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  1. #1
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    Local Business Targeting Multiple Cities in Metro Area

    I live in the Dallas Fort Worth metroplex region of TX (DFW) and operate a real estate business. The problem is this is a very large service area with potentially 15+ cities I could target. As you will see in the map below, and I service just about every city shown in this image.



    1. My initial thought was too create a unique page for each city within DFW that I serviced. For example: mysite.com/webuyhouses/dallas,
    However it seems this may be a bad approach as it will be difficult to generate unique meaningful content for so many cities, and content will be stretched thin or marked as duplicate.

    2. This problem is further complicated because there are actually two keywords that I need to specifically target for each city. The two key words I am going after are SELL my house fast Dallas and We BUY houses Dallas, and similar variations of these core phrases. The problem is people ironically search BOTH keywords meaning to sell their house. I have read each page should be focused on a single keyword and its similar phrases. If I had to make 2 unique pages PER city to get these keywords that is very spammy and thin on content.

    What would be a good way to go about approaching this? I think for maybe some of the smaller cities I could simply do a blog post if I had a testimonial or something of that nature to share.


    Thank you very much in advance.

  2. #2
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    Re: Local Business Targeting Multiple Cities in Metro Area

    Hi bluehabit. Welcome and thanks for posting!

    You are right. It would be really tough to do a page of UNIQUE content for that many cities without looking spammy. The way you do your cross linking and internal linking is going to be important too. Plus it's going to be really tough to rank in all those cities. Some are pretty competitive.

    Do you have a lot of experience with SEO? Have you considered Adwords?
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

    Don't Miss Important News & Tips! Subscribe to Daily Email Digest Here

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

  3. #3
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    Re: Local Business Targeting Multiple Cities in Metro Area

    Linda Buquet, thanks for responding to my post I appreciate it.

    With that being said, I am fairly new to SEO. I have been studying articles / watching videos and I think I have a basic grasp on the concept.

    With that being said, when you say cross linking and internal linking, what is that specifically? Would breadcrumbs be an example of this?

    Yes, the "we buy houses Dallas" in particular will be very hard to rank for. But many of the other cities are wide open, even Fort Worth. I just used Dallas in my example because most people will recognize that city even if they are not familiar with the DFW area. I really want to focus on organic SEO, not adwords to clarify.

    The larger problem is as I said in the original message, having to try and rank for 2 different keyword phrases per city. I dont want to have to create 2 unique pages per city just to rank for two separate key word phrases

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    Re: Local Business Targeting Multiple Cities in Metro Area

    Quote Originally Posted by bluehabit View Post
    With that being said, when you say cross linking and internal linking, what is that specifically? Would breadcrumbs be an example of this?
    I tried to find an example to show you. This isn't a great one. But Google follows links so you should give her links to your key pages plus they should be interlinked for customers. But I don't think Google likes sites with big banks of city name's/links designed to just rank in multiple cities.

    Here is one realtor I found buried on page 10. See bottom of page.
    Moves To Make Your Dallas House Sell

    Again that's not a super bad one, but I'm limited on time and that gives you an idea.

    Here's a post about new Google guidelines that are related:
    http://localsearchforum.catalystemar...seos-must.html
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

    Don't Miss Important News & Tips! Subscribe to Daily Email Digest Here

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

  5. #5
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    Re: Local Business Targeting Multiple Cities in Metro Area

    Hi there, I have experience in ranking in multiple cities like you need to do. With the real estate business it would actually be easy to set up 1 page for each city. The content would be different because you could showcase your homes in those areas.
    that would look like the example Linda showed you above.

    I would start slowly by targeting the largest cities first. And then slowly building up other cities if you still need to do that. You don't want to set up multiple pages for each city only One. You can successfully allocate five keywords per page. It doesn't have to be just one.

    You have your main keyword that is the most searched keywords term and then you would have secondary keyword phrase and so on. Put your main keyword in the title bar but the secondary keywords could go nicely in the unique content.

    I try to keep each page with no more than 5 keywords because it can get a bit crazy after that but I have ranked 25 keywords for one page. So, my point is it can be done.

    A larger website that opens up to all of your services and all of your areas is considered a more robust site and it helps gain momentum.

    It can get hectic so that is why I suggest branching out slowly and ranking a few cities before you try to rank 10. That way you develop a pattern and get all of the kinks out of the way.

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    Re: Local Business Targeting Multiple Cities in Metro Area

    @Linda Buquet, In regards to Googles new guidelines on local SEO its interesting to see they are targeting zip code stuffing and doing too many site.com/cityname pages with near duplicate content. Those rules were instated nearly a year ago, but many people in my niche here in TX are doing exactly that and ranking high in organic traffic.


    The content is thin and exactly the same, they just did ctrl + f find and replace city name. Yet Google doesn’t seem to be penalizing it at all since its ranking highly for multiple cities using this method. Not that I intend on following such a strategy just wanted to point it out.

    ---------- Post Merged at 07:36 AM ---------- Previous Post was at 07:36 AM ----------

    @Marie Ysais, Thank you so much for stopping by my thread and offering insight I really appreciate it. In regards to it being easy to set up 1 page for each city, its going to be more difficult to me. I actually assign(transfer) over 90% of my contracts to investor partners, which means most houses I never take title to and don’t own myself. I have done a few rehabs, but I don’t purchase most of the homes for myself. Furthermore, its going to be more difficult because my business is new. Its hard to generate unique content when you don’t have enough customer testimonials for each city you need to target.

    When you target multiple keywords on the same page, what sort of key word density guidelines should you follow per a keyword? Also maybe it would be helpful to put the primary keyword in a h1 tag and some of the secondary keywords in a h2 tag. The header tags could also help you separate and organize the on page content. For example the h1 tag would probably be "we buy houses cityname" with unique paragraphs specific to that, below that on the same page could have a h2 tag for "sell your house fast cityname" which would also have unique content underneath.

