Writing Local Pages- The Definitive Guide
Local pages are an effective medium for marketing your business through the World Wide Web. With local pages, you can promote your brand, services and products, bringing them to the attention of people within your locality at the exact time they are looking for them.Local pages and local SEO work hand in hand with the help of a variety of tactics such as; online reviews, high page ranking on search engines like Google, and being in business directories such as Yelp, Bing Places for Business, Yellowbook, Google My Business, and so on.
You’d be surprised at the millions of customers that run local searches every day with the hopes of finding the best businesses and service providers in their locality to satisfy their needs. If you are one of these businesses, you can increase your chances of being found and visited by potential customers within your area with the help of local pages.
With local pages, you can optimise your website to rank better and target your local potential customers. Even if your target customers are in the vicinity or outskirts of your locality, local pages can still help get their attention and drive them towards your business. With effectively-written local pages that are optimised for searches in your area, your potential customers will have an easier time finding your physical business premises and patronising your services.
What is local SEO?
We can’t delve into local pages without first having a clear understanding of what local SEO is. If you run a local business, such as having people visit your offices regularly for services, or run a shop, you need to optimise your website so that people will be able to easily find your real world address. That is, instead of focusing on just being easily found online, local SEO makes it easier for your business to also be found offline.
Generally, optimising for local SEO is easier if your business actually has a physically traceable address and an actual office. But, even if you have a physical office, you can’t optimise your website for local SEO without the right types of content. This is where local pages come in handy. That is, your primary tool for boosting local SEO is your content. This involves you writing a lot about your area and mentioning your area in your content.
By taking such an approach to creating content, you can drive more traffic to your website as well as physical traffic to your local business. There have even been cases of people seeing a significant rise in local traffic simply because they mentioned some neighbouring towns in their content. However, you can do better when it comes to local search engine optimisation.
Local SEO ranking factors
To get the best results from your local pages, you need to first understand what local SEO ranking factors search engines, such as Google, use. By understanding these factors, you will have a better idea of what is required to successfully optimise for ranking in local search results.
Below are ranking factors relevant for local pages’ optimisation:
- Your website’s Click-Through Rate (CTR) from search results.
- The city and state mentioned in your landing page title. This is an easy tactic for optimising local content.
- Keyword relevance of your domain content. Making your whole domain relevant for the particular keywords you are targeting can be tricky. This is especially true if you have multiple business locations that also have separate pages. Nonetheless, you can still have your whole domain relevant for your specific service keywords by mentioning your locations in your service pages, or at least have a link on all service pages that lead to your “our locations” pages.
- City, region in local page H1/H2 tags. Mentioning city and region in your local page header tags will only help with relevancy.
- Landing page URL page authority. All your pages will inherit some authority from your site. You can further boost authority through direct link-building to this page.
- Quality and authority of inbound links to landing page URL. Local links should lead to your landing page. But this is easier if your landing pages are of sufficient quality.
- Having product or service keywords added in the title of landing pages. It’s important that the page titles contain the main keywords/terms you’d like to rank for.
- HTML NAP (name, address and phone number) matching location NAP. For Google to trust your address, it’s vital that your NAP is absolutely the same for both locations.
- Quick-loading landing pages. Slow loading pages can result in a drop in your ranking. So, ensure your pages aren’t cluttered and are optimised for speed on mobile phones or poor internet connections.
- Domain content’s city/neighbourhood keyword relevance. Draw a connection between your service pages and location pages by consistently mentioning your main locations in both.
Which of these factors will be most relevant in your mission to boost your local SEO will depend on the nature of your specific project. But the more factors you satisfy, the higher your chances of getting the best possible desired results from your local pages.
5 Important Rules for Writing Local Content
Now that you have an understanding of local content, here’s how to ensure you generate effective local pages:
The case for local content
Local pages have a variety of benefits for a business, ranging from increasing chances of sales and success in the business’ target market, to boosting the image and brand of a business. Also, since there are more local and mobile searches occurring nowadays, quality local content will help build a connection and relationship with customers (potential and active) in your locality by providing them answers to questions and assisting them with locating services.
This means that businesses that deliver quality local pages are successfully satisfying customer needs and keeping themselves at the forefront of the minds of their potential customers. This increases the trust that not just customers, but also search engines such as Google, have in the business in question. Increased trust equals increased ranking in local SERPs.
How to Write Content for Local Pages
If improperly used, local pages can result in duplicate content and even search engine penalties. But. if properly utilised, local pages can help effectively boost conversion and leads, as well as attract more foot traffic to your physical business location.
