Many people who need a particular product or service do a local search instead of a general one. Local searches have the potential to bring in a large, steady stream of customers, so working to get good local search engine rankings for more than one city can be well worth your time and effort. Following are some practical ways in which you can get such rankings without having to resort to underhand tactics.
Target Organic SEO
If you want to get traffic from a particular city, then target this city by creating a website page with city-related keywords. For instance, a children’s educational book company that wants to target Dallas may set up a webpage titled "Children’s educational books Dallas". If you have a blog (and you really should) then put up some relevant blog posts that target the city you want to reach. If your page is properly optimized for the city you are trying to target, chances are you can show up on the first page of Google’s search engine results even if you do not have a physical presence in the city in question.
Target Off-Site SEO
Good off-site SEO can also help you to get good organic Google rankings. Target local industry blogs that are relevant to your industry and leave helpful, informative comments on the blogs, followed by the URL to the page you created for the city in question. If you have positive reviews from customers in the city you are trying to target, try to get these posted on local review sites.
Consider Virtual Office Space
Google regularly demotes sites that attempt to "game" the Google Places system by opening PO boxes in various cities. However, many companies have found that using a virtual address can be a good way to get around Google’s requirements that you have a physical presence in the city in order to label it as a business outlet on Google Places.
If you go this route, you should be prepared to actually use your virtual office space to meet with clients. You do not have to be available all the time; in fact, it is very easy to list the hours that you are open for business when you create the Google Places address page. At the same time, you will also need to realize that this tactic does have its risks, especially if more than one company ends up renting the same virtual office space.
Broaden your Service Area Using the Zip Code Option
If you are only interested in getting good local search results from cities located close to your office, then use the zip code option when you register for Google Places. Submitting a list of zip codes to Google Places broadens your reach and enables you to get better traffic than if you were to use the circle radius.
It is not easy to get good local search engine results for a city that you do not have a physical presence in, but it can be done. Choose your targets wisely, follow the tips outlined above and you will see positive results.