For some businesses, ranking for a larger region may make more sense than optimizing for a hyperlocal approach.
This is especially true for service area businesses that offer services in various areas and may not get in-office foot traffic.
Implementing a well-orchestrated regional SEO strategy can help extend your impression reach without breaking the bank for physical offices in every little city in an area.
If done correctly, you can still rank in the SERP for the coveted “near me” searches that have become commonplace for users.
There is a key difference between local SEO and regional SEO.
Many non-brick-and-mortar businesses, also known as service area businesses, attempt to implement local SEO by setting up virtual offices to increase their visibility in the local SERP.
According to Google’s guidelines, virtual offices are allowed as long as it’s staffed during your normal business hours by your staff.
While you can always reinstate your suspended listing, it’s certainly a pain.
Your listing may get suspended again in the future if a report is filed by a user or Google suspects that you’re violating their guidelines.
In an effort to reduce any decline in organic visibility and business from your SEO efforts, I recommend following these five tips to optimize your regional SEO strategy.
We may think we know the areas we serve, but hard data can always prove us wrong.
Before you start chucking away with the next steps, make sure you know which cities are generating the most organic search interest for your goods or services.
Conduct thorough keyword research by adding geo modifiers to your phrases.
Compare that with your geography report in Google Analytics to see if there are any similar trends.
Once you have your list of cities, rank them from highest search interest to least.
Next, we want to see which of these cities we can group together in single regions. Our goal is to reduce the number of regional pages we’ll be creating in step three.
For example, if I’m trying to rank for my SEO services in Dallas, I may also want to target the common business districts such as Addison, Plano, Frisco, and Irving.
It’s also worth noting that Fort Worth is less than 40 miles from Dallas, which means it may make sense to combine the two areas, depending on how many regions you’re targeting.
At this stage, we may end up with a single DFW page that can target the majority of North Texas.
Google defines doorway pages as “… sites or pages created to rank highly for specific search queries.”
They go on to elaborate that doorway pages are essentially a set of duplicate or similar pages that all lead to the same destination and may harm the user experience.
Creating doorway pages often takes the form of duplicate local landing pages, which is a trend that really needs to stop.
The unfortunate truth is that sometimes, they actually work.
I believe there is a right way and a wrong way to approach doorway pages for regional SEO.
In fact, in a late 2017 Webmaster Hangout, Google’s John Mueller even confirmed that well-crafted doorway pages may be a fine strategy if implemented correctly.
Creating a well-oiled regional page is not too different than my guide to the perfect location page.
There are several elements that should be included on both a location page and a regional page, but regional location pages require a bit extra to ensure they provide a meaningful user experience
The description should be 100% unique on your site.
This can be what separates a well-crafted region page and a doorway page.
Some things to include in your business description to help improve the value of your region page include:
If you’re a B2B company, include any notable clients in the area that may be recognizable to users.
Discuss the work you did for those clients and include relevant photos of your services.
If photos are not available, include logos.
If possible, include testimonials from those clients.
Want to take it up a notch? Make video testimonials in that region.
This is where you can separate yourself from your competitors.
Your competition may be using this same tactic and add general stock photography to the region page.
Take it up a notch and take your own high-quality photos in the area.
Here are some tips on photos:
Create a customized map of the region with a highlighted section showing your service area.
This can accompany the section of your description that mentions your service area.
If possible, work with a developer to create an interactive map to improve the user experience.
Getting a local office in every region can be expensive. It may also not be necessary for every business.
However, having at least one physical office in the heart of your region can significantly help boost your local rankings.
If you can afford a physical office, even if it’s just for answering calls and dispatching service members, setting up a Google My Business profile is a no-brainer.
However, some businesses may not be able to afford several offices and may not make sense for their strategy.
In those cases, I recommend setting up a service area business in GMB and cast a wide net.
Local link building strategies come in all shapes and sizes.
However, the best strategy is an integrated one that is customized to achieve your goal.
Some ideas on gaining new links to your region pages include: