What pages on your site can help you snag some better local rankings – and customers? And do you have those pages on your site?
May seem like basic questions. But if most of the sites I see are any indication, most business owners haven’t lost sleep over them.
They’ve got a homepage.
There’s a “Contact” page with a phone number on it. (The number has a typo.)
There’s an “About Us” page that doesn’t identify “us” or anything about “us” but does tell you how great the company is. Maybe it even has a stock photo of office workers with clip-on ties high-fiving each other.
The better sites might even have a “Services” page, plus maybe a “Testimonials” page with a one-liner from JJ in Chicago and Anna Karenina penned by Martha in Florida. Now that’s marketing gold.
Let’s put aside the fact that most small-business sites don’t include a good blog or have any way to grow bigger this year than they were last year: The slim number of pages alone makes most sites online paperweights. If a business is doing OK for customers, it’s despite the site, not because of it.
Fewer pages on your site means there’s less info for visitors to grab onto. Each page you create is a chance to answer a question a potential customer might be wondering.
And don’t give me that “but people don’t read” hogwash. They read…when you address their problems and questions. You want them to have the option of reading more if they want to.
Creating more pages is also a chance to pick up some local-organic rankings, if you play your cards right. Most sites are so thin that the only page that might – might – rank well in the local results is the homepage. A meatier site gives you – if nothing else – more opportunities to grab some organic rankings.
Not all of these page-types will apply to your business, but I’m guessing most will.
See if you can create these 21 types of pages on your site:
“Locations” – If you have locations in Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati, you might have an “Ohio Locations” page with a short blurb on each of those locations, plus links to pages where you say a little more about each location. Or you might have a “service areas” page. Same idea, but you’d be pointing people toward “city pages” for the main cities you serve.
Individual location – You’d have a page for your Cleveland location, a page for your Columbus location, and another one for your Cincinnati location.
“Services” – List all your services, have a blurb on each, and link to a page for each. Do the same if you offer products, rather than services.
Individual service – The more detail you can give on each service, the better.
“Our Team” or “About Us” – This is a page everyone expects to see. It’s also one that you can pretty easily optimize: It can be “Our Electricians” or “About Your Surgeons” or “Meet Your Attorneys.” Here’s an excellent example.
Individual bios – Have a page for each employee, technician, agent, doctor, nurse, lawyer, paralegal, etc.
FAQs – You could have a general FAQ and one (or several) for more-specialized questions. You could have “Dental Insurance FAQs,” “First-Time Home Buyer FAQs,” “Common Questions on Tankless Water Heaters” – whatever.
Testimonials – Ideally you’d mark them up with Schema or hReview-aggregate.
“In the Media” – Have you been featured in the local paper, or did the local news reporter stick a mic in your face for 15 seconds? Show or mention it here.
“Community” or “Giving Back” – Describe what you do for charity. (Do something, if you’re not already.)
Photos – Be sure to name the photos relevantly, and try to include captions. Don’t overdo it.
Videos – Embed your videos on the page. See if you can name your page something like “Videos on How to ____.”
Awards or Recognition – It’s fine to mention little stuff until there’s bigger stuff.
Company History – Stick to the story; on other pages you can talk about what makes you great. If there’s not much of a “history” yet, consider doing a “Values” page.
“Qualifications” or “Certifications” – Same idea as with the “Awards” or “Recognition” page. Use what you’ve got.
Insurance accepted – If applicable.
Financing – If applicable.
“Why us?” – Here’s an example.
Case-study – Describe what you did for a specific customer or client (with his/her permission, of course). Include pictures if you can.
“Learning Center” – Define relevant, useful, and unavoidable jargon terms you think customers should know. Explain concepts you’d like your customers to grasp – for their sake and for yours. Even cannibalize some of your FAQs and use them here. Here’s an example of a good “learning center.”
“Portfolio” – Most applicable if you’re a contractor, designer of any kind, or consultant.
A late addition, #22: “Coupons” or “Savings” – Thanks to Zac Palmer of Divot Agency for this suggestion (see his comment, below).
Anyway, back to the action items…
What if you already have those pages on your site? See how you can beef them up.
What if you like the “minimal” look? Then get used to minimal rankings and phone calls. (Or just work on your navigation and menu structure.)
It’s up to you to create the lumps of clay – and yes, that involves writing.
But once you get to the sculpting stage, you’ll want to refer to these handy posts on on-page optimization:
The Anatomy of an Optimal Local Landing Page – Mike Ramsey
Designing Business Location Website Pages: Part One – Single Location Business – Aaron Weiche
Designing Business Location Website Pages, Part 2: Multiple Location Business – Aaron Weiche
Understand and Rock the Google Venice Update – Mike Ramsey
And a few relevant posts from me:
16 Ways to Create Unique “Local” Content for Cities Where You Want to Rank – me
How to Name Your Local Landing Page(s) – me
50 Examples of Title Tags That Rock at Local SEO – me
Maybe the best thing about a bigger, more-detailed site is that it’s a reliable way to get found by local customers even if / when something bad happens to your Google+ Local (or Bing Places) rankings. Relying on the “maps”-style rankings is just stupid.
