A lot of businesses are uncertain as to how to implement a local search optimisation strategy that will benefit them best. One thing a lot of businesses are uncertain about is whether they should create different landing pages, or mini sites, to target different geographical locations. Getting it right can be a bonus, but getting it wrong can cost your business rankings and money. In this blog post I'm going to tell you exactly when you should build local Landing Pages to target geographic locations, and when you shouldn't.
What type of company are you?
The first thing you need to define is what sort of company you are, because this will help you to determine more easily whether targeted landing pages are a good fit. There are four basic types of business:
- Single location business
Typically this would be somebody like an electrician, working from home. They will usually travel to customers within a maximum of 20 miles or so.
- Bricks and mortar business covering a single location
These types of businesses will usually be things like dentists, restaurants or local shops. The vast majority of their custom is very local, usually within the same town or city.
- Multi-location or multiple service area business
This description covers companies who have more than one location that they serve. They could still be local, but they might have multiple offices or retail premises across a geographic area larger than a city. Or it could be a business that has multiple locations from which it serves its customers, for example a franchise business.
- A national or multinational company
This type of business will be based in one or many locations, and will target a much larger geographical area, but will be seen as one single identity to its customers. An example of this would be a regional or nationwide retailer.
So what local Landing Pages should I be building?
Now you understand what type of business you are, let's talk about whether you should be building local Landing Pages targeting geographical areas.
If you are a single location business, such as a local plumber travelling to service local clients, then you may wish to use landing pages to target a larger area. Let's say you are based in a city, but there are outlying towns, or another city very close by that you also service. Your main website will carry your physical address and other location details. You may also have done some optimisation work, such as adding your business to directories, which will also point Google to see you only as operating in that single location.
So it makes sense for the single location business to add a unique, dedicated landing page to target other locations close by that they will physically serve. The reason for doing this is because Google will probably not rank you locally for those other locations, so the only way you can rank is to have a targeted landing page that will show up in the organic rankings. Google is getting better at showing geographical listings that are relevant, so this will help you to achieve that.
It's slightly different from the bricks and mortar business covering a single location. Usually you will not need to cover multiple locations in terms of Google listings, but this may be slightly different if you offer a service that people will travel for. For example if you are a specialist retailer, then people may travel from much further afield. In this instance, it may be a good fit to target a wider area by using local landing pages to try and achieve rankings in Google's organic listings.
The multiple location or multiple service area business should definitely create highly relevant, individual and targeted local landing pages or mini sites. Because this type of business will usually have different addresses and phone numbers that can be added to these landing pages, this strategy should aid your visibility in the local Google local listings pack. This will be on top of your main website which should target a broader organic listing strategy.
Finally, the national or multinational company who may wish to build a local presence. Again, this will depend on how your business is structured, but if you have multiple offices or premises, then you could build targeted landing pages to try and achieve local Google visibility.
But it may be a better strategy for such a large company to try and organically rank for multiple locations, by building a brand that mentions its locations from a single corporate website. Google is getting better at delivering very high quality location-based results, which a well optimised main site should be able to achieve. This will largely depend on the size of your company, but if you are a restaurant chain with 150 restaurants for example, it really may not be worth your time trying to build 150 high quality, unique landing pages and get them ranking locally.
A better strategy might be to target local directories and review sites that can appear in the search results. Of course, if you have the means then many companies do this, usually by having location selectors which then deliver a local landing page or mini site.
When should I not be building multi-location landing pages?
I think the obvious question to ask yourself is does building these pages make good sense to you or Google?
If the pages are helpful to the visitor, unique, and truly geographically targeted for a service you provide in that area, then there will be benefit in creating these pages. However, if you are speculatively creating every similar landing pages in the hope you might bring in a bit of extra traffic or business from a wider area, then it may be a poor strategy for both you and your potential customer.
On top of that, you have to think about if your website will look spammy to Google. If you have a single website with a single physical address on it, but linking from the home page in the footer you have 30 links all pointing to very similar landing pages which keyword spam different locations, then you are going to probably be doing more harm than good. Not only will Google spot it, but the increasingly savvy visitor will spot it and see it as unscrupulous or desperate.
If you can justify it to your customers, then do it. If you can't, then it's probably best to focus your optimisation efforts on your main website to strengthen its local rankings.