Template for Creating Knockout City-Page Content for Local SEO

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Most “city pages” stink more than a pig farmer’s overalls.  Even if they rank well, they usually don’t compel anyone to call.  The content is stuffed with the name of the city, but it’s boilerplate otherwise.  To would-be customers it’s just lip service from a company that seems desperate for business.

Every page is the same, except one targets “roofer Dallas,” and another is for “roofer Fort Worth,” and another goes after “roofer Plano,” and so on.

When that doesn’t work, that’s when business owners and SEOs decide to do even more of it.  They pump out even more awful city pages.  And again they wonder why the phone doesn’t ring more.

It doesn’t need to be that way.  If you’re willing to rub a few brain cells together and do a little work, city pages (or location pages) can be a super-effective way to reach customers – especially farther-away people who may not see your business in the local 3-pack / Google Maps results.

I’ve already written on how to create city pages that rank well and can drive leads.  You’ll want to read and absorb that post if you haven’t already.  You’ll know everything you need to create knockout city pages.


Except it’s still daunting.  Even if you know the right approach and will put in the work, exactly where do you start?  Do you just stare at the blank page?  If you’re building city pages for a client, how do you know if you have enough meat to make a hot dog?

That’s where my quick-start template comes in.  I’ve created a simple worksheet you can use to zero in on good, relevant, city-specific content you can put on your city pages, or a client’s.  (It’s a new-and-improved version of what I’ve used to help my clients.)

Here’s the spreadsheet on Google Drive:
(If you want a copy, download the spreadsheet.)



  1. If you (or your client) can’t answer “yes” to at least a few of the questions, city pages are probably a no-go at the moment. You’ll have nothing to say.  You’ll be the Dr. Phil of your local market.
  1. You can see real-life examples in column D of the spreadsheet.
  1. You still need to work long-term on earning relevant links. You do not necessarily need to get links to your city pages (though it’s great if you do).  But if your domain as a whole doesn’t have much link juice, even the best city page is less likely to rank well – especially if you’re in a competitive market.  The flipside if you’ve got some decent links to other pages – probably most of which point to the homepage – any city page you create is more likely to rank well and sooner.  You earn Google’s “trust.”
  1. Yes, copying and pasting your online reviews is fine – whether the reviews are from Google or from Yelp or (as far as I know) from other sites. Just don’t mark them up with Schema (or other structured-data markup) as a way to get those juicy “review stars” showing in the organic search results.
  1. If the spreadsheet isn’t your thing, you might prefer this great guide from Miriam Ellis.

Any local content-creation angles you’d add to the spreadsheet?

Any example of knockout city pages with thoughtful content?

Any other ways I can make the worksheet more useful?

Leave a comment!


  1. Thanks for the template. We will definitely be putting this to use on our next location page project!

  2. Hello!

    I’m so sad and just want to confirm point 4. I recently upgraded my site and the upgrade included a testimonial review section for each location’s page: http://www.chanceycharmweddings.com/. These reviews have stars and are showing up in Google searches. But, they are reviews I copied from our Google+ pages. This will affect our rank negatively? Why so? If I edit the reviews, would that help make sure I’m not penalized? Thanks for always giving such spot on content!

  3. Excellent post, this will help a lot to help me create better individual city pages for my SEO clients who service different surrounding towns and cities of their main targeted city.

    I also collected all your links to your other posts in the article.

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. Hi Phil,

    Great article and it really gets you thinking about service area pages.

    You mention not to use Schema mark up as a way to get the review stars. Can we still use all the other area served mark up?

  5. This template and process is super awesome, Phil! Thanks for putting it together and sharing it with the world.

  6. This is great stuff Phil. I appreciate your willingness to share such an awesome tool. I’m still amazed at how little effort goes into most location pages in 2016.

  7. I started doing this a year ago with great results.

    A blog targeting each town in Northern Colorado. Key word used just once in body, page title and h1, while describing the service.

    Also, at the bottom, including a map like you mentioned, and driving instructions to our clinic, from that specific town.

    Works like magic, if done right!

    • Glad to hear that worked, Eyad, but that probably wouldn’t always be enough to (1) rank for very competitive search terms or to (2) impress would-be customers.

      • Absolutely. Pics, videos, reviews etc really helps. And an embedded google directions map.

        I have one for almost every small surrounding town, and they’re ranking in positions 1-5. If anything, they get searchers to click through your blog, and hopefully convert.

        Also, YouTube videos. City-service-state, and lengthy descriptions with the kw used in the first sentence.

        If it’s highly competitive though, high quality backlinks are crucial, as you point out.

        I’ve used your guides starting over a year ago, they’ve been extremely helpful and it’s a big reason why I haven’t ever payed an SEO, thanks for your help!

  8. Really nice 🙂 The point-by-point breakdown by Miriam Ellis is awesome too! Great share!!
    Thanks Phil

  9. Thanks Phil. That template is great!

  10. Woo hoo, Phil! This post is a gem. What a great idea to create a template, and I’m grateful for your mention of my piece, too. Taken together, the two resources ought to lay out a path almost any engaged local business can navigate comfortably. I’ll be sharing your post, for sure!

  11. I’m still amazed that these ‘location pages’ are still not regarded as the spam SEO tactic that they are, location pages are still ranking well in search engines and still being abused to the detriment of legimate businesses… Well Google does like to give people a noose…..

    • Most location pages are spam – I agree. But they don’t have to be. If you can describe a real connection to a place, or show that you’ve got experience in helping customers there, then that’s good information and not spam.

  12. We do a lot of bailbonds company websites and this will help make our city pages better where we do not have brick and mortar….GOOD STUFF! Thanks

  13. Hi Phil, This is a fantastic article and a great download resource. I’m a show me kind of guy and There are very little instructions on the net with links to real examples. What do you think about creating a single city page for a site? Thanks for sharing. Regards, Bill Scully

    • Hey Bill,

      Afraid I’m not clear on the question. Are you asking what I think about a city-focused microsite, or what I’d say about starting off with just one “city” page on a site (rather than 5 or 10 or 50)?

      • I was thinking about a local business that just did business in one city, like a dry-cleaner. I can’t picture a natural way to naturally link to it, or what the value is, but would it make sense to make a city-focused page?

        • If I understand the question, I wouldn’t say that’s a time for a “city” page. If it’s a bricks-and-mortars business (like a dry-cleaner) that caters mostly to people in one city, then the whole site should probably be geared toward that city and the people who live/work in and near it. (As opposed to focusing on that city only on one page of the site.)

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