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Ranking for keywords that serve local results

     
4:25 pm on Jun 20, 2019 (gmt 0)

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In my niche, the transactional KWs don't generally have locations in the actual keyword.

But Google serves local results for them.

So if you search from City X, Google serves businesses and directory pages located or related to City X.

I think I need to make city pages to rank for these types of transactional keywords (correct me if I'm wrong).

The thing is, I'm trying to figure out search volume by cities, so I can create city pages for the areas where more people are searching.

But tools like Ahrefs show little to no volume for KWs with the actual city name in them, since most people just search the main keyword without their city name in it.

Any tools/strategies you know of? Or any other input about ranking for keywords that serve local results? I don't want to waste time creating state and city pages if that's not the key to ranking for these kws. Thanks!
8:11 pm on June 20, 2019 (gmt 0)

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When I need to build out locally targeted pages, I start with a list of cities ranked by population. I may add in other demographic info like income, education, home ownership, etc to better align the list with my customer. Launch the first wave, then circle back later. Look at analytics & search console to figure out what should be the second wave. Keep refining, expanding & repeating till it stops generating profits. You can also launch a temporary Adword campaign to quickly gain traffic insights.

If possible try to figure out how to include some user generated content. When done right it can provide real value to the content. That can help you avoid being labeled as weak content/doorway pages by Google. It can also introduce local terms that you wouldn't have thought to mention.
11:44 pm on June 20, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@goodroi

Invaluable!

One question, what exactly do you mean by user generated content? As in, how might I invite and enable users to create content? And what kind of content might apply to my site? I'm not sure I can divulge my niche here, but let's just say it's YMYL and my city pages are for contacting us so we can connect you to a certain type of professional in your area.

This really great advice! Thanks!
12:14 am on June 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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For UGC you need to get creative. Maybe invite users to submit a review or run a contest that requires them to submit content.
3:03 am on June 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I think I need to make city pages to rank for these types of transactional keywords (correct me if I'm wrong).


You are over thinking this ..... choose your keywords with out the city name. Let me explain, say you're a plumber. Now someone has a water pipe rupture and the first thing they do is search for a plumber. So if they use a phone, the will probably search for "plumbers near me" or if on a desktop, "local plumber" No city name in the search query. Google by default will show localized results based on where the searcher is located. That is what Google does.

Now you got two ways of addressing this issue.
You could create a specific page with the city name. The one thing you have to make sure of is that the pages are more than just copies with very little difference than the city name. Pages like that can be construed to be doorway pages and are not a good idea and are considered very low quality and will not perform well. You have to create some unique content for each page so they will not be considered doorway pages.

The second method is to create a page and include the areas that you service. This second method will never be considered a doorway page. So you could include in your content something like this.... We service the follow areas, location, location, location... we can respond to your problem in 30 minutes or less depending on where you are yada yada yada.

Your GMB will come in handy here. A GMB is generally good for search results in a 30 mile radius. You can include in it your service areas. In addition to that you can also include schema markup for aggregate review markup. This will boost the rankings of that page as well.
6:08 pm on June 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Hi @KnowOneSpecial

When I search my top transactional KWs, without the city name, Google serves pages that are specific to and optimized for my specific city.

Also my employer's business covers all of California. Lots of cities. So I think I need specific city pages. Thanks!
7:13 pm on July 18, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@KnowOneSpecial

Back to the doorway page issue...

I HAVE to create city pages to rank for my money keywords, since Google serves localized results for them and I'm not a small business with a physical address. I'm a network of professionals located in many different cities.

Do you think unique content for each city page (with localized headers like "Need a **** in Los Angeles?" plus contact form and phone # is enough to avoid being flagged as a doorway page?

My competitors DO have city pages with this kind of content, and rank well, but each city page also lists professionals located within said city (which I am not able to accomplish because my employer's business model does not allow it).

I feel that directory style content is not a doorway page, but I'm unable to do that style, and worry that unique content is not enough to prevent being flagged as doorway pages.