The perennial query persists: How can one secure a higher ranking in a location where physical location is lacking? In simpler terms, how to rank outside your area?

Consider the dilemma faced by businesses pondering this: those rooted in one locale yet aspiring to extend their reach into other regions, along with service-oriented enterprises. Unfortunately, attaining ranking outside one’s immediate vicinity resembles the quest for a unicorn – a fantastical notion more often discussed than realized.

Nevertheless, strategies exist to assist in this endeavor. It’s akin to summoning our mythical unicorn into existence, requiring a dash of innovation. Let’s delve into the intricacies of achieving ranking in areas beyond the confines of physical location.

Is It Possible To Rank Outside Your Area?

Google’s tendency to prioritize local results aligned with the geographical context of a search query makes sense. When conducting local searches, users typically anticipate receiving information pertinent to their nearby area. For instance, if someone searches for “pizza restaurants,” they’re probably interested in options nearby rather than across the city or state.

However, Google’s algorithm sometimes overlooks situations where businesses extend their services beyond their physical location. Consider Service-Area Businesses (SABs), which often need to use their home address for listing purposes despite serving customers across a broader region. Similarly, catering businesses might specialize in providing high-quality desserts for events spanning a significant portion of the state.

Given Google’s emphasis on local relevance, businesses must adapt their strategies accordingly. This may involve recognizing that securing prominent placement in the local pack isn’t always feasible and instead focusing on optimizing for organic search results. It also requires the adoption of innovative approaches to ensure visibility and accessibility to potential customers within and beyond their immediate vicinity.

Local SEO service providers leverage their expertise to help clients rank prominently in search results outside their immediate business areas, expanding their geographic reach.

Identify Your Options: What Can You Do?

  1. Maximize the Potential Of Your Google Business Profile (GBP)

If your business isn’t ranking locally, expecting to rank in a new area is unrealistic. Therefore, optimizing your Google Business Profile and following best practices is crucial. Demonstrating the value of your business to Google is essential for gaining visibility and advancing from there.

  1. SABs

Service Area Businesses (SABs) provide services to customers at their locations rather than from a fixed business address. Like any business aiming for a robust online presence, SABs must optimize their Google Business Profile to reach potential customers effectively. However, optimizing a Google Business Profile for an SAB requires specific considerations differing from brick-and-mortar businesses.

Ensuring that service areas resonate with people is crucial for SABs. It’s akin to finding a song that deeply connects with you—an instant bond. Gone are the days of manually marking service radius on maps; Google’s latest upgrades usher in a new era. With precision, one can pinpoint service areas down to the very streets where their work shines. It’s akin to crafting a narrative on the community map, fostering genuine connections. 

When potential customers see the business in their neighborhood, it’s akin to encountering an old friend. Therefore, businesses should showcase themselves in a manner that genuinely speaks to people’s hearts.

It’s crucial to understand that there are limitations on the number and scope of service areas SABs can define within their Google Business Profile. SABs can designate up to 20 service areas, each within a reasonable driving distance from the business’s base location—typically within a 2-hour drive. This restriction ensures SABs can effectively serve claimed areas without overextending operational capabilities.
While adding service areas may not directly impact search result rankings, it can influence user behavior. Potential customers browsing Google listings may be more inclined to click on an SAB’s listing if the business explicitly states it serves their area. Therefore, accurately defining service areas can help SABs attract and engage potential customers searching for relevant services nearby.

  1. Strengthening Emphasis and Pertinence

Customers often support businesses outside their locality for two main reasons: either they possess a clear understanding of their needs and seek the best available option, or they prioritize convenience due to the accessibility of the business. Regardless of the motivation behind their choice, it is imperative for a business to exhibit high relevance and prominence to both customers and search engine algorithms. This demonstrates competency and renders the business worthy of consideration.

For example, when confronted with a bee infestation, would you opt for a pest control specialist renowned for safe, ethical, and effective bee hive removal or a nearby general pest control company with a limited online presence? Establishing expertise and a proven history of satisfied customers is paramount. This impresses potential clients and boosts visibility on platforms such as Google.

  1. Collect Reviews

Your reputation is a valuable asset in business. Positive chatter about your business boosts its reputation. Think of it as spreading positivity. When customers rave about your business in reviews, it’s akin to cheering you on. Such encouragement can have a remarkable impact. It attracts new customers and enhances your image on platforms like Google.

