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Service Area Pages SEO: Learn How To Use Local SEO for Service Area Businesses with Examples!

During our LocalU virtual event in November 2022, I presented ways to create local content that’s valuable to local audiences. Local SEO for service area businesses is something every local SEO is intimately familiar with. Often, they are the bane of our strategy. Repetitive, boring, and not a unique thought to be read anywhere. Despite all that, they can work when it comes to organic ranking, as highlighted in a study Sterling Sky conducted Can Service Area Pages With Duplicate or Similar Content Increase Traffic?

local seo for service area businesses

If this is working for you, great. But as Joy notes in the video below, this cannot be blanket applied to every industry. If you have trouble getting traffic to service area pages or looking to make them rank higher for location-specific searches, this guide is for you. Service area page examples can be a valuable resource for quality leads across any size service area and getting more traffic to them can be extremely lucrative.

 

If you’re looking to grow your local visibility across any size service area, take these tips and apply them to your most important service area pages first and test the impact.

What Services Pages Do You Need to Create?

How do you determine what service pages you need? Think about your core services first, and make sure you have a page for each. A good rule of thumb is if you want more leads for it and it’s a distinct service, make a page for it. However, you need to avoid keyword cannibalization with existing services pages and new ones you create.

This example below shows a dermatology site that had a few separate pages all talking about different types of treatment for acne scars. Instead of having multiple pages on similar services that all treat acne scars, we combined them into one comprehensive “acne scar treatment” service page which continues to perform well to this day.
service area pages seo

Do You Need a Separate Service Page in Each City in Your Service Area?

Do you need a page for every city?  Typically, no, but it depends. It’s important to avoid proliferation with city pages and services pages as well. You will often find city-specific services pages can easily cannibalize each other for implicit keyword searches.

How you tackle city-specific service pages hinges on factors like competition in your area, the number of locations you have, and the size of your service area. If you offer service in multiple large cities or states, then you may need service pages in each of those major markets. Aim to make these pages as unique as possible and personalized to their location targets. The tips below will help you create helpful service page content that differentiates each page and makes them unique.

Where I see this strategy come into play the most is for attorneys in large cities with large service areas. If you are an injury attorney in New York City that serves Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, you might find it necessary to have a car accident page for each of the major boroughs.

The image below shows an example of an injury lawyer who has offices in Queens and Staten Island, New York. They were having trouble ranking their Staten Island Google Business Profile (GBP) for “Staten Island car accident lawyer.” Their main car accident page was targeting Queens, so we created a new page targeting “car accident lawyer in Staten Island” and within a month they had improved map pack rankings dramatically.
service area pages

How to Make Your Service Pages Extra Helpful and Unique:

Once you know what service pages you need, getting the right content on them for maximum user and SEO value is a delicate balance. Every service page should at its core offer a description of the service, along with how customers can contact you for the service.

We want to take this much further and provide a service page hub for anything a customer may be wondering about that service AND about your business. The more value you can provide a user who is interested in your service the better when it comes to SEO.
service area pages examples

Showcase Your Business’s First-Party Statistics and Data:

Don’t just research statistics, highlight your OWN statistics gathered on the job. For example, if you’re a lawyer, look back at all the settlements you’ve helped secure in your career and put together a range to help users understand what their case can be worth. If you’re a roofer, add in cost info based on your own sales to give customers an idea of what they can expect to pay for your services.

Many businesses shy away from adding specific dollar amounts to their service, but Google has shown time and again that they love highlighting this info in a featured snippet. Plus, it’s helpful for users to understand how much your services cost before they call.

On top of cost info, there are tons of unique statics you can add to your service pages including:

  • First party statistics
  • Unique selling points (why choose your business)
  • Case studies (with photos)
  • Customer reviews (specific to the service)
  • Common customer questions (and answers)
  • Offers and promotions
  • Awards and accolades

Highlight The Expertise and Experience of Your Staff:

Certain members of your team are probably more trained or have more experience in specific services you offer than others. Showcasing these technicians or staff members directly on the service pages is a great way to provide insight into your business and show off the experience of your staff.

One way to highlight these team members is to create short bios for experts who specialize in specific services and add those bios directly to the services pages, along with photos, awards, certificates, and accolades attributed to them.

Go even further by getting quotes from the experts you can pepper directly into the content. This will help “clearly demonstrate first-hand expertise and a depth of knowledge” on the service. This is quoted from Google’s article on their “helpful content update” as an important element to highlight when creating “people-first content.”

Google further emphasized the importance of experience and expertise in their December 2022 update to their Search Quality Guidelines saying “High-quality pages involve time, effort, expertise, and talent/skill. Sharing personal experience is a form of everyday expertise.”

Share the experiences of your employees on the service pages to add real-world value and demonstrate expertise and authority. This will also help build trust with Google and users (see what I did there?).

Showcase Customer Experiences and Reviews:

Reviews pulled in via a plugin are typical to find on service pages. This is great to add unique content to the page, but I encourage businesses to test different types of testimonials to add value to service pages including:

  • Video testimonials
  • Customer interviews
  • Hands-on product reviews
  • Social media posts
  • Case studies
  • High-value quote testimonials with photos.

