JillH

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I work for an attorney and he ranks pretty well for most keywords. The problem is, he has a primary location in Vista, CA and a secondary location in the city of San Diego, CA (both are in SD county). We've focused most of the site content on the main website with local keywords "Vista criminal lawyer/attorney" and "Vista defense lawyer/attorney." While most of his other keywords seem to rank well, of his four keywords, he doesn't rank at all for Vista criminal attorney and on Vista defense lawyer and Vista defense attorney, his secondary location shows up in the search results even though it's not even in the city. This isn't a problem for any other local keywords we've been working on.

The site is vistacriminallaw.com and I have a location-specific page for his San Diego office (vistacriminallaw.com/directions-san-diego-office) that links to his San Diego GMB page. I've been told that I could benefit by either pulling the "Vista" out of the main site content, creating a location-specific page for the main office and letting the content do double duty for both offices, but I don't want to lose his ranking for other Vista keywords that he's doing so well with. Is this the right approach or should I set up a new website completely for his secondary office with new content? He's very worried this will get him flagged by Google for having multiple websites.

On a side note, can anyone tell why he isn't ranking for "Vista criminal attorney" (there's a decent amount of competition, but I can't understand why he doesn't appear at all) and why the other office is showing up for the "defense" keywords when it's not anywhere close to Vista?
 

Yan Gilbert

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I see the site on page 4 for "Vista criminal attorney".

You can have as many websites as you want. There's no issue there. It creates extra overhead to maintain and optimize though.
 

JillH

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So if we created a second site for the SD office, would it be ok if we took some articles from the original site that are ranking well for San Diego keywords and moved them to the new site (deleting them on the original of course to prevent duplicate content)? Or would Google dislike that?
He has over 700 blog articles from the past 10 years, so there's plenty of content to share.
Also, if it is ok to use those articles, would it hurt to use a redirect to the new site for the links where those older articles were deleted or would that create some red flags? And for that matter would it be bad or good to link between the two sites here and there?
 

Yan Gilbert

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Yeah, so you can either use 301 redirects for articles that no longer make sense on the original site that you add to the new site, or if you want to leave the original article and also add it to the new site, you can use a canonical tag to tell Google which article version you want Google to care about.

Selective linking between the sites is a good idea.
 
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