Transcript For Can You Rank Your GMB in Other Suburbs? – 140;
Jesse Dolan: When it comes to proximity ranking in GMB, it’s more than just typing in that near me or that city. You really have to know on this street corner or two miles down the road, how am I ranking? It’s going to be that granular. Welcome back to Local SEO Tactics, where we bring you tips and tricks to get found online. I’m your host, Jesse Dolan here with Sue Ginsburg. How you doing today Sue?
Sue Ginsburg: Pretty good. Thanks.
Jesse Dolan: So we are going to be talking just you and I here today. About a question. No Bob on this episode, just the two of us. So we’ll take care of it. Where is our question coming out of today? Can you set the stage for us?
Sue Ginsburg: Today we are discussing a question from a listener and client of ours Choice Dental in Brisbane, Australia. Thank you Charlie for the good question. And the question is, can you get in the map pack of GMB for a specific suburbs nearby? Which is a great question and something that I think every business wants to do.
Jesse Dolan: Yeah. Everybody wants that.
Sue Ginsburg: Yeah, that’s right. Quote of the day, anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80, anyone who keeps learning stays young. And that’s Henry Ford who clearly kept learning and learning all through his life. And I liked this quote for our discussion today, because I think it speaks to the fact that you can know what your GMB needs to optimize it yet there are still always layers to unpeel that onion and to know more or to want to accomplish more with your GB, which in this case is ranking for specific suburbs nearby.
So I really love this question. I think it’s a great question and it makes so much sense for businesses interested in dominating their geography around their location. Have you ever thought about where you yourself for the services and products that you buy, whether that’s groceries, target entertainment, oil changes, and such, you can probably draw a circle around your location and see how many neighboring suburbs that includes. For me living in the city.
That may be a fairly small circle and it still includes surrounding suburbs for you, Jesse living in a more rural area. It may be a bigger circle, but it will still include suburbs other than where your home address is. A few years ago, when I moved from the suburbs back into the city at the time Minneapolis, this really struck me because I saw my circle get so much smaller.
My weekend errands consisted of a mile and a half drive to The Y than walking a block to get my shoes fixed or to get my hair. To the Walgreens about a mile away, the Target, maybe a mile and a half. And then back around to the post office in Goodwill, which were maybe another half mile. I literally noticed that I was filling up my gas tank half as much from living in the suburbs, at the time Minnetonka, to when I moved into the city.
The funny thing was that a close friend of mine and I used to joke about how we had a friend who lived in the city, who never wanted to wander outside her little comfortable radius of places to go. And then I moved back into Minneapolis and I became her. 10 minute drive, it seemed so far unless it was for something special, the great dry cleaner, or the seamstress I know I could trust, a great restaurant, of course, great friends.
And the point is we tend to go places that are close to where we live and or work running out on your lunch break or on the way home, unless it is something unique or special. So how do we, as business owners become something unique and special enough for someone to go outside their own neighborhood radius. And how do you get found by people searching from nearby, but not your actual town or city.
You can see how this question impacts every business with the geography and is so important to so many. So when our great client in Brisbane asked this question, I knew he wasn’t the only one who wanted his GMB to accomplish this. Thank you again, Charlie, for the great question, the most important challenge is how do you become unique or special enough for customers to go out of their way for you?
Which is a huge strategy question, which I love helping companies do and have done a lot of in the past. The question for our GMB expert today is how do you get your GMB to rank high in the surrounding suburbs or neighborhoods areas, whatever? So Jesse, if you can drop some knowledge on us, as they say in Hamilton, so we can all be a little smarter and know how to attract customers, not just in our own home town, but the close by neighborhoods as well.
Jesse Dolan: Yeah. I think, there’s something important you said there, Sue, that’s a really good segue is, I mean, it’s one thing to be found outside of your own zone, right? That you take something like a dentist or any other local service where if you’re 1, 2, 3 towns over. Like if I’m here and I want to be found 1, 2, 3, 4 towns over if you’re in an industry in a business and if you’re listening, this is probably you, everybody wants to expand their radius, right? If there’s a lot of businesses between you and your location you want to be found in what makes you special to your point, Sue?
