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I am working with a challenging client right now. He's a one man operation (home remodeler) in a small market area - we're talking a city of just 60,000 and if you throw in all the surrounding towns in his service area, it *might* reach 70,000.

He works out of his house, which isn't in the main big city. He lives in a small town about 30-45 minutes away. As a result, his Google+ Local only shows up for his town (if it ever shows up). In the "big city," all the contractors, handymen, etc. show up in the 7 pack so the odds of him showing up in these results is very slim (I'm assuming).

As a test, I ran a PPC campaign targeting his service area and some very broad terms. We've had literally 2 ad impressions in 7 days!

So getting him exposure via his Google+ Local page doesn't seem to be a viable option. PPC doesn't appear to be a viable option either. Aside from optimizing the website, is there anything else I can do for him online? I'm just wondering if maybe traditional marketing might be the best option for him in a small market like this - things like direct mail, radio ads, newspaper ads, etc.

Travis
 
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In similar situations I have created informational websites for the client. Be the "Go To" for information on remodeling. Keep an active site that is more centered around helping people out. Like an "ask the expert" site. It might not help in local rankings, but could help in building traffic and authority on the subject.
 

mborgelt

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I often have clients who are located in a smaller town and want to rank in the larger areas surrounding them. While in certain instances, their listings will break into the pack listings in larger areas, I don't recommend basing your local strategy around it. Google will give preference to businesses closer to the city center. As time goes on, it is getting increasingly harder to rank outside of your town.

This can be particularly frustrating for service area businesses who do 90% of their business in the larger area, but Google's local algorithm is designed to direct you to the coffee shop down the street, not 20+ miles away so service area listings kind of get the short end of the stick there.

My recommendation is putting all your emphasis on organic optimization when targeting the areas surrounding your business. A good adwords campaign can also help you here, you say you only got 2 impressions in a week? are your bids competitive? usually when you don't get your ads served, your budget is set too low.

How are they ranking locally for the town they are in? if they have solid rankings there, it can be the foundation of your campaign.

I hope this helps!
 
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Hey Mike...thanks for chiming in! I agree with your assessment 100%. Sometimes when you explain this to a client they don't want to hear it but it is what it is.

For this particular client, bidding wasn't the issue as we were bidding way way more than we needed to. What we ended up having to do is expand to more areas and more broad keywords. Now we're getting a decent amount of impressions and clicks. As for his rankings, he's no where to be found. I'm working on securing a SEO contract with him. Right now he's just having me do his PPC.

Travis

I often have clients who are located in a smaller town and want to rank in the larger areas surrounding them. While in certain instances, their listings will break into the pack listings in larger areas, I don't recommend basing your local strategy around it. Google will give preference to businesses closer to the city center. As time goes on, it is getting increasingly harder to rank outside of your town.

This can be particularly frustrating for service area businesses who do 90% of their business in the larger area, but Google's local algorithm is designed to direct you to the coffee shop down the street, not 20+ miles away so service area listings kind of get the short end of the stick there.

My recommendation is putting all your emphasis on organic optimization when targeting the areas surrounding your business. A good adwords campaign can also help you here, you say you only got 2 impressions in a week? are your bids competitive? usually when you don't get your ads served, your budget is set too low.

How are they ranking locally for the town they are in? if they have solid rankings there, it can be the foundation of your campaign.

I hope this helps!
 
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