Get your business found in multiple cities
The process of getting found in Google search within the city where your 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):
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?
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.
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?”
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:
- city pages provide detailed information about your target city or target geographic area
- city pages always provide valuable information about your business, products, and services
- city pages are always structured to convert visitors into paying customers
- 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.
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.
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?
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.
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:
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:
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:
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:
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.
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.
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:
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:
- Google announced at at their I/O 2017 conference that 20 percent of all U.S. searches are now voice search.
- 50% of B2B search queries today are made on smartphones (Boston Consulting Group, Oct. 2017)
- By 2020, 50 percent of all searches will be voice searches (ComScore research via Campaign)
- 20% of a mobile search queries are now voice searches (Campaign)
- The Google search app gets 30X as many action queries by voice as by typing (Think With Google)
- Voice search is significant factor in the future of search (Hilton’s Melissa Walner, GeoMarketing by Yext)
- 58 percent of all question queries have voice search results in Google (iProspect)
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 exit on a highway in metro Atlanta.
In order to do this effectively, we will end up driving to the exit to take detailed notes, pictures, and even talk to some business owners in that area, in order to get a deep understanding of what makes up the demographics of this one exit.
The more detailed and granular your understanding is for a target market, the more effective you can make the content for your hyper local city page.
Effective content means higher quality city pages, and higher quality city pages ALWAYS results in higher rankings and more new customers for your business.
I hope this article was valuable to you as you look to implement city pages for your business.
As always, let us know if you have any questions or comments by posting a comment below are contacting us today.
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