You can get ranked, it’s not going to be easy. And we’ll touch on that here in a second. But what’s the reason that they should drive. That’s something to keep in mind. It’s not necessarily part of your ranking factor, but it will be part of your conversion factor and things like that are going to impact like bounce rate and these other things that are going to be positive signs to Google.
If somebody’s clicking on you and you’re farther away, are they clicking back and then choosing somebody closer. That’s kind of that thing, right? What’s so special about you? How do you incorporate that into your website, into your messaging? How do you get that on the front side so that not only can you be found, but you can be attracted to them, they will call you patronize you.
And that’s going to lead into one of the things I’m going to talk about a little bit later, but is using things like the driving directions within Google to show that people are willing to travel to you from their location. So, we’ll get into some of the technical how-tos. Is it possible? Things like that again, but have this overarching thing behind you. It’s not just enough to rank. You’re going to want to make sure that you’re attractive and find the thing that makes you special.
What’s your value add? Okay. So yes is possible, but it is hard and rural has historically made it harder, particularly within the GMBs proximity is a big thing. People are doing searches like near me, or just not even putting in any kind of location or city. And then you can also just do a search again for dental Minneapolis, dentist Minneapolis, things like that. You can call out the city in your search.
It’s a lot of different ways you can be found in the search. Both all of these location based searches. Google has really been taking your location that you as the searcher are in and your proximity to the results as a big factor. Again, more so recently over the last years than it had historically. So some people want that reach and that scope because they had it before and they want it back again.
And just assume it’s as easy as it was before some people, if you have a new business or you’re just getting into this, you want to get found outside of your own backyard. Either of those cases here, we’re going to walk through some of the things before you worry about that ranking. One thing I definitely would recommend is to use some kind of a tool. We prefer Bright Local.
We’ll put a link to Bright Local in the show notes here, Local SEO Tactics, check out this episode. It is an affiliate link to be clear, if you click on it and then sign up for Bright Local, we’re going to get a couple bucks each month off subscription. You’re not going to pay anymore. There’s no charge, right? So it’s like if you’re going to use Bright Local might as well use our link. Give us a little kickback here.
But if you’re not going to use Bright Local, do a search. There’s other products out there as well. We just like the Bright Local suite. And the thing I’m talking about here is a geogrid. So instead of relying on your… This is the track you’re ranking. To be clear here, Sue, so we’re going to talk about some things to do to try to increase your ranking in those other locations.
How are you going to know if it’s working or not having a tool like this Bright Local geo grid is going to tell you. So right now you could sit at your computer and you could do a Google search for dentist Minneapolis and dentist St. Paul, which is a town next to Minneapolis here, twin cities and check your ranking yourself. That’s good, but it doesn’t give you the real detail that we need to check the analytics going forward for our SEO efforts.
You’re going to want a tool like Bright Local. That’s going to give you this map overlay. It’s going to look from the top down and you’re going to have a grid of maybe it’s nine wide by nine tall pin drops, nodes locations, points that are going to show. If the user was standing on that point and did a search for dentist, dentist near me, dentist Minneapolis, whatever keywords you want to track, going to tell you, how are you showing up?
Because one of the things we want to uncover here is like I said, if there’s, multiple competitors between you and this town proximity wise, how are they ranking? Where are they showing up and using a geogrid tool like this for your ranking is going to show you not only where you are and are not ranking, but who are those dominant competitors. You might have somebody up in that Northwest corner of this area that you’re trying to rank for that’s dominant.
But somebody off to the east, maybe that’s not so dominant. So a little bit of competitor research here is really going to help you understand what you’re up against and just like everything else. Google’s going to show us what they want to see in plain site. So if you can identify your dominant competition in these areas, you can look at what they’re doing versus what you’re doing.
If they’re doing things you are not, you’re going to want to do some of those things just to be simplistic. So first things first, get yourself set up on some kind of grid tracking. So you’re not just relying on your own Google searching because when it comes to proximity ranking in GMB, it’s more than just typing in that near me or that city. You really have to know on this street corner or two miles down the road, how am I ranking? It’s going to be that, that granular and that finite. So get set up on that.
The next thing you’re going to want to do is kind of gauge how difficult this is going to be with another method. And that is go ahead and do the thing I talked about type in dentist, Minneapolis. And you’re going to see a triangle on the map. So you’re going to see the map pack.
