Aug 4, 2012
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This is something I have wondered about for a while. I see a lot of websites that have the homepage, followed by a paragraph like this:

Areas Served: Location, Location, City A, City B, State, Village, Town etc

And this can be a whole paragraph of locations.

Now, this looks like it's a good idea as you will have a business that wants to be picked up on the main city, but it also wants the "long tail locations" like the small towns close by and the districts etc.

However, no-one seems to speak about whether this gets penalised by Google. Obviously, it's bad to have a bunch of spammy keywords in the footer or sidebar, but a list of areas seems like a good idea, as a lot of those long tail locations could easily be picked up.

Can anyone give some insight here? Do you use it yourself? Can it get penalised?


Feb 2, 2013
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I believe that is keyword stuffing and you should only list 5-10 of the major cities, not all of them. Google can penalize but I don't know if they will or not.

Linda Buquet

Local Search Expert
Jun 28, 2012
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Glad you asked Nick.

There's a FAIRLY NEW organic guideline against city stuffing like that.

I broke the news about it here in October.

My feeling is it's fine to say we serve city 1, 2, 3, 4 & surrounding areas. Think of the brick & mortar world. YES a Dentist might put that in their TV or magazine ad for the benefit of the customers they serve.

But when you see these plumber and carpet cleaner sites that have big bank of 30 cities and zips listed, I think they are asking for a Google ding due to the guideline I linked to above which explains in more detail.


Aug 4, 2012
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Thank you both for clarifying this. As I've said, I've never employed this tactic myself but I see people do it all the time. It's actually a good thing that they have hit out against it. Yes, it's fine to include some city names in the copy but not a list!
Dec 25, 2012
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I can't imagine the big block of areas served text actually helping a site rank for any of the city's individually. I always figured that at some point this must have worked for someone at some time in the past, but its absolutely not going to do it organically anymore.
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