Does Being Listed In Multiple Cities Help A Truly Local Business?

If a business doesn’t have a storefront, is mobile, or provides a service to a large geographical area, it is logical that the business owner would want to be listed online in multiple cities. Service providers such as locksmiths, lawyers, accountants, and chains often get their business optimized for the many areas they service. As Chris Silver Smith wrote, it’s very important for these types of business to rank in multiple cities in Google.

What one wouldn’t expect to see is a simple storefront business in a single location, such as a salon, getting listed across a large geographical area. If you’re one salon among hundreds, one would think you’d focus on getting optimized well for your city, rather than appearing in a city two hours away.

Yet we came across a tanning salon in Newton, MA that appears for different keywords in seven cities across two states. They appear for “spray tans” in Fall River, MA (one hour away):

spray tans fall river

And for “spray tanning” in Woonsocket, RI (also over an hour away):

spray tanning woonsocket

They show up on page 1 for most of their relevant keywords, even though nearly every keyword brings them up in a different city:

keywords tanning

There is over a 2-hour driving distance between some of the cities that Incredible Tan shows up in:

all cities

Incredible Tan appears to be quite the savvy salon (they also advertise and offer online coupons.) But is their strategy a good one? How likely is it that someone in West Warwick, RI will drive an hour-plus to Newton, MA for a 15-minute tanning session, especially when there are plenty of other tanning salons much closer?

While it may not seem to make much sense from the internet marketing point of view, from the business owner’s perspective they don’t really have anything to lose. Maybe 1 in 100 potential customers from these farther-away areas will visit the website, think it’s nice, and remember it the next time they’re passing through on their way to Boston.

So many business owners have been asking how to do this that Google recently addressed the issue.

What do others think – is this a good thing?

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Other | Small Is Beautiful


About The Author: is CEO at Palore, a provider of local businesses' advertising data and information on their online activity. He also blogs at The Palore Blog. This column is researched and written by the marketing department at Palore, which is led by Hanan.

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  • Andrew Shotland

    Hanan, not sure, but you may be mistaking Incredible Tan’s marketing tactics with a bug in Google Places/Maps. If you look at their place page you’ll see they have set their service area to within 10 miles of their location. There’s nothing on their site or their place page that includes out of market keywords. It could be that they have inbound links or citations that point at these markets, but I haven’t dug into it too deeply. It may even be that their generic name is contributing to this.

    Perhaps a more appropriate title for this post would be “Hey Google, Does Being Incorrectly Listed in Multiple Cities Help a Truly Local Business?” :)

  • Dennis Brennan

    I’d agree on what Andrew see’s, it’s a Google bump in the road. I see these types (and intentionally optimize certain terms/phrases) so that a client listing will appear on the map in surrounding communities and sometimes, the only listing on the map.

    It actually could have additional mobile search benefits in that on a smartphone search, having your location based on where you not where you live, gives you results that could influence your schedule, something Google Instant will never be able to predict.

    Say I am looking for a spray tanning salon but I am planning on being in a certain area attending an event on Friday. Knowing and being familiar with an area and or service provider will certainly influence my schedule.


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