Blog: SEO
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Setting Your Service Area on Google My Business

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John Locke is a SEO consultant from Sacramento, CA. He helps manufacturing businesses rank higher through his web agency, Lockedown Design & SEO.

If you have a physically located business, you should undoubtedly have a Google My Business page for your company.

Google My Business is an important piece of local SEO. Your Google My Business page is where customers leave you Google reviews, and you can add various information, like your phone number, hours of operation, and address.

Let’s say you’ve already done a reasonable amount of SEO work, and your business is ranking pretty well when people search for “[your city] + [your service]”.

But what if your city is small? And you want to show up in search results when people in the larger city near you search for your service?

What if you’ve been using a UPS Store mailbox to have a presence in that large city down the road from you? But your rankings there have started to slip?

Perhaps you service an area surrounding your office, but you also see clients in that office?

If any of these apply, you’ll probably want to set a service area on your Google My Business page, instead of using the default address alone.

Note: You can no longer set your service area as a radius distance around your business. If you already entered a service radius, you won’t be able to change it using the old method. Instead, you’ll have to enter postcodes, cities, counties, or states in Google My Business.

Google gives instructions on how to do this, but this explanation may be easier to understand.

Here’s a step-by-step walk-through of how to set your service area on your Google My Business Page:

Setting Your Service Area on Google My Business

Step 1: Go to your Google My Business Account.

Step 2: On the left hand menu, go to Manage Locations. Find the Google My Business location you want to set the service area for.

Step 3: In the left-hand navigation, click Info. Click the pencil icon in the Service Areas section. These are locations where you provide services or deliveries. Add cities, counties, states, provinces, or countries where you provide services.

Step 4: Click Apply.

setting service areas in Google My Business dashboard

Your edits should be live within a few days, as long as Google doesn’t need to verify changes via a postcard sent to your physical address.

Can I Set My Service Area to a Wide Area, and Be Seen in the 3-Pack Map Across the Country?

Can I set my Google Service Area to be seen throughout the country?

I hear variations of this question a lot.

“If set our service area on Google My Business statewide, or countrywide, will people across the country see our business in the map at the top of Page One of Google when they search for our type of product?”

The quick answer is, “Probably not.”

That 3 pack map at the top of search results is primarily for local results. The map usually returns the closest businesses that fit the search query. In recent years, that local pack map has gotten even more hyper-local.

I know many businesses have wondered about that — if setting their service area to a super-wide area will mean they will get calls from across the country. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy.

Your best bet for coming up in a nationwide search is to focus on the organic results — the ten normal links that come after the map at the top of Page One.

To do that, you’ll have to concentrate on improving the quality of your website, creating more targeted content for customers at every stage of the marketing funnel, getting industry-specific links back to your website, and building a stellar reputation online.

Can You Set Multiple Service Areas In Google My Business?

Many people ask this because they want to come up in the 3-pack map when people search from different surrounding areas. While you can add different service areas (cities, counties, states) in GMB, that usually doesn’t affect the map.

The 3-pack map at the top of local search results most often goes by what is closest to you (if you searching a generic term like “HVAC contractor”). If you are searching for services in a city (such as “HVAC contractor in Duluth MN”), and that city is down the road from you, the map will show either results from near the center of the city, or whatever is near your location.

Adding Multiple Service Areas in Google My Business?

If you are looking to rank is cities that are farther away from your headquarters, you might want to explore having city-specific landing pages. If done correctly, these can rank for city + service searches.

Avatar for John Locke

John Locke is a SEO consultant from Sacramento, CA. He helps manufacturing businesses rank higher through his web agency, Lockedown Design & SEO.

26 comments on “Setting Your Service Area on Google My Business

  1. I haven’t been able to find the answer to this; what if I serve customer internationally? I can’t seen to find a way to set this, the max distance seems to be 999km for me. Any suggestions?
    Thanks,

  2. Hi Greg:

    If your business services international clients, I wouldn’t worry too much about setting a service area. That is more for local SEO, not for international business.

    Depending on whether you have multiple offices, I would instead set up individual locations in Google My Business. If you have a single location, I would just use your physical office address, and not use the service area radius.