  7. #7
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    Re: Local Business Targeting Multiple Cities in Metro Area

    You could grow your website very slowly. Target the largest cities first and then expand as you have time. For unique content you don't have to have reviews from that area but that is a nice way to make it unique.

    I am not sure if you work out of your office but sometimes driving directions from each location helps make the content unique. Do you have different services you could highlight that is unique to each area?

    As for targeting more than one keyword I use the keywords in my content. I don't have an exact formula of saturation but I make sure it is readable and mentions my keyword phrases a few times.

    I make sure my main keyword is in the H1 tag or even H2 or H3 tag but I don't place secondary, third and so on keywords in heading tags. I just use them in my content.

    Do you have any cities with low enough competition that you could target several cities with one page? For instance a child page with the url : we buy houses and then use that page to target multiple small cities. If the cities have low levels of competition this might help cut down on the number of pages you need to actually build.

    At the very least I would build out all of my service pages and then later expand into the different cities. The hardest part is to plan and start the project. It is okay to start and learn as you go.

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    Re: Local Business Targeting Multiple Cities in Metro Area

    I have been searching around quite a bit regarding this issue (business targeting multiple cities and duplicate content). I found an article with Googles own Matt Cutts addressing this issue directly, I figured I would share it with you guys here.

    It seems as a small business you don't need to worry about the duplicate content quite as much. That being said, the more unique content and value added for each city the better.

    Google SEO: How Much Unique Content Do You Need To Make A Page Different?

    Here is a copy and paste from the interview

    Eric Enge: Let’s switch gears a bit. Let’s talk about a pizza business with stores in 60 cities. When they build their site, they create pages for each city.
    That information would be great on a top-level page somewhere on the site, but repeating it on all those pages does not look good.
    Matt Cutts: Where people get into trouble here is that they fill these pages with the exact same content on each page. “Our handcrafted pizza is lovingly made with the same methods we have been using for more than 50 years …”, and they’ll repeat the same information for 6 or 7 paragraphs, and it’s not necessary. That information would be great on a top-level page somewhere on the site, but repeating it on all those pages does not look good. If users see this on multiple pages on the site they aren’t likely to like it either.
    Eric Enge: I think what site owners may argue is that if someone comes in from a search engine and lands on the Chicago page, and that is the only page they see on the site, they want to make their best pitch on that page. That user is also unlikely to also go visit the site’s Austin pizza page.
    Matt Cutts: It is still not a good idea to repeat a ton of content over and over again.
    Eric Enge: What should they put on those pages then?
    Matt Cutts: In addition to address and contact information, 2 or 3 sentences about what is unique to that location and they should be fine.
    Eric Enge: That won’t be seen as thin content?
    Matt Cutts: No, something like that should be fine.


    ---------- Post Merged at 08:59 PM ---------- Previous Post was at 08:58 PM ----------

    @Marie Ysais,

    Thanks for your great in-depth reply by the way I really appreciate your feedback and the time you took to write that up.

    I work out of my home office. For this reason, I am unable to use google local places for my company because I don’t want my actual residence listed. According to the latest rules a PO Box or UPS mail suite do not count either it seems, and may one day blacklist your site.

    The service I offer is the same in all areas. I purchased homes that are distressed and in need of repairs with cash. One of the only things I can think to add to each page to make it unique is video testimonials. I will have to call up some old clients and see if they would be willing to shoot some videos with me.

    Driving locations is a great idea to help add additional unique content, unfortunately due to the aforementioned problem above that won’t work in this case.

    Yes there are definitely some smaller cities that I could consolidate down to one page, that is a great idea. How many small cities do you think I might be able to fit on one page? There are probably 8 small cities in the area that I operate in off the top of my head.

  9. #9
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    Re: Local Business Targeting Multiple Cities in Metro Area

    Quote Originally Posted by bluehabit View Post
    I have been searching around quite a bit regarding this issue (business targeting multiple cities and duplicate content). I found an article with Googles own Matt Cutts addressing this issue directly, I figured I would share it with you guys here.

    I work out of my home office. For this reason, I am unable to use google local places for my company because I donít want my actual residence listed. According to the latest rules a PO Box or UPS mail suite do not count either it seems, and may one day blacklist your site.
    Thanks for sharing the Matt Cutts quotes.

    You totally can have Google Place page. There is a setting to HIDE your address and in fact if you office from home you MUST hide it. So your listing will just show city/state and your location will generically be in center of city or zip. And you'll only rank in the city your address is in typically. (Depending on competition.)

    FYI according to latest rules PO box is not allowed. You can't even set up a page, it won't let you. And you are right UPS addresses can get you in trouble.
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

    Don't Miss Important News & Tips! Subscribe to Daily Email Digest Here

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

  10. #10
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    Re: Local Business Targeting Multiple Cities in Metro Area

    Great insights from Marie & Linda. I thought i'd pitch in my views about "targeting multiple cities". bluehabit i assume your site is ranking for those keywords in Dallas and I also assume you've analytics installed to monitor/measure your SEO efforts.

    So, if i was in your situation like confused on which city/metro landing page should i create first? which city/metro can i rank within short time-period? I'd start filtering analytics tool by demographics --> location --> city/metro. Here you can get pretty good data of cities/metros from where your website received Most Visits, start targeting the top three/five cities because you already have visitors from these locations to your website and if you dig deep, you can get details for which keywords they visited from particular city/metro et cetra.

    Aforementioned is what i do to target multiple cities and confused where to start? which city should i target in order to rank in short time-period?
    I'll let others here comment on their experience.

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