Google SAB Update: Service Area Now Displaying in Knowledge Panel

I don’t search on service area businesses very often. But doing client work today I did and I noticed that for the first time that service areas are prominently displayed in the local branded knowledge panel.

I have no idea when this was implemented but it indicates that Google has increasing trust in the data if they are surfacing it to the front page. Historically this information was buried in Maps and rarely seen by searchers.

How long has the service area been displaying in the panel results? Is this part of the recent updates to the local displays?

Screen Shot 2013-10-31 at 4.30.36 PM

It also points out that you really need to pay attention to your settings. Otherwise this might occur:

Screen Shot 2013-10-31 at 4.32.48 PM

 

Although when someone screws up their SAB settings it now seems to impact the overarching map as well:

Screen Shot 2013-10-31 at 4.34.15 PM

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google SAB Update: Service Area Now Displaying in Knowledge Panel by

8 thoughts on “Google SAB Update: Service Area Now Displaying in Knowledge Panel”

  1. Crackerjack coverage, as always, Mike.

    I saw this for a client about two days ago. It was another one of those cases where I wondered, “Gee, is this really new?” Glad to have confirmation on that.

    Maybe this will compel some business owners to lay off the 300-mile-radius service areas.

  2. Is it safe (won’t hurt ranking) to have the location address for a SAB that is located just outside the city (say, within 10 miles) but choosing to include the city as a whole for the service area? I have a client who provides a construction related business service that he operates from his home on the outskirts Calgary, Canada. He and his crews service clients within (and around) the city. What is the best solution for this type of scenario? Thanks :-)

  3. Never like to use the service area option. We always recommend against it. Can we trust these listings to rank these days?

  4. Mike, I first noticed this a couple of weeks ago (off and on) for the search term los angeles personal injury lawyers (plural). In this particular search Owen, Patterson & Owen show up in the A position. What’s interesting to me is that there is no mention or link to a Google + page where you can see the links to those pages from their competitors. I found that very interesting and wondered if it was just coincidence. Another interesting thing is that I have tested this in areas I follow regularly and there seems to be a lot of “new” people popping up post Hummingbird.

  5. @Jeffrey said: “Never like to use the service area option. We always recommend against it. Can we trust these listings to rank these days?”

    Jeffrey if it’s a service area business like a plumber that only goes to clients and does not have a staffed walk-in office, you have no choice but to set service area and also must hide address. Major violation if you don’t.

    Sure they rank. Does not really make a difference. Lots of service area businesses rank A and even with address hidden. One of many many examples: Indianapolis plumbers. The A spot is service area + hidden.

  6. Thanks @Linda! I recall years ago reading a blog post about how choosing the SAB may cause rankings to drop and my experience has somewhat reflected that up until about 6 months ago. Many of our new clients who have actual addresses (that didn’t need to be hidden) came to us having selected the service area option in Places, thinking that’s where they wanted to rank.

  7. Sorry to be the newb, but is there a list of what qualifies as a SAB? Can any business select or reject this option?

    Headed to my G+ profile now to check it out.

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