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):
And for “spray tanning” in Woonsocket, RI (also over an hour away):
They show up on page 1 for most of their relevant keywords, even though nearly every keyword brings them up in a different city:
There is over a 2-hour driving distance between some of the cities that Incredible Tan shows up in:
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.