While we’re on the topic, I have found that bigger, beefier sites tend to rank better in the Google+ Local (or Bing Places) rankings. Even when they don’t have many or any links. Don’t ask me why. It just seems to work out that way.
March into battle with more weapons.
Can you think of any types of pages that (1) customers want to see and that (2) might actually rank well? Leave a comment!
Nick Rink says
Great post Phil, some really useful information here for any small business website owner. I’ve been having some good success with case studies, especially when optimised for smaller outlying areas away from major cities. The learning centre and FAQ’s is something I’m keen to help clients do a better job with so thanks for the examples there.
Thanks, Nick. Yeah, case-studies are great.
Although I know you didn’t intend for this to be an exhaustive list – although a very good start for fundamental sites…. There are two-three page types that immediately come to mind that aren’t included in the list…
“Coupons and/or Savings” Auto Repair, Glass Companies, Plumbers, etc are all good examples of sites that can use these pages.
oh… and maybe consider adding “Blog”
Great call on “Coupons” or “Savings,” Zachary.
Yeah, I’m just dealing with pages here, but I do think every business should run a good blog 🙂
Todd B says
Great list! We’ve found adding in some FAQs on the services pages helps as well. Then a general FAQ page that hosts them all like you stated.
Thanks, Todd. Great call on weaving FAQs into other pages (like “Services”).
Hi Phil, thanks for your super articles. Even here in Germany we can implement it Local Business. Even google does not stop in front of us.
I like that philosophy, Hansi.
Thanks for your compliments!
Matt Morgan says
We’ve seen a boost in local rankings when we embedded a Google map of their location on the service pages. Not sure if the correlation equals causation though.
Localized-organic rankings, I assume. Just the same, yeah, it’s pretty much impossible to say how much an embedded map moves the needle. But it is something I usually recommend – mostly because it’s good UX.
As always Phil delivers great information. The only question I have is in regards to videos. Is it better to host the videos directly on my site or put up a Youtube Channel and then link out to the videos ?.
Thanks for stopping by, Greg.
You’ll want to do both: embed the photos on your site and have a Youtube channel. But I wouldn’t necessarily link to the YT channel from your website. The whole point is to get people to your site. Send ’em to Youtube and they’ll just watch blooper videos and forget about you.
Patrick Garmoe says
Also look at using Vimeo Pro or better yet Wistia if you can spare the cash. I believe both video hosting sites push the visitor to your website, and videos from competitors don’t pop up next to yours.
Jitendra Gursingh says
Brilliant post..enjoyed reading it & very useful too.
I would also add a 360 degree view of your store (if applicable). Prospects can get an idea of how big the store is and be tempted to visit. Also, an email signup box is an essential which many forget to include on the site.
Good suggestion on the 360 view, Jitendra. Not sure that would necessitate a separate page, but maybe.
Hayden Williams says
This could include ‘specials’ being run at a particular time, showing the special offer of note.
Probably of use only to bricks and mortar businesses.
A bit of video editing might be involved.
Also of course, different window or shop displays for different seasons?
Christopher West says
Great list Phil. Really like the idea of FAQ and Case Study especially for contractor and manufacturing.
A lot of these can be put into sub pages in Navigation for those that dont want a ton of page links or like the minimal look.
thanks again for sharing.
Thanks, Chris. Yeah, the idea is that most of those pages would be under the relevant subdirectories.
Ken Fagan says
Very useful post.
Could there be any benefit (IF applicable) to adding something like this to a site’s Locations page(s):
“In general, the services/products that are most popular with our customers in Columbus are:
[and so on (while changing the wording slightly, for each town?) for the other applicable towns/cities].
Thanks, Ken! Great idea. It’s also applicable to this post:
Jason Card says
For an ecommerce site, does hreview for each product we sell have the same weight as an hreview for the company itself? Do u stick with 1 or do both?
Likewise a service based co. Would u try to get review for each Svc if a separate page is made for each?
I wouldn’t say any type of hReview markup helps with organic rankings. For me, the only reason to do it is to get those nice golden stars in the search results. That can boost click-through, which is good in itself, but which may also help your organic rankings.
Hayden Williams says
This may be a bit late, but here goes
For contractors and builders (may fit other businesses as well) a page containing insurance certs and other official documentation to give the potential client peace of mind.
Hope this helps
Thank you for being the Go To Guy for Local SEO
That’s an excellent suggestion, Hayden. Thanks!
Hayden Williams says
A Happy and Properous New Year To All
With regard to the coupons and savings page, an addition or alternative might be major Offer page, such as a Free ‘whatever’ with a ‘whatever’ plan, service or other, for new startups, or some other deep cut or major offer page (clearly only a short term offer, but major content).
Good call, Hayden.
Happy New Year!