Landing Pages for Local Businesses can be a powerful weapon, especially mobile businesses like building contractors, carpenters, painters and decorators. In this post I’ll walk you through how to use Local Landing Pages for the best results and get the best return on your investment. That investment could be financial, but in the case of start-ups or SMEs it is most often time and effort. We’ll also take a look at some live examples, what they are doing right and what they are getting wrong.
You run a small, service business and you work in and around your local town or city. Business is good and you want to expand and take on more staff, maybe buy a second van. Expanding your business, in many cases, means taking on work in a wider geographical area.
In today’s digital marketplace how do you target new towns, cities and counties using your website?
This is a beginners guide, and it isn’t the only way to expand your business. But from a website/social media point of view local landing pages are easy to understand and proven to work in a variety of industries.
What are Landing Pages?
The most basic definition of a landing page is that it is the first page a user visits on your website. They may click on a link from a social media platform like Facebook or Twitter. They might search for a product or service in Google and click on your result. However they get there, the first page is their landing page.
Landing pages are often associated with e-commerce, email marketing and PPC advertising. Back in 2003 Microsoft built what is believed to be the first landing page to increase the sales of their Office products. Since then companies like Unbounce have elevated the tactic to an art form.
Landing Pages are not just about paid forms of online marketing. In this post we are specifically talking about landing pages for local businesses. And what I mean by that are blog posts that target specific geographical locations. This is part of what is known as Local SEO.
What is Local SEO?
When I first started in the world of online marketing Google Maps was pretty new and it was just starting to become relevant to local businesses. In those early days gaining visibility as a local business was very simple. Launch a website, keyword target your service and area with pages, Google+ business page, a few local listings from Golden Pages and Yelp… Bingo!!
These days the local business space is highly competitive. With the advent of mobile, including mobile first indexing, location and user based search results it has become harder and harder to secure high ranking slots. At the same time it has become vital to the success of your business and so cannot be ignored.
Not Just Location based Searches
As you probably know, the results you see for a particular search term are different depending on your location. This is not only true of mobile searches but desktop as well, via your I.P. address. Location based searches have a town, city, country etc. in the search term eg. “plumber in athlone,” or “home removal near me,” but Google also does this automatically.
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Using the Google Ads Preview Tool
You should try this out for your business using the Google Ad Preview Tool, you don’t have to run adverts to use this tool. Enter a search term that matters to your business, a location and a device and see where you rank for that term in a particular area. Also check out the competition and what they are doing to rank.
On the right is an example for the search term “handmade wooden kitchens.” The screenshot on the right shows the results for Roscommon and below for Dublin.
The first set of results, seen here are what is called the local pack. Google My Business ranks these Listings. The keyword targeting of your website is also a factor in being listed here (take a closer look at listing 3).
Up next are the image results. These rank based on a number of factors; image alt. tag, title, some variety of Page Rank including links and text around the image. Google cannot yet see what is in an image, it uses other information to rank them.
These are the results you will be targeting with your landing pages. The results for the same search term are below with the location changed from Roscommon to Dublin.
Check out the full results with the Google Ads Preview Tool, you will see that they differ by location greatly. For example, the result below appears in the right sidebar of the SERP (search engine results page). It’s a local pack result but it’s the only one on the page. At the top of the page are some image results similar to the Roscommon results page, next are the top 5 results. Roscommon and Dublin have 3 of these the same and 2 different
“handmade wooden kitchens” Dublin Search Results
Implementing Landing Pages for Local Businesses
In a previous post, Think Like a Blogger, I outline how you should think of every job as a blog post. The first time you complete a contract in a new geographical location that blog post will be your new local landing page. Over time it will bring in inquiries from that location without you doing anything more.
In the post use the service (what the job was eg. handmade kitchen) followed by the location in the following places;
These are SEO basics for all blog posts and pages. Some have very little ranking power but are still best practices. They give your post, and the search result that links to it, structure and inform your writing style.
Question : If I have never worked in a particular area how do I write a post about it?
Good question. There are 3 answers. Choose the right direction for your business...
This doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Using Facebook is the easiest and most cost effective way, but Google Ads can work as well. The Facebook Ads platform is more user friendly for the beginner.
Choose the right page on your website to promote with your advert. Your most profitable service, a blog post targeting a nearby area, it could even be the Home Page.
Target the advert at your type of customer (eg, women, 35-60, married) and the geographical location. Use the CPC (cost-per-click) model for the best results. You might only pay €0.05 per click, that would be 1000 clicks for just €50. If you have everything else in place you should get a very decent amount of leads / business from this.
This one is easy, but can be expensive. Take out an advert on a local radio station or in a local newspaper. Choose a platform that can show you good numbers for the geographic location that you want to target.
Tip : Make sure to have your website URL as prominent as possible in the advert.
