If your business relies in any way on being found locally, you’re most likely aware of the importance that location pages play in SEO. Increasingly Google and other search engines are looking for a variety of signals to help them organize your significance as a local business as compared to other competitors in the area. What exactly are those signals and what role does a location page play in those? Aside from being a combination of on-page and off-site signals, in this article, we’ll explore best practices for creating location pages. Whether you’re responsible for a small business website or that of a national organization with hundreds or thousands of locations, this guide has been designed for you.
Why Locations Pages Are Important
Whether you’re a one location business or have thousands of them to contend with, the importance of fully featured location pages has grown immensely over time. Putting aside the SEO implications of well thought out and developed location pages for a moment, consider first, what your customers are looking for when they land on your location page. What kind of value are you providing for them? Is the standard Name, address, phone # and location info enough? Probably not. Are your operating hours available? How about other info that shows off your commitment to operating in that location and its surrounding community? These are just the opening salvos in a battle to win with the value you’re providing to your customers by way of showing localized information.
From an SEO perspective, Google and other search engines are always on the lookout for additional ranking signals that may allow them to surface the most relevant information. How does Google know to rank one retirement home over another in the same area for a specific keyword? There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of factors, but some of those are related to the signals that your location page is sending along with external links and the authority they convey to that location page. I’ve had clients whose location pages would often outrank the homepages of many local competitors just because of the effort that was put into them to send enough local ranking signals and more importantly provide a tremendous amount of value to the customer looking at the page.
Location Page Best Practices
Consider the fact that not every location page will be made equal as not all of the best practices listed here can be practically invoked. That said, if you have a web development team practiced enough in building complex page layouts while maintaining a friendly user experience, you should be able to come up with a structure that works for your page.
1) Embed a Google Map
Why? A few reasons. First, Google loves pages that embed one of their core products, including Google maps. Second, your location page visitors likely not only want to know your specific address but also get a better idea if your business is near a landmark or intersection they already know well. Take care to consider this when implementing your embedded map to ensure that the default zoom level you present the map at is useful not only in pinpointing your location but also showing enough surrounding detail to give your visitor an instant idea of nearby landmarks and intersections.
2) Include Operating Hours
It’s genuinely remarkable the number of location pages that don’t include this crucial piece of info. More importantly, ensure that your operating hours on your website are always kept up to date and that they match the same hours listed on your Google MyBusiness page, Yelp listing as well as your Facebook page and any other online directory listings that you are aware of. Additionally, if you can provide more value about your operating hours such as when particular services are available or not, or when no-one is around to answer the phones because it’s their lunch hour, that’s another example of providing more value to your location page visitors.
3) Include Directions
Why? Again, because doing so provides more useful information and therefore more value. Sure, most people will easily pop your address into their favourite mobile maps application, but there’s still those that prefer to find their way by following a set of directions. Bonus points if you can include directions from major highways as well as provide some transit directions, i.e. the nearest bus stop or bus line or subway / LRT stop.
4) Include Major Nearby Intersections and Name of Neighbourhood
When it comes to local SEO signals, the trend is that things are becoming far more granular. That means search engines like Google are looking for ever more hyper-local signals to categorize businesses, their websites and individual pages better. That’s why it’s essential to include the names of nearby major intersections, large nearby stores and the name of your neighbourhood. You can accomplish this by wrapping it up into a single sentence under your directions section.
5) Include the Names of Local Landmarks
Are there any local landmarks nearby? Perhaps a well known large store, or a cherished local coffee-shop that’s next door. It doesn’t hurt to mention all of those somewhere on your location page. It can quickly be included in a sentence or two demonstrating that you understand the value of your local community and you can even use it to make a local recommendation of available nearby amenities, services or shops. When doing this, keep in mind the kind of value you’re providing to your location visitors. Perhaps a local coffee shop is just what a mom that has just dropped off her kids at your pediatric dental clinic needs while waiting for them!
6) Include Complete Contact Info
Sure, you probably have a dedicated contact page, but why make your visitors perform another click if they’ve already landed on a location page on which they reasonably expect to find some contact info. Make sure to include your address, phone #, email address and any other way they can contact you.
7) Use Photos & Videos
They say that one shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but if your cover isn’t overly appealing, you’ll probably be judged nevertheless. That’s the reality with today’s consumers. That’s why it’s crucial to present your location in the best light with an investment in both professional photos and at a minimum a virtual tour (As of the time of this writing, Google offers this service through third parties from its Google MyBusiness platform). Increasingly customers want to know both what the exterior and interior of your location looks like. So let them see it! Just make sure that you present it in a non-webpage size bloating way. Don’t forget that Google and other search engines use page speed as a significant ranking factor.