When Google added the extra E to E-A-T, they emphasized how they value all types of first-world experience to prove trust. Highlighting the experience of customers is a great way to get that onto your service pages.

Add Unique Images and Videos of the Service:

It is extremely valuable to have visual content, such as unique images, infographics, and videos to supplement written content. What kind of visual content should you add?

  • Customer provided images
  • Photos from the job
  • Team photos
  • Unique before and after photos
  • Statistical infographics
  • Images of awards and accolades
  • Video interviews with service experts on staff
  • DIY videos

Something I love to see is video content showing how the service is done. If you have a part of your service or process that sets you apart from the competition, showcase it in a video. In the example below, the video search results for “bed bug treatment near me” shows a video about certified bed bug dogs and how they are able to quickly sniff out bed bugs. As someone who loves dogs, I am immediately intrigued and want to click.

The coolest part here is that Google is linking directly to this company’s service page, not YouTube. Having videos on your service pages instantly increases their search visibility by allowing them to show up in video searches!

Don’t Set and Forget:

As with any piece of content you publish online you need to monitor its performance and provide tweaks and edits as needed. If you find your service pages are not ranking in the locations you want them to, you may need to add more content or even a new page. If you are not ranking high enough in the SERPs, see what kind of content Google is ranking above you and elevate your content to surpass the competition.

Service pages can be valuable, bottom-of-funnel pages users will convert on. Take the time to continuously evaluate how you can provide the most value possible and you’ll find success.

Local SEO For Service Area Businesses – What Kind of Content Should Go on Service Area Pages?

Writing content focused on the same services for multiple cities can get repetitive really quickly. However, adding informative content is important, as thin content on service area pages can result in a penalty from Google. You need to talk about the services you offer on these pages but make it as unique as possible. You need to do a rundown of all the services you offer in the area, use bullet points, and make sure to link to service pages to give users and Googlebot an avenue to find more detailed information.

If you’re not talking in detail about services on all your city pages, what are you going to talk about? Here are some tips to share to make the city pages unique and helpful for your customers.

Highlight Local Landmarks

When optimizing service area pages for SEO purposes, write about local landmarks in the area like parks, lakes, and popular neighborhoods. When doing this, try to relate them back to your services as best you can. Include other unique aspects of the city users can connect with like city nicknames, demographic information, or events that happen annually, especially ones your company participates in, and bonus points for photos.

Talk About Your Company’s Connection to the Area

Moreover, talk about your company’s connection with the area as well. Are you part of the Chamber of Commerce? Do you donate to a charity or non-profit in the city? Do you sponsor any events in the city? Brag about it and add external links to all of the local websites you can.

Also, talk about your employees and their connections to the area. Do you have employees who live in the area? Do they frequent the area in their free time? Do they go to a local university? Talk about it on these pages to not only connect with potential customers but also help show Google the people who work at your company. It’s helpful if you can link out to employee pages on your site, or profiles on other, industry-relevant sites.

List of Related Businesses

Most service area page examples will highlight related businesses in the city that your customers may be interested in. If you’re a garage door repair company, mention local landscapers, driveway contractors, or anything a homeowner may need. Make sure to do your research on which businesses you should be recommending to make sure they are well-rated in the community, and that they actually exist. Recently, Sterling Sky did a study to see if Chat GPT could help write hyper-local content and it failed pretty epically so be wary.

Bonus: If you link to these other local businesses, they might even be inclined to return the favor, which is a great way to build links to these city pages.

Don’t Ignore Internal Linking

You never want to create service area pages for SEO and then hide them from users and Googlebot because it’s not linked anywhere on your site. Beyond linking to it in the main navigation, you also want to link to it on all relevant pages of your site; think the homepage, service pages, and even relevant blog pages.

Unlocking The Power of Service Area Pages SEO: Determining The Ideal Number For Multi-Location Businesses

This is a question I often hear from large businesses operating in multiple service areas and/or states. My recommendation is to pick the cities in each service area that generate the most revenue according to your records and make sure you have a page for each of those cities. If you operate in multiple states, it may be a good idea to have state-level pages as well to optimize for state keywords. Businesses are often surprised by how many people search for “service in state” so this can be a major opportunity if the competition is not optimizing for state keywords.

service area page examples - google search console showing impressions for state level searches

Optimize for Possible GBP Landing Pages in the Future

All these elements are ways to add unique content and most importantly value for the users that land on this page. It’s important to remember that these pages will only be shown organically for now, but if you ever open a physical location in that city and verify a Google Business Profile (GBP), then this could very well be a GBP landing page in the future. So having it rank organically NOW can save you a ton of time and work in the future to get that new GBP to rank in the maps. Don’t forget to check out our article on how adding a service area to a GBP can impact ranking.

