If your business only serves one location, optimizing your website for local search is relatively straightforward. You submit your business to Google My Business and optimize your site for local SEO.
However, ranking in search engines for multiple locations is a more complicated process. Fortunately, there’s a workaround which involves creating city pages. These are web pages that highlight specific regional areas that you serve.
With over 50 percent of all Google searches now having local intent, improving SEO for each of your locations is crucial if you rely on local search traffic.
Are City Pages Good for SEO?
Google released the Panda algorithm update to penalize sites using poor content techniques, which includes duplicate content. But in the process, it also punished a more legitimate type of content (i.e. the city page.)
So while there’s nothing wrong with creating city pages, for them to work from an SEO perspective, they need to be unique. You can’t just change a word or two for each location and expect positive results. Every city page must offer something unique to visitors and search engines crawlers.
When you get it right, there are multiple benefits. You can:
- Boost your website’s ranking.
- Attract more localized web traffic.
- Highlight different solutions to customers from each location.
- Create different calls-to-action on each page.
- Include more internal and external links.
- Eliminate the costs of maintaining separate domains.
So how do you create unique city pages if you’re offering the same thing to each location?
Tips for Optimizing Your City Pages for Local Search
Now the actionable part of this post.
We know city pages are useful for local SEO – and we know that merely duplicating a page and changing “Portland” to “Eugene” isn’t enough. So how do we create unique city pages and optimize those pages for local traffic?
Limit the Number of City Pages
Before you create any city pages, think about how many separate pages you need. Having a large number of city pages is difficult to maintain and could reduce your ability to rank as high in search engine results pages (SERPs). Focus your time and energy on the most significant cities or those that contain more of your current customers.
Optimize Your Website Data
Every time you create a new web page, the on-page data should be optimized for search engines. Search engine crawlers should understand that the page has local intent. Optimize the following elements:
- The URL. Search engines prefer short URLs. Try to include the page topic and your location.
- The title tag. This defines what searchers see in SERPs. Include your target keyword that refers to the topic of the page, your location, and your business name.
- The meta description. This appears below the title tag in SERPs. Use compelling language that highlights how potential customers will ultimately benefit from clicking through to your page.
- Headers, body content, and images. Use relevant keywords that help to define the page content.
Getting the internal linking structure right helps search engines to determine the relevancy of web pages, helps visitors navigate your site, and distributes page authority among web pages.
Make sure the page you’re linking to has some relevance. For example, create a blog post on a specific topic that is relevant to the city page, and then links back to that blog post from the city page.
City pages should be incorporated into your site’s navigational structure. For example, create an “Areas we serve” link in the main navigation on your homepage. Or in the “Contact Us” link, include sub-pages to each location.
Optimize for Mobile Devices
Make sure your city page navigational links appear on all versions of your website, not just on your desktop site. According to Forrester Research, 69 percent of smartphone users search online at least once a week, and around half of these searches have local intent. This is why it’s crucial for your website to be mobile-friendly.
For more tips on mobile optimization, visit our post: 13 Ways to Generate More Mobile Traffic and Boost Conversions.
Use Testimonials from Local Customers
Potential customers that land on your city page will be looking for directions to your location or contact information, but many visitors will also be searching for reviews of your business. Use testimonials from customers living in each specific location to add unique content to your city page and build your credibility.
Having links on your pages pointing to other domains is also a critical factor in search engine rankings.
Like internal links, external links add value to a web page and help search engine crawlers define and rank your content. You could link to local news sites, local government pages, or even link to other complementary businesses in your area. You might even get a link back from another local company.
Take Part in City Events
Is there anything more you can do to promote your business in each city? You could sponsor a local team, host a local event, or volunteer your time. Every community event you get involved in is another way to promote your business. Being more active in your local community can also result in more links to your website from local media sites.
Create Unique and Personalized City Pages
Try to make city pages unique and useful for potential customers from each location. Some examples of unique content:
- Location guides.
- Employee interviews.
- Team photos.
- Behind-the-scenes videos of your business.
- Work project photos.
- Customer testimonials.
- A list of the best local complementary businesses.
- Local news stories.
- A local events calendar.
Regularly updating city page content can boost search rankings and attract new customers to your content. Ensure you include location-specific keywords and phrases in any new content.
Are Your City Pages Optimized?
To increase engagement and build a more loyal customer base, your content needs to be interesting, informative, and relevant to local customers. When you get city pages right, they’ll play an essential part in your content marketing strategy and improve your chances of ranking higher in local search results.
If you’re struggling to come up with fresh content, consider outsourcing your content to professional writers. Freelance writers have years of experience in writing engaging, SEO-optimized city pages for every industry.
Are you looking for knowledgeable writers to create content for your company? Check out our various content services.
For more tips on local SEO optimization, read our article: Local SEO: How To Increase Your Local Search Rank.