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Suppose I have a site called boston.com, now on boston.com I am also listing local business for New York and Baltimore City as well.

What I find is for business in Boston, my ranking is really high but for non Boston city, the ranking is quite low and litterally all my visitors of searching for local business in Boston.

My question is:

  1. Does my strong domain name for one city can affect my SEO for the other city?

  2. Let’s say I have a website name bizhub.com, would that be a better choice if I want to include more than one city in my business model? This is actually my real scenario as I am covering more than one city as in craigslist.

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I will try to be precise in my answer:

  1. I can not see how a domain ranking for a city could affect (or cannibalize) the other two websites with different locations. The only possibility I can think of is about the way the boston website is organized, webserver location and configuration, Website NAP, number of website backlinks from local business directories, Map listings and any other signal that strongly suggest your website is serving a region or delivering content to that same region.

  2. I would suggest to use a moderate approach, an strategy that will take sometime before seeing results. Do not to change your boston.com site as it is ranking. If it is possible create a separate website for each city, repeat the same model/approach to the other two websites and you are more likely to rank those as well. To help the other websites I would recommend to use an inner page that will link to the other two branches. The best one to do this is the "About us" Page as is often the second most important page on a website.

For me this is the best strategy, make them rank on their own and then create a "Parent" website that will absorb the 3 domains eventually through canonical(ization) and later through 301s. You can create a "parent" website that will compartmentalize /Boston, /NY and /Baltimore.

  • Thank you for the nice suggestions. That will help me stear things in the right direction. So what I am getting, 'my keyword domain, is likely not affecting my ranking of other cities'. I also though about creating subdomain for each city and I think that might help and serve the purpose as you have highlighted. By the way the actual domain name is peshawar.co, I am covering different cities in Pakistan (like craiglist sort), Peshawar is one of the city itself though. – anonymous Oct 8 '17 at 8:10
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    @slowdiver for an SEO perspective I will suggest no to pursued the subdomain(s) strategy. It is recognized by almost everyone that having /city-folder has more benefits in the long term. There are plenty of case studies that demonstrate that rankings are much better in domains that follows the folder structure than the ones that take the subdomain path. Also subdomains are harder to maintain. – Raul Reyes Oct 9 '17 at 9:00
  • Thanks @titico. I will follow this strategy and see how it goes. I am currently following /domain/category/business-name but that may not be constructive because my site is site based first and then category based. – anonymous Oct 11 '17 at 14:52
  • @slowdiver no worries, perhaps check out this video. Be aware that when he mention the multiple sites scenario he is talking about sites that you already have. In your case do not finish your website until each city site is ranking on their own. Then implement canonical per small chunks then 301. – Raul Reyes Oct 11 '17 at 20:12
  • @slowdiver if you’re satisfied with this answer remember to mark it as answered ;) to help the community move on – Raul Reyes Oct 11 '17 at 20:16

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