Interesting Case Study on Service Areas


The conclusions I came to in this video & post are INCORRECT. It wasn’t the service areas impacting the rankings.

Take a look at my update post to learn what it was!

Local SEO experts have commonly believed that setting service areas on your Google Business Profile has no impact on rankings. This was also voted one of the top 10 myths in the Local Search Ranking Factors survey.

However, I recently came across some evidence that setting service areas might have an effect on rankings. Watch my video below to learn more.

Video Transcript

It’s commonly believed that setting the service areas in your Google Business Profile has no impact on ranking. It actually comes in as #7 on the Local Search Ranking Factor Myths, and I even made a video making fun of people that believe this myth.

But wait a dang minute, because something interesting has recently surfaced that is making me question this.

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So, Jimmy sends me this tweet back on October 30th, and says that he and his wife have a Christmas light installation business: “Our service area includes half of our county and half of the county to the north of us. I thought I’d try displaying our home address. Instant drop in all the geos more than 15 miles away.”

Very interesting. Let me explain in more detail what’s happening here.

His actual business is registered down in Saratoga Springs, which is not overly populated. As a business that installs Christmas lights, he actually cares to drive more traffic in the larger areas to the north: South Jordan, Draper, Lehi.

What happened was, he previously did not have his address visible on the listing. Then he turned the address on, and his rankings dropped! After a couple weeks, he said “well, this isn’t working,” and decided to hide his address again.

This example shows why you want to track your rankings in a tool like the Whitespark Local Rank Tracker

As soon as he hid his address, boom, all his rankings in those service areas popped back up.

Now, this is the very first evidence that I’ve ever seen that setting service areas on your Google Business Profile has any impact on rankings whatsoever, so I’m very excited.

If you have a service area business that you could test, or if you’ve already seen this phenomenon on your Google Business Profiles, please let me know. I would love to see more evidence around this. This is new information for the local search industry and we would  just love to have more data around it.

Alright, see you next time.


Darren Shaw

Darren Shaw founded Whitespark in 2005. The company specialized in web design and development, however, Darren's passion and curiosity for all things local search led Whitespark to focus primarily on local SEO in 2010 with the launch of the Local Citation Finder, followed by the Local Rank Tracker.

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