Engage with your customers and ask for their feedback. Show them that their opinions are valued. This will not only strengthen your reputation but also foster a loyal customer base eager to witness your journey unfold.

  1. Build GEO Pages

City pages, commonly known as geo pages, offer in-depth insights into the regions where your business operates without a physical address. Crafting distinctive values for these pages poses challenges given the absence of a physical location and related elements such as hyperlocal content (e.g., parking details team profiles).

Recognizing the complexities of ranking geo pages is vital. Rather than hastily generating numerous geo pages and expecting some to rank, it’s advisable to adopt a cautious approach. Start by concentrating on a select few, typically 3-5, and evaluate their performance.

  1. Obtain A Genuine Address Here

If you’ve thoroughly analyzed search terms in a specific area and identified an unmet need, and if previous efforts have been unsuccessful, it may be worth considering establishing a physical presence there. While this requires a significant commitment, if you have the data and confidence to support the belief that your business will succeed, the most effective approach to gaining visibility with local customers and search engines like Google is to establish a substantial physical location.

However, it’s important to clarify that a “real address” means a brick-and-mortar office space with dedicated staffing and signage. Unfortunately, a PO box or coworking space isn’t sufficient for many businesses. I will provide further details on this matter shortly.

Also Read: Should I Hire An SEO Company vs In-House SEO Expert: Pros and Cons


The statement draws an analogy between the notion of “unicorns” as symbols of achieving extraordinary feats and the reality of situations. Here, “unicorns” symbolize unconventional methods that seem magically effective initially. However, upon closer examination, they may prove less effective or practical. 

The imagery of a “horse with an ice cream cone on its head” underscores the initial fantastical impression, which later reveals itself to be mundane or nonsensical. Overall, the statement advises against embracing methods that seem too good to be true without thorough evaluation. It advocates for a critical approach to assessing strategies for achieving goals or success.

Myth #1: Boost Your Ranking With Geo Pages

Considering the context, it’s essential to recognize that relying solely on city-specific pages may not be the most effective strategy for plumbers operating in densely populated metropolitan areas with intense competition. While city pages are often promoted as a guaranteed method for achieving broad visibility across different areas, their effectiveness can vary, especially for businesses facing significant competition.

Conversely, for specialized small businesses targeting niche markets, such as a florist specializing in creating city-specific pages could be highly advantageous in gothic-style wedding bouquets in Northern Utah, creating city-specific pages could be highly advantageous. 

By developing dedicated pages for cities like Tremonton, Brigham City, and Logan, and featuring relevant examples of weddings catered to in each area, along with positive client testimonials, there’s a strong argument for Google to consider them for organic search rankings and potential inclusion in local search results.

Myth #2: An Alternative: Utilizing a PO Box

Google prioritizes the reliability and authenticity of information, hence their stringent regulations against utilizing PO boxes or mailboxes from remote locations. This commitment stems from their dedication to offering users the highest quality experience. 

When Google states their awareness of such actions, it signifies their ongoing vigilance in detecting dubious practices and readiness to take action when needed. Therefore, if contemplating the establishment of a Google Business Profile, it is advisable to refrain from employing a PO box to avoid potential penalties or account suspension.

Myth #3: The Shift Towards Virtual Offices

Many companies promoting virtual office spaces may claim legitimacy by citing Google’s approval. However, despite promises of cost-effective market entry, it’s vital to resist the temptation.

Similar caution is warranted regarding coworking spaces. Without evidence of consistent staffing, client engagement, and permanent signage for your business, choosing a coworking space is not recommended.

