I work with a mom and pop auto repair business. They are in a small city with many surrounding cities nearby. Does listing the business as local in schema hurt the rankings in the nearby cities? Is so, is there a white hat way around the problem?
Not only does it not hurt their rankings with nearby towns/cities, but it actually helps it. Search engines know that Townsville is next door to Pleasantville. So if their company is recognized as doing business in Townsville the search engines will consider them relevant for searches in nearby Pleasantville. Local search is not done in a vacuum. Local search really means nearby, not only in this town. Business located in the same town as the search criteria may have an advantage in those searches, but being recognized as being nearby makes their company relevant as well and gives them the advantage over other companies who are not recognized as being nearby..