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  1. #1
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    Question Rank a Google Places Listing for 1 City in Surrounding Cities

    Hello Everyone,

    I was wondering if anyone has some info or tips on how to rank a Google Places listing (that is based in a certain city) for other surrounding cities and towns.

    I know it probably goes beyond some tactic such as trying to add those city names to the Place listing description.

    Should we build backlinks that point to the target website with that city name in the anchor text + the desired keyword (thus showing Google that the website may be relevant for those city keywords, and of course the desired keyword)?

    Thank you,

    Russ Offord

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  3. #2
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    Re: Rank a Google Places Listing for 1 City in Surrounding Cities

    Hi Russ,

    Based on competition you normally won't get a Places listing to rank except for the city the address is in unless small town with little competition or small niche with little competition.

    So before you even put in the energy search for KW city in the cities you want to rank in. Are ANY listings on page one for cities other than the one you searched for? If not, then you likely won't be able to break in. Click more results near, or just go to Places search. How many pages do you have to go back until you start seeing listings for the city your client is in?

    Best bet if the above is true and you have to go back 3 - 5 pages in Place search before your clients town shows up, then I'd just work on optimizing web site for organic search. And you'd need to do a separate location page for each city AND have it pretty beefed up to have a chance of ranking even in organic.

    Not impossible, just hard. BUT again it depends on competition so just working blind without city + keyword that's about all I can tell ya.

    Kathy a member here wrote a post awhile back I just remembered and tracked down for you. May have some tips. Site audit: How can a local limousine service get found in dozens of cities? How can it stand out in the crowd? | Kat's Meow - Kat Mouse
    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".

  4. #3
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    Re: Rank a Google Places Listing for 1 City in Surrounding Cities

    Ok, so you already probably know that I like to start a thread really vague on purpose. That is so I can get an idea of the general concept before moving forward with specifics.

    The keyword is bankruptcy and all of the cities are all fairly small. So that is probably why I am seeing what I am seeing below... due to small cities/towns.

    When I search for 'bankruptcy + city' for the actual city of my client's listing, only 2 Google places results show up (rather than a 7 pack) and they are both within that same city. That seems pretty normal.

    There are several competitors that rank in the 7 packs for 'bankruptcy + city' for just about any city/town in that vicinity. (I'm thinking it could have to do a lot with their websites' overall authority.) My client wants to rank for the other small cities/towns that surround that small town as well.

    The client ranks for a couple of those surrounding cities/towns but wants to rank for more of them and higher in them as well. The Google Maps search results for 'keyword + city' in those surrounding areas are dominated by a few law firms... and those firms are sometimes fairly far away from those cities. So it would seem to me that there is room for my client to start ranking for more smaller cities surrounding their POI... like the other firms have done... I just want to know the best way to go about it.

    I appreciate your advice to:

    ...search for KW city in the cities you want to rank in. [...] Click more results near, or just go to Places search. How many pages do you have to go back until you start seeing listings for the city your client is in? [...] if [...] you have to go back 3 - 5 pages in Place search before your clients town shows up, then I'd just work on optimizing web site for organic search.

    Side note: When you say "you'd need to do a separate location page for each city", do you mean a separate Google Places location page... or separate page on the target website for each location? If you mean 'Google Places pages', yeah, that would mean having a business presence/office in each city... but if you mean 'target website'... what would you recommend for those 'location pages?


    I'd definitely read the limo post for which you provided the link.

    Thanks,

    Russ

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    Re: Rank a Google Places Listing for 1 City in Surrounding Cities

    Quote Originally Posted by russofford View Post

    Side note: When you say "you'd need to do a separate location page for each city", do you mean a separate Google Places location page... or separate page on the target website for each location? If you mean 'Google Places pages', yeah, that would mean having a business presence/office in each city... but if you mean 'target website'... what would you recommend for those 'location pages?


    I'd definitely read the limo post for which you provided the link.

    Thanks,

    Russ
    No not Place pages, that advice was when I was saying to focus on organic, so it would be location pages on the web site. And if the key phrase is City Attorney then it's likely pulling the blended algo which is mainly about organic ranking factors - so that leads us back to optimizing the site.

    If other Attys are ranking that are out of town, I'd just check to see what they are doing and do it better.
    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".

  6. #5
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    Re: Rank a Google Places Listing for 1 City in Surrounding Cities

    Thanks for the nod, Linda. Much appreciated.

    Russ, here in Saratoga if you do a search on "los gatos custom cabinets" you'll find a cabinet shop about 20 miles away shows up in position 1 and 2 in organic with the Place listings below that. A year ago, that same listing was also number 1 in Places, but Google has since changed things and it's not so easy to get a site ranked in Places when it's not in the city. Do I care? No, my client stands above the Google Place listings in two places, so I'm happy.

    How did I get them there? I created a page on the website targeted just for Los Gatos. I give suggestions on how and how not to do that in the limousine article that Linda referenced. I recommend getting involved in the community you want to rank in, whether it be joining the Chamber there or sponsoring a local event, but I only recommend that on a hunch. Not sure if Google is sophisticated enough to pick up on that, but if I were Google, I would be, if not now, at least in the future. You'll see in the limousine article that a lot of companies are spamming with duplicate copy on many city pages and getting away with it.

    And note in the article that I found a limousine company showing up in organics on page one for a city they did not even mention anywhere on their site. Nor did they have any inbound links referencing that city. They only connection I could find to that city was a PPC ad they were running. Now Google says they don't favor those paying for ads, but, well, hmmm, you get the picture.

    Now do a search on "los gatos custom cabinet shop" and he is #1 in Places at the top of the heap for a city 20 miles away, but that's probably because no one else is optimizing for those keywords. He then also appears in position 1-3 in organic. I'm pretty happy about that too.

    So there's another approach for you. Try to find other keywords that others aren't using but are still relevant, I call that the achilles heel approach. You might be pleasantly surprised to learn that you can own a lot more keywords than you never thought possible simply because others overlooked them. And remember, you don't have to be #1 for the main keyword to still have more business than you know what to do with.

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    Re: Rank a Google Places Listing for 1 City in Surrounding Cities

    Great post. I'm thinking this will only work though if you're trying to rank in a city with very little competition. I have a few clients who are just outside of a major city and it's darn hard to get them to rank for the main city even though that's where all of their business is!

  8. #7
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    Re: Rank a Google Places Listing for 1 City in Surrounding Cities

    I hear your pain, Marie. Try to find their achilles heels, the keywords they are not optimized for and then go to work on organic SEO. Do that well enough and Google, at least for now, may push you above the pins.

    I have a health insurance client who was on page one for 3 different cities above the pin and for the two cities his literal address is not in, he's now on page 2 for those two cities! The sad thing is, like your client, he is literally on the border of all 3 cities and clearly much, much closer to many people for many queries in the "neighboring town" than other agents who may be showing up on page 1 but literally 10 miles away. He was ranking because of well optimized city pages. Now he's not. Because it's organic, I'm looking at other reasons though. Perhaps he's been hit by a negative. So we're going through the site and making sure it's not over optimized or has things Panda or Penguin don't like. I always do white hat, but it is a blind machine we're dealing with here. I'll let you know what transpires if I can get some good results on those neighboring towns.

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