How (& When) to Target Additional Cities with Local SEO

While it is certainly possible to rank for local search terms in cities outside of your physical location, you have to be strategic with how and when you go after them. There are two main caveats when it comes to expanding your Local SEO efforts into additional cities. The first is that you must first rank well in your physical location, and the second is that must physically provide a service in the targeted city. Let’s break it down quick.

Dominate Your Physical Location First

Before you can consider trying to rank in a city other than your own, you must first rank well in your home city. The reason is because Google is a referral business, and it wants to refer businesses that it trusts to provide a great experience to the user. Businesses must earn Google’s trust to rank in the search results (learn how in our post about Local SEO for small businesses), so if Google doesn’t yet trust a business to show it in its physical location, then it won’t trust it to show it any other location either. But once you have high page 1 rankings for services provided in your home city, you are primed to expand into the next desired location.

You Must Physically Provide Services in the Targeted City

Simply put, businesses must provide services in the cities they hope to rank in. If a business does not conduct work in a particular city, then Google will not (and should not) show that business in local search results within those cities. Additionally, brick and mortar businesses that require customers to visit their physical location will not rank in cities outside of their own. Service providers that travel to their customers locations (such as tree services, general contractors, and plumbers to name a few), and restaurants that deliver food to customers in neighboring cities can target additional cities once they rank well in their physical location.

How to Target & Rank in Additional Cities

If your business meets the above two requirements, then you are in a good position to expand your Local SEO efforts and try to rank in cities outside of your own. To do so, you will first need to identify a new city to target. There two important things to consider when choosing a new city to target:

1. The closer the new city is located to the home city, the easier it will be to rank in.

2. The larger the new city’s population, the more difficult it will be to rank in.

Once the new target city has been identified, you will need to work the city’s name into the content on your website, the technical optimizations of your website, and add it as a service area to your Google My Business listing. If you have questions or need help with any of these items, you can always feel free to send us a note at We are really good at getting back to you within 24 hours.

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