If you market products or services to a single geographic region, creating a strategy to utilize keywords is relatively simple. Let's take an appliance repair company in Denver, Colorado, for example. Most of the core keywords for such a business will include the geographic qualifier “Denver”.
When mapping keywords applicable to pages throughout the website the same simplicity is easily applied. The keyword “appliance repair in Denver” could be utilized on the homepage, and “refrigerator repair in Denver” could be well suited for a services page all about refrigerators.
If your business serves multiple geographic locations, the utilization of keywords becomes more nuanced. In this example, what if you served Denver, Fort Collins, and Colorado Springs? Would creating location pages for each permutation of service and service area benefit your SEO? Many businesses serving multiple areas rely on such location pages for their SEO.
Creating location pages has long been a practice in SEO, but it isn't valuable for all sites. Let's take a closer look to determine when dedicated location pages are advised and how you can create useful location pages to improve your SEO performance.
What are Location Pages?
Location pages provide information about a business's specific location. For example, a law firm may have pages for each of the firm's office locations. These web pages include details such as the address, phone number, hours of operation, and a map or directions to the location. They may also include information about the services or products offered at that specific location, in addition to customer reviews.
Some businesses leverage location pages to showcase their service areas without having a physical office or place of business in the region. For example, a web designer may have location pages to represent the core geographic markets they serve.
What Makes a Location Page Useful?
A location page is useful when it is built for the intended audience, not just to get traffic from search engines. This is known as audience-first SEO. It's all about the user.
In the case of a location page for a business with an office or physical presence, then these location pages would readily share accurate information about the address, hours of operation, phone number, etc. This is useful and recommended.
For a business without a physical presence, the location page should again focus on the user. For example, the web designer may create location pages to showcase a portfolio of web projects targeted to that geographic region as a way of showing the type of work the agency does in that city. This too is useful and recommended.
What are the Downsides of Location Pages?
The biggest downside of location pages is that they lend themselves to duplicate or thin content. A site can create dozens or more such pages at scales that are merely copies of one another with the location keyword swapped out.
For search engines, this is overwhelming and wastes crawler resources. And yet, we still see examples of this type of strategy working.
Take for example an agency website that has 12+ location pages for cities where there is no physical office presence. Each page is a duplicate of the other with the name of each city swapped out for the other. And it works without upsetting crawlers or setting off any negative alarms with Google. That is to say that in light of the duplicate web pages, they have managed to gain strong traction in search results.
Seeing results like these makes creating such pages a tempting SEO strategy. Yet, we know that the results will often fall flat because Google doesn't see these pages as audience-first content but rather as content created specifically for SEO.
How Do You Target Multiple Locations in SEO?
The key ingredient of success is something we've already mentioned, placing the audience first. When doing so, there are ways to create location pages that carry SEO value.
For example, if you have a business that has six offices, then it makes sense to create a location page for each. Each of the six pages should feature the name, address, phone number, and hours of operation for the specific office location. The copy on each page should be reasonably unique, and the same for the photos used there. Should they differ, include a list of the services or products offered at the location as well as leverage testimonials that mention the location whenever possible.
After creating these crucial location pages on your website, you may consider creating location pages for client services offered. For example, if a law firm offers personal, corporate, and real estate services, you could have a location page for each service as they are offered within each office.
Be careful with this ideal, however, because this may balloon the website to include something like 18 pages (6 locations x 3 services). That is likely overdoing it because it becomes harder to make each of these pages unique and audience-first focused.
For a business that services multiple geographic areas but doesn't have an office location, there are ways to create value for visitors to your website. For example, a construction company may showcase its work in each area on location pages. Or a web designer could opt to showcase the websites they've built in a specific area. The copy on these location pages can also directly reference the targeted geographic so that as far as Google bots are concerned, the webpage is unique.
Location Pages for SEO: To Build or Not To Build
Targeting multiple locations in SEO requires a strategic approach to ensure that location pages are valuable to users first and search engines second. Creating dedicated location pages can be beneficial for businesses with physical locations or those targeting specific geographic areas, but it is important to focus on creating unique, audience-first content that provides accurate information about each location. While it may be tempting to create duplicate pages with location keywords swapped out, this strategy is unlikely to provide long-term SEO success. By prioritizing the needs of the audience and ensuring that each location page provides value, businesses can effectively target multiple locations and improve their SEO performance.