TL;DR:

  • Have a service page for each major service you offer. Avoid keyword cannibalization with other pages on your site.
  • Each service page should have a keyword focus like “service in location.” You typically do not need service pages for each city you service, but this depends on your industry, your competition, and the size of your service area.
  • Use service pages to tell the story of your business and highlight first-party data and expertise. Brag about employees’ expertise and experience on the job.
  • Highlight various types of customer testimonials to provide real-world experience.
  • Add visual content like unique photos, infographics, and videos of the service.
  • Don’t set and forget! Continuously improve your service pages as they can be some of the most valuable pages on your site.
  • Always use data to determine if similar content on service area pages is working for you, and invest in service area optimization for top areas that are underperforming.
  • Add local information to service area pages to add locally relevant, unique content and connect with the community in that area.
    • local businesses
    • local landmarks, neighborhoods, parks, and lakes
    • sponsorships, charity, events
    • bio of employees from the area
  • Use internal linking to funnel local users to the appropriate service area page.
  • Optimize service area pages now if you plan on opening a location and getting a GBP there in the future.

Want more local SEO tips?
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Elizabeth Rule

Elizabeth is an expert local SEO analyst who has been working in the industry since 2015. She has a passion for content creation and loves working with local businesses to develop their website’s authority and expertise through well written, helpful content As a Google Business Profile Product Expert she is also in the unique position to help businesses crack the code to gain valuable visibility in local search maps and help solve complex GBP issues. Recently, she was nominated as one of BrightLocal's Rising Stars of Local SEO 2023. She currently works as a Local SEO Analyst and Account Manager at Sterling Sky, a Local SEO Agency in Canada and the USA. She is also a faculty member and speaker at Local U SEO Conference.

This Post Has 16 Comments

  1. Hi, a great article on a very common issue faced.

    I have a few queries and would be grateful if you can answer them –

    1. Are you sure the addition of local locations/things to do really helps? is it not against Google ToS?
    2. Will you have an example of how to execute it? I mean, should we write a couple of lines on them or prepare a detailed post and link to that post from the service area page?

    1. It is not against Google TOS. I do find they help users find relevant information about their local area as well as helps Google understand where you’re physically located and the services are offering in that area.

      You should add the local information directly to the service area page. You can write up additional blog pieces and link to them from the service page as well. But the idea here is to fill these service area pages with tons of useful, relevent local info to provide value to your potential customers.

  2. Any tips on the best linking strategy for service area businesses other than having all the areas linked in the header and/or footer?

    It would be nice to have a location page with all these areas listed. But how build that location page with useful info i struggle with 🤔

    1. I would create a section on each service area page that links to all the other service area pages, you can probably make this a global block and add to all pages rather easily. Header would be something like “All The Areas We Serve”

      You can also create a “service area hub” page that links to all your SAPs, which I think would be useful in itself to explain to users where you serve customers. Create a service area map to show the outline of your service area, you can do this using Google My Maps.

      You should also link to all of your service area pages from your GBP landing page/location page (if you have one – you might not if you are a service area business, in which case a “service area hub” page would be very helpful.)

  3. Great article. Quick question. Is it worth creating location pages for businesses with a physical location (such as nail salon, dentist etc..) who are trying to attract customers from nearby cities closely located to theirs? Many thanks

    1. Absolutely! If you have a physical address where people can visit, you should have a location page with the address, phone number and hours of operation. This page should likely be the page your GBP links to. Then create service area pages for each nearby city you are trying to attract customers from and link to those pages from your location page.

  4. Very cool article.
    What is the best practice for optimizing service page headers and page titles for a service area business (let’s say a plumber based in Glendale) that is trying to be found for additional nearby locations (3 to 4)?

    For a single-location business I usually include the name of the location I want to rank for on all service pages “boiler repair Glendale” “blocked sink Glendale” and so on

    If I create a location page to target the nearby location of “Pasadena” for example, what should the page title header be? I was thinking of using the main service “Plumber Pasadena”. Within the content of that location page, I also want to add a short list of additional services provided so they can link back to the main existing service pages but since they are already optimized for Glendale it doesn’t make a lot of logical sense. What would you recommend?

    Many thanks

    1. Hi Nico, thanks for reading and asking a great question!

      Instead of trying to get a service page to rank in multiple locations, I would focus on 1 location. It is hard to get a service page to rank well in multiple locations, especially if they are not close. If your business is located in Glendale, then the main pages on your site likely should all be optimized for “Glendale” keywords, including service pages.

      Then, I would optimize each service area page for all the services you are trying to rank for by adding more location specific content for those services on said service area pages.

      So the main header for the Pasadena page can be targeting “Plumber Pasadena” and then I would have additional headers with unique content targeting “boiler repair Pasadena”, “blocked sink Pasadena” etc. The key is to have unique, relevant content like case studies, customer stories, before & after photos that are specific to the city/town to make these pages actually useful for users and avoid duplicate content.

      It is ok to link to the main service pages even though they are targeting “Glendale” keywords. In fact, I would recommend it as the main service pages are likely to have more comprehensive content about your services compared to each service area page. Google should understand that even though you are linking to a “Glendale” focused page, the service area page you’re linking from is targeting a different location.

      Hope that helps!

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