Owning a small business or franchise can be a very rewarding career but also can be difficult at times. Longs hours, missing family time, trusting others with your business, among many other things. Now top it off with not only needing to be visible online but also to the territory you serve.
Yodle for Brand Networks works with a variety of mobile businesses from plumbers and electricians to maid services. One of the most common concerns that we hear is that they are not ranking in the city that they want to be ranked in. This can become very frustrating to a mobile business owner who would like to be ranked in the county/city that brings them the most revenue.
Why does this problem occur?
Research by ComScore, Neustar Localeze and agency 15 Miles showed that the address and location are the primary items for local searches (6 Local SEO Stats Every Online Marketer Needs To Know, 2015).
Google and other search engines look to your physical address as a proxy base when it comes to local searches.
So let’s answer this…
Why would search engines want to show results for a business with incorrect information or a P.O Box? Isn’t it bad business if a client arrives at an address and it is an old office location or even a post office?
Google’s own Address Guidelines states, “Use the precise address for the business rather than broad city names or cross-streets. P.O. Boxes are not considered accurate physical locations” (Guidelines for representing your business on Google, 2016).
Keywords for local rankings
When a search is performed and the keyword being used has a city associated with it, i.e. “electrician Phoenix”, the search will rely more on the geographical term.
Example: A potential customer completes a search for “electrician Phoenix”; the business address is in Tempe, Arizona. A competitor comes up in the Phoenix search but not your business.
As a business owner, there is frustration with not appearing for the original search, “electrician Phoenix.” If a potential customer were to do the same search for “electrician Tempe” The Tempe business would appear in the SERP (search engine results page). While, you own territory in Phoenix and can service that area, the search engines only will look at your address for a local search.
Keyword variations will change the search results as well. Rankings may be different for “electrician Phoenix” vs. “Phoenix electrician.” It is not uncommon for a business to rank higher for one over another.
Can I just update my website to speak to my serving area?
Yes, we encourage this because it shows potential customers where you can serve. This does hold some weight for search engines and eventually you may rank for those terms. This will take time and ultimately performance will always be best in the city in which your office is located.
The best advice here is to become a master in your own area before you try to rank in additional cities. Patience is key when it comes to performance and rankings. Following best practices and recommendations from the experts will help drive results.