the URL to your location page: Insert the created URL as a hyperlink on your location page. You can use descriptive anchor text like “Service Area” or “View on Google Maps” to indicate its purpose.
- Style the hyperlink: Make the hyperlink visually distinguishable from the surrounding text on your location page. You can apply CSS or HTML formatting to change the color, add an underline, or employ other visual cues to indicate that it is a clickable link.
When it comes to the visibility of your business, service area businesses can list their business on Google, but can only be displayed in a certain geographic area. These businesses typically have limited visibility on Google, as they are not listed in other areas outside their service area.
When determining service area boundaries on Google, it is generally recommended to use city names instead of zip codes. City names are more user-friendly in that they’re more familiar and accessible for users to understand in the context of service areas. Users often search for services or nearby products based on the city name they reside in or want services from; rarely in a certain zip code.
These are among the most common and pressing service area business questions our team at Rio SEO receives from webinar participants, blog and ebook readers, and customers.
1. How do you properly link service area information on a location page?
Hybrid businesses could include a restaurant with both a dining room and delivery services, or a veterinary clinic that also provides a mobile unit to provide in-home care, for example. These listings can list a storefront address with hours of availability at that location and also designate a service area with separate hours.
Key differences between brick-and-mortar and service area business listings
It’s important to note that Google’s verification process varies, and each case is unique. They may request specific requirements or additional documents, and it’s important to communicate with the support team when facing challenges or limitations in providing traditional forms of verification. They may be able to offer alternative solutions or guidance based on your specific circumstances.