If you operate a local small business, or even a regional or national business, local search engine optimization (SEO) is a necessity to garner and dominate local search engine rankings within certain markets.
With the increase of tablet and mobile search on the rise, local SEO is becoming mandatory for all small businesses.
No longer can businesses ignore local SEO and be able to command highly visible search rankings in search engines.
There are many tips and tricks for those interested in learning to execute local SEO for their small business.
The one we’ll focus on discussing today is the use of local SEO landing pages and whether or not their use by small businesses is effective or ineffective.
Why small businesses should use local SEO landing pages
One of the most popular strategies used by small businesses looking to increase search rankings is the use of local SEO landing pages.
Typically, small businesses tend to focus on serving customers located in one city, or a city and few surrounding cities.
For instance, if you’re plumbing business is located in Sherman, Texas, there is a good chance that you would want to focus on the following cities that surround Sherman:
- Van Alstyne
- Tom Bean
Focusing on surrounding cities could garner your small business highly visible search rankings for potential customers the search online, and use “keyword+City” or “City+keyword” when they search.
Many small businesses hoping to maximize their local SEO efforts sometimes create minisites, standalone landing pages or create local landing pages use their primary domain.
Loading up on the keyword buffet
Most opt for the later choice in creating local or city-specific landing pages that are structured and optimized strictly for search rankings only.
Often times potential customers arrive at local SEO landing pages find the landing pages to be nothing more than useless “City+keyword” or “keyword+City” -laden content with a contact us submission form.
Maybe search engines won’t notice core content did not change
Today, local SEO landing pages are still used by small businesses despite some of the low-quality content and duplicate content issues that can occur when a company does not make each local SEO landing page unique.
The content is not value-add. In most cases, the city name is replaced while keeping the core content with the same or dynamic images and no other changes. This type of behavior introduces duplicate content issues and possibly penalties.
Surely search engines are smart enough to recognize site designs
It is best when using local SEO landing pages to make sure that not only the content is unique, but each page design is unique.
No longer can you create one page, copy and create a new page, changing nothing but images and city names.
Loading up on city and zip code buffets too
Another technique used by small businesses to in addition to cities is using zip code landing pages whereby small businesses create “Zip+Code+keyword” or “keyword+Zip+Code” pages and content.
In addition, one of the difficulties in how search works is that it tries to identify a business and its address. At one time, search engines did not rank websites or business websites based on addresses and phone numbers. However, it is now a thing of the past.
Why local SEO pages can be a slippery slope
No more can businesses use multiple PO Box addresses throughout various cities to capitalize on boosting local search rankings for their business.
A great example is the heating and air conditioning industry. Many businesses would have a legitimate local presence in a city like Dallas.
However, to rank for city related heating and air conditioning searches, a company might attempt to stealthily apply for inexpensive PO Box addresses in other surround cities like the following:
- Farmers Branch
In addition, for each PO Box address procured, a 1-800 number or a local city number is procured to associate with each address.
When you think about it and do the math, procuring a new phone number and PO Box address is less expensive than making the financial investment it would cost to rent or open a legitimate office space.
As with previous SEO tactics that were loopholes blatantly exploited and used to get ahead in search rankings, Google as well as other search engines became aware and implemented algorithm updates.
These updates focused on lessening and diminishing the value of local SEO landing pages using fictitious company information, or companies trying to gain a search ranking advantage using heavily optimized or over-optimized landing pages.
That said, many small businesses wonder whether or not local SEO landing pages should be considered apart of their SEO efforts.
My personal opinion is that local landing pages, whether local, regional or national, can be effective and boost search rankings when used in accordance to search engine guidelines and policies.
As long as your business adheres to search engine guidelines and policies, then your local SEO landing pages should be quite effective, ranking very high in search engines for your local keyword phrases.
11 steps to boost local search rankings and conversions
- First and foremost, do Report competitors to Google using deceptive SEO practices to rank local landing pages;
- Do use local landing pages to help customers solve their problems or point of pain by writing content in a conversational tone;
- Do make sure content is value-add and unique, containing properly optimized content with keyword focus, images, alt image text, header tags and clear call to action for potential customers;
- Don’t use deceptive SEO practices to begin with to rank local landing pages;
- Don’t over-optimize content, images, and header tags;
- Don’t use multiple business names and local page listings
- Don’t list false business addresses or try to game local search engine rankings with PO Box addresses for various cities;
- Don’t use the same or identical (i.e., duplicate content) content, images and site design for local SEO landing pages;
- Don’t keyword stuff or excessively link local landing pages;
- Don’t use sitewide footer links filled with states, counties, cities or zip codes for local landing pages;
- Don’t interlink local landing pages with one another;
Whether or not local SEO landing pages are ineffective or effective depends on how your small business implements and executes its SEO effort.
Remember, there are many factors contributing to the success or failure of any local SEO landing page strategy.
Using local landing pages as apart of any small business SEO effort is definitely a search-safe tactic to consider and to be taken seriously when boosting local search rankings.
Diligently plan the use and execution of local landing pages, adhering to the tips above.
Doing so will not only place you ahead of the competition in search rankings, but it will also help your website to sustain optimal local SEO rankings.