City Name in Title Tag: the city you're in, or the city you want business from?

John Tabita

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Jan 16, 2013
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25
I think I already know the answer, but here's my question:

Our client is in Heath, but wants to target Newark, which is only 5 miles away, yet has 5 times the population. Putting 'Newark' rather than 'Heath' in the title tag really does nothing for him, since Google sees that his physical address is Heath, correct?

My assumption is that, all things being equal, a business actually located in Newark would rank higher for that geo-modifier than the Heath business.

I could also argue that a title tag which doesn't match the physical address might do more harm than good, couldn't I?

Thanks!
 

Marie Ysais

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Sep 18, 2012
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242
Hi John,
Almost all of my clients have to target the cities they are not actually located in. You can't rank in the maps but you can rank organically for the cities your client needs to target. You most certainly can place the targeted city in the title tag. The way I typically like to think about it is selecting either a page for each city or using the home page for each city. It can work in a multiple of different ways. Don't forget to talk about the city you are tying to target in your main content. It doesn't cause confusion.
 

Phil Rozek

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Jul 26, 2012
Messages
1,557
I think I already know the answer, but here's my question:

My assumption is that, all things being equal, a business actually located in Newark would rank higher for that geo-modifier than the Heath business.

Thanks!
Yes, absolutely. For better or worse, geography matters a lot - in exactly the way you describe.

I could also argue that a title tag which doesn't match the physical address might do more harm than good, couldn't I?

Thanks!
It wouldn't do any harm; it would just be a lost opportunity. If you have everything going well for you and are in a good position to rank really well in Heath, you might not even end up ranking well in Heath because you blew the title tag on Newark, where you probably have less of a chance to rank well in the first place (although it depends on a few factors, like your industry).

Without knowing more of the nuances of your situation, I'd say the best approach in terms of Google+Local/Google Places is to "target" the city you're in (Heath) and to try to get visible in farther-away areas (e.g. Newark) by way of organic rankings and/or PPC.

By the way, even if you do what I suggest and focus your Google+Local efforts on Heath, you still may want to throw "Newark" into the title tag in addition to having "Heath" in there. Something like "Heath & Newark NJ." Obviously you don't want to go crazy with the city names, but I've found that having two different city names in the title tag certainly doesn't hurt and usually helps.
 

David Deering

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Nov 25, 2012
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206
One way you might address this situation, John, is to create a page on your website specifically for Newark as Marie mentioned. You could use "Newark" in your URL, title tag, description tag, H1, and of course within the content. Just be sure to create a page that is unique and is not just a "copied and pasted" version of another page of the site. If you do some good, clean SEO and create back links to the page, it might be one way to start ranking higher for your search terms related to Newark.
 

John Tabita

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Jan 16, 2013
Messages
25
By the way, even if you do what I suggest and focus your Google+Local efforts on Heath, you still may want to throw "Newark" into the title tag in addition to having "Heath" in there. Something like "Heath & Newark NJ." Obviously you don't want to go crazy with the city names, but I've found that having two different city names in the title tag certainly doesn't hurt and usually helps.
Thanks, Phil. I think your suggestion will work well for this situation.

BTW, I downloaded your 50+ page local search guide a few weeks back. Very helpful.

I appreciate everyone's replies and your willingness to share your expertise. My thanks to each one of you.

John
 

Phil Rozek

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Thanks for your compliments on my guide, John. As you may have noticed, it?s way beyond ripe for a 2nd edition ? which one of these days I?ll come out with!
 

Linda Buquet

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Jun 28, 2012
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One way you might address this situation, John, is to create a page on your website specifically for Newark as Marie mentioned. You could use "Newark" in your URL, title tag, description tag, H1, and of course within the content. Just be sure to create a page that is unique and is not just a "copied and pasted" version of another page of the site. If you do some good, clean SEO and create back links to the page, it might be one way to start ranking higher for your search terms related to Newark.
TIP: Google *still* LOVES EMDs for local. (As long as they have good content and all the other factors.) Google LOVES a city KW named internal page ALMOST as much as it loves EMDs! :D. So I'd do what David recommended but get City + KW in the URL. home.com/newark-chiropractor.html or whatever the KW is. Then Newark Chiropractor in the title, H1, content, image alt, etc.

To help compensate for the fact he's not located in Newark I'd go one step further and beef up the location content a tad. After all the great KW rich UNIQUE caring content, at bottom of page I'd consider doing a small very tastefully done paragraph about Newark, maybe even with some Newark links. Maybe include something like:

Serving Newark and Surrounding Communities. (H3)
We are conveniently located and only 3 miles from the Newark Convention Center and 5 miles from the Newark City Hall. (Don't know the area so obviously made that up.)

Now I want to stress do this TASTEFULLY, don’t be spammy and I probably would not repeat Newark in this paragraph more than 3 times. But fill it out a little with more info that is written FOR the patient.
 

Phil Rozek

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Jul 26, 2012
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+1 Linda?s suggestions.

If possible, you may also want to throw on a testimonial from a customer (or two) who lives in Newark, and then mark up the testimonial with Schema or hCard. Just another stone to turn over. I?m guessing it will also boost click-throughs. I?ve done this a couple times for clients, and the results have been great.
 

David Deering

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Nov 25, 2012
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TIP: Google *still* LOVES EMDs for local. (As long as they have good content and all the other factors.) Google LOVES a city KW named internal page ALMOST as much as it loves EMDs! :D. So I'd do what David recommended but get City + KW in the URL. home.com/newark-chiropractor.html or whatever the KW is. Then Newark Chiropractor in the title, H1, content, image alt, etc.
Yes, I should have mentioned that, too, but thanks for adding that, Linda. City + KWs are very powerful in the URL as well as in the title and meta description. And adding some additional info about the City in the footer is a nice touch, too. Great suggestion about the testimonial and hcard, Phil. As we know, every little tweak helps.
 

John Tabita

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Jan 16, 2013
Messages
25
TIP: Google *still* LOVES EMDs for local. (As long as they have good content and all the other factors.) Google LOVES a city KW named internal page ALMOST as much as it loves EMDs! :D. So I'd do what David recommended but get City + KW in the URL. home.com/newark-chiropractor.html or whatever the KW is. Then Newark Chiropractor in the title, H1, content, image alt, etc.
So how far can I take this? If the client has 4 different cities in mind to target, would that be too spammy of a URL? (I'm thinking, yes.)

I just spoke with such a client today. He sells insurance and there are 5 cities he'd like to draw business from, none of which is he located. What's the best approach in that scenario?
 

David Deering

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Nov 25, 2012
Messages
206
So how far can I take this? If the client has 4 different cities in mind to target, would that be too spammy of a URL? (I'm thinking, yes.)
Well you're right, John, you definitely don't want to do that. Having a URL that looked like ".com/city1-city2-city3-city4-chiropractor" would not be helpful, not to mention that it would look completely spammy and goofy.

I believe what we're all suggesting is to create separate pages on the website and target one city per page. So as Linda mentioned, use the city and keyword in the URL as well as in the title and description tags and of course throughout the page itself, but in moderation. Linda and Phil had some other good suggestions, too. But it would be impossible to get one homepage to rank high for all 4 or 5 cities in such a competitive market. So create a page for each and do some clean SEO for each page, building back links to each page. The goal is to get each individual page to rank high for its targeted city and keyword. Hope this helps.
 

Linda Buquet

Moderator
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
13,307
Yes def just one city and one main key phrase per page with city+KW url.

Not only would it look totally spammy, the URL would be too long and more than anything it would be a scatter gun approach and probably would not rank well in any of the cities.

But again, need good unique content on each page. No dupe content.
 

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