How to Rank in Cities Where
you Don’t Have an Address
By Jessie Low
As a local business or service area business, it is very common to want to rank for a neighboring city in search results. While you may never be able to show up in local pack results (because you can’t get a GMB listing in a city you don’t have an address in), it is possible to achieve top rankings in the local organic results.
Just in case you’re not sure what the difference is between local pack and local organic results, here you go:
Targeting local organic results for areas you serve outside of your current location requires creating well thought out and planned city landing pages. If you invest time and energy into building an awesome, informative, and relevant page, then you have the chance to earn solid traffic and drive leads without having to open a physical location in these cities.
The city page strategy is nothing new, however, it is often overlooked, or is executed poorly by some businesses (and consultants), which can lead to underwhelming results. In light of this we’ve decided to put together a list of ways to help you improve and create awesome city pages.
What you need to know about city pages
A city page is similar to any other location landing page, except that they don’t have a physical business address in the desired ranking city. But, both of these types of landing pages require the same basic principles and elements.
City pages are ideal for:
- A business that has only one location but serves clients in surrounding cities.
- Service area businesses that don’t have a physical location and come to clients located in multiple cities.
- Any other business wanting to earn rankings in cities that they don’t have an address in.
Elements For Making an Exceptional City Page
If you are targeting another city for local organic results then you will need the following onsite elements at bare minimum:
Proper Title Tags
We suggest incorporating the location, top keyword, and business name in each page’s title tag. General industry recommendation is for your title tag to be anywhere between 50 – 60 characters.
Example: Top Keywords + City | Your Business Name
Create a description for the user that best describes your business and services. Don’t stuff this with keywords. Instead, say something that might compel a user to click. Try to keep the length to 160 characters so your text doesn’t get cut off in search results.
Page Name & URL Structure
It’s accepted industry practice to use your top keyword and city name for your page name and URL. Especially since it does have benefits from an SEO perspective. Some would argue that it may also have click-through benefits and attract visitors.
If you’re going with the City Name + Keyword, be sure to use only one keyword that best represents what your business does. Don’t go crazy and spam the URL.
Local SEO Benefits – www.CompanyName..com/decatur-cosmetic-dentist
*Personally, if I were creating 15+ city pages then I would err on the side of caution and keep the page name and URL simple by using just the target city. This, however; is my own preferences for having simple and clean URLs.
My Preference – www.CompanyName..com/decatur
Particularly if you have a nice chunk of content on your page, headings can help users parse the text. It never hurts to thoughtfully optimize your headings, too. But again, no need to stuff them with keyword spam.
It is good practice to have prominent and logical internal linking on your website. Make sure to connect relevant internal pages that already exist on your site to the new city page. Internal links can pass value to the new page by sharing their existing ranking power. They also help create relevance by linking to related topics that add value to the user.
For instance, if you are showcasing your services and completed projects on your page, it makes perfect sense to include a link to any existing projects page that goes into greater details about the work completed in that city. If you have any blog content that is specific to that city which is helpful to visitors, then you would want to link to that too. Link to any service pages that go into further depth about the services or products you are offering in that city.
Also keep in mind that linking from within the content of appropriate pages on your site is generally more valuable than linking from your navigation or footer (although, linking from your navigation is still usually a good idea).
This is a no! Don’t do it:
Linking out to websites that make sense with your services and the locale you are targeting can help you provide prospective customers with valuable and informative resources, and create a connection to the city you want to earn organic rankings for.
For instance, let’s say you provide lawn maintenance services in Edmonton and your company chooses to “go bagless” for environmental and lawn health. Linking to the city’s resource that promotes this initiative may provide your visitors with a helpful resource and creates a relevant connection.
Don’t forget to incorporate your city pages into your navigation. They should be easy to find and not hidden; if you have multiple target cities it could make sense to include an “Areas We Serve” in your main navigation or create sub-pages under your “Contact Us” page.
Landing pages that are not properly integrated give off a spam feel, and could be considered by search engines as “Doorway Pages” which are pages that target specific keywords and have been created to get visitors to another page on a website. Doorway Pages often have duplicated content on them, are keyword stuffed, and have an excessive amount of links on the page. These types of pages violate Google’s quality guidelines and are considered a big no, no. But since you’re about to create top-notch unique content this isn’t something you need to worry about!
Create Unique and Engaging Content
Creating unique content for city pages is usually the biggest challenge for consultants and business owners. The content on the page should be interesting, informative, engaging, and relevant. Having repetitive content or following a cookie-cutter template and just plugging in your ideal keyword + city location is not recommended.
Below are ideas and suggestions to help get your creativity flowing and produce an awesome city page.
Start With Your Business
Customers want to know about your company. Answer these questions and then put it all together to create a story.
- When was your business established?
- How long have you been helping customers in this community?
- What are the values and beliefs of your company?
- Do you have a mission statement?
- What services are offered to customers in this area? Describe the services and products.
- Describe how your services differ