City Pages SEO for Service Area Businesses

City Pages SEO Strategy

In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about the power of City Pages SEO.  This article is an ongoing work in progress and we update the content on a somewhat regular basis.  I typically receive questions about City Pages, and then I come back in and update this article.  So grab a cup a coffee, sit back, and learn everything you can about City Pages SEO.  This single SEO strategy has radically transformed many businesses and continues to drive exponential growth for clients who effectively deploy City Page SEO strategies, such as:

  • Target surrounding cities and markets
  • Get found in top organic search results
  • Connect with a new customer base
  • Drive sales from all over your city
  • Create new income streams

City Pages Help You Get Found in Surrounding Areas

First, when it comes to Local SEO, the proximity of the searcher to your specific business location carries a substantial amount of relevance in determining the search result that searcher will see.

Showing up in Google Maps / 3 pack of local search results is mostly a function of competitor and population density, coupled with the location authority of the specific business listing in Google Maps (I.e. your GMB listing).

The most densely populated, and the more dense the competitive landscape, the smaller your radius of visibility will be in Google Maps.

Building strong location authority to your GMB can extend this radius out even further, but at a certain distance, your specific business location will no longer be seen as geographically relevant to the proximity of the searcher.

This is where city pages come in and play a powerful role in connecting your business to new customers in surrounding service areas.

A city page is optimized for Google organic search results.

And although proximity of the searcher still plays a role in influencing the search results, the influence is typically at a much higher level vs. Google Maps.

So I would recommend building city pages for your surrounding service areas in the Charlotte market.

Charlotte is a big enough city to where it would be very difficult for a business on the south side of Charlotte (for example) to be found in Google Maps search results when someone is searching who’s located in the north side of Charlotte.

But a city page can quickly and easily create that bridge of connecting to your customers… no matter where they are located in the city.

What Are City Pages?

City Pages are pages within your website that are optimized for a specific product or service in a specific city or market.  City Pages are a powerful way to connect with new customers from surrounding cities and markets around your main location.

City Pages are a powerful SEO tool that can help your business rank in surrounding neighborhoods and in cities where you don’t have an address.

** See examples of city pages and their respective rankings in Google search below.

If you’d like to listen to a recent podcast episode on City Pages, here’s one where we talk about the 2 types of City Pages we see are helping to grow businesses:

City Pages are also highly effective for connecting with customers who are searching more niche categories in your business who are located in your main city.

But wait… that may have sounded complicated.

So let me restate the two most powerful ways city pages can help you grow your business:

  1. Get found by new customers in surrounding cities and markets
  2. Get found by new customers searching niche / sub-category products or services within your city

Or you can deploy a combination of both!

For example, you can deploy city pages to reach new customers in surrounding cities for both your main product / service categories AND for your niche / sub-categories of products and services.

Should I change my website so it ranks in neighboring towns?

The best way for your business to get found in Google search in neighboring towns is to build targeted city pages within your website that are optimized specifically for those neighboring towns.

In other words, we recommend a strong 1 to 1 alignment of one city page per neighboring town.

The most specific your city page is to a neighboring town or surrounding city, the more relevant that page will be for your customers in that specific neighboring town.

There are some exceptions to this strict 1 to 1 alignment.

One exception would be for neighboring towns with very small populations, say 10,000 people or less.

In cases where the neighboring towns are small like this, we typically recommend bundling a group of towns into a county page.

And then with great content and strong SEO, this county page can easily rank for any search query that mentions the smaller towns within that county.

If you do build a county page to reach multiple towns or cities, you’ll want to make sure you mention and list out the towns and cities that make up the county.

Using

tags for each town or city within the county would work great.

And then maybe a paragraph or two about each town or city underneath the

tag.

How to rank in cities where you don’t have an address?

This is the magic of city pages!

As you know, your Google My Business listing is applicable and powerful to help your business rank in the city where your GMB listing is verified.

But what if you want to reach new customers in cities where you don’t have an address?

How are you suppose to rank in Google in these cities where you don’t have an address?

This is where city pages come in to give you the visibility in these cities and locations where your don’t have an addressed nor a verified Google My Business listing.

Ranking Beyond My Location

After building hundreds of city pages for clients, the one overriding theme with every client – regardless of their business – is that they simply want their business ranking beyond their location.

The clients we talk with are mostly frustrated about their Google My Business listing is only relevant to their verified location or city.

And within understanding the concept of city pages, they feel stuck because they simply don’t know how to rank beyond their location and out into surrounding cities.

