The Importance of Local SEO
How important is local SEO to an overall digital marketing strategy? Considering that nearly half of all Google searches are inquiring about local information (46%), it seems to be extremely important.
While Amazon has put a severe dent in businesses that deal in consumer goods, they can do very little to fix your dishwasher, change your transmission, or surprise your significant other with a romantic night out on the town…for now.
If you happen to own and operate a brick and mortar business that focuses on serving your local community, this needs to be on your radar. In fact, it needs to be a priority. Because regardless of where you live, the local population is highly interested in learning about what’s happening in their immediate vicinity.
How To Show Up in Local Search for Multiple Locations?
With geo-tracking heavily influencing search results, and the age of mobile-first indexing upon us, the importance of making your business easily findable can’t be overstated. This means investing resources into local SEO tactics.
While there are a number of ways to go about influencing the way your business shows up in the local search results, including having a well-optimized Google My Business Profile, the scope of this article is to address businesses with multiple locations.
Use Local Landing Pages
For businesses that face the challenge of optimizing for multiple locations, we have a suggestion for how to best attract local customers: local landing pages. This is relatively easy to do, but many businesses neglect the low hanging fruit.
Due to a lot of abuse and misuse of this tactic, it has a somewhat tarnished reputation. But I assure you, creating local landing pages for legitimate business locations is a best practice solution with the potential to reward your site with highly qualified organic traffic.
Afterall, what’s more qualified than a potential customer that is motivated to use your services immediately?
Local Landing Pages: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
When implementing any business strategy, SEO or otherwise, it’s best to be transparent in your intentions. Don’t be shady. The point isn’t to manipulate the system to get ahead, it’s to run a successful business that provides value to its customers.
Without further adieu, let’s dig a little deeper into what to do (and what not to do) when creating city-specific landing pages as part of your local SEO strategy.
Creating Local Landing Pages: The Good
- Focus on creating the best and most relevant content you can. Include text, videos, photos, testimonials and any other assets you have that would make for a great landing page.
- Avoid duplicate content. Don’t just clone pages and slap a unique URL on them – be more thoughtful than that. Include unique features and services offered at specific locations.
- Make an attempt to actually serve customers instead of just trying to grab easy rankings.
- Link to the landing page from a high-level menu. Pages that are buried deep in your site’s architecture aren’t crawled as frequently or deemed as relevant by search engines.
- Add a rel=canonical tag that points to the main service page.
- Adding service and location structured data markup to each page. This will help Google (and other search engines) better understand the content on your landing pages. It could also result in featured snippets, which would be grand.
Creating Local Landing Pages: The Bad
- Duplicate content. I get it, writing about the same topic 10 different ways is a bit tedious, but c’mon. It isn’t bloody Shakespeare. Don’t just copy and paste text and call it a day. Keep the focus on being transparent and adding legitimate value.
- Poorly written content. It won’t help and neither will thin content. If you want a page to rank, you have to be thoughtful in what you say and how you say it.
- Don’t just be trying to get easy rankings. Have an actual reason for creating the landing page. If you don’t have a physical location, don’t make a location page. The temporary boost for false rankings won’t last unless the value added is sustainable.
- Burying your landing pages. Pages are far more likely to rank if they are linked to a page in the main nav or another high-level menu.
- Using a fake address. Just don’t.
- Not a using rel=canonical tag that points back to the main service page. This tag can add an additional layer of protection against issues with duplicate content.
Creating Local Landing Pages: The Ugly
Ok, so there’s not really an ugly. I just like to reference Sergio Leone whenever I can. I suppose it could get pretty ugly if you got penalized by Google for using local landing pages in the bad ways mentioned above. As long as you focus on adding legitimate value, location-based landing pages will pay dividends.
Using location-specific landing pages can work wonders for driving qualified organic traffic to your site. If you own or operate a business with multiple locations, you should absolutely take advantage of this effective local SEO tactic.
The main challenge in using location-based landing pages lies in making the pages unique. Don’t just copy and paste – make the content specific to each location. Include photos, videos, and NAP information for that location. Go the extra mile and implement local business and service Schema on each page.
After all of that, just be patient. SEO takes time. Do it right, or don’t do it at all.