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How to Create Unique and Helpful Service Area Pages for Local Businesses


During LocalU virtual in November 2022, I presented ways to create local content that’s valuable to local audiences. Service Area pages are 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?

Or listen to Joy say it here:

If this is working for you, great. But as Joy notes in the video, 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 pages 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 Kind of Content Should Go on Service Area Pages?

Writing content focused on the same services for multiple cities can get repetitive really quickly. 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

Write about local landmarks in the area like parks, lakes, and popular neighborhoods, and 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

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 a service area page and then hide it 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.

How Many Service Area Pages Do Multi-Location Businesses Need?

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.

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.

TL;DR:

  • 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.

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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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