When customers go online, they aren’t just looking for entertaining videos. They’re looking to purchase. If they can purchase from a local business, even better.
That’s great news for your business—if you have a location page.
What are location pages? We’re glad you asked. Keep reading for a complete guide to location pages, how to use location pages for SEO, and how to make your own.
First, let’s cover the central question: what is a location page?
A location page allows you to target several highly specific, long-tail location-related terms. It’s also called a local landing page.
Basically, it’s an optimized page designed to get your site SEO hits for highly specialized location terms that don’t have much outside competition. These types of pages are best suited to two types of businesses:
The goal here is to make up for the fact that you’re struggling to rank for local SEO in other locations beyond your main storefront. When done properly, location pages can pick up the slack for local SEO.
Local SEO targets customers within the same geographic area as your business. While location pages are not local SEO, the basic principle is similar.
Let’s say you own a bakery in Annapolis, Maryland, for example. While in theory you could attract customers from all over the world to your site, the customers you really care about are based in Annapolis and the surrounding area, since they’re most likely to actually visit your bakery in real life.
This is where local SEO comes in, ensuring that your business appears in relevant searches for customers in your area.
And since almost half of all Google searches have local intent, that’s quite a potential crowd.
The key difference between local SEO and location pages is that local SEO uses map listings, while location pages target location-specific long-tail keywords.
How do location pages fit in?
Unlike regular SEO, local SEO is based on geographic markers—instead of targeting all possible searchers, it will only target searches within a specific geographic area. In order for your business to match searches by customers in an area, search engines have to know that your business is located in that geographic area.
Location pages are not local SEO and they don’t use geographic markers, but they are a way to work around common issues with local SEO.
We said earlier that service-area business and brick-and-mortars with multiple locations are the best candidates for location pages. That’s because these businesses often have a hard time making headway with local SEO in areas beyond their main location—leaving potential customers out of the loop.
Location pages won’t rank on local SEO, but they will help you rank for geographically-specific keywords that will allow you to appear in local searches. Think of it as the near-cousin of local SEO.
However, there is some back and forth about whether you should be using location pages. That’s because there’s some debate as to whether location pages, or local landing pages, are the same thing as doorway pages.
Doorway pages are sites or pages designed to rank highly for specific searches. Which is fine, except for the part where they lead to multiple similar pages in search results and each of those results takes the user to the same destination.
Common examples listed by Google Webmasters include:
Under Google’s Webmaster guidelines, doorway pages are a no-go because they’re designed to trick users instead of providing them with genuinely useful content.
Remember, Google is a business too. And like you, they’re focused on providing their customers the best possible user experience.
Under this definition of doorway pages, then multiple location landing pages could theoretically be considered doorway pages. After all, they’re pages designed to rank highly in search engines and direct searchers toward genuinely relevant content.
Then again, what is the point of your webpages if not to direct your customers toward genuinely relevant content?
Local landing pages are helpful to your local customers, and many sites still use them. You can make the most of location pages for your customers, and your customers will thank you for doing so.
After all, at the end of the day, you need to tell your customers about the areas you serve. And if you are actually providing useful information to your customers on these pages, your customers will be willing to do business with you.
The trick is to use the same rule you would apply to all of your best SEO-oriented content: your locations must be unique and useful to your customers. Fortunately, if you design your location pages properly, meeting this unique and useful standard is a breeze.
With that in mind, let’s talk about how to make a location page. Let’s start with the basics and say that your business only has one location.
In this case, you’re trying to rank for geographically-specific keywords for one area. To do this, you’ll want to create a landing page that targets highly specific local keywords that might not get a lot of competing traffic. Create content that offers real information and genuinely useful local links as a way to show up in local searches.
If your business has more than one location, you’ll need to create a location page for each individual location, rather than putting all of that information on one unified page.
From there, you’ll also want to optimize your location pages with things like location-specific meta descriptions and title tags.
Treat these pages as an opportunity to tell customers something important about who you are and what you do. If you find yourself making copies of the same page and changing the details, you probably don’t have enough content to do location pages for multiple locations. Stick to the locations where you can offer real value.
Conquering your SEO involves balancing strategies.
It’s not enough to just have local SEO. It’s not enough to just have location pages either.
You need to provide real value to your potential clients, a value that’s evident to a search engine. The goal is not to trick a search engine, but rather to provide content that is genuinely useful.
That’s the beauty of location pages–you’re telling your customers where you are. And if you want them to buy from you, that’s genuinely useful information.