Sarah

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Hi there! A handful of our clients are located in a suburb of a major city and we are finding that users are not searching for the suburbs - they are searching for the city. How do we get our clients into the page-one SERP for the city search? ex.) using BL: "breast augmentation Chicago" with location set to Downers Grove, IL - all three map-pack listings are in Chicago. Any tips or feedback welcome!!
 

Colan Nielsen

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Hey Sarah, it's very rare to see listings that aren't physically located in a particular city rank in the 3 pack for an explicit search like your example.

It's not impossible but I would be doubling down on Google Ads and organic optimization for Chicago.
 

Phil Rozek

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@Sarah, as Colan said, it's rare. Somewhat less so if for very niche search terms, though. Where the density of local competitors is lower, it becomes more likely you can rank in the 3-pack for explicit "city" terms, even if you're in the suburbs.

Also, depending on how close the suburb is, there may be a "near [city]" angle.
 

JoshuaMackens

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You can also try to rank organically. That's not restricted to your location. But it could be a very uphill battle.
 
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Of course you want to rank organically to compliment the maps listings, but really with local it's going to be the minority of click throughs after people go through the ads and the 3pack.

Create a secondary listing however you have to with a physical address in the main city itself and leverage that for your snack pack listing. I highly doubt anyone is going to just drive to a plastic surgeons office willy nilly without first calling and talking to someone. So it's not like someone is going to show up at your address that may be just a po box or otherwise verified listing that isnt an actual live staffed office.
 

JoshuaMackens

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Cherie Dickey

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I would also be putting my efforts into Ads and organic. Proximity is so important that in competitive areas it's truly exceptional to see a listing too far out of the PJ rank cor competitive terms.

That's why it's so tempting to go against quality standards and create listings that use addresses that are not the actual business address, or use names that are not the actual business name. But, this is a risky strategy. Especially in competitive areas, it's very likely the listing will be reported by someone with knowledge of quality standards. In the case of incorrect address information, folks also use listings for directions -without calling first because they already have an appt. Needless to say, these clients would be pretty angry when they can't find the location, which then can in turn hurt the credibility of the business.

It's best to focus on strengthening your overall presence for the city, as well as the neighborhood, and counsel your client to have the best reputation possible across the board. If they become known as the best in City-area, that MIGHT be enough to break through to the higher results for searchers who are farther away from the location.
 
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wow, eating crow here. i had no idea those stats were still currently anywhere like that.
my experience has been top organic listings come along with top maps listings so it works out regardless

i am brand new to using ppc of any sort but plan on getting into the service based ads to flesh things out

thanks a bunch for the study

I have not found that to be true at all personally.

This study also bears that out:

Local Services Ads Click Study: Where Do People Click on Local SERPs?

In fact, they found the top organic result gets more clicks than any other result.
 

JoshuaMackens

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wow, eating crow here. i had no idea those stats were still currently anywhere like that.
my experience has been top organic listings come along with top maps listings so it works out regardless

i am brand new to using ppc of any sort but plan on getting into the service based ads to flesh things out

thanks a bunch for the study

PPC and SEO are a good one two punch. I think that's a brilliant idea.

Also, the only way I knew website results were driving a lot of traffic is we had UTM's in our URL's for GSC so we could tell the website clicks vs GMB clicks. That is going away though, unfortunately.
 
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