Below are three simple guidelines to create effective local pages:
Targeting Your Audience
In an attempt to target your audience, you might consider creating local pages that target different geographical locations and customers within them. This might not necessarily be the most effective way to proceed with creating targeted local pages.
Instead, target cities or regions that have, over time, proven to deliver the most customers and value to your business. But, it is important to verify that there is a market for you in the targeted region. If there is a market, you can begin developing local pages that will help you build meaningful relationships with the potential customers in the targeted area.
Avoid targeting too many regions, as this will lead to you likely duplicating content across your website while only switching out the locations you are writing for. Even if you don’t copy and paste, it will only result in the tedious task of your local pages writer having to say the same thing a thousand times in a thousand different ways. Avoid this, and instead be strategic in choosing which local pages you want to build out for which communities.
Define Your Local Page’s Purpose
It is important that you create a positive and lasting first impression for visitors coming to your local pages for the first time. This means that the content of your local pages needs to actually be helpful. So, your local pages should showcase what it is your visitors need, or are at least interested in, and how your brand or products can help fulfil said needs. Your local pages should offer value to your visitors in the form of useful and well put together information. You can also add local statistics to your content to prove how effective and relevant what you have to say is to the plight of your local audience.
Also, avoid creating keyword-stuffed content that is difficult to read and not in the least bit engaging. If your local pages are unattractive or not useful to your visitors, you will have a high bounce rate and search engines will take this into consideration in reducing the rank of your website in search engine results.
Writing Unique and User-Focused Content
Duplicate content is something both Google and visitors equally despise. If you think you are being clever by simply switching out the name of the state or city on each page, Google will not be fooled by your gimmick. So, instead of duplicating content, you should look to create pages of useful content that your visitors will actually find beneficial.
In order to accomplish this, you should build your local pages by taking into consideration the unique attributes of the location you are writing for and the people who live there that you are targeting. You can get the information you need by asking the following questions:
- What do the locals find most appealing about the area?
- What is the locality best known for?
- What is it your business has to offer the area to benefit the locals?
- How your business involved in the community and what is its relationship with the community like?
- What makes your products/services ideal for the locals you’re targeting?
- Why should the locals choose your services over that of other competing businesses?
Use your local content to your advantage to appeal to your visitors on a personal and deeper level. Also, develop the reputation and credibility of your business by listing popular figures in the area, or provide customer testimonials or reviews from the area that show the quality and competence of your services. Mentions in popular local publications may also be useful.
Best Local Page Writing Tools
Below are some of the best tools available for creating effective local pages. Some of the tools listed below can be used for free, while others charge a fee.
Local Link Building Strategies
The written content of your local pages is important, but the links inserted them will also boost their quality and effectiveness, not to mention page ranking. Some of the best locally-relevant links include charities or schools that you’ve sponsored or volunteered with, groups you have hosted at your physical location, complementary businesses, and interviews or guest columns in local publications like newspapers.
Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can earn/build powerful links for your local pages. Below are some effective strategies for acquiring links to boost your local pages.
- Develop a local resource from public data and contact the local press for coverage. You can get great results from this strategy.
- To get quoted in local publications, sign up for press request services.
- Have a local event or meet up and create links from the local event page.
- Run an Ask Me Anything (AMA) on Reddit in a subreddit relevant to your niche, or other relevant platform.
- In exchange for a linked mention on their website, give local organisations a discount for your products/services.
- Arrange for columns and interviews in relevant online publications.
- Start a local award or participate in one.
- Capitalise on any new competitive links and opportunities that your competitors have gained.
- Visit Meetup.com and look for upcoming local events relevant to your business niche. Identify the events that have websites and contact them concerning sponsorship. If they agree to your sponsorship, this can earn you a link from their website as well as on their Meetup.com page, which will make for a highly authoritative local link.
- Give scholarships or offer jobs to local students. This can get you links from local universities and from career pages.
Local SEO Mistakes to Avoid
Local pages can be a great boost for local SEO and even your overall SEO. But, for best results, you need to make sure you avoid these common local content mistakes.
Local Keyword Stuffing
Attempting to manipulate search results by simply adding a city or zip code to your header or footer may work sometimes to boost your rank in local searches. But it’s not the best tactic and Google doesn’t appreciate it. So, instead of just stuffing location keywords all through your local content, actually create useful content that your visitors can appreciate and use.
Using non-physical addresses to set up your Google My Business pages may work short-term. But, eventually, Google will discover your ruse and you will be penalised. It is important that you use an active physical location, not a P.O. Box or virtual office, or non-existent address. If you continue with such practices, you will eventually be swept up in a Google clean-up of false business listings.
