A question I get from many of my clients is, "How do I show up in search engines for different cities in which I do work?" For instance, if your roofing company is located in Medford, New Jersey, but you provide roofing services throughout all of South Jersey, how do you get your website to show up if someone types in, say, "Mount Laurel roofing"?
If it were easy to do, every local company would be doing it!
Your website will most likely appear in search engine results for the city in which your office is physically located since your company address (or at least city) should be on every page of your website. If you want to concentrate on this city, make sure you mention the city in the text on all of your pages, especially the home page. However, you probably don't want to pigeon-hole your company into one particular city. For instance, if you mention "Medford roofing" throughout your website, then Medford (and perhaps some cities bordering on Medford) is the only city in which you will appear. However, if you mention "South Jersey roofing", you're encompassing a much larger area. Although it's more likely that someone living in Medford will search for Medford roofing rather than South Jersey roofing, you'll be more likely to appear if someone does search for South Jersey roofing.
Some of my clients have asked me to list on their website ALL of the cities in which they do work. This is an outdated SEO technique that no longer carries weight. It "could" help to a point, but very little.
The fact is, you're not going to rank at the top of Google for every city in which you do business. Therefore, you should concentrate on 3 to 5 cities, counties, regions or states. The smaller the area, the easier it is to beat out your competition for a higher spot in search engines. If you have physical addresses in these cities or regions, your job will be much easier. If not, it will take some creativity to show up in search engine results for those cities.
Once you've selected your target cities, you'll want to create "landing pages" targeted to each of these cities. Landing pages are additional home pages that are targeted to a particular city or service. Each page will include seo tags and wording specific to that city or service, to help search engines find it. The page should have the same look and feel of the main site, but should not be an exact duplicate (pages with too much duplication will be ignored by search engines). When someone lands on the page, any link they click on (such as the menu at the top of the page) will take them to your regular website, so they won't have any way of knowing they're on a "special" home page for that particular city.
PROMOTING LANDING PAGES
The next step is to promote each of these new landing pages on the various free listing sites such as Google Places, Bing, Manta, etc., exactly the way you did with your main site (this is a very important step in getting your website noticed). The problem, however, with adding your company information to these listings is that almost all of them will require you to enter a physical address and phone number.
The phone number must be different from the one you used for your main site, or the new listing will be considered a duplicate and will not be added. You can get a free phone number through Google Voice and have it forwarded to your main number, or purchase MagicJack, a $40 device that plugs into your computer. You can get these at any Target, Walmart, Radio Shack, etc. Once you register the device, you do not need to keep it plugged in; you can choose a phone number and have the phone number forward to your main number. The cost is around $40 per year.
The address will be trickier. Many of the sites will not verify an address, so although you could technically get away with "making one up", I would not advise this. Google and Bing, however, which are the MOST important listing sites, will attempt to verify that an address is valid by sending a postcard to the address you've entered. The postcard will include a verification code that you will need to enter into your listing account before the listing goes public. If you have close friends and family that live in the city, you could use their address. And unfortunately these sites do not allow P.O. Box addresses. Another option is to get a box at a UPS store in that city. UPS stores offer boxes that look like "physical" addresses. However, they may require proof that your company is legally registered to that address. And if you get a UPS box, you will need to check your mail from time to time.
For more details on how to rank for multiple cities, search for the following on Google: seo multiple cities. Click the "Search tools" link under the search field, and under "Any time" select "Past year". Search engine algorithms are always changing, and techniques that worked years ago may no longer work or, worse, may cause search engines to actually drop you in their rankings!
The following pages have some useful information about how to rank in multiple cities: