Are you doing business outside of your business’s primary physical location? Wondering whether you could rank beyond it, and appear in the local search results in multiple cities?
You’re not alone.
Many business owners tell me how, although they’re based in one place, they know they could serve potential customers from other nearby locations as well.
And so, they wonder, whether it’s even possible to rank in multiple locations. Could their company appear in the search results for keywords targeting different cities as well?
Well, good news – The answer is a resounding yes. And in this guide, you’ll learn all about it, from how to use location SEO, to creating SEO city pages to rank in multiple cities.
But first, let’s get a wide perspective on the problem.
How Local Keywords Drive Your Success
It goes without saying – Local SEO is beyond critical for professional services firms.
46% of searches in Google have a local intent, after all.
This means that half of the people using Google do not look for videos, articles, or other information. They seek something relating to a local business, event, or place.
Now, that’s a huge number of searches, isn’t it?
Such data suggest that ranking well in the SERPs for location-specific keywords like “injury lawyer Plano,” “plumber Plano Texas” or any other phrase that references your services and the location is bound to help grow the business.
You can get more leads and inquiries this way. And since all those website visitors will search for a professional firm in your location, the chances for you to get their business are high.
Local SEO will attract foot traffic as well. Later in this guide, we’ll talk more about how to deal with this issue when you’re ranking in multiple cities. For now, it’s sufficient to say that Google Maps or Google My Business listings featuring your physical address can attract more people to your premises too. The same goes for customers dialing your phone number directly from the listing.
(By the way, the above is true for 88% of customers who search for local business on their mobile devices. In fact, that’s how many people will either call or visit the company within 24 hours of their search.)
It’s also relatively easier to get on the local search listings. Not only will your listing compete with fewer pages. You also have far greater control over it through the Google My Business platform.
But What If You Decide to Expand to Other Locations?
What happens when you decide to replicate those results in locations where you don’t have a physical business address?
It can happen in many different ways. You could decide to target:
- Other areas within your city or a zip code. These could include different neighborhoods, for example. Or, perhaps, you’ve upgraded the business and can now service a greater radius around your location and expand to new areas of the city.
- The entire region, such as a county or state. Once again, the business may have grown enough that you feel confident about taking on clients who reside further away from you.
- Multiple cities, usually within the same area, though. You could decide to expand operations to major business centers in your state, and want to appear in local results there as well.
- Nationwide locations in key business areas. In this case, you may decide to target customers in every large city or area, for example.
You could have decided where to expand your business based on many criteria as well:
- Proximity to a remote employee who could staff the new location.
- Previous success with customers from the other location.
- Having customers who have an issue in your location but reside in a completely different city or area.
Regardless of your choice, you do need to rank in those places.
And here is exactly how to do it.
How to Rank in Multiple Cities with SEO City Landing Pages
The idea of city landing pages isn’t necessarily new. These pages help companies target multiple locations with content optimized for those places.
- City landing pages look almost exactly the same as a typical location page. The one exception is that they do not contain a physical address.
- SEO city pages are ideal for businesses that operate in one location but want to serve customers in another city or area.
- SEO city pages can also help businesses without any physical location who want to serve customers in nearby locations. Plumbers and tradesmen, for example, often work across multiple locations. Such city landing pages could help them appear in SERP results to anyone from those locations looking for their help.
In short, SEO city landing pages are your ticket to ranking in multiple locations.
Before we discuss what to include on those pages, there’s something else we need to touch upon.
Because There’s a Catch…
You see, to succeed, those landing pages have to be unique.
I’m mentioning this because companies often assume that they could create a city landing page, write content, and then duplicate it as many times as they need, only to change the location’s name.
Well, unfortunately, ideal as such a solution might seem, it wouldn’t have worked.
You see, such pages would, most likely, trigger the duplicate content issue. That, in turn, would result in poor rankings at best and a Google penalty at worst.
For that reason, your city landing pages must be unique, beyond just a different location.
Here’s how to achieve it.
What Makes a Successful SEO City Page?
Before we begin, let me show you an example of a great SEO city landing page:
Using this page as a template, we can quickly identify the top elements of a solid SEO city page:
#1. On-page optimization
SEO city pages work just like any other SEO-worthy content on the site. And that means that you need to optimize them for target keywords in a similar way as you optimize blog posts and other assets.
You need to give the page a proper title tag, for example. However, because the purpose of this content is to rank beyond your location, you need to expand the title tag with the target location, the top keyword you want it to rank for, and your brand.
