Should you use Local Pages on your Website?
Should you use local pages on your website? It will take additional time and resources to create local-specific pages, but will the juice be worth the squeeze? As a top website design firm, we wanted to share our process for determining if your website will benefit from local pages to increase rankings as part of a well-balanced SEO plan.
What are Local Pages?
Local pages are a term created for web pages specifically being used with Local SEO efforts. Local SEO is the concept of search engine optimization at the local level to rank a business more relevantly based on proximity.
The concept of local SEO has become more prevalent as mobile devices and search engines have become more sophisticated. People are more inclined to search for things “near me” when looking for products or services.
While most sites have optimization for industry or product keywords, you also need to include your local address including the city, country, or region along with a local phone number and even nearby areas you might perform services in. Often local pages are created as a way to represent a local location (or locations) easily and are optimized for location in addition to the primary keywords. They often act as individual landing pages that can be linked directly to from local directories.
Do you need Local Pages?
Here are four things you should do to decide if your website will benefit from Local Pages:
- Review key transactional terms – Transactional terms are those used to complete a transaction. For example, if I was in the market for a new phone a search query might be, “Samsung Galaxy 9”. Those terms are considered transactional keywords because in theory after I find what I want there will be a transaction. These terms are important to most businesses because these terms are at the business end of the conversion funnel. The idea with local is to review key terms and then pick one or two to then use local variants with.
- Review keyword search volume – Keywords should be categorized as either implicit, explicit, or near me and then log and review their search volumes. Our previous search is the implicit version while “Samsung Galaxy 9 in Long Island” is explicit and “Samsung Galaxy 9 near me” is the near me variant.
- Review SERPs for local-specific page ranks – When looking at SERPs for our keywords we want to see if there are local pages ranking. You can review the URLs and domains to understand if you are looking at national businesses with local pages or local businesses.
- Compare all results – Now it is a matter of comparing the data to see if there is value in creating local pages. For example, if explicit keywords are ranking well then it makes sense to invest time and energy in building local pages.
Things that hurt local SEO
There are a handful of techniques that are not good practices to use when attempting to rank in local results. Sites using these practices should make revisions immediately to avoid possible penalties:
- Using irrelevant keywords – One tactic people have used to rank better in local searches is to excessively use irrelevant keywords; specifically, city names or zip codes. You would see people list all of the nearby cities and zip codes at the bottom of a page or in the footer in an effort to rank better with location-based searches. However, this goes against Google’s Quality Guidelines and therefore should never be done as you can be penalized for it.
- Overly optimizing anchor text – Websites are supposed to be for people to use, not just for bots to crawl. In that regard, you should not be attempting to manipulate rankings by overly optimizing anchor text, which is similar in principle to keyword stuffing. Instead take the time to properly optimize the H1 and H2 headings, alt image text and the page title.
- Duplicate content on location pages – This tends to be a result of laziness rather than anything else. When you have multiple locations, location pages should be used only if those pages are unique. Otherwise, by duplicating content you will negatively affect your rankings and force a search engine to pick between pages that are duplicated or overly similar. Also, if Google decides you are doing this on purpose they could remove your site from their index.
- Using Google My Business without a physical presence – Google My Business is a fantastic tool but only if you have a physical location in a city. Some people have attempted to set up Google My Business pages in cities without an actual office location by using P.O. boxes, a friend’s house, etc. There are specific guidelines for a business address that you need to follow.
The bottom line
The bottom line is that not every business will benefit from using local pages on your website. By reviewing and comparing a few areas you can determine if adding local pages to your site will be beneficial. In either case, make sure to review the techniques that hurt local SEO to ensure you aren’t doing anything that Google or other search engines will find detrimental.
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