Many local businesses serve customers beyond the town that their business is actually located in. Consequently, we are often asked by our clients what is the best way to get a website to rank well for a particular service in a specific city/town.
This is an important topic – especially for businesses in suburbs or rural areas populated by many smaller towns.
And it’s a delicate topic due to a long history of SEO tactics used in unscrupulous ways – otherwise known as Black Hat SEO. When we’re asked, “Can you help us to rank everywhere for everything we do?”, our answer is – “online advertising”. But there are some SEO options if employed in the correct way.
Two SEO techniques to promote rankings in a wider geographic area:
1) Set your Google Business Listing to “Service Area Business”, aka “SAB”. This should allow your Google listing to show up in the Local Pack for searches throughout the service area you determine.
2) Create what we call “Geo-targeted Services Pages” on your website. If you provide a specific service to a certain location, it’s perfectly acceptable to create a web page to inform your customers about where, how, and why you do it.
For this conversation, we’ll focus on #2 – Geo-targeted services pages and give an example:
Our client, Promaster Handyman Services is a successful and rapidly growing business in Ohio. They now have multiple locations and provide their customers a wide array of services throughout the greater Cincinnati area. They actually do provide specific services in particular communities and reached out to Ramblin Jackson for advice on how to promote their services. We worked together to create new services pages describing how they perform wood rot repairs in Mason, Ohio and how they fix wood rot and dry rot in Loveland, Ohio. These web pages should rank well for people searching on Google specifically for this service in these locations.
An old Black Hat SEO technique that was popular a few years ago was to copy/paste the same services content and just change the city name on the page – and create dozens of useless pages solely for the purpose of ranking well. Sometimes it worked well, but these days Google is enthusiastically opposed to such practices and has updated their algorithms to penalize websites accordingly.
The bottom line is this: If your intent is to “game the system” and fool search engines into ranking your website higher than it should be ranked, the chances are very good that a penalty will occur and you will regret it for a long time. If you have questions about this, we always recommend you contact a reputable SEO agency such as Ramblin Jackson for advice.