You’re going to see the three results google’s going to show you that are the GMBs and those are going to be represented on a map. You’re not going to see necessarily an actual triangle drawn, but there’s going to be three business locations that are shown on that map. See where they are. Google, if you type in again, dentist Minneapolis, Google kind of knows where it wants to have those results in Minneapolis. Now, there’s some exceptions if somebody has a crazy amount of authority and exposure and everything else, they may really skew this and be outside of Minneapolis, but shown.
But generally speaking on most searches for the GMB, those three locations that are going to show up, you can get an idea of what Google considers the epicenter for Minneapolis. Now, if your business is in or very near to where this triangle forms, you’re going to have a good shot at ranking in that area. The farther away from that triangle you are the more difficult it’s going to be for you, because again, Google’s associating with your search term and that geographic reference you gave as people within this area. Just a handy little trick for you to get an idea of what you’re up against here.
So if you’re in that zone, good, then you’re going to do some of these things that we’re talking about here. And hopefully without a ton of effort, you’re going to get there. If you’re outside of that zone, it’s going to be a little more tricky and there is no guarantee this will even work for you. Or it may take a long time.
Number one thing for everybody, if you want to be ranking in a different town, again, that’s down the way a few towns down from where your physical location is the number one thing you can do to get ranking in that area is to open up a new location, right? So this is a little bit of a kitschy answer. It’s not modifying or doing SEO at your current GMB. What we’re talking about is setting up a second GMB depending on how valuable it would be for you to be in that location and obtain business in that sector, think about what it might cost for you to get that address.
Now, there’s definitely a lot of black cat ways you can do this. You can talk to your aunts and your uncles and your sisters, brothers, friends, whatever use somebody’s address and pop up a GMB. That’s going to be on you that may work for the short term. Maybe it’ll work for the long term, but depending on how competitive your industry is, that’s not a viable solution for the long haul.
What I’m talking about specifically is, is there some cheap space that you can rent. Can you actually open up a second location? Even if it’s a shell location to begin with that maybe you grow into later, or you just have somebody there and are pushing people to your other location, who knows? But sometimes in some towns you can, like we always say, we joke, rent a broom closet for 300 bucks a month if it gets you an address.
Whatever it takes, if you can have a physical address there where you can receive that postcard in the mail and verify a GMB location, see what that would take, see if it would be worth it. Now, you’re having two GMBs instead of one, it really changes everything that you can do. And your odds of ranking in that area are dramatically increased.
Especially, if this address we’re talking about can be within that triangle zone that I was mentioned in earlier. All right, that’s not going to apply for everybody, but I want to mention it if that’s within your means and within your scope, opening a second location like that, even if it’s a shell, it’s going to be a very good option for you.
Sue Ginsburg: Jesse, I have a question about that. So if you get another location that’s inside that triangle, will it help both your GMBs show up for a search that’s closer to your shell address or will it just-
Jesse Dolan: Because your energy is going to be focused on that new location for that city, for that town in general, it’s going to be good for your brand and for your website, which is connected to your GMB. Because now you’re a multi-location business if you weren’t before. But we should put an asterisk here, if you’re a quarter mile away, you don’t want to be too close.
This is for something I said, like a couple towns over a suburb or two over. We’re talking miles in between each other. Because if both of your businesses are too close and they literally are overlapping for their service area or for their reach, then Google’s only going to pick one of those. And you’re going to cannibalize yourself. So, that may not be suing the budget for everybody or even make sense for everybody.
But if it does and you’re listening and if you need help gauging that too, like we always say, we’re not just here on the podcast. We do this for a business. We have an agency that does this. You can reach out to us. We can help you navigate this, even do some of the heavy lifting for you as well. But that’s an option out there. If you can flex it, you’re going to be happy that you did. Yeah.
So now let’s just go forward saying you’re just still focusing on your one location and how do we increase that proximity into these other towns, content going to start with content on your website. You’re going to want to create landing pages that are targeting these other areas. You basically have to make sure that your website can be relevant, and depending on your timeline and how you attack this, if you can gain ranking on your website and the natural listings in the natural SERP, not in the GMB for these towns, then you’re off to a great start.
