gwmichel

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My niche is IT Outsourcing. Most of the keywords in the niche are localized, but they rarely trigger 7 Packs. We have a single office in central NJ, and we are killing it locally with SEO. The problem is geographic - we aren't close enough to where most of the business is -NYC, and northern NJ. The closer a searcher gets to NYC, the worse our rankings get, even though our SEO, PR, DA, PA, citations are superior (at least in my eyes.) typically, the slide is from top 2 to bottom of page 1.

We've only had our google places page active for a few months, and our google+page has been up for about 6 months. There is a feature in google places that allows for setting a business radius (200 miles), but interestingly, it lets you place the center of the radius anywhere you want. I moved it to NYC. Does this affect anything?

Is there any way to move the needle? Does our local page handcuff our rankings? The point may be moot as we may open a NYC office, but this local stuff is aggravating.
 

Linda Buquet

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Hi gwmichel,

Thanks for joining and posting. Glad I could help you get set up here.

3 issue...

1) Yes the pack often does not show for IT type keywords. Same for web design and SEO. I think the algo thinks these can be remote services so is not always sure there is local intent. If you want to see how you rank in the pack you can search for "KW near city". That will usually trigger the pack. But it's a moot point becuase I don't think many searchers search with near (or in sometimes works too.)

2) In the pack, depending on competition, you'll likely only rank in the city you are located in. If there are 100 in NY and you are in a different city, it's not going to show your listing since there are others closer.

Think about if you searched for dry cleaner + your city. You would not think the local results were very good if they showed a NY dry cleaner, because you would not go that far.

3) Service area radius settings do not affect ranking at all. But on the flip side I think it's POSSIBLE (don't know for sure) that if you set your radius too wide it can hurt your rankings for the city you are actually in. Best setting is your city and 20 mile radius.

Moving the map marker to NY by setting radius there does not help ranking. If someone is searching via maps (which most don't they use main search), then I guess it could help if your marker is there.

4) So to rank in NY if you are 5 cities over, really takes organic SEO effort because doubtful you'll rank in the pack if one ever shows up.

Does that help clarify?
 

gwmichel

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Thanks, Linda. About what I figured. There appear to be some "national" type rankings mixed in. Companies that appear in the top 3 slots in AOL seem to find their way in, as well as the inevitable Wikipedia. I guess it's open a NYC office, or move higher in natural search.

Another interesting thing that I noticed - I built a handful of local pages (shame, shame) - "IT Support NYC", etc., and they get ranked first page for both "IT Support NYC" and "IT Support" when I search from NYC. My major competitor makes extensive use of doorway pages, and they work. The content is technically unique, but it adds no value. They have at least 100 pages (IT Support Newark NJ, Managed IT Services Newark NJ, etc.) for every major location from Maryland to CT. And, they aren't the only ones.

I thought this was verbotten?
 
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