Learn how to rank your business in Google for multiple locations even where you don’t have a physical address so you can extend your reach further afield.
Local SEO tutorial – The secrets to rank in Google for multiple locations (even where you have no address)
So, your business is continuously showing up in the Google map pack for your city or service area for some great keywords. And since this is driving a big chunk of visitors to your site, you naturally want your business to also be listed in the Google map pack for the bordering cities or nearby areas.
The bad news is, Google ranks local businesses in the map pack based on the proximity of the searcher.
So, unless you have a legitimate business address in each area you are targeting where you can claim a Google my business page, there is little to no chance your business will be listed in the map pack for those areas.
The good news is, it is still possible to target top rankings in Google’s search results for cities or neighbourhoods where you don’t have a business address.
How? By targeting what I would call “classic local organic results” which still generate a huge number of clicks and potentially many visitors to your site.
But there are many pitfalls to avoid if you want to get maximum visibility.
In today’s video I am going to show you what the best approach is to claim the top spots in organic results for areas where you can’t have a google my business page, so you can get more visitors and more leads.
I’m luc durand the founder of ranking academy.co.uk where I help small business owners like you with their marketing efforts for better online visibility step by step and click by click
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The key to ranking in local organic results where you don’t have a business address is to create what is known as a “city landing page” for the city or area you are targeting. But not any “city landing page”. let me start by showing you what you mustn’t do using this chartered surveyor’s website as an example.
Here is a typical city landing page you might have come across
With this page, this business is clearly targeting anyone searching for the keyword “chartered surveyor” in the Chelsea area which for those of you who don’t know, is in London.
Let’s now have a look at another one of their pages which is targeting visitors searching for the same keyword but this time in the city of Chesham.
Are you starting to see something strange?
Maybe not, so let’s have a look at a third page to be sure, which is still targeting the same Keyword, “chartered surveyor”, in another area of London called Chiltern place.
Is it clearer? These pages are simply identical. The only thing that makes them slightly different is the location being mentioned once in the heading, once in the paragraph once in the url and once in the page title.
This is a prime example of what you mustn’t do when you want your business to rank in local organic results. And although you may still see some of these pages popping up in Google search results from time to time, it is a very bad strategy for many reasons:
The biggest reason of all is that Google will consider these pages as doorway pages.
Doorway pages are, according to Google, pages that have been created to rank highly for specific search queries.”
Example of such pages are “pages targeted at specific regions or cities that funnel users to one page”
This means that at best, these pages will be ignored by google, at worst, your entire site might be penalised by Google, and believe me, you don’t want that.
And if the risk of being penalised by Google is not a good enough reason for you to stay away from this strategy here are another few.
Staying with our chartered surveyor example, if I navigate to their “area covered” section I unearth an absolute monster.
These guys have created a “city landing page” practically for each service they provide and combined them with each location, resulting in the creation of over 350 doorway pages.
Beside the fact it must have taken a fair amount of time to create these dumb pages, any changes they will want to make to their website in the future, such as changing their site structure, will be a huge task.
Any visitor coming across these pages will not see a lot of value in them and are likely to bounce…
Since the content is literally the same on every page and it’s likely to be a copy and paste job, one mistake in the master copy and you’ll end up correcting hundreds of pages…one after the other.
There are plenty of other reasons I could talk about here why you shouldn’t do this, but I think these are more than enough to make you understand it is a bad idea.
So how should you build an effective “city landing page?”
You need to create a page that is unique with high-quality content which is relevant to the city or area you are targeting.
Let’s break each element you need to include on your page one by one, starting with:
Your page title or also known as Meta title which is what will be displayed in Google search results.
The recommendation here is to include the keyword you would like to be found for, use your most valued keywords, along with the city or the area you are targeting, and finish off with your business name.
Moving on to your meta description, try to encourage searchers to click on your site by crafting an appealing description. Here is an example of a description for our emergency electrician in Brooklyn. Try including your targeted city in there as well. It won’t make your site rank higher but it will be bolded in the results if people search for it.
You can also test the description in our handy tool.
Both your meta title and meta description are bits of HTML code in the header of your webpage. If you don’t know how to change them, get in touch with your web developer.
Next thing we are going to cover is the URL
There are two ways of approaching this. You can either include your keyword and city as part of your URL like this
Since URLs are an SEO signal, including both the keyword and city in there may help you rank higher.
The other option is to add the location you are targeting only, right after your business main domain.
I would recommend this approach based on how Google sees some links with excessive keywords in them as potentially being a little suspicious, plus it’s a lot cleaner and easier to read.
Once again, you can check your URL in our handy tool.
Let’s now move on to the content of the page itself.
For this I have created a dummy page for our emergency electrician in Brooklyn and I’m going to cover each element one by one you should be considering.
You can use this as an example if you want to but be as creative as you want to be.
Let’s start with our page heading
Include once again your main keyword along with the location
Add a little introductory paragraph underneath if you want to make it a little bit more appealing.
A little further down the page, add a description of what your business is all about including information such as when your business was founded, the type of services you offer, how long you’ve been operating in the area, if you’ve done any work for any well know local establishment (don’t forget to mention them) ,. What your USPs are in this specific area. Anything you can think of that will be very specific to the area you are trying to cover.
I also like to add a google map in there that is specific to the area, pulled straight from Google. As you can see, it also mentions Brooklyn in there.
If you are aware of any advice or new regulation related to your industry that may affect the local community, add it also in there.
Add examples of work you have completed in this area. Use images or even better videos and add a description of what you did there. Before and after pictures also work very well there.
You might also want to mention the address of where the job was completed as part of the description
Add testimonials from customers you have worked for in the targeted area. Try to get unique testimonials which are not on any other platform like google or yelp and include a picture of them as well, if you can. This will give credibility to your business and build trust with potential viewers.
if there are any specific members of your team dedicated to this area you can make a quick introduction video of them. If you don’t have a video, use a picture and add a description.
It will give your potential clients the opportunity to meet them before they turn up at their door which is very reassuring.
Add further credibility and reassurance with any satisfaction guarantee statement or official qualification type.
Add an FAQ section. Collect all the most relevant questions related to the targeted area your customers ask and add them to the page.
Add any local events in which you or your company take part.
Consider adding an offer in the form of a discount or a coupon to anyone who lives in the community.
Finish the page off with a final call to action, add your business address, your phone number, your email address, maybe some form of payment you take, and your operating hours.
If you want to see how the page works go to rankingacademy.co.uk/Brooklyn where you can browse the content of the page and maybe find some inspiration there.
There are another couple of very important steps you need to consider before adding location pages to you site.
First, make sure you build a dedicated page for each and every service that you provide and from each service page, link to your location page. Look at this example from the handyman company for their home remodelling service.
Once your location pages are built, you might want to add a menu in your navigation such as “areas covered” or “service areas” with sub menu to each location page to make it easy for the users as well as search engines to crawl your pages.
That’s it for today, as you can see there is a lot of work involved for just one page so don’t set out to take over the world and build tons of them because you will spread yourself very thin. Less is best so start with 1 or 2 and see how you get on.