So you’re going to want to put content on your website that talks about the services and the geographic locations you want to be found for, all best practices should apply. And how you do that content and set it up in the architecture on your website. Next you’re going to want to create content on your GMB talking about those same things, linking to those pages that you created. Connect your GMB, the products, the services, the locations, back to your website saying some of the same things.
And again, maybe creating some posts linking to those location pages within those posts, things like that. Another cool that you can do, or a tactic you can use is we mentioned that earlier, the driving directions. So Sue, if you’re a client of a dentist and you’re coming from those couple towns over and somehow this can be identified. If you can use your phone, use the Google maps app and your phone for the navigation, for the driving directions.
If you can get from your location a couple times over physically to that dentist office, using the Google driving directions app, navigation app, that’s sending clear your signals to Google that people from this spot will travel to that dentist. And if that can happen in general, for people coming to that dentist or any business, whatever you do, that’s going to send some clear real world user generated signals to Google that you do reach these areas.
Now, how do you pull that off? That’s kind of tricky maybe on your location pages or your emails you’re sending out to clients. However it is, if you can give them the option to click here for driving directions and not just the address, because if you’re using an iPhone, it’s going to default to Apple Maps as your navigation, right?
So you want to explicitly have people use Google driving directions, but that’s going to be a great again, real world signal that’s just hard to spoof. And Google’s going to give that a lot of credit. Another user generated signal that we can do is if people are leaving reviews on your GMB, if they can mention the location and give those keywords. The name of the cities in the review, I live in St. Paul, but I will always travel to ABC Dentist to get my teeth work done, whatever it is, things like that. Mention the products, the services, the location.
So basically anywhere you can put content on your GMB to start working in references for these cities, you want to be in, if that’s content you are inputting or if that’s content that users are inputting by of reviews and things like that is definitely be good as well. If you’re a service area, business or a hybrid GMB, meaning you do have a storefront and a service area, of course, you’re going to want to make sure you add these cities, towns and location to your service area.
You’re defining Google where you want to be found where you service. So definitely something you’re going to want to take advantage of for that. And then, so those are all things you can do that are revolving around the content, talking about the geographic location. The other thing that you’re going to want to do is make sure you become authoritative. The bigger your brand can be the more of an expert you can be like your EAT, your EAT signals, expertise, authoritativeness and trust. I think, if I said it right.
Sue Ginsburg: Trustworthiness.
Jesse Dolan: Trustworthiness, thank you. The more of those kinds of things that you can exude and put out for your brand, the more of that you can do, Google will override the proximity part of its algorithm and give you exposure because you are so authoritative. We see that all the time. If you’re looking at your geogrid or just doing some manual searches to see who’s popping up on GMB, if you’re noticing that there’s a big brand in town that keeps showing up, even though they’re far away and you’re like, “That’s what I want to be. That for me.”
Part of their recipe is their authoritativeness, their expertise. And that’s getting into a lot of other SEO things. Off page SEO, citations, business listings mentions, back links. Just all the other things that you can do to get your brand out there. Being active on social media or people sharing you anything Google can see.
Things that affect your EAT. You’re going to want to make sure you’re pumping that at flywheel as well because that’s really going to help move the needle. That’s a long play. That’s nothing that’s going to happen super quick, but things that are going to be important, probably the only other thing would be again, just utilizing all the features in your GMB, like the questions and answer part as a business owner or the manager of the GMB. You can seed or plant questions.
You can be like, “Hey, do you service clients from ABC city?” Yes, we do. Just another way to find to mention that city and do things like that. So not impossible to do Sue, to reach different zones with your existing GMB, but definitely a challenge and more specifically so the more competition you have in and around you, people vying for that same position, that’s going to be even more difficult.
And that also plays into Google knows there’s a lot of dentists around, so that proximity part becomes more of a factor. And then you’re going to have more of that expertise and authoritativeness as a factor on your end to overcome that. So tricky thing to do, but definitely the unicorn thing everybody’s looking for. How do I just dominate my entire metro area, even though I’m in a suburb? Not impossible, but it’s going to take doing a lot of these things that we talked about in a lot of hard work.
Sue Ginsburg: A little bit of a broader marketing question is one thing that you can do to help make this happen. Talk about your specialty or your niche. Maybe you’re a pediatric dentist, or maybe you are a Pain Free dentist or whatever it is, will that help you at least on those specific searches.
