If your business provides products or services to clients in a city (or tightly defined geography) – or if you have a brick-and-mortar business that is accessible to your clients– local SEO is one of the most effective digital marketing tools available to you today.
The top platform used to leverage local SEO optimization is the Google Local Search (GLS) platform, including the free Google My Business (GMB) tool. Although this tool is available to virtually all businesses, getting the maximum benefit requires an understanding of the principles behind local SEO. This is especially true if your business serves a large metropolitan area, such as the Washington DC area.
Service area pages – also known as “area served” pages – can give you the search engine optimization boost you need.
When Local SEO Poses Challenges
Although the ability to optimize for local search revolutionized SEO, it’s not a perfect platform. If you operate in a crowded industry or if your business is located within a large metropolitan area, you could struggle to get the expected benefits from GLS and GMB. If your physical location borders on two different cities or suburbs, or if you have more than one location in a single metro area, you could also face challenges.
Google’s algorithms are improving in this area. However, we do have some tools at our disposal to help boost the effectiveness of local SEO – the most effective of which are service area pages.
Understanding Service Area Pages
Service area pages (SAPs) are similar to landing pages, in that they are meant to be the place where a prospect first lands after doing a local search and getting your business as a result. Unlike landing pages, which are typically their own, stand-alone website, each SAP is a page that lives on your main website.
Ideally, you will want to create a unique SAP for each local city you’re targeting. In some cases, you can structure pages for individual counties, neighborhoods or landmark areas.
Digital content marketing strategies are used in the creation of area served pages. This includes using your primary keywords within the content, along with references to the targeted location.
To get the most traction from SAPs, don’t assume you should use the same keywords across different geographic locations. Research each city you plan to target and develop a unique set of keywords for each. Use long-tailed keywords when you can, to get even better results.
Creating Effective Service Area Pages
Each SAP should be structured similar to your standard services page. That means you need to highlight your services, communicate your unique value proposition, and provide actionable direction for taking the desired steps, e.g., “call for a free system audit.”
Just as important, however, is high-quality, engaging content that is unique for each SAP. Take great care not to simply duplicate pages with different city names. Google could actually downgrade your search rankings.
To get the maximum local SEO benefit, you do need to have already claimed and set up your GLS and GMB. SAPs work in conjunction with these platforms, and both are necessary to get the synergistic results you need.
For best results, consider working with an experienced digital marketing company on your SEO efforts. If you’re searching for the best SEO agency in Washington DC, contact the experts at Ocean 5 Strategies. We help businesses achieve measurable sales and revenue growth through SEO, content marketing, website development and other comprehensive digital marketing programs.
Contact us today to learn more about how local search engine optimization and service area pages can benefit your business.