Tips For Localized Online Visibility

  • Optimize Local Organic Results: Aim for prime positions in local organic search results to enhance visibility across broader regions.
  • Strategic Use of Paid Ads: Use paid ads to extend your audience’s reach beyond local boundaries, particularly if competitors are leveraging them.
  • Assess Competitors and Goals: Gauge industry competitiveness and set achievable objectives for outperforming local rivals in targeted regions.
  • Evaluate ROI: Weigh potential barriers to ranking in new areas against the investment of time, resources, and effort required.
  • Harness Local Listings: Register your business on city-specific online directories to signal relevance to search engines.
  • Develop City-Specific Web Pages: Craft dedicated pages for each targeted city, optimizing content and structure for enhanced relevance.
  • Engage Through Blogging: Share narratives or articles spotlighting your endeavors in various cities to bolster local relevance.
  • Implement Linking Strategies: Interconnect your blog with city-specific pages and link them to pertinent service pages on your site.
  • Incorporate Local References: To bolster presence and relevance, integrate mentions of city happenings, landmarks, or other area-specific details on city pages.
  • Communicate Value Proposition: Emphasize the value of your services to both local communities and neighboring regions.
  • Expand Visibility Through Diverse Channels: Explore organic local results by identifying listings or niche sites with strong rankings for relevant search queries.
  • Invest in Unique Content: Produce compelling, informative content tailored to the needs of your target audience.
  • Understand Competitive Landscape: Assess competition levels to identify opportunities for brand differentiation.
  • Focus on High-Quality Content: Develop superior content to establish authority in your industry.
  • Take Proactive Measures: Consistently provide value to improve your chances of surpassing competing sites.
  • Clearly Define Service Areas: Ensure service areas are distinctly outlined and prominently featured on pages targeted for ranking.
  • Enhance Navigation with City Links: Integrate relevant links to city pages within content to enhance user experience.
  • Prioritize Service Area Visibility: Highlight service area coverage across all pages targeted for ranking.
  • Integrate City Pages Cohesively: Seamlessly embed city pages throughout the website to enhance overall cohesion.
  • Offer Detailed Service Area Information: Furnish comprehensive details about the service area on dedicated service pages.
  • Broaden Geographic Coverage: Consider expanding content scope to encompass a wider geographic region.
  • Maintain Consistency: Refrain from implementing LocalBusiness schema on website pages when targeting audiences beyond immediate service areas.
  • Optimize Website Strategy: Link your website to a general service page rather than one focused solely on a specific city.
  • Evaluate Objectives Thoughtfully: Assess the necessity and benefits of ranking in new areas for your business.
  • Analyze Current Rankings: Study existing rankings in your locality and strategize enhancements based on insights gained.
  • Emphasize Local Optimization: Create location-specific pages and blog posts tailored to the preferences of your local audience.


Expanding your visibility beyond your local area requires strategic utilization of digital tools to enhance your online presence. Consider it akin to composing a recipe with various elements: search engine optimization (SEO), sharing compelling content, engaging with audiences on social media platforms, and ensuring your business appears in local search results. 

These endeavors enable you to connect with a broader audience beyond geographical constraints. Furthermore, it’s not solely about increasing visibility; it’s also about fostering trust and credibility. Remaining abreast of emerging trends and technological advancements facilitates continuous growth and broadening of your reach, regardless of your geographical location.


How important is local SEO for businesses?

Local SEO plays a critical role for businesses aiming to attract customers within their immediate vicinity. It enhances visibility in local searches, facilitating the discovery of your business by potential customers seeking nearby products or services.

Can I achieve higher rankings in search results beyond my physical location?

“Local SEO concentrates on enhancing your online visibility for local searches. However, to improve rankings in broader searches, it’s beneficial to employ general SEO tactics like crafting high-quality content, building links, and implementing technical optimizations.”

What are some general SEO strategies to improve rankings beyond my physical location?

Discovering your online community is akin to finding your tribe. It involves connecting with individuals who resonate with your interests and values. Begin by reaching out to websites or blogs you admire, much like initiating a conversation with a neighbor. Engage in collaborations, exchange stories, and witness the expansion of your online community.

How can I build backlinks to improve my website’s authority and rankings?

You can build backlinks by reaching out to relevant websites and blogs within your industry to request guest posting opportunities or collaborations. Additionally, creating and promoting shareable content on social media can attract natural backlinks from other websites.

Are online directories and review platforms useful for ranking beyond physical locations?

Acquiring backlinks involves engaging with pertinent websites and blogs in your field, seeking guest posting chances or collaborations. Furthermore, generating and promoting shareable content on social media can draw natural backlinks from other sites.

Can I use paid advertising to achieve higher rankings beyond my physical location?

Paid advertising functions as a spotlight for your business, like utilizing Google Ads or social media ads. It’s comparable to hosting and promoting a vibrant party by strategically placing colourful posters. With paid ads, you can shine a light on your business in specific locations where growth is targeted and interact with a broader audience. It resembles extending a welcoming invitation to potential new acquaintances, inviting them to explore what your business has to offer.

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