Are they helping or hurting?

Local SEO can be a winner for many types of businesses.

Whether you have a physical business or a service business, you know that many of your potential customers will start their journey with search.

And if you want their business, you have to show up.

To get started, you will (hopefully) perform a local SEO audit on your site that will help you create your local strategy.

This will be your roadmap to making sure you’ve checked all the boxes and are on the right path to attracting those customers near you.

During this process, you may find that there are specific types of content targeted to increase your visibility to users searching for your product or service in their area.

It also means that to really appear in the right place at the right time, you will need a lot of content.

This can lead to questions such as:

  • How can I create so much unique content exactly the same topic?
  • can i just copy and paste the same information and change the name of the city?
  • What is the best way to target my customers and not be penalized for duplicate content?

Well, let’s look at six different types of content you might be tempted to duplicate and whether you should make it unique or just rinse it out and reuse it.

1. Service Area Pages

Service area pages are prime real estate for your local keywords, including city, state, region, and metro.

As a service-based business, these pages tell your customers the exact area where you operate.

If you’re a brick and mortar, location pages might be a suitable alternative.

As a business that serves a large area or if you have multiple locations, it can be very tempting to use the same template for each page.

Do not do it.

This is an opportunity for you to respond directly to your customers’ needs and tell search engines exactly where you want to be in the map results.

Take advantage of this unique opportunity to differentiate yourself. By having the same information on every page, you are sending mixed signals to search engines about which page is really important.

Make it clear that if a user is looking for a specific term in that area, you are the best website to help them meet that need or answer a specific question.

Unique Content Tips:

  • Talk about how the service you provide in each specific service area is unique for this customer.
  • Think about the problem you are solving for your client who lives in this area.
  • If your changes in the mix of services depending on the location, this is the place for highlight these changes. Having your services on this page also adds the main terms or short keywords you are targeting with the placement.
  • Use this page as a ability to link to specific city and metro landing pageswhich we will discuss in a moment.
  • Make sure you add local schema to make sure search engines understand all important information about your business, including your name, location, hours of operation, contact details for the area you serve, services and related social accounts. If you have multiple locations, be sure to write a unique diagram for each location and place it on the appropriate service area page.
  • Include a Google Map linked to your Google Business Profile. This will send the signal that this website serves the targeted area referenced on this page with a direct link.
  • Don’t forget your business information including your NAP, hours of operation, email address and relevant images. Bonus points if these images are geotagged.

2. City-Specific Landing Pages

Screenshot of the metro page, February 2022

We briefly mentioned city-specific landing pages in the last section.

This type of page gives you the possibility to target an agglomeration or a city in which you provide services.

This is especially useful if you don’t have a physical location in that area.

Since the intention of this page is to drive organic traffic from a specific city or town, you absolutely must ensure that the content is unique and targeted to the keywords you have defined in your strategic plan.

It can be as precise as [your service] + [city].

As search engines hunt for the best site to serve their customers with the most relevant search results, you want that content to scream, “I’m that business!”.

Unique Content Tips:

  • Talk about individual services or products you offer in this area and why they are important.
  • Be sure to include surrounding towns and suburbs in content. This will help you expand your local reach.
  • Local landmarks will help validate your knowledge in the field.
  • do not forget to include the address of the office or location that serves the targeted city.
  • Local reviews, testimonials and work stories help build your credibility.
  • Don’t forget your focus. Think of it as the landing page for your customers in the targeted city. This may be your only chance to convert a customer or keep them on your site.

3. Articles and blogs

In today’s social culture, everyone loves a good article or blog, especially if it’s relevant to a situation they’re going through at the time.

The resources section of your site is a great place to address that specific customer need directly while showing that you are the authority in your space.

The best part of having articles and blogs as part of your strategy is the flexibility to really dig into any topic and make it applicable to your service or product.

Don’t make it boring by just reusing the same thing over and over again.

Shake this creative hat and have fun.

Unique Content Tips:

  • Go hyperlocal! Talk about what is happening in your neighborhood or region.
  • Be relevant and punctual. Create content that will interest your users right now. This can range from social issues to events and promotions. Listen to what interests your customers.
  • Deploy your long-tail keyword strategy here. Use your resource pages to create content for those super-targeted keywords that may not match the main areas of your site.
  • Be creative and use checklists, top 10 lists, infographics and video content to engage your local audience.
  • Don’t know what to create? Use your keyword research tools or google trends what is popular in the area you target.
Bike Repair Google Trends OverviewScreenshot from Google Trends, February 2022

4. NAP Information

Although your NAP (name, address and phone number) is not a full page of content, it is extremely important for local SEO.

This is a case where consistency is important and you want it to be the same across the board.

The level of detail required goes as far as if you were using “St.” or “Street” in your address.

This is important because it is how search engines validate your existence on the internet.

If they can match your name, address, and phone number to other sources of information, that shows the connection between your website and other mentions of your business.

You should have this information in your website footer, on metro pages, and on about us pages.

Help your customer and the search engine make the connection.

5. Reviews and testimonials

Reviews and testimonials build trust and credibility with your customers.

According to BrightLocal, 77% of people always or regularly read reviews when looking for a local business.

Don’t be afraid to use the same reviews and testimonials on different pages of your site.

The key here will be to refresh this content periodically.

This can be done manually or through plugins that pull reviews directly from the source.

6. Directory listings

Web directories are still very relevant for local SEO.

We’ve all heard of the most common directories such as Google Business Profile and Bing Places, however, there are a plethora of others that are used often and may not be on your radar.

These include local search directories, map sites, affiliate/review sites, and chambers of commerce.

Each directory can give you the option of having a profile that includes your NAP information along with a list of your services and a business description.

It is not necessary to create a new description or list of services for each directory.

As with the NAP, consistency is important.

You want search engines to be able to connect the dots from directory sites to your website and determine, beyond doubt, that you are the same company.

To save some time, you can sign up for an SEO service that pushes your business information to the most popular directories for you.

As you experiment with these different types of content, you’ll find ways to start integrating your other marketing efforts like social and video content into your local SEO strategy.

Consistency across platforms will further connect the dots across your entire marketing portfolio and create a comprehensive user journey.

Don’t just duplicate this content.

Use the bite-snack-meal model, giving them a little more information at each step.

To start

Planning content for your local SEO efforts can seem daunting when you start, with the right plan in place it will be worth it.

Check out SEJ’s local SEO guide to start this journey.

This will put you on the right path to creating your strategy, planning the right content, driving traffic, and increasing your rankings.

More resources:

Featured Image: limeart/Shutterstock

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