Again, this is where the magic of city pages come in and can drive huge rankings, traffic, and new customers for your business far outside of your main location.

Can you provide examples of city pages and rankings?

Below are a list of example city pages from actual client websites.  These city pages represent the strategy of the business increasing their rankings and presence in surrounding cities.  For example, if your business is located in City A, but you want to get found and attract new customers from City B, City C, and City D, we would build city pages for cities B, C, and D.

Here’s an example set of city pages, targeted keyword phrases, and respective rankings in Google (rankings were accurate at the time we logged the data):

Please keep in mind that we’ve built literally 10’s of thousands of city pages for clients… and this example set is a very small percentage of the overall total inventory of pages that we’ve built that are ranking #1, have featured snippets, and more…

Our techniques / strategies / theories that go into city pages today has evolved quite rapidly, especially over the last 6 – 12 months… since the more we build and the more data feedback we receive, the smarter / more impactful we are getting at deploying city pages.

But this should give you a starting point and, in essence, a case study to review.

City Pages SEO

How can my business get found in multiple locations?

One of the most powerful ways to get your business found in Google search by customers who are in multiple locations is through the use of city pages.  City Pages allow you to target virtually any demographic market such as:  cities, counties, zip codes, neighborhoods, and even specific landmarks, locations, and organizations.

Since city pages are page built directly in your site, you can get really creative with your targeting strategies for city pages.

And since Google ranks pages based on proximity of the person searching, the more granular and effective your targeting, the more likely your city pages can get found by people searching for what you offer.

With Local SEO, you are confined to optimizing for your immediate location or geographic areas.

Because when it comes to Local SEO and Google Maps optimization, you can only leverage your Google My Business listing.

This means, your GMB listing will only help you get found (in most cases) within the city where you have an office.

But what about the dozens, or even hundreds, or surrounding markets where your customers live?

This is where the power of city pages comes in.

City Pages and associated search optimization strategies are one of the fastest growing products that we offer here at Bipper Media because business owners are realizing how big the opportunity is to get found in Google search in surrounding cities.

So keep reading below to see how city pages can help your business get found in surrounding cities, and ultimately help you to grow your business.

It’s 2019, which means it’s time to upgrade your local SEO strategy!

City Pages are a unique strategy that allows your business to get found in surrounding cities and adjacent metro areas relative to your primary location.

Most local SEO agencies will give you a standard response to improving your local rankings in Google Maps such as verifying your Google business listing, building relevant citations, etc…

But in 2019, these fundamental strategies may no longer be enough!

In today’s article, I’m going to show you a local SEO strategy that’s relevant for 2019, and one that goes beyond the local SEO fundamentals that you’ve been reading about.

City Pages Podcast Episode (Listen now…)

LSI:  Latent Semantic Indexing

what are LSI keyword phrases

Ref:  Image from GoBloggingTipc.com

Perhaps one of the greatest advancements in Google’s search algorithm is the move toward topical relevance.

Topical relevance goes beyond specific keyword phrases, and looks to the overall relevance of a particular topic.

One look at the organic rankings for Wikipedia pages will give you an idea of the power of topical relevance.

Today, Google uses LSI technology to determine the overall authority of a page based on topical relevance.

So instead of focusing on just one keyword phrases, Google looks at the content to see how many other “topically related” terms or phrases are used throughout the content.

LSI & City Pages for Local Business

For any business looking to rank in Google for locally targeted keyword phrases, you’ll more than likely need to implement city pages into your marketing strategy.

City pages takes you beyond just your Google business listing for local SEO.

Read more:  Website City Pages:  How Local Business Gets Found in Google Search in Surrounding Cities

With GMB / Google Maps listings, you are limited to only one primary business category and only one specific address or location.

But with city pages, you can now target any combination of product or service and metro area.

Local SEO Surrounding Cities

For example, let’s say my business is located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

I would obviously want a Google business listing verified for local Google Maps rankings.

But what if I also wanted to reach customers in the hundreds of other cities between Fort Lauderdale and Miami, as an example.

Or better yet, what if my business is actually located in a small city somewhere near Fort Lauderdale, where my Google business listing is verified, but I want to reach customers in Fort Lauderdale?

This is where city pages comes into play.

And when you create city pages in your website to compete in Google search in surrounding cities, you need to create pages that have a lot of authority.

For your city pages, the more LSI related keyword phrases your content mentions, the more likely it is that you’ll produce a high quality page that will rank well in Google.

