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Hi,

I have a relatively new client (a photography studio) who is ranking in the wrong cities. His goal is to rank in the Philly suburbs, which is where the studio is located. His rankings/traffic in that area are fine, however, he's been receiving a lot of qualified leads from all over the country. They come from Florida to California and everywhere in between. Since many of the leads are calls, my client has been asking how they found him and they say they did so by searching for keywords like "photographer near me" or "headshot photographer in LA"

I've been trying to figure out why this is happening, but I'm coming up empty. I've been trying to replicate the results in different cities using all the standard tools/techniques, but I haven't had any success. As for the client's site, everything is focused on the target area, as is the GMB and all the citations I can find.

Has anyone experienced anything like this before? Any advice on dealing with it? It doesn't seem to be hurting rankings in our target area, but it's still something I'd like to get ironed out. Thanks in advance!
 

Phil Rozek

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@Michael Ferrari, does your client have a few "home run" blog posts, or similar pieces of content that are visible and compelling to people hither and yon? My initial thought is that traffic might convert great, whereas maybe the local traffic doesn't. You'll probably want to pull up a Google Analytics "geo" report on your client's highest-traffic pages.

Another possibility: if your client does AdWords, you'll probably want to check the geotargeting settings, to make sure they're not way too broad.
 
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@Phil Rozek Thanks for the input, Phil! That's the funny thing about all this--the site is pretty minimal. We're working on adding additional pages, but the site really only has a homepage, a contact page, and one or two location pages. We're still revising the content, but as of now it's all very Philadelphia-focused.

As you can imagine, the homepage is bringing in the lion's share of the traffic, despite where said traffic comes from. Based on GA's geo section, almost all the traffic from other states that is converting is coming from Google organic.

As far as ads go, I don't think the client has ever run them, but it's possible I'm mistaken--I'll double check. In the meantime, if any other possibilities come to mind, I'm all ears!

Thanks again for your help!
 

Phil Rozek

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Sure thing, @Michael Ferrari. Yeah, those are the two items I'd look at next. Also, if you're not doing so already, you'll probably want to track contact-form submissions as conversion events in Analytics, which would allow you to see which page(s) those visitors landed on.

A few less-likely culprits you might also look at, once you've ruled out the first two:

1. Orphaned pages or blog posts still floating around

2. Other (possibly dormant) sites the client might have, which may rank for national terms here and there.

3. Businesses with names very similar to your client's name, in the cities where qualified leads seem to keep seeing your client (somehow).
 
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That's a great idea, @Phil Rozek ! I'm going to look into those, especially the second and third options. Hopefully that will help. One thing I am noticing, though, is that this seems to be happening with other photographers as well. A quick look for "headshot photographer" in the LA area showed a couple of NYC photographers, which was odd--especially since those photographers had no mention of Los Angeles on their site. While this might just be a hiccup with Google, seeing it happen in other instances should at least give me some more data to work with and see if I can find a trend.

Thanks again for all your help, Phil! This definitely has given me some options to work with.
 

Phil Rozek

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Glad to weigh in, @Michael Ferrari. It could be a bug, though I haven't seen one in that industry ever, or as a result of any of the spot-checks I did just now. If it's not a measurement issue, in that you've checked the results in Anonymous Ad Preview Tool and still see crazy results (e.g. NYC businesses ranking in LA), then I'd be interested to see a couple of screenshots of what you're seeing.
 

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