herein2020

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Hello all, I have what seems to me to be a complex situation and the more I read about which way I should proceed, the more conflicting advice I have seen. I apologize in advance if this is a somewhat lengthy post but I can't seem to find anyone else with this exact question.

I am a photographer and videographer running a wordpress website lets call it https://mywebsite.com. I am ranking well in a major city nearby and I am also ranking well in the smaller rural area where I live. To do this I have two GMB entries one is for the nearby major city with a physical address and the second is for my rural area where I used my home address as a service area. Currently both point to the same Wordpress site and DNS domain but recently I opened a studio in my rural area and I want to create a targeted landing page for the rural area studio.

The plan that I think will get me the biggest SEO is to do the following:
1. Create a new page off of my website (i.e https://mywebsite.com/ruralstudio)
2. Buy a new DNS domain name (i.e. https://ruralstudio.com)
3. Use the .htaccess file on my website to do a 301 redirect from https://ruralstudio.com to https://mywebsite.com/ruralstudio
4. Within GMB for the service area entry change the website URL to https://ruralstudio.com
5. On the https://ruralstudio.com webpage treat it like a single page website and have the about, videos, sample images, studio information, and contact form all on that single page with links and backlinks to the rest of the website

I have already created the https://mywebsite.com/ruralstudio page on my main website but to Google that is tied to the nearby major city which means it does not come up in local search for my rural location. Creating a new dns domain with the word studio in the domain name and tying it to a landing page seems to be the easiest way to maintain a dedicated location landing page.

For the experts here, does it sound like I should just try harder to get the current subdirectory page to rank higher or do you think I should get the new DNS domain point it to the subdirectory and work on ensuring that page has unique content? Speaking of the new DNS domain I know I shouldn't keyword stuff it but it is so tempting to put in the rural town's name and the word studio in the DNS domain to try to get some SEO from the domain name.
 
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Hi @herein2020,

I'll offer a few suggestions that I hope will be helpful even if they don't offer a complete solution.

1.) GMB
Do you meet clients at your rural studio? If so, your GMB listing could include your address. If you work there but don't meet clients there, you shouldn't show your address. In either case, your listing should include an accurate service area (where you actually travel to work). Most importantly, if you have one business with one location, one phone number, the same primary category... well, you should only have one GMB listing. Creating a GMB listing just to rank in a city violates the guidelines.

2.) Multiple Domains
Your best bet is probably one domain so that any backlinks you get point to that one domain. Having two domains would just split your backlinks, diluting your link equity.

3.) Keyword Stuffing Domain Name
It won't have much (or any) appreciable SEO value. Keywords in the domain were effective ~ 15 or 20 years ago, but no longer. If it's really stuffed and becomes hard for humans to read or type, you're not doing yourself any favours.
 

herein2020

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Stefan, thank you for your response.

1.) GMB - I do meet clients at my studio but I built it on my home's property and I do not want my home address showing on Google as a photo studio so that is why I chose service area for the photo studio address. My address in the major city is not a studio and is just a physical location which is why I have that address listed in GMB.

Both GMB entries have different primary categories, the major city is Video Production / Photography and the rural service area is Photo Studio. They do both have the same phone number.

2.) Multiple Domains - I went ahead and got a new domain (no keyword stuffing) and used my .htaccess file to point it to a dedicated landing page (subdirectory) on my main site via a 301 redirect. I know it is not ideal but I did not see a simpler way to maintain the Wordpress site easily and have the GMB website URL for the rural location point to a dedicated photo studio landing page. If this backfires and my ranking drops or if I cannot get the GMB listing to rank well for local photo studios then I will have to figure out a different strategy.

I do not want to maintain two completely separate Wordpress sites or try to get Wordpress to use a unique URL for parts of the main site (either option is substantially more work).

3.) Keyword Stuffing Domain Name - I skipped this one, I checked the #1 ranked photo studio in my area and their URL is simple and easy to remember so I went the same route.

I noticed another photo studio in the area also has a service area listing so that gives me hope that I can get into the top box using a service area address.

How is everyone else doing it? How do you get ranked at a different address for a specific service without maintaining a completely separate website? Even if I got my main website to rank well for a photo studio at my rural location; visitors would be confused because my main site is not focused on photo studio services (nor do I want it to be).
 

herein2020

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I thought I should just follow up and say that so far my strategy is actually working great. Within 24hrs my Google ranking for my new main keywords for the subsite/landing page went from zero presence to number 2 in the Google Local search results.

My new domain name with the 301 redirect tied to GMB sends them to a subdirectory which is a landing page where I put in a custom description heavy on the services, and I added a gallery on the page with all of the images mentioning the studio in their alt text / descriptions. Even the pictures are now showing up in Google images for the local studio. I also added plenty of links to the landing page from my main site; everything studio related now points to the landing page.

What is interesting is that I am even showing up on Google results under the main website's URL so based on keyword density both the GMB unique domain is showing and further down the main site is showing and both are on the first page of results. I haven't even started blogging, working on external backlinks, writing studio related articles, or fully optimized the main site to use the landing page.

For the main site I am not using the new DNS domain at all, all links on the main site just use the subdirectory URL to minimize backlink equity loss, only the GMB page uses the domain name.

For the keyword stuffing part, instead of using the DNS domain name I used the GMB business name followed by the location and the keywords since I noticed the #1 ranked local studio did this.

As I mentioned before, this is a small location with little competition, I'm used to competing in the much larger metro area nearby so I'm thinking the local competition is probably just not that great at SEO or Google is ranking me so well because the area is so small. I'm sure this strategy would not have worked so well in a larger area unless everyone else was just terrible at SEO.
 
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