Many local contractors will serve a radius of 50-60 miles. Some will go farther if the money is right, and others will serve a smaller radius. Regardless, it’s important to appear in the organic search for these phrases in order to get those jobs.
Location page examples
Before we continue with this article, here’s what’s going to be covered:
- What are location pages?
- Adding locations to Google My Business
- Performing location research
- Optimizing your geo-targeted landing pages
- Adding unique content
- SEO Terminology Basics
- What is Domain Authority
- Should You Pay Per Lead
- How Many Pages Should My Website Have For SEO
Add Locations to Google My Business
Your Google My Business “Service areas” tab under “Info” will be the first thing you need to keep track of when targeting specific areas. This will send a signal to Google that you service these areas, and in return, when property owners search for your service, you will appear much higher.
Keep in mind, that adding too many locations will decrease your credibility. Try to stick within the range of 5-10 service areas.
How do I know which locations to target? Cities, towns, neighborhoods, etc.
Good question! It’s recommended that if you service a city or metropolitan area, you list out specific neighborhoods or regions within that metropolitan area.
In the above example, we were targeting areas around Manchester, NH.
This will highly depend on your competition. For instance, Manchester, NH has a population of just over 100,000 so the competition is not super high. Thus, we decided to target locations surrounding the city. We want homeowners in Bedford, NH to call Manchester NH Roofing and Siding.
However, if you are in a bigger city, 200,000+ then it’s likely there are other people competing for the same types of jobs. As a result, it will benefit your business to list specific neighborhoods within your city or county.
Keep in mind that you will want to build location pages for the service areas you list on Google My Business.
Do Some Basic Competitor Research
The next step towards attracting local clients using SEO is to analyze who already ranks in those specific towns.
Every blog post talks about the importance of “competitor research” but we promise you won’t find what we’re about to tell you anywhere else.
Get the right tools
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Google Chrome or Firefox
- GS Location Toggler
- Google Keyword Planner (or another Keyword tool)
Install “GS Location Toggler” on Google Chrome / FireFox and activate it. This plugin will allow you to change your search location to anywhere you set it. You can enter coordinates or enter specific regions.
Somerville is a neighborhood in Manchester, NH (I used to live not too far from there). Let’s suppose we’d like to receive a few calls for roofing in that area. What we’ll do is set our location to “Somerville Manchester, NH”
This will mask your search intent and show Google that we are searching from Somerville Manchester. From there we can gather a list of 3-5 competitors that are ranking in that area, specifically in Google Maps.
Try this for all the major locations (whether cities, towns, counties or neighborhoods) you want to rank your business to rank for.
Use keyword tools
If you’re targeting bigger locations. For instance, you’re in Brooklyn, NY and want to target Queens, NY (millions of people living in each region), then you’ll want to measure the amount of times particular phrases are searched in those areas (volume).
You can punch in phrases like “roofing brooklyn ny” and “roofing queens ny” to get a clear idea as to how often they are being searched. From there you can determine how much in both time and money should be spent to rank in those areas.
This should only be considered if you’re on a tight budget (time & money), or are dealing with 200,000+ populations. Otherwise just build location pages straight away, as your time will be better spent building content than analyzing every competitor in every location.
Optimize Your Pages
So how do you optimize your page?
Here’s how you do it:
- Setup a clean URL
- Take a street view screenshot from Google Maps (or on your phone if you can travel to that location)
- GeoTag the photo (use fiverr or software)
- Add external links to official city pages (.gov, .org, .edu, etc.)
- Mention 2-3 areas in that city/neighborhood (parks, restaurants, museums, etc.)
- Do the rest of your on-page (title tags, heading tags, etc.)
This presumes you understand the basics of SEO, such as what a title tag is and how to use heading tags properly.
Setup a proper URL structure
Depending on how large your operation is will determine how to structure your URL. However, here’s are a few templates to follow:
Your URL structure should, above all, be coherent and clean. Google is a ROBOT, and although it’s a very smart one, it’s far from perfect. If you can’t understand exactly what the page is about from the URL, chances are Google will struggle as well. So keep it clean!
Talk about the city or neighborhood
Disclaimer: This is a controversial subject, and it’s not always the best course of action, proceed with CAUTION.
If your goal is to rank in the Google Maps section, then talking about the location you’re trying to rank in is a no-brainer. What do we mean by this? Well, you should list locations near your city, and talk a little bit about the city or specific location you’re targeting.
For this, you will want to look up the neighborhood or town you’re targeting, find a Wikipedia page, and summarize it on your location page. We recommend 200-300 words MAX.
The goal isn’t to get users to land exactly on your location page, at least not if you’re hyper-targeting one neighborhood with a small population. Those people will likely just click on your Google Maps listing instead. The goal here is to tell Google “Hey look at me I’m talking about this location and giving outbound links to those pages, that’s why I’m relevant!”
Link to a .gov site if possible or some official site. You may even want to link to a town hall or something along those lines. Next list a few local businesses (you can even call them up and mention that you wrote about them on your page and try to get a backlink out of them!)
Take location relevant photos
If you travel to a specific neighborhood often, or even once and want more business there, take a photo on your phone of a job you’ve done there and upload it to your website. Most mobile phone photos will already come GeoTagged, if not, then consider hiring a GeoTagging service on Fiverr or look into software that can do it for you.
A GeoTagged photo will show you the latitude and longitude of the photo’s origin. If you hire someone else to do it, then make sure to get the lat. and long. for the area you want to rank in. Use this photo on social media and your location page.
Avoid looking like spam
The reason we do all this extra work when in reality you can just copy and paste your location pages and replace the location name is precisely that. If it’s that easy, then it’s just manipulative. When doing gray-hat SEO or controversial tactics, you’re dancing with danger in some cases. So in order to avoid being penalized, you want to feed the beast what it wants–unique content.
If your company has a broad service area, consider adding location pages to your local SEO campaign. This will show both users and Google that you are credible and relevant to that specific location. However, be careful and avoid looking like spam/duplicate content, or your listing and site risk being penalized.
If you have any specific questions, consider contacting the SEO experts at JCSURGE for your contracting business.