I was catching up with my reading over at Search Engine Journal and I came across this post: Post Penguin 2.0 Local SEO Strategies for Small Business.
A lot of people groan at every Google update. Many believe that each update makes it harder for the little guy to get found.
This may be true…for internet-only businesses and blogs.
But as the article points out, a local small business has gained a significant competitive advantage in Google. “For example, a local coffee shop has no chance at ranking for a keyword like ‘coffee,’ but Google appears to be ranking local businesses more importantly in this new update.”
Of course, Travis and I have spent a ton of time talking about different ways that you can rank on Google+ Local.
But the article mentioned a specific technique, one that we’ve never talked about on our blog but that we’ve offered to our clients for some time now: creating location-specific landing pages.
You see, you can only have one Google+ Local listing, and that listing needs to be for the town that houses your legal, physical address. I covered this in a guest post over at Blogging Painters.
In that post I told readers that they should not worry about the fact that they’re not supposed to create a separate Google+ Local listing for every single city in their service area. Why? Because you can always talk about those cities on your blog. Eventually, you can rank for that city + your service organically. It’s not that hard, cause your competition isn’t doing anything like this.
Well, location-specific landing pages are another way to use this strategy. But you have to create them the right way.
Fortunately, there are only 3 rules.
No Duplicate Content
It’s going to be tempting for you to repeat your home page copy on your location-specific landing page. You might feel as though it’s okay since you’ll be changing the city name.
But it’s not. And Google will lower your rankings rather than raising them if you do. Every landing page’s copy must be unique if you want this technique to work.
The Content Must Be Useful
This is not easy to do. Not on a location landing page.
It will require you to think outside of the box. A simple sales page will not get the job done either.
Instead, you have to think about location-specific information that your customers care about.
A cab company might take the time to talk about popular destinations in that city. A company that does water damage restoration might talk about weather data as it relates to local flood conditions. You might also add city and county emergency resources such as links to emergency shelters, emergency phone numbers, and links to evacuation maps.
It can take a lot of time to figure out which local information is both genuinely useful and genuinely relevant to what you do. And it has to achieve both things.
Don’t Try to Do Too Many
Choose about 6 secondary markets that you want to target. It’s going to be all but impossible to be really unique with too many more.
Ignore your smallest markets. They know they’re small, so they’re probably searching nearby cities anyway.
What are your thoughts on location-specific landing pages? Will you be using them for your business? Let me know in the comments below!