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  1. #1
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    Proximity in Local Search Rankings

    I would love to hear others' opinions on proximity of business as a local ranking factor for local search.

    For example, a painting company physically located (Google My Business listing) in suburb 30 miles outside of major city, trying to rank well for (Major City) painters or (Major City) painting company.

    Our client is trying to rank for that and has a much better link profile and solid reviews in that Major City, but just can't crack the top 10, compared to other companies with physical addresses in (Major City).

    I know proximity in search is huge, but have others experience the same? And any ideas for improvement to rank for (Major City) painting company and related?

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  3. #2
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    Re: Proximity in Local Search Rankings

    Proximity is the #1 ranking factor in my experience and was also the highest ranking factor in the Moz Local Search Ranking Factors survey.

    Ranking in the 3-pack for a city you're not located in is extremely difficult.
    Joy Hawkins
    Owner of Sterling Sky
    Author of The Expert's Guide to Local SEO [, a 260+ page training manual that is updated monthly and contains advanced tips and tactics for Local SEO that actually work and drive results.

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    Re: Proximity in Local Search Rankings

    Thanks. What about just page 1? Obviously depends, but we are having a hard time there too, even with our domain and page authority considerably higher than others. We have taken care of any technical issues and have on-page optimized the heck out of it, so all those scenarios are covered.

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    Re: Proximity in Local Search Rankings

    I've managed to achieve it for a few clients but it's not something I expect. It really depends on the industry & competition. For example, I can't see it happening for a dentist or a lawyer since so many of them have SEO companies.

    It's still possible to rank organically using service area pages but this strategy is also hard because getting links to these pages isn't easy.
    Joy Hawkins
    Owner of Sterling Sky
    Author of The Expert's Guide to Local SEO [, a 260+ page training manual that is updated monthly and contains advanced tips and tactics for Local SEO that actually work and drive results.

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  8. #5
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    Re: Proximity in Local Search Rankings

    It depends on what you're talking about.

    Are you talking about ranking in the map pack? Honestly, Joy is right, it's just not going to happen. UNLESS the city you're trying to rank for is small and Google is more likely to pull in outside sources to beef up their search results for the searcher. However, you mentioned that it's a major city. Unfortunately, Google just isn't allowing anyone outside a major city to rank for the major city in the map pack.

    But you can rank in the organic search results (below the map pack) no problem. There won't be a restriction there. I do believe from anecdotal evidence that Google can still tell location but I have plenty of clients ranking in the organic section for a "major" city they're not located in.

    Hope that helps!
    Tutelary Marketing, Owner
    Local Listing Ninja - Business Listing Service
    Local Listing Ninja Reviews - Check Out Our 100+ 5 Star Reviews!

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  10. #6
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    Re: Proximity in Local Search Rankings

    Joy,

    In the article, the subtitle "Local SEOs love links" does this mean you give backlinks directly to the GMB "page"?

  11. #7
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    Re: Proximity in Local Search Rankings

    No that would be links to the website.
    Joy Hawkins
    Owner of Sterling Sky
    Author of The Expert's Guide to Local SEO [, a 260+ page training manual that is updated monthly and contains advanced tips and tactics for Local SEO that actually work and drive results.

  12. #8
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    Re: Proximity in Local Search Rankings

    The best advice can suggest is using "service area" pages. I have a site ranking in the local three-pack for two moderate-sized cities, and organically for four to five cities.
    I would strongly suggest a URL structure like: http://www.domain.com/service-areas/city name-state/ for the best results. Most importantly, create unique, detailed pages for each service area. Here's a great source for reference:
    https://moz.com/blog/local-landing-pages-guide

    Be patient... it takes several weeks, and even months for the ranking to take effect.

    Hope this helps

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  14. #9
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    Re: Proximity in Local Search Rankings

    ditto what @joy said.

    you will never be able to rank top 3 maps without location in city (close to center) + reviews + citations + usually SEO/link building in competitive markets.

    You can sometimes rank organically, like joy said, but you either have to shift your homepage meta tags to that city specifically + link build - and even then it depends on competition.

    A business with a location in a city will almost always have preference in search results over a business trying to rank in a city with no address there.

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