How to Identify Your Service Area for Making Location Pages.
Bob, Jesse and Sue discuss the value of location pages and how specific the location pages on your website should be. Creating neighborhood and city pages for your website is a valuable tool in your SEO arsenal that lets both Google and clients know what areas you serve. So what’s the correct way to build location pages for your website? Jesse drops the info to let you know how Google understands your city and its neighborhoods and what a proper location page build looks like. This info will help you increase your SEO.
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What you’ll learn
- The importance of location pages to local SEO.
- How to use a quick Google search to identify cities and neighborhoods to target.
- Why your business type may affect the scope of your location pages.
Transcript For Creating City and Neighborhood Location Pages on Your Website – 114;
Caleb Baumgartner: Welcome to Local SEO Tactics, where we bring you tips and tricks to get found online. I am producer Caleb Baumgartner, and in today’s episode, Bob, Jesse, and Sue discuss the value of having location specific pages on your website for SEO. This episode will help you learn how to identify your service area so that you can create location pages that improve your SEO and help your business get found by more clients. Do you have questions for us? Visit us at localseotactics.com/questions, and let us know. Thank you for listening, and enjoy the show.
Jesse Dolan: Welcome back to Local SEO Tactics, where we bring you tips and tricks to get found online. I’m your host, Jesse Dolan, here with Bob Brennan and Sue Ginsburg, ready to help you with your SEO. Sue, what is that fantastic looking background there? There’s a pretty identifiable landmark.
Sue Ginsburg: I think it’s CN Tower.
Jesse Dolan: That’s nice.
Sue Ginsburg: And is the Toronto skyline, beautiful Toronto at night, over the water, which would be Lake Ontario, I believe, because we will be talking about, we’ll be discussing a question today that has come up a few times, but most recently from one of our beloved clients who is in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. So here we have, I’m in virtual Toronto.
Jesse Dolan: I’m in real Minnesota. Canada Dry represent. At least, we think. Maybe our Canadian friends can tell us if that’s actually from there or not, but at least it says Canada on the can, right?
Sue Ginsburg: That’s right.
Jesse Dolan: And do you got a hockey stick in the corner behind the skis there? We can’t really see.
Bob Brennan: I do. There’s a little hockey stick there.
Jesse Dolan: That’s Canadian, too.
Sue Ginsburg: I think that Canadians are very recently out of serious lockdown, like, you can’t leave the country. So they’re probably all fleeing, like, I don’t know, going to the airport. Where can we get out of here? They’re all leaving the country for places that they have not been able to go to because of the quarantine.
Bob Brennan: Well, and that was all prompted because they made it to the Stanley Cup, Sue. So otherwise they’d still be under lockdown.
Sue Ginsburg: Got it.
Jesse Dolan: You know, fun fact, if I can interject this in there, too. So we are in the Minneapolis area here, which is north, right? We’re from the bold north. We’re actually farther north than Toronto, Canada. I don’t think a lot of people always realize that because you think of Canada being north of the United States, but where they’re at, they’re actually south of us, which is always kind of crazy to think about.
Bob Brennan: Yeah, that is weird.
Jesse Dolan: Here’s your geographic lesson for the day, everybody.
Sue Ginsburg: All right, I feel smarter already. So okay, with that question, and thank you, Revibe Toronto, quote of the day, I will say I will start this quote and I’ll see how quickly either one of you or our listeners can see where it’s from. I think this will be an easy one. Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name. I’ll try and not break into song here. And they’re always glad you came. You want to be where you can see our troubles are all the same. You want to be where everyone knows your name.
Jesse Dolan: We in the Twin Cities area, channel 11, I think a few years ago, they finally stopped. But I think we were the last ones in the country that had Cheers reruns, like after the evening news, before Jay Leno or whatever. I don’t know if you guys remember that, but every day, every day for years.
Sue Ginsburg: Well, Jesse, I’d say you win the t-shirt, but I know you’re not putting any t-shirt on over the one you’re wearing now.
Jesse Dolan: Right. I’ve got the free t-shirt everybody can get, if you, let’s just take a time out there quick and do that. If you’ve got a question, Sue’s going to get to the question here from Toronto here in a second, I promise, but if you’ve got a question, localseotactics.com, go down to the bottom, click on the link for questions, and send us your question. If you call in with the phone number there and we use your question on the show, we’re going to send you one of these snazzy free t-shirts that Sue was talking about.
