If you run a local business and have a website, then you likely have a series of pages for your targeted location(s). You might even have supplemental pages that target cities and towns near your physical location. Done right, this can be a solid strategy to scale your marketing and make local customers aware of your business.
Sadly, these pages are not always crafted with the finest detail. Usually, they’re simply template pages, with only one or two details changed for each location. This can end up causing location greed, where a business targets towns that they might not even be near but still want to get the boost for the towns that they do want to rank for. To quell this, Google has released an update to their doorway pages algorithm, which could catch your business in the crossfire if you’re not careful. Here are some tips to help give you the local boost you need for your landing pages.
Avoid Targeting Multiple Locations
This might seem a little paradoxical, since the goal is to target multiple regions or cities. The trick here is to be picky about which regions and cities you target. Don’t be too aggressive by targeting every town, city, or region within a certain distance to your location, just aim for the ones that you feel are the most important and start there.
Avoid Doorway Pages
A doorway page is a page that only exists to funnel users to the main part of your site, this is a big no-no. These pages are often mostly templated and have very thin optimized content. The landing pages that your visitors come to need to answer their questions. If you are providing a service in a given area, ensure that all the information that a visitor needs is on the landing page.
Avoid Pages That Are Substantially Similar and Aren’t in The Main Navigation
This is pretty straightforward, don’t have some boilerplate style text that just swaps out the location of the business. Additionally, ensure that your landing pages can be easily found from the main navigation. A good way to do this is to add an, “areas covered” tab on your navigation.
So What Does Google Want?
It often seems like Google speaks in riddles and will happily tell us what not to do, but is a little hazy on what to do. Well, where landing/location pages are concerned for local businesses they’ve made a guide. Though all the guidelines are applicable for single and multi-location businesses, some of the instructions are aimed at the latter style of businesses.
In the beginning, the web made attempts to scale simple, machine generated pages would rank pretty well, and you didn’t have to worry about having duplicate pages across your website. Now, to be visible in specific locations, you are going to have to work at it, and work hard. You need to add value and demonstrate that your business is among the best choices for a user in a given location.
As you know, landing pages are your virtual salespeople. It’s the same thing with location pages, make sure they have all the ammunition to sell, and sell big. In doing so, you will see your time investment in the unique content of these pages rewarded whilst you weather the fine algorithmic tuning that is pruning your competitors low quality, cookie-cutter pages.