Rank In Cities You Serve

“How can I rank better in cities my business serves?”

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    This question comes up a lot and it can be a tough one to overcome if you’re not located within the city limits of the largest city in your area. For example, a business owner in the Portland suburb of Gresham may not rank well in Portland because of his physical address being outside of the city.

    Of course, Portland is much larger and he does a lot of business there, so how can he (or she) rank better in a city where his or her business is not physically located. In this lesson, we’ll give you some proven strategies to rank better in targeted cities.

    How To Rank Better In Cities You Serve

    Aside from running a pay-per-click campaign which allows you to geographically target your audience, the methods below can also work.

    #1 – Create Doorway Pages

    I like to call these “city” pages because the objective is to usually target a specific city. I wrote a post and made a video describing the process of creating doorway pages to rank in cities you serve.

    The key is to make them as unique as possible, which can be challenging. But if you do it right, you can enjoy some nice results.

    In the image below, you can see how we helped one of our clients target a specific city on two of the websites they operate. Both sites are ranking on page one for the target search term.

    example of ranking in a city you serve with doorway pages

    #2 – Create Micro Sites

    Micro-sites are usually have the keyword you are trying to target in the domain name. For example, if you’re a plumber in Portland, Oregon, you might buy the domain or or something similar.

    The obvious advantage to micro sites is that since you have the keywords you’re targeting in your domain, it is automatically relevant to the search query you’re targeting. It takes extra work to setup a new site, but it is possible to rank well, depending on how competitive your term is.

    Get more detailed information on setup in my blog post: Micro Sites Help You Get More Leads. There’s a video and sample of a site I setup for a client that is ranking well.

    #3 – Setup A Regis Office

    It’s not good enough to just register a Post Office Box in the city you’re targeting – you’ve got to have a physical address in order for Google to recognize it.

    I’ve never had a client test this extreme yet, but I’ve heard it works and would be willing to try. I have a close friend in the business who has had success with it!


    As pointed out by David Mihm in the 2014 Local Search Ranking Factors Guide, it’s getting even more difficult to organically appear in local searches for cities where you’re not located.

    “Proximity to searcher saw one of the biggest moves in this year’s survey. Google is getting better at detecting location at a more granular level—even on the desktop. The user is the new Centroid.”

    Bottom line: Google’s search results are strongly biased towards location. In many cases, it’s going to be up to the person performing the search to explore other options if he/she doesn’t like the ones Google is showing that are closest to him/her.

    It’s challenging, but not impossible to rank well in Google for a city you serve but where you are not physically located. I’ve personally used the first two methods described on this page with varying levels of success – sometimes the pages or sites rank on page 1, sometimes we can’t get them to crack the top 100.

    As always, we’re available to help and you can hire us to completely manage your internet marketing campaign. Just contact me by calling 503-890-6663 or by dropping me an email.

    Go to Lesson 7: Link Building For Local Businesses

    Return To Beginning: Guide To Ranking Your Local Business In Google