For some businesses, ranking for a larger region might create more sense than optimizing for a hyper-local approach.
This is very true for service area businesses that offer services in numerous areas and may not get in-office foot traffic.
Implementing a well-orchestrated regional SEO strategy can facilitate extend your impression reach without breaking the bank for physical offices in every little town in a region.
If done properly, you’ll still rank in the SERP for the desired “near me” searches that have become commonplace for users.
Regional SEO vs. Local SEO
There is a key difference between local SEO and regional SEO.
According to Brian Harnish,
“Local SEO is a strategic process that focuses on emphasizing the optimization efforts of local brick-and-mortar businesses.”
Many non-brick-and-mortar businesses, also known as service area businesses, attempt to implement local SEO by setting up virtual offices to increase their visibility in the local SERP.
According to Google’s guidelines, virtual offices are allowed as long as it’s staffed during your normal business hours by your staff.
1. Research Your Area
We may think we know the areas we serve, but hard data can always prove us wrong.
Before you start chucking away with the next steps, ensure you know which cities are generating the foremost organic search interest for your product or services.
Conduct Local Keyword Research
- Conduct thorough keyword research by adding geo modifiers to your phrases.
- Compare that with your geographics report in Google Analytics to see if there are any similar trends.
- Once you’ve got your list of cities, rank them from highest search interest to least.
Group Your Cities
- Next, we want to see which of these cities we can group together in single regions. Our goal is to reduce the number of regional pages we’ll be creating in step three.
2. Limit Doorway Pages
Creating doorway pages often takes the form of duplicate local landing pages, which is a trend that really needs to stop.
The unfortunate truth is that sometimes, they actually work.
I believe there’s a right way and a wrong way to approach doorway pages for regional SEO.
In fact, in a late 2017 Webmaster Hangout, Google’s John Mueller even confirmed that well-crafted doorway pages may be a fine strategy if implemented correctly.
3. Create Better Regional Pages
Creating a well-oiled regional page is not too different than my guide to the right location page.
There are many components that should be included on both a location page and a regional page, but regional location pages need a bit extra to confirm they provide a significant user experience
Include an Area-Specific Description
The description should be 100% unique on your website.
This can be what separates a well-crafted region page and a doorway page.
Some things to include in your business description to help improve the worth of your region page include:
- History of business in the region.
- Why your services are especially relevant to consumers or businesses in that area.
- Any notable projects in the area (include photos).
- Services or goods offered that may be popular in the area.
- Unique selling proposition.
- Describe the particular service area, using major highway cross-sections or notable landmarks.
- Add internal linking to other nearby region pages.
Mention Local Clients & Testimonials
If you’re a B2B company, include any notable clients in the area that may be recognizable to users.
Discuss the work you did for those clients and include relevant photos of your services.
If photos are not available, include logos. If possible, include testimonials from those clients.
This is where you’ll separate yourself from your competitors.
Your competition may be using this same plan of action and add general stock photography to the region page. Take it up a notch and take your own high-quality photos in the area.
Here are some tips on photos:
- Feature your logo prominently in some of the first showing photos.
- Optimize your image name and alt text.
- Show images of your goods or services in action.
- Include recognizable landmarks from that region.
Include Service-Area Map
- Create a custom-made map of the region with a highlighted section showing your spot.
- This can accompany the section of your description that mentions your service area.
- If possible, work with a developer to create an interactive map to improve the user experience.
Physical Office Location (If Applicable)
Getting a local office in every region can be expensive. It may also not be necessary for every business.
However, having at least one physical office in the heart of your region can significantly facilitate boost your local rankings.
4. GMB Local Office vs. Service Area Business
If you can afford a physical office, even if it’s just for answering calls and dispatching service members, setting up a Google My Business profile is a no-brainer.
However, some businesses may not be able to afford several offices and may not make sense for their strategy.
In those cases, I recommend setting up a service area business in GMB and cast a wide net.
5. Develop a Niche Link Building Strategy
Local link building strategies come in all shapes and sizes.
However, the best strategy is an integrated one that is customized to achieve your goal.
Some ideas on gaining new links to your region pages include:
- Participate in local charities and events (and run some PR about it).
- Submit your region page to industry-specific directories.
- Take advantage of reviews and testimonials.
- Write guest posts for your client’s websites about your work.