We recently got asked whether you should use local pages on your website? The reason that we were asked this is because it takes additional time and money to design and develop local-specific pages, so is the work worthwhile?
As a web design company, we wanted to share our thoughts on whether your site would benefit from using local pages to increase your search rankings as part of your Search Engine Optimisation plan.
What are Local Pages?
Local pages are pages on your website specifically created for Local Search Engine Optimisation efforts. Local SEO is targeted work on your website to rank a business higher on search engines thanks to you location/target location pages.
SEO in recent years has been used more frequently as mobiles and search engines have become smarter. People are likely to search online for things ‘near me’, I am sure you have likely done it yourself with searches such as ‘Restaurants near me’.
Most websites have been optimised for specific industries or keywords, but it is also good practice to include your local address. Usually local web pages are used to represent a local location and are optimised for that specific chosen location alongside the primary keywords.
So do you need Local Pages?
Here are some points you should use to decide whether your site would benefit from Local Pages:
Key transactional terms – These are the terms which are used to complete a transaction on your website. So as an example, if I was looking online for or order food from a takeaway my search phrase might be, “Chinese Takeaway”.
Those words are then known as transactional keywords because after I find what I wanted there will be a purchase. These are obviously important to businesses as the terms are at the end of the conversion funnel.
Review keyword search volume – You need to check whether your keywords are often used with locations or ‘near me’ at the end and then make a record of their search volumes. So using our previous search example would people search “Chinese Takeaway Liverpool” and “Chinese Takeaway near me”.
Review search engine results pages for local page ranks – Take a look at the search engine results pages (SERPs) for your specific keywords and take a look if there are local pages ranking in the results.
Compare all results – Once you have completed the above points you then just have to compare the data to see if there is any reason for you to spend the extra time/money to create local pages on your site.
Issues that hurt local SEO
Like always with SEO there are some practices which are not good to use when aiming to rank in search engines local results long term. Websites using the following practices will very likely be penalised:
Using irrelevant keywords – A tactic which people have tried looking to rank better in local (and normal) searches is to overuse irrelevant keywords, in this example mainly locations so for example for ourselves we would use the term Website Design Liverpool 40 times on the page.
You used to also see people listing a load of nearby cities at the bottom of the website hoping to rank higher with location-based searches. Unfortunately it isn’t this easy and it actually goes against Google’s Quality Guidelines.
Overly optimised anchor text – Sites are there for people to use, not just for Google’s bots to crawl. So your website should be created for this same purpose rather than looking to manipulate the rankings.
Duplicate content – This comes down to laziness rather than maliciousness. If you have multiple locations for your service and you decide to create multiple location pages these should only be used if your pages (and the copy) are unique. If you are duplicating content then you will negatively affect your rankings and make Google & Bing have to pick between the pages. To make things worse, if Google thinks that you are doing this purposely they could go further and just remove your website.
Using Google My Business without a physical presence – As we have discussed in previous posts Google My Business is an amazing tool but this only works if you have a physical location setup.
In the end not every company can receive massive benefits from local pages on their website. It comes down to research and implementation, research your field (or hire a digital marketing company who can).
If after your research you know this could benefit you then you need to get a plan/strategy in place, a plan which follows Google’s guidelines and is all white hat SEO.
Be sure to come back each week for new content and information about web design, digital marketing and SEO in the Breeze Development blog articles.