How to Compete Locally in a Competitive City

Written by Nick Stamoulis

If you operate a local business SEO best practice is to target localized keywords for the city that you are located in. So, instead of targeting the extremely broad term, “personal injury lawyer”, you would instead target “Anytown USA personal injury lawyer”. This establishes your location with the search engines and helps you appear for local search terms or in personalized search results that are based on location. But what if you are located in a big, competitive city like New York City, L.A., or Chicago? “New York City personal injury lawyer” is still a competitive keyword. It’s much different than targeting that keyword term in a city of less than 20,000 people.

If you are trying to compete in a large city, it’s important to niche it down even more than just the city. In New York City, for example, there are hundreds of personal injury lawyers. If you’re just getting started with SEO and your competition has been at it for awhile it’s going to take years to achieve a presence for “New York City personal injury lawyer”. That doesn’t mean that you’ll never be found. Instead, you have two additional options to target that are much more focused.

The first thing to include within your content and your meta tags is your zip code since there can be multiple zip codes in a large city or metro area. You can also include your specific neighborhood or street that you are located on. Use the full address in the meta tag description and include the zip code within the title tag. By niching it down like this it will be much easier to compete.

For a local SEO strategy it’s advisable to select only a few locations, or a few nearby cities (for businesses located in a small city). By the same measure, local businesses in a large city should only target a few neighborhoods that are within that area. In a big city, the keywords that you target will be long tail keywords. The search volume might not be extremely high, but if you do a good job at SEO you will appear when someone does conduct a niche local search or when search results are customized based on location.

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