**This post was selected as one of the top digital marketing articles of the week by UpCity, a B2B ratings and review company for digital marketing agencies and other marketing service providers.**
Many clients may believe that stuffing the keyword “near me” is the best way to rank in the map pack. The truth is that SEO rankings in the map pack are based on many factors, but one of the most critical ones is having a top-notch location landing page.
What Makes a Top Notch Location Page?
As SEO professionals, we tell our clients and stakeholders that great SEO implementation must satisfy search intent. why don’t we bring the same logic when it comes to location page optimization?
Use this checklist to address several possible questions your website visitors may have when learning about a local business to cover your bases and increase your chances of ranking in the map pack.
Name, Address, Phone Number (NAP)
The NAP is a critical part of local SEO. Your nap should be an exact match copy throughout all of your citations such as your Google My Business profile, various directory listings, and your location page.
There are many SEO professionals out there they claim exact match isn’t as important as it used to be but there are plenty who still do. as such, there’s really no point in risking it so you may as well ensure an exact match across all of your local citations.
Photos are an important part of the location page experience but many businesses are missing important opportunities when it comes to their photos.
You would think this is a no-brainer, but there are a surprising number of location pages that are missing interior photos.
Interior photos help visitors get a realistic expectation when it comes to your business. Often, especially when it comes to the healthcare industry, high-quality interior photos can be a deciding factor on whether or not to make an appointment.
Just like interior photos are important, exterior photos are important for your local page optimization. Examples of exterior photos include:
- Logos and signage.
- Nearby businesses if you are located inside a mall or strip mall.
- Parking lots and other parking areas if applicable.
Including exterior photos will help new visitors locate your business the first time they arrive and they also be a decision factor when it comes to new business.
Optimizing Your Image Metadata
Your images should be high quality, but images taken from digital cameras tend to be large in terms of file size. The larger the file, the longer it takes to load on your website so it’s important to optimize it to improve your page load speed.
Much of the larger file size has to do with the extra metadata that is included within the photos, the majority of which is unnecessary, such as the type of camera that took the photo.
Using software like ImageOptim can remove that metadata with lossless compression so that the image quality is not compromised, but the file size is greatly reduced. Using software such as ImageExifEditor can be used to add metadata to your images such as a title, description, and GPS coordinates.
When it comes to your website, adding GPS coordinates to the metadata may be a bit much. However, when it comes to adding the data to photos that will be used on your Google My Business profile and other local citations, it may help boost your rankings.
Description of the Business Location
Many businesses fail when it comes to the description of their location. Some locations use the same description on all location Pages only replacing a location name. While it may seem like it’s a good idea at first, ultimately in terms of ranking it is not the ideal approach. For the best possible ranking potential, each location page needs to be unique.
You can do this by including information such as your:
- Products and Brands: If you are a store, include some of the major brands that someone may be searching for near them.
- Services Offered: Do you offer services of this location that are unique compared to other locations?
- Unique Selling Proposition: what makes your business unique compared to the competitors in the area?
- Menu: For restaurants, including the menu is paramount. However, other businesses such as nail salons can also include a menu that lists the various products and services alongside their pricing to help people know what they can expect to pay once they arrive as a walk-in.
- Nearby Locations: Do you have any other locations nearby? If so, this can help with your internal linking.
Helpful Call to Action (CTA)
It’s important to include a call to action on any page where you want the visitor to take an action. However, many location pages often overlook this step. The key to a successful CTA is to make sure that it makes sense and adds value to your user experience. Options for CTAs on your location page include:
- Request appointment.
- Make a reservation.
- Call us now (Click/tap to call).
- Get directions (with a link to Google Maps).
- Shop Now (if you’re set up for online shopping).
Directions to Business Location
Including directions to your business not only helps users find the business but it can also help you naturally work in Geo specific keywords and targeting in your copy.
As a general rule, you should focus on how to get to your location from at least two directions either east and west or north and south from major highways. It’s a good idea to mention major intersections to also help you identify your business location.
And don’t forget to mention nearby businesses in your direction so your users can find your business if it’s located in a shopping mall or outlet center.
Take time to embed a map on each location page as this can help users more precisely figure out if your location is the one that is closest to them. If possible, use the Google Maps API to develop a custom map solution that also includes other nearby locations.
All local businesses should be using the standard local business markup. But, it’s also important to take things one step further and use the specific local business type that is most relevant to you. Take a look at schema.org for a list of more specific business types and try to find the one that matches your business the best.
SEO Title and Meta Description
One of the most important and well-known steps of SEO is to have a well optimized title and meta description. Local SEO amateurs are known for spamming it because they don’t tend to worry about the title and meta description since they are focusing on ranking in the map pack. Local businesses will still get traffic from standard organic search results so you should always cover your bases and ensure that your listing is optimized wherever someone may find it.
To ensure your title is well optimized, it should include your brand name, keyword, and a geo-specific keyword such as your city or local area.
When it comes to your meta description, be aware that it does not directly affect rankings but it is a free selling space in the search engine results page. You should include the same three elements from the title while adding some additional flair to help sell users so they are more likely to click your link.
Whenever possible, you should add relevant internal linking to your local landing pages. Though not all of these may be relevant to your business you can try some of these ideas:
- Location specific social media profiles
- Doctor/staff profiles
- Other nearby locations
- Informational pages about the specific services you offer
- Company about page
- Space for blogs you’ve recently published
- Any available only shopping options
Your pages load speed is an important ranking factor especially in terms of local SEO. Having a fast loading location page can make a difference between your site ranking in position 1 or position 2 in the map pack. Use tools such as Google PageSpeed insights or GTMetrix to help you diagnose issues with page load speed and to give you suggestions on how to improve it.
By addressing these 10 key areas on any and all location landing pages on your website, you can increase the chances of beating your competition out of the local map pack for a variety of searches.