    Let me know if that answers your question!

    Thanks,
    John

    1. Thanks John, I’ll leave it blank in that case as I am UK based but ship to customers worldwide. It’s bit of a shame Google don’t allow for this.
      Thanks for the advice!
      Greg

    1. Hi Vinita:

      Yes, and in fact I use it for my own business. I believe I have my own service area radius set at 37 miles within Sacramento, (though obviously, our clients come from all over)!

      Thanks,
      John

  3. A nice article. A couple of questions, if I may. Is there a way to determine if a given set of searches has 3 pack list other than searching for them, will this vary by location?

    If you have a UK brand that service customers all over the UK with a single office, but deals with people locally anywhere in the UK would you just set a large service area, or try to create multiple pages?

    1. Hi Adrian:

      Great questions. For the first: Can you tell if a given search has a 3-pack map without doing an actual Google search? Or will this vary by location?

      If you use a tool like Mangool’s SERP Checker, it will tell you if there is a map pack, and give you a preview screenshot of the map. Usually, if there’s a regional modifier in the search query (like a city or country), the map pack will appear. Also, if the search query has a common service (insurance, real estate, web design, plumbing, HVAC), the map usually appears on Page One of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) without the regional modifier.

      To answer the second question, if I had a UK brand that serviced customers throughout the country, and was a single office, I would use a large service area radius. If you were to create separate landing pages for offices in major cities, you’d want to have a office in each of those cities. Now, Google says that they frown on having co-working spaces or virtual offices (like a Regus location) as a business address for city locations. But if you were to have representatives in other cities in such a fashion, you should be create locations on Google Maps. I’ve seen other companies do this successfully, but you’d want to have someone there to meet people during business hours. If that doesn’t sound feasible, I would just stick to the large service area radius.

      Another way you might approach this would be to have a landing page featuring clients from a particular city, if you have enough of them from specific localities. You wouldn’t be able to set up a Google Maps location without an office, but you could probably compete for the regional search terms in organic results for smaller and mid-sized cities. (Example: “SEO Newcastle upon Tyne”, “Brighton SEO”, “SEO in Bristol”).

  4. Hi, I have a tarot company that readings for clients in all UK and America.
    First, I am trying to get my listing to show in the whole of UK done both using postcodes, then trying the 999 km service area.
    Either way, my listing only show in my own postcode area.

    I tried with Google business support, they are a lot of help.
    Could you please so light over this?

    1. Hi Jane:

      I am guessing that your intention is to appear in the 3-pack Google Map at the top of the first page of search results when people search for tarot readings. Unfortunately, for pretty much any type of business, what is going to return are businesses in the local postcode or zip code. If your intention is to reach an international audience through Google search, it’s unlikely to happen through the Google Map, as always favors local results.

      An idea that you might try, if you are not already there is to piggyback off of another service that already has more reach, and is ranking for a generic search for “tarot reading”.

      I noticed that Free-Tarot-Reading[dot]net ranks well for that search term, and there is a tab for “Live Readings”. This seems to pull in results from another service called Kasamba. I don’t know if you have a listing there, but I would investigate it, as it might be a way to get traffic from international searches.

      The reason that I suggest this is the generic (no city modifier) search for “tarot reading” returns a lot of automated readings on page one of Google (Horoscope com, Astrology com, EvaTarot com, Tarot com, etc), so trying to rank above those will be going against the grain.

      I would look at any Partner Programs or 3rd-party sites that let people hire you by the minute as a way to grow your reach beyond your city.

      Hope that helps,
      John

  5. I think they may have gotten rid of this feature. Ive been looking for days on my business and cant find the ability to select your service area, anddo not see “I deliver goods to this area” feature anymore loke I used to.

  6. Hi John,
    We have a cloud services company that operates out of US, Switzerland, and India. Our US office is in NJ and we set up a business page for that location a while back – at the time I didn’t know there was an option to select a service area. Since we don’t really expect people to come to the physical office I would like to update that to a service area. I tried following your instructions but I don’t see a way to edit my location in the Manage locations screen. All I can do is Add location or Create location group. If I select the box in front of the location, an Actions drop-down appears with options like transfer location, permanently remove, etc. nothing like edit or change to a service area. I’m reluctant to remove the property and start again because it’s jumping through hoops to verify everything.

