You’ve been on many sites that have them. Your stronger competitors probably have some. You may even have a few on your site. In any case, what I call “spin-off pages” aren’t a new thing, but SEOs and business owners tend not to think of them often or at all, and almost never do they treat spin-off pages as a major part of their on-page local SEO work. That’s a tough break for them, but great news for you.
What is a spin-off page? It’s a new page you create that’s all about a more-specific version of a service/product/treatment for which you’ve already got a page on your site.
In other words, you identify a page on your site about a service (or other offering) you consider a high priority, you think of ways to bust that page into smaller chunks, and you create a page on each chunk. (And you keep the original, broader page, and maybe even build it out more.)
The pages will probably overlap somewhat, but they shouldn’t be clones of each other. Either they’re on different variations of a service, or they’re on different brands, or they’re about commercial versions of residential services, or they’re about the same service for different kinds of customers/clients/patients.
Bring out your inner Bubba from Forrest Gump (not only an expert on shrimp, but also a formidable local SEO).
What are examples of spin-off pages?
Below are examples of spin-off pages I did for clients. (In many of my other blog posts I wheel out examples by name, though I think in this post it’s more interesting at this level of detail.)
Pest control example: we created not just a page on bee extermination, but also a page on hornet control, wasp control, yellow jacket control, and carpenter bee control.
Plastic surgeon example: we created not just a page on rhinoplasty, but also a page on rhinoplasty for teenagers, a page on revision rhinoplasty, a page on “ethnic” rhinoplasty, and others.
Electrician example: we created not just a page on lighting installation, but also a page on dimmer installation, recessed lighting installation, chandelier installation, pool lighting, and others.
Divorce / family-law attorney example: we created not just a page on child-custody cases, but also a page on joint custody, sole custody, and modifications of custody.
Couples’ therapist example: we created not just a page on couples counseling, but also a page on marriage counseling, relationship counseling, and relationship counseling for individuals.
Plumber example: we created not just a page on toilet repair, but also a page on toilet replacement, toilet installation, valve repair, and “bathroom plumbing.”
Auctioneer example: we created not just a page on “historical memorabilia,” but also a page on WWII memorabilia, sports memorabilia, political memorabilia, rock-n’-roll memorabilia, historical photographs, and more.
Dentist example: we created a page on “no insurance dentist,” rather than another page designed to rank for the term “dentist.” (Good at attracting out-of-pocket patients, by the way.)
And many more. (Just let me know what kind of example you’re looking for, if your business isn’t anything like those I mentioned.) You can do spin-off pages regardless of what you do for a living.
How do spin-off pages help you?
In at least one of three ways:
- They can help you rank for more-specialized search terms. Some of those will be easier to rank for, often because you’ll have fewer local competitors on them, and you may even rank across a wider swath of geography. Also, in some cases those pages will be all you need to pop into the Google Maps 3-pack for certain terms, perhaps as the only search result in Maps.
- You’ll have more pages that may rank for the broader search terms you haven’t been able to rank for. They’re more lines in the water. Often the page you hope or expect to rank isn’t the page that does rank. I’m a big fan of what I often call reverse-siloing. (I touch on that approach here and here, for starters.)
- Conversion rate and persuasiveness: They’ll compel more searchers to conclude, “These people know my situation and exactly what I need, and it sounds like they have experience with it.” You’ll convert more people into new customers, clients, or patients.
How can you think of spin-off pages for your business?
I wish I had an easy-to-describe system – or any system at all. It’s a totaly case-by-case thing. Still, here are a few ways you can get some ideas into the hopper:
- Check out competitors’ sites, and the sites of businesses in your same industry that are not in your area. Even if they’re doing the rest of their local SEO badly, sometimes they have great page ideas.
- Go through existing “services” pages on your site, look for bullet-point lists, and ask: “Can I make a page on each of these points?”
- Write down a one-sentence description of each job you’ve done in the past month (or year, or whatever duration). Think of how each job has differed, and do a page on that specific scenario, or twist on your service, or type of person, etc.
- Dig through the search terms report in Google Ads (if you run ads)
- Try my other keyword-research ideas.
That’s pretty much it. You may have to do a little site surgery to get the spin-off pages into your main navigation (like with a mega menu) and to lay down internal links in strategic places, but you probably don’t need to think too much about your spin-off pages. Partly that’s because you’re adding pages, rather than overhauling existing pages. Don’t think too hard about this one. Later on you can always refine the pages and how they’re incorporated into your site.