Sue Ginsburg: That’s right. And everyone will know your name.
Bob Brennan: That’s right.
Sue Ginsburg: So the way that this came up, we were optimizing this client’s website and adding location pages. And the client asked, can we do neighborhood pages instead of location pages, which was a new question. I hadn’t heard that before. So all good learning. Then the question becomes, when do you want to do neighborhood pages versus the city, or in addition to the city? Is it either/or? What’s the best thing to do? How do you want to optimize for SEO?
So what we’ll discuss today, how do you choose which location you want your location pages to be? Specifically, do you want it to be the city? You want it to be the neighborhood? You want it to be the lake, whatever? And I think this is a great question because we always need to remember, there are two audiences that we’re dealing with all the time. One is our clients, prospects, and leads. That’s one. The other is Google. And both are equally important. You need to cater to both, if you want to get found. So I think it’s an important question. Let’s hear what Jesse and Bob have to say, we’ll all be a little smarter, and we can put our websites up and location pages up where everyone knows our name. It’s just what we all as humans want.
Jesse Dolan: Yeah, indeed. You’ve got to get found. I’ll kick it off, Bob, with just talking about what location pages are, why we use them for everybody. Short answer is, yeah, you want to do location pages, both for cities and for neighborhoods. And the overall reason we want to do this is, like we say all the time, if you want to be found for red balloons, you’ve got to talk about red balloons on your website. If you want to be found for a particular city, you’ve got to be mentioning that city on your website.
The same is true of a neighborhood. What we like to do is create individual pages for these locations. Again, like we’ve talked before, every page on your website that you create, you’re kind of putting that file into the database for Google, into the file cabinet for Google. And so if we have, you know, whatever market you’re serving, if you’re in a large metropolitan area and you’ve got dozens of suburbs, some of those suburbs will have neighborhoods within them. And actually, if I show everybody here, share the screen, I’ve got Toronto pulled up. Those of you that are listening on the podcast, we’ll try to explain this as I go. If you are watching it on YouTube, you’ll clearly see what I’m talking about.
So Toronto is in the pin drop here. And as you zoom in and out with Google, you can see the major cities show up. You’ve got Hamilton, Mississauga. Gosh, I hope I say that right all the time. And then the closer you zoom in, though, you’ll see more and more suburbs, the smaller ones start to show up, but then you have these neighborhoods, these districts, and depending on exactly where you’re at, what you call that may be slightly different. But as you really zoom in, you just get these kind of block by block neighborhoods and districts that Google’s going to show.
And the reason I’m illustrating this with Google is to show you, you know, getting here, if I zoom back out, here we are in Toronto, just boom, right down in the middle of Toronto, you’ve got this Junction Triangle, Sunnyside, Parkdale, Little Portugal. People that are living there or doing business there, they know what they mean when they say these things. Well, guess what? So does Google. They’re literally on the map.? If I click on this Parkdale here, so right now I’ve got Toronto pulled up. Google has like this knowledge panel for Toronto, things about Toronto. Google obviously understands Toronto, Canada, what that is.
Well, if I click on Parkdale, you can see here, they know it’s Parkdale within Toronto, Ontario, Canada, right? Here’s some quick facts. I’m not going to read it all, but you get the idea. Google definitely understands this neighborhood, this district, even though it’s not an actual city or incorporated city, or things like that. Because Google understands what that is, and I have stopped sharing my screen for all of your audio following along there, because Google understands what Parkdale is within Toronto, Canada, same thing, if you’re not talking about Parkdale, but if you want to be found in Parkdale, you’ve got to mention it.
Now what we would do, and this depends, right, your level of competition for your niche here. If you’re a nail salon, which is going to be, you’re not serving a 20 mile radius for a nail salon. They’re much more dense than that. Not saying that’s on every block, but definitely neighborhood by neighborhood, walking distance type of a local service. You’re going to be wanting to found in Parkdale, not just Toronto. You want to really drill down to that local neighborhood. So the more local your business is, the smaller your radius is for where you’re trying to pull people in, the more these neighborhoods are going to be important for your website. You may not have a lot of location pages that leverage cities because you don’t need seven suburbs of relevancy, right? You just need these seven small districts within three miles of your business.