Forgetting To Optimise Off-Site Local Signals
If you fail to claim and fully optimise your GMB page, as well as ensure your citations are consistent, your content may not be considered as a locally-relevant site.
Inaccurate and Inconsistent NAP Information
The NAP (name, address, and phone number) of your business needs to be the same everywhere it is mentioned online, including on your website, GMB, and other directories. Inconsistent NAP can result in doubts concerning your authenticity from Google and your potential customers. Also, don’t neglect to update your NAP whenever it changes. The NAP should also be prominently displayed on your website.
Not Getting Local Reviews
The quantity and quality of your local online reviews will also impact your local business. So, be sure to encourage your customers to share their experiences with your brand and product. The reviews will be used by search engines as signals to determine your local search rank.
Lack of Locally-Relevant Content
Search engines love fresh content being regularly published. However, fresh content is pointless if it isn’t relevant. Thus, do your keyword research to develop relevant content frequently so that your website can grow to be considered as active and authoritative in the local market you are targeting.
The importance of Google my Business
When it comes to local SEO, Google My Business is something you can’t afford to ignore. This is why you need to claim and optimise your Google My Business (GMB) page.
The important thing to know about setting up your GMB page and optimising it is you need to add the following:
- Display real reviews from your customers
- Have a unique and long description. It should be correctly formatted and have links inserted
- List a local phone number for your business
- Add as many pictures of your business as you can
- Choose correct categories for your business
- List your business address. The address should be consistent with what’s stated in local directories and your website. All address listings should be written exactly the same
- Add a high-resolution cover photo and profile image
- Mention your opening days and times
Any business with a genuine physical address and office can list itself on Google My Business. If you have multiple business locations, each location can be listed differently on GMB, but be sure to indicate distinct details such as address and phone numbers.
Service area businesses, that is, businesses that don’t have a brick-and-mortar location and instead attend to customers in particular areas are also eligible for listing on GMB. Examples of service area businesses include courier services, plumbers, landscapers, and so on. If this is your type of business, when Google asks if you deliver your services to customers at their location, click “Yes”.
Optimising for Google My Business
Getting listed on Google My Business to boost your local SEO is just the first step. You also need to optimise your listing by verifying your location.
To protect its users, Google goes the extra mile to ensure only legitimate businesses can list and stay listed on GMB. If you try to claim a Listing, you will have to verify your association with that business listing. To claim a listing, run a desktop search on Google for your business name. When the results appear, the business will be displayed on a right-hand side panel with a link asking, “Own this business?” Before you initiate the verification process by clicking that link, ensure that you aren’t signed in to Google personally. If your business account is signed in, that’s okay as it will make it much easier to share your listing’s access with employees of your company.
After filling out the basic information, Google will try to verify your address and phone number. If this is successful, Google will call to ask you to insert a PIN number on screen. If there is no GMB listed business using your business name, phone number and address, a postcard will be mailed to you within a week including details of how to verify your PIN.
Primary Business Information
Below is the primary business information Google will ask for when you try to claim a listing:
Name, Address and Phone (NAP)
Your NAP will be your basic online thumbprint. Accuracy is important because if your NAP in real life is even a little different from what you list on GMB, Google, as well as your customers, may become suspicious and this will negatively affect your business. To avoid this occurring, use the following tips:
The category field is important to ranking so it’s important you optimise this attribute on Google My Business. Google can detect category information from mentions about your business throughout the web. It can also get the information from your website. But, it is best to specifically state as many categories relevant to your business as you can on your GMB listing. The more relevant categories you list, the better. Just make sure the categories you list are actually relevant.
You can list your website, or if your business operates in more than one location, instead of entering your homepage, you can enter the page of your website related to the location you’re adding to GMB. But, if you believe your homepage will offer better information to your clients, add that instead as your website.
Secondary Business Information
Then, there are your secondary business attributes which are required to verify your listing. These include:
Photos and Images
Pictures are a great attraction for internet users. If you are in doubt, just look at the success of Pinterest and Instagram. The right photos can get you more customers, while the wrong photos or no photos can make you lose business. GMB will represent your business in Google’s card-focused user interface using your photos. But, keep in mind, GMB has its own image format requirements. If your photos don’t satisfy these requirements, you won’t be able to upload them.
State your opening and closing hours on your listing and make sure the information is accurate. You can also add specific hours for holidays and special events.
Depending on the category of your business, you may be able to add a link to a menu. If you’re provided this option, grab it. Having this will give Google more keywords that are relevant to your business and which you can rank for in searches.
So, that’s it! What wasn’t covered about writing local pages that you think should have been? Please share in the comments.