Re-Format a Post
This has to be done carefully but can work really well. Choose a previous post that isn’t performing as well as you’d hoped. Maybe it is targeted at a very competitive market, location or demographic group.
Make sure that it is not too far away from the new area you want to target. Use sentences like, “This job was actually in X but we also work area Y.””If you are looking for this type of work in area A, B, C contact us.”
You should rewrite the post using all of the SEO basics outlined above, targeting the new geographic location. It’s not misleading. It tells your website visitors what you do and the town, cities and counties where you do it.
“With all other things being equal; you have a Page entitled Handmade Wooden Kitchens in Rathmines, Dublin 6, and keyword target this term correctly in the post. Your competitor has a page entitled Handmade Wooden Kitchens. Your page should outrank their page for the search term “handmade wooden kitchens” when the search is carried out in that area.”
Real World Examples of Landing Pages for Local Businesses
Local Landing Pages for Small Businesses are better for some areas and some industries than others. Only 3% of Irish SMEs have a well maintained blog on their company website so finding good local examples can be difficult.
We’ve been talking about kitchen throughout this post so let’s stick with that example. One niche industry, both in Ireland and the UK, that is making a reasonable job of location targeting is the after market hand painting of kitchens and furniture, a specialist offshoot of the decorating trade.
Oisin Butler Ltd.
Digital Marketing Like a Pro
The best example from Ireland comes from Oisin Butler Ltd. They are a decorating company specializing in hand painted kitchens. Lets take a look at their page targeting Dublin for the search term “hand painted kitchens.”
The screen shots on the right are from the URL…
Although not without issues, technical, structural and SEO, the website is clean and easy to navigate.
This page ranks number 1 for the search term “hand painted kitchens in Dublin” regardless of where the search is performed and number 2 for “hand painted kitchens” when the search is performed in the Dublin area. Very good results for a small trade business, in some cases competing with much larger companies.
The main menu is well structured, containing everything you would expect to see. At the very top of the page you’ll find contact and social media info. This scrolls with you as you travel down the page, a helpful, user friendly feature.
This is an excellent landing page. It has the location and the service in all the important places. The page provides much of the information visitors require in a question and answer format. The searcher intent is met well.
The sidebar isn’t overly cluttered, a list of recent blog posts and a Facebook feed (1,445 Page Likes). The Facebook Page is very good. The profile is complete and the posts are regular and high quality, including job-site video.
Richard Burke Kitchen Design
Sometimes Less is more? Sometimes More is More
...And Now for the bad aspects.
The Page above…
…is what can be called an orphan. This means that it impossible or very difficult to get to. Either from the main navigation or through other pages. This is very bad from an SEO and a user experience point of view.
Some aspects of this website are very impressive and some areas could do with modernizing. It is a minimalist themed website with zero clutter. No, sidebar, no pop-ups and no movement whatsoever while you scroll through the pages.
There is a clear contact section, the about section is divided up well and answers the users questions and the Portfolio Page contains some excellent, high quality photographs.
It gets worse. Every county links to a page eg. http://www.richardburkedesign.ie/locations/kitchen-design-cork/.
The idea, the one I outlined above. Having a landing page for every location covered and service provided is a good idea. But every page is exactly the same. The only difference being a changed county name, in the URL and where it appears in the text.
The structure is great, using a map linking to local landing pages. But all the good work is being wasted. Each page should be a detailed post outlining a kitchen design contract completed in that county or nearby. There are 9 high quality images on the Portfolio page, I would bet that this webmaster has 100’s more. These should be used on these pages.
Google is heavily penalizing this site. Orphan pages and duplicate content are both important ranking factors and this site falls down in both areas.
To asses the opportunity for this website to rank for it’s keyword target, “kitchen designer” Lets return to the Google Ads Preview Tool. You wouldn’t have to be particularly detailed at this stage of your own assessment. Use the preview tool to identify your rough ranking in all of the areas you cover.
Take Advantage of Local Opportunities
Google is indexing these pages. Even though they are filled with thin, duplicate content. This offers a massive opportunity for the expansion of the entire website and in tern, the business as a whole.
Start with the highest ranking pages. In this case they are large, highly populated counties with major cities for county capitals, Galway and Limerick. 500-1000 words of copy on each of these pages with high quality images and prominent call-to-action would perform extremely well.
The owner of this website should move down the list of rankings carrying out the same process for each of the 26 county pages they already have.
Using the tactics outlined above Richard Burke Ltd. could vastly improve their online visibility and grow their volume of inquiries exponentially. Another side issue I noticed during this assessment was they didn’t appear in any local pack results (at the top of the page, for local businesses using the Google My Business platform), another missed opportunity for online exposure.
Thank you for reading this post and I hope you find it useful in your online marketing efforts. Some of your competitors are implementing this strategy already, check out what they are doing. Others are not, but they may still be outranking your website in other ways. A few simple changes can make all the difference. Good luck.