Local SEO is the process of improving technical, content, and offsite factors with a focus on locality to improve rankings in specific areas.
One thing that can be used to significantly help this is creating (or optimising) local landing pages.
Local landing pages are simply (commercial) webpages with local intent. This means that the page will tend to have a focus on a city or region the website operates in.
These pages target customers further down the sales funnel – those who have decided on what they are going to buy, and now need a location to buy from.
Local landing pages can range from bespoke pages targeting cities, advertising your services, to simply a branch page.
Why local pages are becoming more popular
Google is effortlessly trying to make search more and more personalised, with the widespread implementation of personalised search way back in 2009.
Google has been building on this since then, so it is bound to affect all SERPs – which it exactly does.
Location is one of the most important areas, if not the most, for Google to judge and serve the best and most personalised results for users in a region.
In the past few years, there has been a rise of Google giving local pages higher rankings on generic search terms in some (not all) industries.
Many of these intervene with Google Venice updates – a local-targeted set of Google updates – which has meant that local-based results have taken a further rise since the launch of personalised results.
Hence, in an effort to create more personalised SERPs, they have changed the SERP real estate for greater personalisation, affecting SEO.
Now, many search terms (which we have found from our own research varies from country to country) are localised in Google’s SERP results.
In addition, local searches (e.g. “locksmiths leeds”) have grown in monthly search volume at a much faster rate compared to generic searches.
These local searches return purely local landing pages, at least within the top results. So, it’s probably wise to have these on your website, if you want to rank for local key terms.
The benefit of local landing pages
Creating local landing pages can help you to be indexed for further locations (which can include locations where you don’t have a physical presence).
It allows your website to rank better for more “[compound] + [location]” queries, meaning your website can suck up as much traffic as possible from users who are searching related keywords in that area.
In addition, it can increase conversions, as users would trust the business and would more likely purchase from a business that operates in their area, which local landing pages help with.
It also helps users to be able to find your business easier, assuming you have multiple physical locations, using things like Google Maps to allow a clear-cut view of the nearest location to the user.
Optimising local pages for SEO
Assuming that you already have some form of local page, this next section will help you optimise for ranking highly on these pages.
As always with SEO, there’s an abundance of variables on a website which can affect how well you rank, and many can be used with a focus on locality and improving local SEO.
Your metadata, specifically your meta titles, are extremely important for local SEO (just like in regular SEO). Simply put, these should include the city/region you are trying to target.
Protip: If there are multiple branches (if you are targeting branches) in a city, it is wise to include address in the meta title – just make sure you don’t go over the title pixel limit!
Obviously, content must be relevant to the services you are offering and the location. This will mean writing unique content for these local pages if you want a chance at ranking highly for this.
Content is highly unvalued when it comes to SEO, despite being one of the biggest, if not the biggest, ranking factors in Google.
Content allows for Google to understand the page better and helps map it to more keywords, especially longtail keywords.
Having quality content on these pages also helps a lot. In addition to adding value to your website in general, it provides more ranking opportunities for longtail local keywords, assuring that you’re getting as much traffic as possible from users searching relevant keywords.
It’s not all content either. These pages should have the appropriate schema implemented.
Schema is a snippet of code in JSON-LD, a scripting language applied within the code of the website, used to describe a webpage or website to search engines. It is very helpful for Google to help understand the page and the elements within it, expand its knowledge graph, and map the webpage to more keywords.
There are various schema you can choose from; however, it helps local terms if the schema explicitly includes the location of the business, such as ‘localBusiness’.
I know this seems obvious and is probably one of the hardest things to achieve here (as we all know how tough getting links can be at times), but again these massively help.
Backlinks are still an important factor in Google’s index, and have always, and still do, help with organic performance.
Local backlinks are beneficial for local SEO. These are backlinks with a local context (e.g. charity blog posts, newspaper articles, etc.), but helps more with the overall marketing scheme and brand expansion for your targeted areas.
In short, the value of creating quality local landing pages on your website should not be underestimated.
Local landing pages don’t have to be hard to make. Your web development team can use a barebones template and all that is needed is unique local content.
Most of all, they can boost rankings exponentially for local search terms, and generally help expand Google’s knowledge graph on your business/website, allowing it to rank better for these queries.
To find more about local SEO and Google My Business, check out our blog post on tracking performance on GMB.