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I work at a non-profit where we operate in more than two counties within our state. Our offices are located in two different towns, and that leaves a few counties of operation where we would also like to appear in their local SERPs or Local Business listings. Please note that these towns are not necessarily close to all the areas of operation.

Since we don't have offices in all the counties of operation, how can we effectively post our business in the Local Business Listings and still show up in our counties of operation?

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Google local search results

Generally companies that serve customers at a physical address will find it easier to rank within the local search results compared to that of a companie that does not have an address but serves customers in X miles. This isn't to say they can't rank but it requires a lot more citiations, social mentions, backlinks and authorithy to do so.

Telling Google places/plus that you serve multiple areas

Google uses Google Places and Plus to verify your business and this is a HUGE! factor in getting your site to return in local results. If you haven't already you should tell Google how many miles you provide services too, this doesn't necessary mean your rank within those areas because you may find other competitive businesses with better rankings.

Multiple addresses

If you have multiple offices where the customer is served as such then your find it easier to rank, this is because of several reasons such as trust and providing customers with the very best in search results, after-all some customers would rather be served by local companies and not neighboring companies. But with this said this isn't always the case.

Example of keyword without area

Some niches even have just the keyword enabled for local searches and as you can see from the image below multiple physical addresses being returned and by major competitors, and if you look closely you can see (F) doesn't even have an address this is because they checked do not serve customers at address button, But as you can see there's no neighbor companies.

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The right signals

Its not a requirement that you have a psyical address in the area you serve but it does help because links, social mentions and citations will have the keywords of your area. To increase your rankings for local searches in the targeted area you need to increase on site authority, trust and various other signals. When adding your site to Yelp, Yell, BT and so on you should write somewhere on the page that you serve X area, Google can then tag your site as relevant to that area.

Dishonest way

Another way is and I don't recommend it but many businesses do it, is they get a friend or family member who lives in the targeted area, you get the address verified on Google Plus and Places, then disable the address by clicking we do not serve customers at this address. This will then become easier to rank in that area, but again I don't advise it, Google will likely clamp down on that.. My recommendations is to increase the area you serve and include keywords on all citations pages.

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No, it won't hurt your SERPs. If the business listing requires a local address, then they won't let you in.

However, you could still create a page for each counties and add the name of the county in your meta title tag and in your page's <h1> tag. The page content should be specific to the county (missions you have accomplished there, etc...). It should also provide a link to a contact page.

P.S.: I am assuming that the local business sites are reputable (i.e., there is editorial review).

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  • Do we need a contact page to make this happen? We have our contact information listed in the footer of every page. – leeand00 Aug 22 '14 at 16:49
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    @JVerstry I found an error in your answer- he is talking about counties and not countries. I had to read it twice myself! – closetnoc Aug 22 '14 at 17:56
  • @leeand00 No, in this case you don't need the contact page. – Jérôme Verstrynge Aug 22 '14 at 18:43
  • Don't forget to approve a solution... – Jérôme Verstrynge Aug 25 '14 at 17:12

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