Jesse Dolan: Yeah, absolutely. Trying to reference that earlier, talking about like, develop content, talking about the products and services and your location that you’re trying to target. That’s exactly what we’re talking about right there Sue. It’s not saying, “Hey, I’m a dentist and I service this area or client’s coming to me from this area.” But again, nicheing down what are the products and services? Not just the one thing, the more long tail you can get, the more niche you can get on those. If you have maybe five dentists in your area and just for simplicity’s sake. So they’re all targeting just dentists, but not pediatric, like you’re saying.
If you’re the only one that starts to get ranked for pediatric, then you’re definitely going to say in a much better shot in increasing your scope because all these other dentists aren’t marketing for pediatric. Now, you become the pediatric dentist for the area and are popping in the mat pack. So yeah. Great clarification and definitely will help. Like we always say the riches are in the niches. So get in there and be specialized.
Sue Ginsburg: Can you also say the reaches are in the niches or not really?
Jesse Dolan: Don’t do that. Don’t do that come on.
Sue Ginsburg: I take that back. Another thing that I want to mention, and maybe you can clarify is for all our listeners who are business owners, not trying to do their own SEO, we have the enterprise subscription to Bright Local. So when you work with us, we look at track, evaluate, analyze the local search grid and incorporate that into the tactics that we do to help you rank and dominate your geography and surrounding geography. And we’ll share those metrics with you if you want to see them, or if not know that we have them and we utilize them every day, every week to make the right actions so that you can dominate your area.
Jesse Dolan: Yeah. I think, that’s worth expanding onto, we’ve talked maybe about different parallels, but just like as a somebody doing construction, and they pull up in their truck. If you hire a contractor, they’ve got the pro-grade tools and equipment to get the job done faster, better, everything like that. Same is true with SEO.
We as an agency and any other agency that’s worth their salt is going to have all these tools like you’re saying, Sue, they’re going to have not just the subscriptions or the SaaS or the tools they’re going to have the pro grade versions, the agency level, the enterprise levels that are going to unlock a lot of abilities and things. Whether it be for analytics and reporting like you’re talking or for things to actually impact the SEO, the content writing the optimizations. That is what you get when you’re hiring an expert is the knowledge base, the talent to the team and the tool suite that they have to get the job done. So, yeah. Great point.
Sue Ginsburg: That’s great. Really good. And again, I think there are very few businesses that don’t want to rank high for are not just their own literal address, but for the areas around. So I think that this question will resonate far and wide-
Jesse Dolan: Agreed.
Sue Ginsburg: With a lot of business owners. So, okay. If you remember one thing and one thing only remember this, there are things you can do to get your GMB to rank high in more than just your own city town or suburb. And in the surrounding areas, a successful GMB is part art and part science and knowing how to do this is what makes the experts who work on this at every day, all day experts at what they do.
Jesse Dolan: Yep. Great points.
Sue Ginsburg: Quote of the day, anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80, anyone who keeps learning stays young. Thank you Henry Ford. And thank you Jesse, for everything that you just shared and helped us all understand a little better.
Jesse Dolan: No, I hope some people out there that were wondering the same thing, which is probably most people with a GMB, shed some light on that for you. If you’re listening, if you have a question on this, to expand on the topic, maybe dive deeper into an element we’ve talked about there. Or if you just have a question you’ve been sitting on for a while, we’d love to hear it and help answer it for everybody else. Go on out to local seotactics.com, scroll down to the bottom, click the button to submit a question. You can send it in, just type it in. Or if you want to call it in, we’d love to play your voice and the message right on the show here.
And if you do do that, we’ll send you off a free T-shirt as well. And you can just help everybody, right? We all know we’ve got questions about SEO. So if you’ve been sitting on it for a while, get it out there, we’ve got a lot of them that have started to roll in here in the last couple months, and we’re going to get to them all and appreciate everybody submitting. And everybody else love to hear from you. All right, Sue.
Sue Ginsburg: Good question. That’s right.
Jesse Dolan: Indeed. Any other closing thoughts or comments Sue, or is that wrapping up you think?
Sue Ginsburg: Keep those questions coming.
Jesse Dolan: Right on. All right, everybody. Thanks. We’ll catch you on the next episode, take care.
Sue Ginsburg: Good bye.