8) Unique Services or Products at Location
Does your location offer unique services or products that may differentiate it from your other locations? Make sure to mention this somewhere. This again provides the value of letting your potential visitors know what to expect during their visit.
9) Access to your Location
Does your location have a dedicated parking lot? Is that parking lot always full? Is there a best place to park or direction to arrive from if you’re travelling by car? Is your building or space wheelchair accessible? These are all, seemingly small details, but will also provide some value to some percentage of your location page viewers.
10) Location-Specific Promotions
If your business has more than one location and is prone to run different promotions at each location, you’re probably best off mentioning those here. At the very least, if your location lists specific promotions by way of a flyer or in another place on your website, you can link to those location-specific deals or promotions from your location page.
11) Include Strong CTA’s to Desired Customer Actions
Put yourself in your location page visitor’s shoes. Why have they arrived on this page? What primary action would you like them to take from this page? Visit your location? Contact you? Inquire about an appointment? Just because they’re looking up your address doesn’t mean you can’t get your visitor to perform a conversion action. Make sure that your CTA’s are clear and well represented.
12) Ideal URL Structure
The URL structure you deploy for your location pages will depend highly on the total number of locations your business has and how widespread they are geographically speaking.
For example, if you are a single location business located in the Liberty Village neighbourhood of Toronto, an ideal URL structure for your location page could be:
You could also go with something like:
If your business has more than one location, but they are all in a similarly grouped metro area or region, you could still employ the above-mentioned URL scheme. That said, the moment you have locations in two separately identifiable towns or cities, it’s best to go with a URL structure that identifies the difference.
If your business has a more significant number of locations spread out across various regions, cities, towns, states or provinces, your ideal location page URL structure will look something like this:
If your business has locations in more than one country you’re best off categorizing at one level higher:
13) Header Tags Still Important
Ensure that on your location page you’re using your <h1> and subsequent tags properly. This means that your <h1> tag should include at least one geo-modifier.
14) Schema Markup
So what exactly is Schema Markup? Think of it as merely a way to “markup” or “tag” your website content with specific bits of standardized information to help search engines properly categorize your page or business. Increasingly Google and other search engines are relying on properly implemented schema markup on websites to help with their ranking and categorization algorithms. When it comes to SEO, using schema markup is a relatively straightforward way of getting a leg up on your competitors who are not using it. I won’t delve into the details of implementation here as there are several ways of accomplishing proper schema markup on your website, but suffice to say that there are numerous, excellent guides available on how to do it.
15) Embed Google Reviews or Testimonials
What’s one way of providing further value to your potential customer while simultaneously enticing them into a conversion action? Provide real social proof. It can be accomplished by embedding some portion of your Google MyBusiness reviews or compiling some of your most glowing reviews about that specific location from various review platforms and adding them to your location page. Many of these reviews will often mention some of your staff by name, and if your customer happens to see the same team member during their visit, it will further promote a connection and sense of trust.
16) Link to Your Other Locations
Depending on the total # of locations, you may want to link to your other locations from each location page. This may be accomplished using a larger call to action or merely providing an easy way to show your different locations and link to them utilizing an embedded map or handy navigational links.
17) Link to Your Location Pages Internally and Externally
If your location pages are not linked to from your main navigation, make sure that you’re linking to them internally from other parts of your website or pages in some other meaningful way. Additionally, when building external links don’t neglect to build some to your specific location pages. This will increase their SEO value in the eyes of many search engines including Google.
18) Location Specific Copy
Every one of your locations is different in some way. So give the copy describing each place the differentiating text it deserves. Here are some more ideas on how you can differentiate each location’s copy:
- How long has that location been open?
- Fun facts about that location
- Involvement in the local community
- How do customers use your products or services in the local area?
- Mention non-competing businesses near you that you are friendly with
19) Media Coverage
Has your specific location been mentioned in the media or received any positive press or awards? You can easily add award badges or those mentions on any given location page and link out to those mentions.
20) Add a Rich Review Snippet
Once your location has some local reviews, you can implement another aspect of schema markup to stand out from your competitors by showing off your review totals for any given location. Here’s an example of how that looks in Google’s search results:
And a few sets of instructions on how to implement it.
21) Don’t Forget About Page Speed
As mentioned at the start of this article. Depending on your business’ particular locations set up, you won’t be implementing all of these best practices. But if you do wind up implementing the lion’s share of them, don’t forget about the importance of page speed and the role it plays. Slow loading pages, particularly mobile ones, can negatively affect a page’s SEO rankings. Google is notorious for crushing the ranks of slow loading pages.
Here’s an example of an ideal layout and content of an optimized location page.