So depending on what you are for a business, what your reach is, if you’re a service area business that maybe visits client on site, a whole different ball of wax. You’re going to need a lot of location pages, a lot of relevancy. If you’re a storefront where people are coming to you, then definitely be very focused around where you can likely pull people in from. Make sure you’re talking about that on your website. Again, be found for red balloons, talk about red balloons.
Now how we do this is in the old days, you might just smash all of these cities and neighborhoods into the footer of your website or just keyword the heck out of them throughout your website. What we like to do here at Intrycks is create an actual page that focuses on each one of these cities. So I’m going to stop talking about neighborhoods in my example here, Bob and Sue, just to make it easy with less words, but whenever I mention a city or a location, it’s interchangeable. Are we talking a neighborhood, a district, some kind of, what do they call them, Bob, a parish, right? Down in the Louisiana area.
Bob Brennan: Yeah.
Jesse Dolan: I mean, there’s different ways to say these same things, depending on where you’re at, but I’m just going to use city, and Toronto, in this case. You’re going to want to have a page on your website, talking about your location, your city, Toronto. It can be intrycks.com/toronto. On that page, you want to make the assumption that if somebody is searching for, let’s just say nail salon, Toronto, that that page will be the one that they show up on. It may not always be the case with SEO. And if you listen to some of our episodes on silo structure, I think it was episode 60 and 63, because I just looked them up earlier today, we talk about creating pages in the silo structure. Sometimes those pages in your silo will rank individually, but oftentimes, they’re used to draw relevancy to your main page, or your money page.
And in this case, if we create a page on our website for Toronto, yeah, it definitely could be the page that shows up if you’re searching for a Toronto nail salon. But depending on if you’re a multi location business or a single location business, your homepage may be the one that ranks for Toronto, even though you created a Toronto page. The reason for that is, again, you’re talking about Toronto. You’re letting Google know as a business and as an entity, we service slash we are relevant to Toronto. So I’m throwing that out there, because we are going to talk, Bob, about some things you want to do on that Toronto page to make sure it converts for people and it speaks to people.
But I just want to let everybody know that if you go through this process, you create that page for Toronto or whatever your location is, do the things that we’re going to talk about, if your homepage is ranking, that’s not the end of the world. What you’re seeing there is Google choosing your homepage as the most powerful page there. Now, you may or may not want to go in and tweak your Toronto page to get that the one ranking. There’s reasons for doing that. But the overall thing here is we’re creating content to tell Google we’re relevant to Toronto. We will stick that into its database. And it’s then going to give you relevancy and hopefully ranking and exposure in Toronto.
Now, let’s jump back to the construct of that page for your location, your neighborhood, whatever it’s going to be, your city. You definitely want to create one of these for each of the neighborhoods and cities that you want to be found for on your website. If you’re a multi location business, you should have a Google My Business listing for each of your locations. Let’s just say if you had three businesses, one is in Toronto, two are in whatever other cities, now, in that case, your homepage won’t be the one that shows up if somebody searches for nail salon, Toronto.
Your Google My Business for the Toronto location will be created and link to that Toronto page. That tells Google that that’s the powerful page for Toronto. You’re linking to it from Google My Business. You have an actual business at that location. And then your content on that page, you’re going to have your business hours, address for that location. It’s kind of, I guess my point is there’s two versions of a location page. There’s one that represents your actual business having a location or a branch in this city or in this neighborhood. That’s going to take on a lot of your contact information, hours, directions, things like that. If you don’t have a physical location for your business in this city or neighborhood you’re targeting, then you have more of just a regular location page, if you will. You’re going to talk about that city. You’re going to draw relevancy to that. But in that case, that may be where your homepage shows up instead.
Now, neither one of these, Bob, just because we do want to play on the safe side that assuming Google will rank our Toronto page over our homepage, even if we don’t have a location in Toronto, I think we should speak that it’s pretty important, you want that sucker to convert, right? Make people know that they’re in Toronto when they hit that Toronto page, and don’t back out.
Bob Brennan: Yeah. I mean, and you can correct me on this, but I mean that’s, again, that’s where you’re putting maybe on that page some pictures of major sites or what have you.
Jesse Dolan: Like Sue’s picture back there, like getting some landmarks.
