Regional SEO is an intermediate stage between Local SEO and National or Global SEO that tells a business is well equipped to target a larger city or town or even multiple towns within a large geographic location, but it’s not fully ready yet to target an entire nation or the customers in different countries.
If you are running a service area business and targeting multiple locations or areas, then a well-strategized regional SEO model should be an ideal marketing campaign for you. You cannot afford to construct your own brick and mortar stores or physical offices or rent them in all of the cities you are targeting.That would certainly be expensive.
So, rather than real offices you can set-up your virtual offices at those locations, create individual web pages for each one of them and optimize those pages to leverage your business. This is known as Regional SEO campaign, which is a solid alternative to having physical offices in all cities to drive your potential customers from those areas.
This is post will tell you the useful techniques to design a strong and productive Regional SEO model, but before that here’s a word of caution that you need to know and remember.
Google says, “If your business rents a temporary, ‘virtual’ office at a different address from your primary business, do not create a page for that location unless it is staffed during your normal business hours by your business staff.”
You can find the details of Google My Business Help & Guidelines here. If you violate the guidelines by Google, they may consider suspending your organic listings within a short period.
In order to help protect your listings, here’s a detailed 5-step guide for you to design a powerful Regional SEO model that will go in accordance with Google’ guidelines and help leverage your regional business.
Step-1: Research Your Target Locations
First things first. Do a thorough research about all your potential target locations that you think can be ideally productive for your region-specific business.
There may be a number of locations in the vicinity that you think are ideal in driving customers, but real data obtained online may tell a different story about the search interest of the internet users in those areas. Some areas showing good results now might also change after some weeks or months down the line. You should take that into account as well.Here’s how you would begin your research.
•Enter ideal search queries on Google local search. Your ideal search queries are your product or service names + geo modifiers. Find the geography report data in your Google Analytics and compare between your ideal search phrases. This will give you an idea about the cities that show good search interest.
At this point, you would have a long list of cities, but it’s not possible to create separate regional pages for all of them, so you need to group some cities to shorten the list further.
Step-2: Create Selling Regional Pages
Your regional SEO campaign depends a lot on your regional location pages.
Like any web page today, a regional page has to look good. Plus, it must provide amazing user experience. The text, the images and the call-to-action buttons or phrases – all these elements must captivate your page visitors to ensure they engage in certain activities on the page before leaving it.
Here’s how you would construct your regional pages:
1. Write a 100% unique description about the area. This would tell what this regional page is all about.
2. Include the benefits, usefulness or importance of your service or goods in that particular area. This should answer the ‘why’ part clearly.
3. Next, include a little bit of history of the business in that region. Describe the exact service location by adding any landmark or highway cross-section details.
4. Include photos of any significant work done by your business in the region.
5. Link to other regional pages that target the nearby areas.
6. Include details of your past customers or clients in that area along with their testimonials if any.
7. Your logo has to stand out from the rest.
8. Optimizing image names and including image alt text for the images is a good practice. Do that.
9. Include an attractive and informative map showing your entire target region and highlighting your business location.
Step-3: Manage Doorway Pages Well
Doorway pages, according to Google, are duplicate pages or similar pages that are created to rank highly for particular search phrases and all those pages lead to the same destination. This may harm the user experience.
On 12 Dec 2017, Google’s John Mueller conducted a live Google Webmasters Hang-out session, where he clearly said that doorway pages are fine if they are well-crafted and implemented correctly.So, should you create doorway pages, or should you not?
No clear and concrete answer to this, but since your users don’t like doorway pages you shouldn’t actively involve in this practice. But then, it’s up to you. As long as you manage to satisfy both search engines and your users alike with your well-crafted doorway pages nobody is saying a NO.
Step-4: Focus on Niche Link Building
There are a lot of different ways you can accomplish niche link building for your regional pages.
Here are some of the popular ways:
1. Target your clients that have their own website. Write guest posts for them about your service or goods.
2. Don’t miss out on a single opportunity to interact with your potential customers. You should participate in all local events or charity programs.
3. Choose the popular niche directories and submit your regional pages to them.
Step-5: Set up Your GMB Profile
Setting up physical offices at all target locations is expensive, but you should try and have one regional office somewhere in the heart of the most popular area where you can manage multiple nearby regions easily. If you could afford that, then creating a GMB (Google My Business) profile is a great option.
After the profile is set-up your regional business shows in the target regions, and your customers can easily find the detailed information about your business, product or service. Local searchers are getting more interested in finding information from GMB profiles nowadays.
Although you cannot have offices at all of the regions you can set up a service area business in Google My Business and grow your customer-base from across all your target locations.
Is there anything else you think we’ve missed out that can further strengthen a regional SEO model? Please feel free to share your views in the comments below.