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Thread: Better to put City Before or After Keyword

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    Kristen is offline Local Search Pro+
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    Better to put City Before or After Keyword

    I'm interested in what others' opinions and experience is on putting a keyword before a keyword versus after a keyword. It seems like, based on much of the keyword research for various markets I've done, the keyword comes first and the city comes second.

    Is this a keyword/industry specific type of thing? Since most local keyword research doesn't show exact searches for the smaller cities my clients are located in, it's tough to decide which order is better.

    Looking forward to hearing what everyone thinks!

  2. #2
    Linda Buquet's Avatar
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    Re: Better to put City Before or After Keyword

    Hi Kristen,

    Where are you asking about putting the phrase? In title tag or just on the site in general.

    You took my Local SEO training right? In training and the in the Local SEO template I lead the title tag with City KW for a number of reasons, largely because I think that normally gets the most searches, but then I also work KW city in, in case people search that way.

    Since we don't know how everyone searches, I think you should do both as much as is reasonable and without over-optimizing or looking spammy.

    But in my research (admittedly limited) in the past it seemed to me more search city + KW. But I'm sure it varies based on market and KW.

    If it's a big city I think maybe you can see the difference in search volume using Google Trends.

    What does everyone else think about this?
    Which do you think gets the most searches?
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  3. #3
    Kristen is offline Local Search Pro+
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    Re: Better to put City Before or After Keyword

    Hi Linda,

    Yep, I did take your training. I just wondered if anyone had any input because as I was searching keyword + city and then city + keyword, I found that I ranked higher for city + keyword (since that's how I had it optimized like you said in the title and throughout the page).

    However, you also mentioned that if the search phrase isn't getting a lot of searches, there will often be less local place pages that display.

    For city + keyword I saw 2 place listings and for keyword + city, I saw 7 listings. I've done everything according to training, just thought I would tap into the wealth of knowledge of this forum and see what others' had any input either way.

    Thanks for your quick replies - as always!

    Kristen

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    Linda Buquet's Avatar
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    Re: Better to put City Before or After Keyword

    Well and it's still a great question that I hope will create more discussion because it's one of those things that's sort six of one, half dozen of the other.

    Interesting you've got a search term where G shows 2 results one way and 7 the other. That tells you something. Normally I see the same results either way.

    Here is a little research I did back in 2011 that in part resulted in me thinking City 1st is more popular: Important Google Places SEO Group Research re GEO Modifiers, Search Behavior and Rank Tracking - Google Places Optimization Blog

    Here are his September Adwords Express impression stats. So this is not how people ‘SAY’ they search (as in Myles’ study) but the actual stats showing how many searches where ACTUALLY DONE various ways.

    Keywords | Impressions (Sept Stats)
    dentist 2430
    city dentist 586
    dentist city 483
    dentists 376
    dentists city 119

    (Note: Above stats are from a small – medium sized East Coast city)

    So 4 times MORE searches were for KEYWORD(s) without city. This makes sense to me if you think about the ‘average’ consumer. We live in a search world and know about modifiers and everything. But I bet Betty Sue soccer Mom looking for a new dentist types just Dentist. Then possibly if she does not find what she’s looking for she’ll refine her search with City + keyword. But if you just type Dentist it WILL show you a pack of local results with a map.

    Since I don’t have any other clients on Adwords I could not check more stats. So reached out to a Plumber I helped awhile back who dropped off page one. Back then I had not discovered the proximity lockout and could not figure out why she dropped. She reached out to lots of local pros and no one could figure it out. Now I can plainly see it was a proximity lockout and everything I mentioned above is similar for her. So anyway I know her well enough that I could ask her to check her stats for me. Here are her September Adwords Express stats.

    Keywords | Impressions (Sept Stats)
    plumber 3353
    plumbers 2496
    city plumbers 1320
    plumbers city 298

    (Note: Above stats are from a large East Coast city)

    Almost 3 times more searches for plumber(s) than city plumber(s).
    Also more search for city 1st than keyword 1st.
    NOTE: The point of the post above was how many search WITHOUT city at all. But in both cases above more that search with geo modifier search city 1st.
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  6. #5
    Nick.SEOSpark's Avatar
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    Re: Better to put City Before or After Keyword

    Ah. This is always a tough one to answer, and many recommend using Google Trends to look specifically which combination is more popular.

    I personally believe "Keyword - City" to be used more, however this is not based on research so I wouldn't believe it. You can look at it from a phycological point of view: the searcher types the service they want (as in "I want this") and then they put the city name to get the relevant results.

    However, having said all that, I haven't included research to back that up.

    On a more positive front, it looks a lot more natural to have "city keyword" first....I get the feeling that this method may be more "future proof" with Google, which shows I should really start going for "City - Keyword" (as the great Linda does!!) and get out of my bad habits!!
    Nicholas Pratt | Director | Add me on Google+
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    Linda Buquet's Avatar
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    Re: Better to put City Before or After Keyword

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick.SEOSpark View Post
    On a more positive front, it looks a lot more natural to have "city keyword" first....I get the feeling that this method may be more "future proof" with Google, which shows I should really start going for "City - Keyword" (as the great Linda does!!) and get out of my bad habits!!
    LOL. No this is one of those things where there is no clear right answer or wrong answer. More just personal preference and mine is based in part on the stats above and other things, but in no way is it conclusive.
    So would love to explore all sides and hear what others think.
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    LocalSearchForumLinda Buquet .:. Google Local Specialist

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    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon". ;-)

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    Nick.SEOSpark (01-18-2013)

  9. #7
    Nick.SEOSpark's Avatar
    Nick.SEOSpark is offline Local Search Pro
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    Re: Better to put City Before or After Keyword

    One of the main reasons I want to start using "City - Keyword" (as you do Linda) is that it looks so much nicer to the customer. It doesen't look like an SEO'd site, and yet still (arguably) provides the ranking benefits. I just need to kick the habit!!
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    laurie is offline Member
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    Re: Better to put City Before or After Keyword

    Hi Linda,

    I'm brand new here and was just reading through some posts. I see you mention giving local search training onsite. Do you offer anything online?


    Thanks,
    Laurie

  11. #9
    Linda Buquet's Avatar
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    Re: Better to put City Before or After Keyword

    Hey Laurie, welcome!

    Oops sorry, just realized that "on-site" could be misinterpreted. When I say on-site training I'm talking Local SEO changes ON the client web site. (Not on-site at your location.)

    I have to differentiate because I have 2 courses. 1 is about Google+ Local (more the Google Place side of the house and the changes and optimization you do there). The other is Local SEO and the optimization you do "on-site" on the client web site.

    But in either case the courses are delivered remotely via phone by me personally, not online and no videos or canned content. They are both packed with tons of content and recorded so you have it for review/refresher if needed.

    Email me at linda AT catalystemarketing DOT com if you'd like me to send you some info.
    Is Our Content HELPFUL? Please pay the community back by sharing!

    LocalSearchForumLinda Buquet .:. Google Local Specialist

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    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon". ;-)

  12. #10
    Nick.SEOSpark's Avatar
    Nick.SEOSpark is offline Local Search Pro
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    Re: Better to put City Before or After Keyword

    I had some training from Linda last year and thought it was fantastic! I took the "Organic Local SEO Hooks" (aka Secret Sauce) training and gained so much from it. Even though I thought I was pretty good at "On-Page", I learnt a lot of new things from Linda that has benefitted my clients immensely. Also, loved how well organised it was, great delivery and lots of training documents + recording to take away. Thanks Linda. I'm still raving about the training as you can see.
    Nicholas Pratt | Director | Add me on Google+
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