How to gather up LSI keyword phrases for your local rankings

The tool I use for LSI research is LSIgraph.com.  You simply enter your targeted keyword phrase into the search bar, and LSI graph will give you a whole list of topically related keyword phrases.

LSI Graph Local SEO Keyword Phrases

These are the keyword phrases you can now use throughout your city page content.

When using the LSI graph tool for planning your city pages, you do not want to use city names in the tool.

For example, let’s say I’m a car accident lawyer in Chicago and I’m wanting to create a city page targeting Naperville, IL., a suburb of Chicago.

I would turn to the LSI graph tool and enter only the phrase “car accident lawyer”.

You do not want to enter “car accident lawyer in naperville”.

The reason, if you use the metro area in your LSI graph tool, you’ll get a lot of keyword phrases that you absolutely do not want to include in your content, such as direct competitors.

Let me show you can example of what I’m talking about using the keyword phrase “car accident lawyer”.

When I enter this keyword phrase into the LSI Graph tool, here’s what I get:

  • auto accident checklist
  • geico what to do in an accident
  • youtube auto accidents
  • car accident with no police report
  • auto accident
  • accident lawyers
  • auto accident checklist pdf

These are all high quality, topically relevant keyword phrases that I want to use throughout my city page.

But if I include my targeted city name along with the keyword phrase in the LSI graph tool, here’s what I get:

  • steven b levy lawyer
  • chicago car crash lawyer steven levy
  • steven levy lawyer naperville
  • personal injury lawyer naperville
  • illinois accident lawyer steven levy
  • steven levy attorney

See the difference?

If I include the metro area in the keyword phrase, I’ll end up with competitors that I probably wouldn’t want to include in my content.

In summary:

So when you use the LSI graph tool to create your list of topically related keyword phrases, make sure you only use your core keyword phrase related to your topic or business category.

Creating Long Form Content for City Pages

There’s been a ton of research that proves how long form content ranks better in Google search.  However, the content must be great… because great content does not always equal long form content (ref: Moz).

So when creating your city pages, it’s imperative that you take the long form content approach, but do so with high quality content.

Luckily, when you write content that includes a lot of LSI related keyword phrases, you’ll typically end up with 2,000 – 3,000 words of content quite easily.

Using LSI Keyword Phrases as Sub Titles

The way to use LSI keyword phrases to help build out long form content is to use unique LSI keyword phrases as sub titles in your content.

Let’s look again at the LSI list above for “car accident lawyer”:

  • auto accident checklist
  • geico what to do in an accident
  • youtube auto accidents
  • car accident with no police report
  • auto accident
  • accident lawyers
  • auto accident checklist pdf

Looking through that list, and it’s only a small portion of the entire list generated by the LSI graph tool, you’ll quickly see some great sub titles that you can expand upon in your content.

I could easily include sub titles such as:

  • Youtube Auto Accident Videos
  • Car Accidents With No Police Reports
  • Auto Accident Checklist

Under each of these subtitles, I would then use approximately 500 words or more to dive deeper into each section.

One example of using these keyphrase variations in a sentence within the content of your site could be something like this:

“You can also check more details on what best to do in an auto accident when it comes to the law at Stephen Babcock.”

Notice how the phrase “auto accident” is used, which would be a semantic variation of the phase “car accident”.

And then within the content, linking out to a specific page that’s relevant to the phrase.

In the example above, if the law firm of Stephen Babcock could use this sentence on an associated page within the site or within a blog post, and then as I’ve done, link directory to their car accident page.

Rank High in SEO in Towns Your Business Isn’t Located In around Surrounding Cities

Post update from: December 12, 2017

The process of getting found in Google search within the city where you have a business address is called local SEO.

With the right local SEO strategy in place, customers in your market will find you in Google local / Google Maps as they search for your business, products, or services.

Local search results, or Google Maps search results, look like this (via mobile search):

Local SEO Website Design

But what if your business address is located in a smaller city that’s just outside of a large metro area, and that larger market represents hundreds or thousands of new potential customers?

One of the most common questions we get asked here is how can I get my business found in Google in cities and locations where my business isn’t located?

Or better yet, what if your pool of potential customers includes the large metro area and dozens of smaller suburbs surrounding the large city, including the one where you have a business address?

Does this dilemma sound familiar?

Here’s a picture of that is might look like when you have a business in Miami, but you want to get found in many of the surrounding cities.

