19 Dec 2012

Can Relocation Enhance Google Search Rankings?

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Local Google rankings have created an online battleground for businesses and professionals. In large metro areas like Salt Lake City, search engine optimization can be a deal-breaker in increasing your company’s exposure.

Unfortunately, though, all of the top-ranking businesses are focusing on this. They pursue aggressive online promotions, hire SEO companies now proliferating in Utah and elsewhere, and engage intensely in fighting for every point they can muster. As the algorithms change, and as Google’s data sources compile new information, all of this effort may only allow your business to hold its ground.

Google Local Ranking

Why Might Relocating Work?

Some companies are turning to relocation as a potential solution. Running a local search in Google tends to turn up many businesses in the same part of a city. In the past, this was due to the fact that Google ranked businesses higher for being closer to the geographical center of a city.

Now, however, while being located within city limits still provides a boost, Google also assesses the relative popularity of a location. If a neighborhood has several businesses in the same line of work, each of those businesses gets a search rankings boost from its competitors.

Local rankings also factor in the proximity of the searcher. All things being equal, your business will rank higher for being closer to the person who is conducting the search. While this might seem absurd for the large, multinational corporation seeking to build an online sales force, it makes sense for a local business, where the location of potential customers is key.

Why It Might Not Work

Remember, location is just one among thousands of factors in Google’s local search rankings. Before taking the drastic step of relocating, consider where you are and what else you can do. If you are a relatively new business without an established online presence, you might want to choose a location that provides some initial advantage. Take some time to consider search engine marketing and how your location can help enhance your beginning position.

On the other hand, there are pitfalls. An established company has an advantage in Google’s rankings, and coming in with a “me too” online identity will likely not take you far. Plus, moving in next to your toughest competition requires a powerful business model, both in online marketing and actual delivery of your product or service, to even stay afloat, much less succeed.

The problems for the established company are different, but still significant. When you relocate, that means essentially starting over online: you’ll have to visit your profile and make changes at each listing site, update your website to direct customers to you, and work to prevent losing current customers as you garner new ones.

Hiring a strong SEO company in Salt Lake City may smooth out some steps in the process, but inevitably some difficulties will emerge. Google may not link online reviews from your old location with your business after you move, and many aspects of its ranking algorithms may result in penalties.

In short, relocating to a “popular” area may help with one aspect of your ranking, but it’s not a quick fix for a faltering Google Local position. Focus on optimizing your site, pushing online promotions, and encouraging positive online reviews. Only after maximizing your current position should you consider relocating for the sake of local rankings.

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