In general, you should include no more than 50-60 characters in the title tag. You should have enough space for the three elements above, but nothing else.
So, avoid stuffing the title tag with unnecessary information.
List the top keyword, target location, and close it with your brand name.
You also need to specify a meta description. Because meta description isn’t as critical a ranking factor as it once has been, you can be more relaxed about what you include there. For example, it’s a good practice to include the top keyword or its variation. However, you can also focus the meta description on the benefits of using your services to entice users to visit your page.
You should also include the top keyword and the location in the H1 heading on the page. The H1 tag helps communicate the topic of the page to Google. Having the keyword and location will make it easier for the search engine to index the page accordingly.
Feature the location and top keyword in the URL slug as well. Keep it short; there is no need to include anything else there.
Finally, create internal links pointing to the page from other authoritative content on your site. Ensure that you create an anchor text that includes or is as close to the top keyword and location as possible.
#2. Unique content
We talked about this issue already. And I admit that using the same content (bar the location, of course) on every city page is the simplest way to create them. But, as you’ve already seen, it can have a disastrous effect on your rankings.
Create unique content for each city landing page, instead.
Ensure that the content is interesting, tells potential customers about your business, and relates to the most common problems you could help them with.
TIP: Add testimonials and reviews to increase the authority and trustworthiness of your content.
That brings us to the next point:
#3. Trust signals
Trust signals are various page elements displayed to increase the perceived trustworthiness of a business. Their goal is to help customers feel more at ease and secure about engaging with a specific company.
Many ecommerce websites, for example, feature safety logos and information to reassure customers that transactions with the store are safe and secure.
For professional businesses, trust signals often help communicate the firm’s professional standing. Your trust signals could include logos of various industry associations of which you’re a member. These could also be guarantees about your service.
Press mentions could also confirm your professional standing and offer customers peace of mind about hiring you.
#4. Contact information
Your website already features a contact page. However, don’t rely on customers to go there to inquire with your firm.
Instead, include your contact information right on the city landing page.
Granted, you don’t have a physical address in that location. However, you can provide other ways of contacting you:
- Phone numbers,
- Email addresses, and so on.
Also, include additional information about your business operations – opening hours, accepted forms of payment, etc.
#5. Local information, if possible
The more relevant an SEO city page is to its location, the greater the chance that it will rank well for its target keywords.
This could be, understandably, quite difficult to do since your company is not located in the area. However, there are some things you could do to increase such relevance.
- For example, if you are in the new location sporadically to offer a day clinic, mention that on the page.
- If you collaborate or sponsor a local organization, tell visitors about it as well.
- If you plan to participate in a local event, post information about it before and photos of it afterward.
Tips for Ranking in Multiple Locations
Below are a couple of tips for achieving success with SEO city pages. The advice is based on our experience with optimizing and ranking clients’ websites beyond their location.
#1. Identify target locations with data
At Envoca, we use simple criteria to identify the most viable locations our clients should try to rank.
- An ideal location is far enough from the business not to be diverting existing clients there.
- It should also have sufficient population density to provide leads for the type of business; the demographic of the audience should also match business objectives.
- You have some means of servicing customers in that location. It could be a remote employee who could meet customers locally and secure their business, for example.
- Finally, sometimes we can identify with data where a client is having success and reposition their rankings to increase those results further.
#2. Create SEO city pages for each location
This may seem like obvious advice. That said, I’m regularly seeing companies creating one city page and populating it with all their target locations.
Unfortunately, to win rankings in multiple cities, you must create landing pages for all those locations.
#3. Create a Google Maps profile for each new locations
Also, secure local links to ensure that Google that your business operates in that area.
Disadvantages of Ranking in Multiple Locations
I’m afraid that we have to address this issue as well.
Ranking in multiple locations may seem ideal. It’s an opportunity to grow the business, after all. But not every company should start expanding their location targeting.
There is a number of reasons for that:
- The company may not have capped out SEO in their existing location yet. Their efforts would be more suited in building local presence and establishing their rankings.
- The business may also have an insufficient budget to cover working on rankings in several locations at a time. Similarly, there might not be enough staff to oversee such a project.
However, if your company is well-established in the signal office and can expand to new markets, building SEO city pages and ranking in multiple locations is a fantastic way to fuel growth.
Looking for help with ranking your business in multiple locations? We’ve been helping professional services companies with their SEO for over 15 years. Let’s talk and see if we could work together.