bartlettpair

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I do my own SEO for my photography business, and actually do very well with organic SERP rankings, but my local rankings are horrible :confused: I'm ranked 12th for my small town of a few thousand people (Morgantown, PA), and there's only one other photographer that has a listing in that town! I'm losing out to businesses that have seemingly zero thought put into SEO.

My target keyword is 'wedding photographers' or variations thereof.

Here's my actual website: Philadelphia Wedding Photographers | Bartlett Pair Photography

Here are my points of confusion, but please feel free to point out more!

1) I'm fairly certain that I only have a Google Places account, because I was reading that for services that drive to their customers (we offer photography) that the business address should be hidden, and that we shouldn't switch to Google+ Local because hidden addresses don't operate correctly quite yet in the system. Should I continue to hide my address? Should I convert from Google Places to Google+ Local?

2) I use rel=author (https://plus.google.com/103357465219845485994) on all Wordpress posts so that my profile picture shows up next to Google SERP results. Is that ok or should I somehow be using my business's Google+ profile as the author of each post? I'm thinking I only have Google Places right now so I wouldn't be able to use a Google+ Local address in the rel=author field...not to mention my understanding is that businesses may not get the profile pic next to SERP results? Confused!

3) The phone number on the account was previously used for our prior photography business, which has since been closed. However, when I search for the number on Google Maps, it shows both my new AND old businesses, though the old business shows as 'This place has closed or relocated.' I actually think this one might be ok?

I have NAP on homepage footer (I should probably have it on every page, right?) and I even used Schema.org and confirmed my NAP is showing up in Googles Rich Text Snippet tool.

Sigh....those are the major points that I am aware of for now, but I'm sure I'm missing some others. If anyone could help out a frustrated photographer I would be so grateful!!
 
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Hi BarlettPair,
From your initial description, it sounds like the strength of your current business may be being sapped by the still-existent listing of the old one. That bears investigation.

However, doing a search from California for 'wedding photographer morgantown pa' I see your business coming up in the C position in the local results - so that's not really a horrible ranking.

Setting my location to Morgantown, I see the same thing.

In the display Google is giving me, there are a couple of organic listings above a pack of a few local results.

Is this what you are seeing, too? Or are you seeing different rankings for this major search term?
 

bartlettpair

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Thanks for your response Miriam! I see what you're saying, but if I search from the next town over (just a few miles away), 'wedding photographers near elverson pa' I'm ranked 18.

Regarding the 'closed' listing sucking my power, what steps can I take to completely remove it? You can see if it you search the number 6105070738 in Google Maps.

Any thoughts on points 1) or 2) above? Or do you guys see anything else that I might be doing wrong? This is really hurting us and it would mean a lot if we could identify some of the problems.
 

Colan Nielsen

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Thanks for your response Miriam! I see what you're saying, but if I search from the next town over (just a few miles away), 'wedding photographers near elverson pa' I'm ranked 18.

Regarding the 'closed' listing sucking my power, what steps can I take to completely remove it? You can see if it you search the number 6105070738 in Google Maps.

Any thoughts on points 1) or 2) above? Or do you guys see anything else that I might be doing wrong? This is really hurting us and it would mean a lot if we could identify some of the problems.

Hi bartlettpair

It's really tough to rank locally for a city or town that you aren't actually located. The fact that you rank well in your actual city is great and I would focus on the organic stuff for surrounding towns and cities.


There is no way to have the closed listing completely removed. Closed listings shouldn't rank for any keyword searches and they should go away over time. They are usually only searchable by phone number. It could possibly be sucking some juice out of your current listing as Miriam suggested, but it's not really clear how much exactly.

Your listing is a Google Places/G+ Local listing and you should continue to hide your address and not merge if it's an SAB.

You are correct to use your G+ profile with rel=author.
 

bartlettpair

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Ok thanks guys! I understand it's difficult to rank for adjacent cities, but there are clearly other local businesses that pop up in the top ~5 even when I search for adjacent cities that they are not located in, whereas I only rank on the first page for my specific city name (which has a very low population).

Regardless, I do wonder why when I search in regular Google organic search for my business name Bartlett Pair Photography, I do not see a red Google Places pin showing the address (and also local information on the right sidebar), but when I search for another local photographer, i.e. Tommy Rutt Photography, it does show the red location pin under their website.

That kind of stuff makes me think I'm not set up correctly?
 
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Hi Again Bartlett,

Colan is spot on in both points. The closed listing eventually will fall out of the index, and ranking for cities outside your city of location is a big task. Typically, what you will be going after is organic visibility, rather than local visibility, for these other geo terms you'd like to compete for.

What I see looking at your website is that you don't appear to have developed any city landing pages yet. You might like to check out my recent article on this topic, here, for in-depth coverage of this strategy and it's potentials:

SEO Igloo Blog ? The Nitty Gritty Of City Landing Pages For Local Businesses

Also, unless I'm missing it, I don't see a Contact Us page on your website. For local businesses, this is one of the most important pages a website contains. I'd add one to your top level menu in a jiffy.

Hope these suggestions help!
 
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