Local SEO Surrounding Cities

One of the most common questions I get from both current clients, and normal conversations I have with business owners, is “how can get found by new customers in multiple cities?”

Read also:  Local Business SEO:  Growing your business in surrounding cities

You can’t go the local SEO route because that would require you to have a physical address in all of those surrounding cities.

And you can’t just publish a list of dozens of cities on your homepage where you also serve customers.

Well you can do that, but I strongly recommend against it because you would end up diluting your relevance for the main city where you have a business address.

In order to get your business found in multiple surrounding cities, you have to leverage what we call City Pages and understand the dynamics of how they work and they value they can add to your business.

Time tested city page strategies

After building out hundreds of city pages for clients, we’ve seen first hand how quickly city pages can rank high in Google search, get found fast by new customers, and drive strong growth and ROI for literally any type of business.

From commercial roofers, to lawyers, dentists, and carpet cleaners… and even large enterprise corporations, city pages are by far the most effective way to reach new customers in multiple cities.

But what makes up an effective city page?

An effective city page has 4 characteristics

From our experience, an effective city page that ranks high, gets found fast in Google search, and drives growth in new customers has these 4 characteristics:

  1. city pages provide detailed information about your target city or target geographic area
  2. city pages always provide valuable information about your business, products, and services
  3. city pages are always structured to convert visitors into paying customers
  4. city pages that include detailed Schema language / structured data

High quality information about your target city or target geographic area

City pages can be optimized to target an entire metro area, or even as granular as an intersection or exit on a highway.

Regardless of the target market, you’ll need to include detailed information specific to that geographic area.

One strategy we like to use is what’s called location signals.

Location signals is where we include outbound links to prominent landmarks, businesses, or other geographic features are specific to that target area.

Location signals help make your city page hyper relevant to a specific geographic area.

Along with location signals, we also include several paragraphs of original content and research that’s also relevant to that specific geographic area.

Read more:  Local SEO Citations:  How To Build Citations to Improve Your Presence in Google Maps

High quality information about your business, products, and services

Along with providing detailed information about your target city or geographic area, you must provide well written, detailed information about the products and services you provide.

Including detailed information about your products and services will help tailor the search results to potential customers.

For example, if you provide pool services in Tampa, Florida, then you’ll want to include helpful information that explains how you help your customers with their pool cleaning needs.

Including customer testimonials in this section is also valuable as it provides what’s called social proof, i.e. how other customers feel about your services.

We’ve written before about the power of the LSI index (Latent Semantic Index), which you can use to find additional related keyword phrases and topics to include as you talk about your products and services.

You can learn more about latent semantic analysis (if interested) here.

LSI Graph Keyword Research

You can find the LSI tool we use here.

One way to optimize your hyper local city page content with rich, detailed information is to include many of these LSI topics and keyword phrases, along with supporting content that discusses those topics.

How long or how many words should your city page be?

Word Count SEO

We’ve also talked about the length of your content and how long form content can be leveraged for local SEO.

In order to give your city page a chance to rank in hyper competitive markets, we shoot for around 2,500 words for the content length.

Backlino has a great article that talks about content length.

This is a lot of content indeed, but that’s where the LSI graph can come in handy to help you talk about several related topics around your core product and service.

CITY PAGE PRICING & PACKAGES

Location Signals within your city page content

Finally, you should include what’s called Location Signals within the content for your page.

Local signals are outbound links pointing to authoritative landmarks, businesses such as popular restaurants and hotels, and other key websites that represent your hyper local area you are targeting.

For example, below is a group of location signals we included in one of our client’s car accident lawyer city pages:

local city pages car accident lawyer

In order to generate these lists of businesses, we simply go to Google Maps > search the city name > click the “NEARBY” icon > then use the top recommendations from Google Maps for things like hotels, restaurants, and other relevant resources.

Each of these outbound links help to increase the relevance of your page in a specific geographic location by using links out to other authoritative resources that are also in that market.

Here’s what these local recommendations look like in Google Maps:

Google Maps Recommendations

Then you would simply click one of those recommendations (Restaurants nearby, Hotels nearby, Bars and pubs nearby, etc…) to get the most relevant and authoritative recommendations.

When I click “Restaurants nearby” for example, I get the follow list of restaurants in Atlanta:

Restaurants in Atlanta

City pages designed to convert visitors into payment customers

Your hyper local city page has to be structured to convert new customers.

We’ve found that for most local businesses, getting a phone call from a new customer is the most effective form of sales conversions.

