In this week’s video, I talk about the tactic of using city pages to expand your reach and gain visibility in other cities where you don’t have a physical location. Building off of last week’s video about Local Content Silos, city pages can be incredibly successful in more rural markets or bigger markets with less competition. Watch to learn how to use city pages to show up in more searches!
Welcome back to another episode of Local Search Tuesdays. This week, I’m going to share a more advanced strategy that will help you show up in nearby areas where you don’t have a location.
Every local business wants to expand its reach and show up in a wider area, but like I’ve mentioned in past videos, it takes a lot more to show up in searches in those cities than just listing a few city names in a comma separated list.
Um… Wait a minute Greg – call me crazy, but this is sounding EXACTLY like the video you did last week…
Well yeah, it’s actually EXACTLY the same thing I said at the beginning of last week’s video. Don’t believe me? Go watch, I’ll wait…
See what I mean? But there’s a reason. We had a lot of people reach out and ask about city pages, so I thought I’d come back this week and talk about what they are and how to use them.
Back in the spammy days of early SEO, city pages were just crappy pages that people threw up to try to show up in a bunch of different areas. They were always exactly the same content, just with the city name changed out. Zero value, even at the time – and now, they’ll actually hurt you.
They’d be considered “doorway pages” – poor quality pages that are only meant to show up in search results, where each page ends up taking the user to essentially the same destination.
But if they’re implemented correctly, city pages can be a killer tool in your Local SEO utility belt. In markets that are less competitive – whether it’s a more rural market, or there’s simply less competition, a few well-crafted city pages will help expand your reach to other areas.
Like I’ve mentioned in the past, you have to own your own backyard first. If you’re not showing up well in the city you’re actually located in, you’ve got no chance of showing up in other cities. But once you’ve got that solid foundation, you should definitely try to expand your reach.
Last week, I talked about Local Content Silos, which is a more advanced and effort-intensive approach – but if you’re in a less competitive area, you can get great results with a few simple city pages. Keep in mind – this tactic targets the organic results, not the map pack. You need a real-world physical location to show up in the map pack.
So what makes a good city page?
You basically create the same thing you’d have as a multi-location business – a city-based landing page, only without the actual location. Optimize all of your standard elements – title tag, H1 heading, content, URL, alt text in images, and meta description so that the targeted city is included.
So if you’re a personal injury attorney, and you want to show up in another city, you’d create a personal injury attorney page optimized around that city. It would include the same high-level overview about your firm as your primary “personal injury attorney” page, but it would need to be unique and engaging content that’s optimized around the target city.
You should include some information about the targeted city as well, and testimonials from customers from that city. If you’re a member of any local associations in that city, include that on the page as a trust signal.
Using a template and just changing out elements won’t work. You need a unique, high quality page for each city. Remember – these need to be truly useful, engaging pages, so think about how helpful they’ll be for real-world human users. If you’re thinking only about Google, you’re going to fail.
Don’t forget link building – you shouldn’t need much, but pointing a few relevant links from entities in the targeted city to that city’s page on your site will be incredibly helpful.
Make sure your location pages are easy to find – you need an “areas we serve” link on either the primary menu or a sub-menu. Please don’t list a crap ton of city names as links in your footer, that’s spammy and not helpful for human users.
This isn’t a strategy that you can blow out of the water. Too many looks bad and moves into the realm of doorway pages. Honestly, I wouldn’t suggest doing more than 12-15 city pages at the most… but try to keep it at 10 or less.
That’s all the time we’ve got for this week’s video, so you know what that means.
Put your hand on the screen right here:
We totally just high-fived ‘cause you learned something awesome.
Thanks for watching, and we’ll see you again next week for another episode of Local Search Tuesdays.