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GBP Service Areas Ranking Effect

This case study aimed to determine if the service areas selected on a GBP can help firms increase rankings in specific neighborhoods where rankings had previously dropped due to the Vicinity Algorithm Update (December 2021). Based on research for six firms that were all negatively impacted by the Vicinity Update, service areas can now affect local rankings. While it may not impact in all circumstances, service areas can now affect Google Business Profiles (GBP).

Although service areas can now affect rankings, physical office space is still king in highly competitive areas within a market.

 

Data

 

Personal Injury

Map of Neighborhood Service Areas Added

Rankings

Time between graphs: 72 hours

Car Accident Lawyer

DC Car Accident Lawyer

Personal Injury Lawyer

DC Personal Injury Lawyer

Family

Map of Neighborhood Service Areas Added

Rankings

Time between graphs: 1 month

Divorce Lawyer

Saratoga Springs Divorce Lawyer

Family Lawyer

Saratoga Springs Family Lawyer

Criminal

Map of Neighborhood Service Areas Added

Rankings

Time between graphs: 1 month

Criminal Lawyer

DC Criminal Lawyer

DUI Lawyer

DC DUI Lawyer

 

Analysis

For the following graphs, geogrids were buckets into five main categories which are defined as: 

  • Major Positive Change: More than 60% of the geogrid dots for the affected area improved 
  • Slight Positive Change: Between 15 and 60% of the geogrid dots for the affected area improved 
  • No Change: Less than 15% of the geogrid dots for the affected area changed
  • Slight Negative Change: Between 15 and 60% of the geogrid dots for the affected area worsened
  • Major Negative Change: More than 60% of the geogrid dots for the affected area worsened

 

 

Conclusion

 

While service areas are not the perfect solution, firms were affected by adding new service areas to the Google Business Profile. Before the Vicinity Update, service areas were proven to not affect rankings. However, the change in rankings, both positive and negative, shows that service areas do now have an effect. 

Moving forward, businesses should utilize service areas on their Google Business Profile to help rank in certain areas within their market. If the firm is not currently ranking close to the office, starting with service areas close by is an ideal starting point. Service areas can be a mix of zip codes, cities, and neighborhoods. A maximum of 20 service areas can be added to any profile. 

Please note that while service areas can now affect rankings, in highly competitive areas within a market, physical office space vicinity is still the priority. A firm cannot rank in a highly competitive market section without a physical location. However, adding service areas for regions with lower competition can affect the business positively.