Bob Brennan: Yeah. So they gain confidence. And then again, this isn’t relevant to everybody. I mean, it’s just, whether it’s a nail salon or what have you, how far people are going to travel for certain services, and/or it’s about conversion. So if you’re living in Hell’s Kitchen, in New York, or one of the boroughs, you’re going to type, you know, plumber, Hell’s Kitchen, or electrician, or somebody that can provide that service in fast order and has a level of trust there. And that’s all part of that conversion piece.
And location pages, with various neighborhoods, also you have to look at population density. So for instance, Minneapolis, or smaller towns, let’s say like Rochester, Minnesota, that’s a secondary town, it might have one or two neighborhoods, but for the most part, it’s going to be really tricky. So take all this with a grain of salt. If you’re in a smaller town, a secondary or tertiary town, neighborhoods, go ahead and do it, but that’s your C,D type priority that you’re going to work on. I don’t know if that makes sense.
Jesse Dolan: And I’ll interject there, Bob, and tell people, back to my example with Google Maps, like zoom in, if you’re wondering, like this suburb that I live in, does it even have neighborhoods? It may for you locally. You may refer to certain developments as neighborhoods. But zoom in, see if you can get Google to show names like I did in that example. If they’re showing them, then those are worth mentioning, because if Google is aware of them, you can draw relevancy to it within Google. They’ve already kind of shown you that.
Bob Brennan: I don’t know, where would you put this, Jess, on the pecking order of things to focus on with SEO? Is it in the top 10? Is it lesser? Or what are your thoughts?
Jesse Dolan: Yeah, absolutely. We put it pretty high on the list. If we take on a new client, first we go through, make sure all of the foundational stuff is there, so you’re not throwing good money after bad, but one of the first things we go after for creating new content is location pages. Because so much of what we do in Google is geographic based. And I say what we do, meaning us, Intrycks, local SEO.
Our goal, if somebody hires us, is to get them found for people that are searching locally, and using these geographic references of the cities, towns, neighborhoods, it’s a big part of what people do in search. Or if they don’t, if they’re using near me or things like that, and Google is the one deciding where what you’re looking for, point is, geographic reference makes a big deal in local search, and we put it very high on the list. Depending on the exact client, like, if they’re doing auto repair, oil change, transmission, radiator, sometimes we might make sure they have those pages up first to tell you this is the services we offer, and then here’s the locations that we are relevant to.
But it’s those same things through Google. You’ve got to have your keyword and your geographic things figured out and you have to have pages for those to draw that relevancy. So hope that answers your question there. But again, do a little hack. Zoom in to your neighborhood, zoom in to your spot you’re wondering in, and see what pops up for cities, towns, neighborhoods, and references, and draw those items and those relevancy into your site, into your pages, I should say.
Sue Ginsburg: So where do you draw the line? Because you have the city, you have suburbs, and then you have neighborhoods in the city, neighborhoods in those suburbs. You could be going on and on and on and on.
Jesse Dolan: I would draw the line literally, as in like, where do you think that you have relevancy? Again, if you’re a nail salon, you can’t be targeting 20 miles away from you. Where do your customers come from, or where, again, if you’re going to them, how far do you travel? That radius around your business, Sue, is the line. If that has five cities or neighborhoods in it, or 75, depending on your business, that’s going to be your number then.
Where clients do get freaked out sometimes is like, oh my gosh, I’m going to have 75 pages on my website, each one talking about a different city? That’s horrible. That’s going to be super confusing to everybody. And I think something people have to understand when we say this, what we’re talking about is if you had 75 location pages on your website, you’re not going to go to your homepage and pick location from 75 locations. This isn’t part of the user experience for all your web visitors, as far as from a navigational standpoint. These are just landing pages that are created to show up in Google search.
If somebody types in one of those 75 cities and lands on that landing page, like Bob said, you’re going to have pictures. It’s going to be about that area. And you’re not going to see the other 74 pages. You’re not even going to know that they exist. They’re not, again, part of the navigational linking. You’re not choosing it for options. So you shouldn’t be fearful of having a large number of location pages on your website because it’s kind of hidden from the public view, if you will, right?