In the meantime, you can and should keep an eye on your new pages over the next few months, see what kind of data you see in Search Console (especially the number of impressions), and at the first signs of life do another one.
As with working on your homepage and on your title tags, working on spin-off pages is one of a small handful of on-page local SEO activities that can help your organic rankings, your Google Maps 3-pack rankings, and your ability to rustle up new business from the kinds of people you most want to work with. A strategic use of your time and effort.
To what extent have you tried spin-off pages for your business?
Any examples of the strategy done very effectively – or badly? (By the way, have you ever seen someone describe the same strategy in a different way.)
Do you want to use spin-off pages, but are stumped as to what kinds of spin-off pages you could make?
Leave a comment!
Eric Shanfelt says
Great post, Phil. This also ties into the concept Yoast promoted of “cornerstone” pages which are your broader search terms / topics. All of the niche, spin-off pages should also link back to the parent, cornerstone page. That’s an internal site signal to Google that the cornerstone page is important and may also help that cornerstone page with the broader topic rank a bit better as well. Thanks again for a very well-written and insightful article!
Thanks, Eric. Yes, those “cornerstone” pages are critical. Often they rank when other pages don’t, and so for that reason alone it’s worth giving them a bump with internal links on other pages (both above and below them in the architecture).
John Payne says
Another great article, Phil,
This is a long Comment, but one I hope is worthwhile.
My son and I previously had a business selling environmentally friendly products. We built what was eventually a 300-page website, and the pages generally ranked #1 -#3 in Google organic rankings. We never spent a cent advertising online. The business grew into the real world, and achieved a turnover of A$ 12,000,000 annually, about 1/3 directly from the website.
We followed the logic that we wanted someone who arrived on our home page, to be able to click their way down to the specific product they wanted. We also wanted them to find the specific product page if that’s what they searched for, and then be able to work their way up the other options, and discover the other products. It went something like this…
We had multiple product categories- water tanks, solar hot water and solar panels to name a few. To use solar hot water category as an example
– the category was discussed on the home page
– from that mention, there was a link to the Solar Hot Water page, and that page was added to the navigation panel as a level
– on the Solar Hot Water page, we discussed a number of sub-categories- On the roof flat plate, on the roof evacuated tube, and Heat Pumps. Links led from each of those discussion led to separate pages for each sub-category. Next level links were added to the drop-dwn navigation panel. The structure, and the navigation, looked something like this below the Home page…
Solar Hot Water
– On-roof Flat Plates
— Brand A
—Brand A Owners Manual
— Brand B
—Brand B Owners Manual
– On-roof Evacuated Tubes
— Brand A
— Brand A Owners Manual
– -Brand B
— Brand B Owners Manual
— Why Evacuated Tube Technology?
– Heat Pumps
— Brand A
— Brand A Owners Manual
— Brand B
— Brand B Owners Manual
— Why Choose a Heat Pump?
So if someone searched for ‘solar hot water’, we had a logical structure for information, and many pages which helped each other rank. If someone searched for a Solahart (flat plate system), they found a specific page for that brand, with supporting information, and would also be able to quickly see the much wider range of solar hot water products we offered, and the other product categories. Thank your navigation panel!
I hope that this may be a good example of what you propose in this article. I can attest that it worked extremely well for both search engines, and humans!
That’s an excellent setup and a great example, John! I’m glad to hear it helped produce those kinds of results, but am not surprised. Few competitors will put in the work.
Steve Groom says
I agree with Eric. Excellent information that I can’t wait to implement on my site.
I’d be interested to hear how it goes, Steve!
Justin Bilyj says
1. Good post Phil – I love the Commando gif at the end!
2. Does it matter if the spin-off service page can attract traffic via keyword rankings? I find a lot of local services barely register for any sizable traffic let alone for more specialized services – when doing keyword research. Do you maybe have a size of location in mind for this tip i.e. 50,000+ population towns or minimum monthly traffic to utilize this method?
Joe Dillon says
Hi Justin: I was thinking the same thing. We have heard lots and lots about trimming the fat from our sites by cutting or combining pages that are too hyper specific into longer form content, but if we do wind up writing pages for low / no volume keywords, are we simply diluting our content again?
Hey Joe. I generally don’t recommend “pruning,” at least as it’s commonly done, but it’s a case-by-case question. If the broader pages are pretty solid already, then there is no harm in adding spin-off pages. They’re supplemental, in that I don’t recommend removing content from the bigger or “parent” pages.
