What is the best way to optimize my site for multiple service locations?
If your company serves multiple locales, it is important to understand how to optimize for each so that Google does not drop your site from the SERPs due to duplicate content or lack of specificity. Read on for tips on how to optimize for each location!
Should I use subdomains or separate pages?
Separate pages. If you create a page for each location your business serves, than include specific data on each of those pages. Don’t do something generic; target the specific audience in that area. For example, if you are a bee-keeper serving 3 cities in California (for example, San Diego, San Francisco, and Los Angeles), you’ll want to create a specific page on your main site for each area you serve in order to rank high in the SERPs for each location. By creating these specific pages for each location, you will be one step closer to ranking well for “Bee Keeper San Diego,” “Bee Keeper San Francisco,” and “Bee Keeper Los Angeles.” On the other hand, if you were to create a generic page for each location with the same or similar content, you would have trouble ranking due to lack of specificity and lack of unique subject matter. Also, these pages would likely be in competition with each other, which would negatively affect your site’s search engine rankings.
This way, if someone Googles “Bee-Keeper San Diego,” your site is more likely to come up if that location has a separate page. If they Googled “Bee-Keeper San Diego” and you simply had a subdomain, for example, what are the odds that your site will come before your competition’s? Those odds are significantly smaller.
What should I include on these separate pages?
Make sure that the different location is included in the title tag of its page. Additionally, it is always good to be as specific as possible when describing your business at this location, and try to even include photos. What is the neighborhood like (i.e., is it a popular place to be, or is it up and coming)? Do you have a map that shows where you are located? Is there a famous restaurant or store nearby? Answering questions like these allows you to show Google that you are in fact located where you say you are located, and that you are trustworthy. These are two factors that will allow your page to show up higher in the search engine results page when Bee Keeper and one of the three cities in which you are located is searched.
How will this improve my SEO strategy?
Trust is key. Specific information on each page of your site will build Google’s (and your potential customers’) trust. It will also serve as unique and relevant content, which is so important in post-Panda SEO strategy. Doing all of this can only help you by driving traffic to your website and therefore your business. There really is no down side!