That’s, like you said, Sue, on the front side, you’re designing your website and doing this information, one, for your human beings, and one for Google. These pages are created first and foremost for Google to communicate the relevancy to these locations. Then you do have to assume that human beings will land on them when they pop up as landing pages, and they’ve got to convert, like we’re saying with Bob.
Sue Ginsburg: Jesse, is there any downside to having much of the same content on a page that’s going to be two neighborhoods next to each other, that it might be like, oh, I can go this way, or I can go this way. Where’s the closest one to me? And how micro does it have to be?
Jesse Dolan: That’s a great question. I kind of lump that into people ask about duplicate content sometimes. So number one, these pages are unique. They’re going to have unique URLs. They’re going to be mentioning the cities. Maybe they’re 80% the same, one city to the next, right? These location pages. That’s fine. They’re unique enough in the eyes of Google. Again, I challenge everybody to go to walmart.com or target.com and pull up their store locator. You’re seeing the same thing here. They’re all the same template page, just with different address, phone number type stuff. So as long as these pages are some sense of unique, you’re okay.
Now more long-term for SEO, we always talk, you know, for SEO, what do you want to rank for? Are you ranking for it? If not, what kind of corrective actions do you need to do? Something I would look at is if you create 75 location pages and six months later, three of them are ranking and 72 are not, you’d want to dive into those. Are some of those indexed by Google? Is Google just ignoring them? Is that what we call thin content, where it’s just not relevant? You may have to go back and beef some of these up.
If you, like, let’s talk about Toronto again, to Bob’s point, that’s dense, that’s urban, as compared to some small town two hours away. That’s probably a lot of competition in Toronto, and you may have to do things on that Toronto location page to draw more relevancy to Toronto and pull in more facts or create more supporting pages around it, like building a little silo around that Toronto location page. You may have to go further to really get the attention you need and to show Google that you’re authoritative for that town. But again, that’s case by case. That’s much more, you know, what kind of competition is there? What kind of industry are you in?
And I could go down a few different kind of wild goose chases in those areas, but in general, create location pages for every neighborhood location, borough, parish that you want to be found for. They can be very similar, but make them unique enough so they’re pertinent to each location. Different images, different text in certain spots, and just be mindful of if this is working or not. Do those tests. Like we always say about it, you’ve got to test this stuff, make sure it works. If you ripped off 75 location pages, go back later. Are you ranking in those 75 towns and cities, for your homepage or for that location page? Either way, did it work or not? And if it didn’t, again, go back and kind of reconnoiter on that on a town by town or city by city basis.
Sue Ginsburg: Really impactful. And I don’t know if this is something that nobody thinks about or everybody thinks about and doesn’t know. I think that’s really impactful stuff, really big, really big. So thank you.
Okay, I will then say if you remember one thing and one thing only from this discussion, you want to do location pages for both cities and neighborhoods for the radius where your customers come from, or where you want your customers to come from. But I think more truthfully, where they do come from, where they might be searching from, and applying the quote, sometimes you want to go where everyone knows your name. That’s typically going to be your neighborhood.
Jesse Dolan: As we’re talking on this, too, and we chatted a little bit before we hit the record button, Bob and Sue, I think we’ll probably do a separate episode, more of the long form episodes, that talk about building a good location page, because there’s things like, Bob, you mentioned GPS coordinates. We’re talking about that within your schema. There are things beyond just creating the location pages that you need to do to have a powerful location page. And we will come back and take a deeper dive. I think this is an important topic for everybody, on how to make a good and effective location page.
So all right. Anything else you want to add, Sue?
Sue Ginsburg: No, but I think we just have to say cheers to that.
Jesse Dolan: That’s good.
Sue Ginsburg: Couldn’t resist. Couldn’t resist.
Jesse Dolan: Cheers. All right, hopefully that helps some of you out. Don’t be bashful, create those pages. And again, don’t be worried about how this looks on your website, does it clutter it up and make it messy. It’s not, per what we had just said. If you have any questions on this or anything else, reach out to us, go out to localseotactics.com. Scroll to the bottom, click on the button for a question.
When you follow up on this, if you’ve got a new question, again, we’re talking about this because it’s a question that’s come up, if you’ve got a question, somebody else does, too. We’ll answer it on the show. Send it on, and we’ll give you a shout out and help you out. Thanks for tuning in everybody. We’ll catch you on the next episode.
Bob Brennan: Bye now.
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