Thanks, Justin. Commando is one GIF-rich movie.
I’d make spin-off pages regardless of what kind of traffic you anticipate they’ll get. For a few reasons:
1. Often you won’t know how they pull until you’ve built them, worked them into your internal linking, and let them sit for a while. Only then will you have useful data
2. Other estimates tend to be way off.
3. If it’s a relatively obscure term, it’s more likely to rank across a larger area (or nationally, or both). Google has to grab results from farther afield to satisfy that search term. S the visibility and traffic can add up. The spin-off pages typically should be all about a service/offering, and not horse-blinders-focused on one city or town of whatever population. Definitely give them a local aroma, though. This is where “near me” optimization can come in, by the way: https://www.localvisibilitysystem.com/2018/01/29/how-to-rank-for-near-me-local-search-terms/
Angela Murnin says
Great article! Interested in your feedback regarding using these type of pages vs blog entries for the more “specific” topics that we don’t dive into on the overview page of a specific type of healthcare treatment. The practice I do marketing work for is a vein center/cosmetic laser practice. We write tons of blogs that address more specifics than we go into on treatment or condition overview pages, but now I’m intrigued by this concept.
Good question. In general, I recommend pages rather than posts. I wrote on this topic here:
Very well worked the depth of the content of John Moore’s website. It is curious that they only push the location keyword (“Houston”) from the service pages. In the Home page it is only included in some h3 and in a paragraph. Very natural, I like it.
It’s a very good site, but yeah, there is a lot more they can and should do.
Also, they have an incredible number of Google reviews (though many of them are too brief).
Richard Shockley says
Great post Phil! Question. Do you think this could create issues with canonicalization? Meaning..you may now have two pages competing for a search phrase showing up at positions 4 & 5 where one page that comprehensive and contained the entirety of the info and sub sections may rank #1? I’ve seen this with many of my local business clients and don’t have a clear consistent resolution. For example, we had an audiologist with a home page, a specific page about hearing aids, and then brand pages for specific hearing aids they sold. What we noticed was that some of the brand pages were ranking where our main “hearing aids” page should have ranked and seemed to water down rankings as I described.
Great question. I’m generally not concerned about canonicalization issues when I do spin-off pages. That’s for a few reasons:
1. If you do them right, the pages shouldn’t overlap too much in terms of content or in terms of the terms they rank for.
2. Having both pages gobble up some of the search results can be better than having just one on page 1 (like in case one of the pages peters out, and so as to block a competitor from getting that spot). Of course, I’m assume both pages are good and don’t just make people hit the “back” button.
3. You can always make one page the canonical one later, if the two pages stay long-term somewhere on page 1 and you want to consolidate them and see if that bumps you up a couple of spots. That’s a good problem to have, but it’s one you’d deal with only after you’re in that strong position, rather than before.
Awesome, thanks Phil!
Any tips for local relevance spin off pages?
Eg; for a beauty salon – places to eat and things to do in the local area that may be of interest to your customers.
I generally avoid those sorts of pages. The traffic rarely consists of people who’d ever become customers. Also, on the off-chance you get any links out of the deal, the links probably point to the “local resource” page and not to a money page. (Better than nothing, but far from ideal.) Of course, that all assumes the pages get any traction, which they may not, because many time they’ll be in direct competition with older, more-definitive resources on monster sites.
If you do give it a try, my main (and, for now, only) suggestion is to tie those pages to your services somehow, so that it’s obvious at least to any local readers what you do and where you do it. Relevant post here:
Suzanne Delzio says
When you write these pages, do you use conversion copy best practices? I think it would start getting somewhat expensive for clients if you do. These local businesses don’t have the budget that the big nationwide businesses do. And it’s the bigger businesses that are willing to pay for conversion copy which is much more involved than what typical SEO companies write for clients. Thoughts? Suzanne the conversion copywriter
The short answer is that I try to bake persuasiveness into everything I do for clients, including spin-off pages. Often a good 80-95% of that is just being super-clear about what the service is – that is, describing it thoroughly and addressing FAQs. In general, I wouldn’t say “conversion copy” should be in isolated spots on a site, but infused throughout it.
In my experience, with small businesses the key is to make the site incrementally more persuasive. Once the business owners determine, “Hey, we’re getting more out of our traffic” or “We’re getting better leads and fewer tire-kickers,” they’re willing to devote more time/money/energy to making the site even more persuasive. There are always some baby steps.