Many small business owners are looking for ways to improve their visibility online and rank for locations that they service or those which are in close proximity to their physical location. This is important, especially if you are in a small town near a large city and you would like to tap into the customer base for that larger city.
Here are some frequently asked questions regarding on-site search engine optimization that will give you a good idea of where to start when optimizing your business website for more than one location.
When optimizing a web page, what elements should I focus on?
First things first—be sure to do adequate keyword research and use the city with your keywords. Once you have your keyword list, focus on infusing these keywords into your title, headers, meta description, and paragraph text, especially in the first paragraph. You can also add location-relevant testimonials, a map, directions, and other elements.
How can I target nearby areas on my website?
Whether you are a brick-and-mortar store, like a doughnut shop, or a service area business (SAB) such as a mobile dog groomer, you will want to create unique city-specific landing pages on your website with relevant, location-based keywords for each location page. Your location pages should link to your navigation or from other pages on your website so they are easier for search engines to find. For example, maybe you mention the cities you serve on your ABOUT page and link the pages you have created and keyword optimized to the city name on the ABOUT page. Many companies choose to have a CITIES WE SERVE page in their main navigation which lists the cities served, with links to each specific city page there. The footer is another convenient place to add these links.
In most cases, we recommend focusing on only 3-5 target areas, especially if you are not a service area business, because the more locations you add, the more you dilute the importance of each location page.
Can I just copy page content for a service or product I already have and switch out the keywords to target different locations?
Only if you want to get penalized by search engines. Termed “duplicate content,” chunks of content that are the same on different pages of a website will cause Google and other search engines to determine that your site is spammy or less valuable to users, and it will cause your standings in search engine results pages to plummet.
To avoid this, each page of content you write should be completely unique. Also, use variety in your keywords, because using the same keyword too many times on one page is considered “keyword stuffing,” which is also frowned upon by search engines. Shoot for around 300 words or more on your content pages—the more the better as long as it isn’t fluff or filler text. We don’t want to annoy the user in an effort to please search engines.
Will a blog really bring more traffic to my website?
Yes, if done properly. In order for your blog to bring in steady traffic, you have to update it frequently with content that is relevant and engaging to your prospective and current customer base. Blog posts should be at least three hundred words and should be optimized just like any other web page on your site. Check out our post, 10 Blogging Tips From the Experts: Get the Most Benefit from Your Blog Posts, for great blogging tips from top influencers.
If you are looking for a way to add more location related content to your website and it doesn’t make sense for you to add multiple city landing pages, blog posts are a great opportunity to talk about various areas you serve.
Is on-site linking really that important?
Yes. The more links you have going to a page, the more important that page looks to search engines. That includes links from other pages on your website as well as external links from directories and other sources.
Hopefully this gives you a good overview of the steps you can take to optimize your business website to attract attention from surrounding areas. Stay tuned to our blog for off-site optimization tips for your small business.
Do you need help optimizing your website or performing off-site optimization to improve your standing in search engine results pages? Get in touch with us. We specialize in search engine optimization for small businesses in the Boston area and nationwide. Get a free quote/more information today!