Service area businesses specialize in performing a service within a designated area surrounding the business’s office(s). This type of local business typically has one or more physical locations from which service technicians travel to the clients’ locations rather than the customers traveling to a retail store or ordering online.
Service area businesses can often benefit from being listed in Google’s 3-Pack map results which provide searchers a map of three local businesses that provide the specified service or product. Since this map pack is placed above even the highest-ranked search engine results, these positions can really help increase the online visibility of local businesses.
However, since the 3-Pack map results are based on the proximity of the business to the searcher’s location, it can often be difficult to be listed in the 3-Pack—particularly if your business’s physical location is not geographically near the searcher’s location. As a result, local search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the biggest challenges for businesses that deliver services to a client’s location.
So, how can service area businesses improve their rankings for local search results?
Strong content on service area and city pages combined with the strategic use of Google My Business is the solution.
Service Area Pages
The primary goal of your business’s website should be to help users find the information or services that best suit their needs. To that end, it’s important that potential customers can easily identify what services you offer, where you are located, what areas you serve, and what makes your business unique from your competitors.
A service area page plays a crucial role in this process, but it must be filled with strong content that provides value to your site’s visitors. It isn’t sufficient to simply include a large block of cities or regions that you service. That practice has been specifically identified by Google as “keyword stuffing” and will likely lead to incurring penalties.
Instead, look to provide resources in addition to such a list. Some suggested resources might include:
- A descriptive list of all the services you offer with internal links to the appropriate pages within your site
- A map of the region overlaid with your service area
- A breakdown of cities serviced by a regional office with the contact information for a point of contact within that office
Along with adding these resources, you may consider including your service area page in your main navigation to ensure that Google prioritizes it when crawling your site. Furthermore, your internal linking should include the service area page where appropriate.
In conjunction with a service area page with information-rich content, you should include city pages for any city which you have a genuine reason to include. You want to limit your city pages to around ten or fewer pages in order to ensure that your content on each page is unique. With that being said, there is no hard-and-fast rule on the ten-page limit. Just remember that
Each city page should have unique and original content. This point can’t be emphasized enough. Do not copy and paste the same content into each page and change the city name. This will very likely result in Google and other search engines penalizing your site and, more importantly, doesn’t provide a valuable user experience.
The content on each city page should be specific to your work in this location. This is a great place to showcase some of your completed work for clients in this city. Additionally, you could include client testimonials marked up as review schema where appropriate.
If you don’t have current or existing clients in the area, explain to your visitors why your business is uniquely qualified to help people in this area. For example, if you offer basement repair services, does this area have poor soil conditions or drainage issues that require specific remediation techniques that you are qualified to offer? If so, you should include internal links to and from pages that describe relevant services that you offer.
Some brainstorming ideas that may help you expand upon your content for a city page include:
- Specials or offers unique to this location
- Any scheduled days/hours that your business is regularly in the area
- Any helpful advice or tips unique to residents of the area due to climate, weather, terrain, or local laws
- Personal connections to the city (Did you grow up here? Does an employee currently live there?)
- Activities from the location you or your business participate in or support
- Charitable work you or your organization support in the area
Further, be sure to practice good “near me” optimization. This typically takes the form of content containing language resembling “[services] near [location]” and can help to demonstrate to users and Google that your service area extends beyond the borders of that particular municipality.
Google My Business
The final piece of the SEO puzzle for service area businesses is to claim and set up their free Google My Business profile as a service area business. Doing so will not only allow you to let your customers know your business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP), but also your hours of operation and service area.
Google My Business no longer allows businesses to provide a service area radius. Rather, you can now specify individual zip codes, counties, and states. While this approach requires more work, it can provide a more detailed view of your service area for clients.
Completing the process described above will help both Google and potential clients better understand what areas you serve and (hopefully) rank you better for searches in those areas. To summarize, that process involves:
- Creating a service area page with original content designed to help visitors identify and locate information for their specific needs
- Adding city pages with authentic content related to work you have completed for clients in that area or specific service needs unique to that area
- Claiming your business’s free Google My Business account so that clients who find you will be able to identify your hours of operation and service area
SEO for service area businesses is much the same as for other businesses: original content which provides value to users is the key. If you would like some help with writing quality content that will drive traffic to your site, the Webspec Digital Marketing Team is fully prepared to help you. Reach out to us to schedule a chat today!