    1. Hi Cleo:

      1. When you go to business.google.com, find your business location, and click to Manage that location.

      2. On the Business Profile, on the left hand navigation, click Info.

      3. You should see your business info in a blue box: Business Name Business Categories. Directly under that should be a map pin with either your service area or Address. Click that to set your Service Area radius.

      Edit your Google My Business service area

      4. Set the radius around your business that you serve or deliver goods to.

      Set your Google My Business service area

      On a side note, since you are selling to a worldwide market, setting the service area wider won’t make you show up in the local 3-pack map all over the world. For search results with a map at the top of the page, you’ll likely only show up there in New Jersey for this location.

      Hope this helps.

      Thanks,
      John

  7. Hi John,
    I understand that Google only now allows a service based business to list each of the suburbs/towns which it services (listing a service radius is no longer an option). As my business services every town within a 50km radius, is there a way around having to list every individual service location in the region?

  8. Hi Mark:

    Oof, it’s been a while since I updated this article. You’re correct, there is no way to edit your radius distance, you’ll have to enter postcodes, cities, territories, boroughs, or other municipalities. If you were in the States, I would say enter counties, but you may have a quicker way to enter service areas in Gold Coast. Google seems to recognize most local government-divided areas, so you may not have to enter each and every postcode within a 50km radius.

  9. We are wedding photographers and we service all over. Is there a penalty for having too many serviceable areas? One of the options as a service area is USA. By entering USA will it automatically max out my serviceable area?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Brandon:

      There’s no penalty for having multiple service areas, just be sure to list only ones that you can reasonably cover. (I wouldn’t list the entire United States).

      The services areas you have at the bottom of your sites should be sufficient.

      You might want to get a consultation from my friend Sara Dunn who specializes in SEO for wedding professionals. Her website is right here: https://saradoesseo.com/.

      There are some things she can help you with.

      Thanks,
      John

  10. Hi John – Great post, it explains things well. So our business has products we sell online all over Australia (But only in Australia). So if I enter a “service area” being where our one office is located – will that have negative impacts on my organic search results for people searching our products from the other side of the country???
    If your answer is YES then I will leave it blank.
    If your answers is NO then I might as well add it.

    1. Hi Paul:

      Excellent question, Paul. The service area is more for businesses that come to your home for service (plumbers, electricians, roofers, HVAC). For E-commerce, it generally doesn’t make a difference.

      I would leave it as the map pin, no need to set a service area.

      Thanks,
      John

  11. Hello,

    I have a question. We are a Dutch e-ccom company which expanded to the UK in May 2019. We don’t have a office there we only send to the UK.

    Do I need to set up a GMB for the UK domain? For the branding search?

    Kind regards,

    Jeroen Klein

    1. Hi Jeroen:

      If your headquarters is in The Netherlands, and you already have a GMB listing for that location, there is no need to add another GMB if you have expanded into the UK.

      If you have an office in the UK in the future, that might be useful for ranking in 3-pack map in the UK.

      One thing you might do in the meantime is add “United Kingdom” to your service area for your current headquarters in The Netherlands. I do not expect it would make you rank in the top 3 in the map for searchers in the UK, because there is lots of competition, but it may help Google understand that you serve clients there incrementally better.

      Thanks,
      John

  12. Hey John,

    I really appreciate your video and instructions. However, Google continues to delete my zip codes, cities and county listings. Why are they doing that? It makes no sense and I can’t seem to get them to respond.

    1. Hi Dottie:

      I had a client that had something like that happen recently. In their case, they had a long list of cities in their Service Areas section. Google was re-writing that to be the metro area of their city, which is not what they wanted.

      It looks like Google recently capped the number of cities/counties/states that you can add in Service Areas to twenty. So if you have more than that, I would find a way to consolidate it.

      What seemed to work for my client (so far) was listing the relevant counties instead of going city by city. That seemed to make it stick.

      Thanks,
      John

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