One of the questions I hear quite often is why site owners are not being found for their locations (towns / neighborhoods / cities). The answer is usually right in front of them, but perhaps hidden: businesses need to let the world know what areas they serve. And not just by listing their address in their site’s footer.
Where exactly should you tell the world, and the search engines, about your location? Here are the strategies I’ve used successfully:
Strategy One: Adjust Your Google My Business Listing
The first thing you need to do is to make sure Google knows the locations you serve. This is VERY important, because by doing so, you increase your chances to show up on maps for those areas. I’ll outline how to do this, but let’s start with the assumption that you have a Google My Business (GMB) listing.
- Log into your GMB Account.
- Make sure you’re looking at card view
- Click on Manage Location
- Click Info
- Click Address
- Make sure the yes box next to “I deliver goods and services to my customers at their location” box is checked.
- In the grey box, add the region, city or postal code you serve, then
- Add in the number of miles from that postal code that you cover.
- Press apply.
By adding additional geographic areas to your GMB, you’re telling Google to consider you for queries beyond just the one on your address. If, for example, you live in a small town but you serve clients in an area three towns away, by making this change in GMB, you may come up in searches for that town.
Note: if you provide services at your location (as opposed to going to people’s homes), you need to list your actual street address in GMB. If you do this, the above is not applicable to you, as Google already knows where you are and should be listing you accordingly.
Strategy Two: Keep Your Service Area Page Current
Service Area pages are great things, and they need to be updated frequently for all the locations you serve. I’ve had pet sitters say they only operate in one town because it’s large. That’s cool, but there must be subdivisions, neighborhoods, colleges, developments, military bases, etc. in that town. So guess what? List them! Tell the world that you service those niche areas and you should get some action from folks seeking your help. And in theory, you should also answer fewer questions via email and in meet and greets, because you’re providing information visitors need and can find on their own.
Service Area pages are also quick to update, as it’s usually a matter of logging in and adding or removing text and images.
NOTE: if you have a map on your Service Area page, that’s very cool, BUT the search engines do not recognize text that is contained within images, so don’t rely on that map to help you. You need to list those towns, areas, wherever, in text. I realize you can add alt text to your image, but written text still helps more.
Strategy Three: Adding Topic Pages to Your Site
I’ve pointed out before that Google doesn’t read minds; it needs to see text to recommend it. If you want to be known for serving specific locations, you have to make that clear on your website. I usually recommend placing this info in your header, on your home page, and on your Service Area page. But what if you’d like more? What if someone else is in the number one position for a town you serve, and you’d like a piece of that action? Here’s my final strategy: create a page for each of your areas (or the ones you most want to come up for).
To get the most action from a topic page, make sure the URL and the page name both have the town in them. For example the page could be called Pet Sitting in Bournemouth and the URL could be xxxxxxx.com/pet-sitting-in-bournemouth. By doing that, you get extra attention from the search engines AND it’s an eye-catcher for those browsing search results. For example, if you see a site who lists pet sitting in your town, and their page is called /service-area and your listing says /pet-sitting-in-bournemouth, you’d probably be more inclined to click on that, right? That’s the experience you want for those who find you in searches; you want to present a page title and URL that’s specific to their needs.
Once they arrive at your page, you need to provide good content to both keep them there as well as incline them to contact you. The secret to this is good content. GOOD content. Really nice, good content. How is that defined? Write about the locations you serve. Tell the visitor about the area, and the dog parks, or the pharmacies, or the vet’s offices. Show images of local pet-friendly areas, and show them you both know and like the place. By doing this, you’re showing the world (and the search engines), you’re an expert on that area, and they’ll be more inclined to recommend you (or contact you).
Will These Strategies Work for Services I Provide?
Thank you for asking! Yes, it will. You’ll just need to do the following:
- Check that your category is listed correctly in your Google My Business listing.
- Make sure you keep your Services page updated. Also, expand on each service and then link to a separate page dedicated to that service.
- Create pages for each of your services, and link to them from elsewhere in your site. Be sure to create good content and include images on the new pages.
If you want to be known for certain locations or services, you need to highlight them on your website. The best way to do that is to update your Google Business listing, keep your Service Area (or Services) page current, and add specific pages to highlight different locations or services you provide.