In fact, recent research shows that 70% of mobile searchers call a local business directly from the search results (via Google Inside Adwords blog).

Face it, when someone searches for a local business, they more than like want to simply call to get their questions answered about your products and services, or to schedule an appointment.

And Google knows this, so within the local / Google Map search results, you will mostly see one action for a user to take which is to call the local business.

Take a look at the very first image I posted at the top of this article of the Google mobile local search results… notice how the only button available is the “Call” button.

But for the visitors who do click through to your website, they are most likely wanting to call your business.  So having a prominently displayed call button is critically important on your mobile site.

Here’s a few examples of client city pages we created.  As you can see, these pages are focused heavily on mobile since the majority of search traffic comes from mobile, and they are designed to get a visitor to quickly place a call in to the business:

Local SEO City Pages Local SEO City Pages Local SEO City Pages Local SEO City Pages Local SEO City Pages Local SEO City Pages

Again, for a city page to be effective you must get visitors to call your business or request information from your business through a lead generation form.

Lead generation and new customer acquisition is at the heart of an effective city page or geographic targeting campaign.

CITY PAGE PRICING & PACKAGES

Being patient with City Pages and geo-targeted pages

Getting your city page found by customers who live in your target city doesn’t always happen overnight though.

How quickly your city page gets ranked in Google search and found by prospective customers is mostly a function of websites’ current level of domain authority.

The more domain authority your site has, the faster a new city page will shoot up to the top search results in Google for keyword phrases related to your business, product, or services.

If your website is currently lacking domain authority, then you’ll need to be patient as Google crawls, indexes, and associates value and authority to your page.

Of course there are always ways you can go about building the domain authority of your website and location authority of your presence in local markets.

Read also:  20 Local SEO Tips for 2017 to boost your rankings in Google local search

But once domain and / or location authority is established, then your city page will hit a tipping point and start producing traffic, leads, and sales for your business.

And as we’ve seen many times, this tipping point can produce exponential growth in website visits and phone calls from your target city.

The growth factor can be even greater when you start targeting many surrounding cities.

We recently finished a city page project where our client wanted to target 103 cities in south Florida.

And within just a few months, we started to see these city pages shoot to the top search results in Google and start producing strong ROI for our client’s business.

Here’s a screenshot of the exponential growth one of our dental practice clients saw as a result of the growth in their location authority:

Local SEO Growth Chart

Notice the take off that occurred from October 2015 to November 2016.

This is what happens once you hit a tipping point in your location authority.

Schema markup language within your city pages

The future of search is already here!

And the future of search optimization – things you can do to help your business get found in these new paradigms of search – is structured data.

And structured data is driven by Schema language.

You can learn more about Schema and structured language here.

Things like voice search, AI, and knowledge cards in Google search are already taking precedence and changing the behavior of the way people search.

Platforms like Siri, Alexa, and Google voice search are not just the future of user interface… the future is already here as we are seeing the growth of voice search and AI driven results take off.

Check out some of these growth stats on voice search.

Stats on voice search, mobile, and AI:

For any given city page, you can layer in JSON-LD / Schema markup language to help search engines and apps better understand the context of your page.

The more structured data you implement (i.e. Schema / JSON-LD) the more detailed your content will appear in the new age of intelligent search.  And the more presence and exposure your pages will have in these search results.

Hyper local SEO:  Going beyond the metro area with your city pages and targeting more granular geographic areas

We’ve learned that city pages can be leveraged for much more than just targeting a particular city.

We are now producing “city pages” that target more granular geographic segments such as:

  • zip codes
  • major interstate intersections
  • exits on major highways
  • neighborhoods within parts of a city

One example of this is a brain injury law firm client that has two offices in the state of Wisconsin.

This law firm wanted to 20 city pages targeting the 20 largest metro areas in Wisconsin with their “brain injury lawyer” practice, and then 20 additional city pages targeting the busiest interstate crossing (where multiple interstates come together) for their “truck accident lawyer” practice.

When you start producing city pages for major interstate junctions, you know you are getting hyper local with your SEO strategy.

But the results have been amazing for this client, and they continue to realize strong ROI from their investment in this city page strategy.

Hyper local SEO for city pages means detailed knowledge and understand of your target area

In order to implement effective hyper local SEO for city pages, you must have a strong understanding of the specific demographics you are wanting to target.

You literally have to know the detailed demographics at a neighborhood, zip code, or intersection level.

We’ve been talking to another law firm that wants to leverage city pages to blanket an area around one major