premium training

How to Dominate Local Search With Service Area Pages (SAPs)

This is a premium training for Inner Circle members only.

More about this video

This is a core strategy for helping your local service-based business clients dominate their service areas in search and it’s a great way for you to add a lot more revenue (and recurring revenue) to your project scope for these clients.

**In this training, you’ll learn:

* How Local Search works
* How Local SEO differs from National SEO
* Local SEO site structure
* Local SEO URL structure
* How GMBs affect Local SEO
* How Map Pack rankings work
* The three main on-site components of solid Local SEO (Service Pages, Location Pages, Service Area Pages)
* How to use CPTs and bi-directional relationships to execute this strategy
* Service Page outline
* Service Area Page outline
* 5 ways to “supercharge” your Local SEO results
* Common sticking points and traps

Post your questions! Here’s two common ones I get:

**Does this only apply to service-based businesses?
**It applies to _some product-based businesses_ as long as those product businesses primarily have an in-store shopping experience and don’t take e-comm orders and ship out. If you can ship products anywhere, you probably want to take a more national SEO approach, or a hybrid approach.

**What if the service is truly national?**
There are some types of services that are truly location independent (like coaching/consulting/etc.). Even though these are “service-based businesses” you should use a National SEO approach. Just be careful because some businesses that are “national” or “regional” businesses still need an in-depth Local SEO focus. Also, if the National SEO is too competitive for a truly location-independent business, a Local SEO strategy is probably better.

Video Transcript

What’s up everybody? Welcome back to another Inner Circle training. I’m really excited about this one. It’s one of the most requested trainings inside of the Inner Circle. I’m going to be teaching you how to dominate local search for your clients using service area pages. This is going to really put your clients on the map in their local areas. Very easily could put them at number one online. They may not be the number one company doing the services in their local area. But definitely when it comes to online, they’re going to be the company that shows up over and over and over again in the top spots. And that eventually does lead to becoming the number one service company in an industry in a given area. So this is a very, very powerful service that you’re going to be offering your clients. And it’s also a service by the way that’s going to make you a lot more money. This is one of those services that takes a site from a few thousand dollars to 10,000 plus 20,000 plus 30,000 plus when all is said and done. Of course, that’s over the course of a long time. But you get the point. And it does also create the opportunity for a lot of recurring revenue. We’ve already talked about this when I’ve talked about pricing, when I’ve talked about scoping things out. Yadda, yadda, yadda, you get the point. This is going to be a long training. It’s going to be a detailed training. You’re probably going to want to take some notes. I would recommend bookmarking this training and coming back to reference it over and over and over again. And there’s probably going to be a lot of questions as well. So don’t hesitate to ask questions in the comments section.

Okay, let’s go ahead and dive in to the training. Let me get some screen recording going and we will get the slides going. All right, how to dominate local search with service area pages. First thing we need to do is an intro to local search, just so we’re all on the same page with regards to the context. So there are two primary goals for a local search campaign. One is map pack visibility. We’re going to talk about that more in a second. And organic rankings is the number two things. So you really have two kind of goals you are trying to achieve here. If you don’t know what the map pack is, anytime you do a local search, pretty much anytime you do a local search, you’re going to see this map pack. And there’s typically three businesses inside the map pack other than hitting view wall. Then you can see an entire list, right? But these three businesses are getting prominence in the local map pack and they’re going to get the vast majority of the clicks. So map pack rankings is pretty much governed by this RPP concept, which is relevance, proximity, and prominence. So is the business relevant to what the searcher typed in? So if you type in roofing service, obviously it’s going to give you roofing contractors. And this is in Google My Business, this is what you choose is the category for your business. So that kind of alerts Google to the relevance factor. The name of the company they say does not apply that much. I think it does apply more than they say it does. But at the same time, it’s against Google’s terms of service to like put keywords into your company. You’re supposed to use your actual company name, whatever that may be. So if your company name doesn’t have any keywords in it, you still got to use just your company name. You can’t put additional keywords into that area. So avoid doing that. Just put your company name. It’s mainly this category that’s going to give relevance. And then of course you see over here there’s a website link. Well, Google follows that website link. It crawls the page. And then it gets a lot of relevance factors from the website itself and brings those back into the GMB algorithm. So you know, you have the GMB optimization obviously, but Google is also crawling the website that’s attached to the GMB and getting relevant signals that way as well. Then you have proximity. Proximity means to the individual searcher, not to the area or the location. So Google knows where everybody is searching from for the most part, especially if they’re on a mobile device.

And it’s going to look at their location and then it’s going to determine relevance. And then the last P is prominence around that searcher in a radius. So the GMB, the map pack rankings are actually you have far less control over these because you don’t have control over the proximity of the searcher. And then you’re fighting for relevance and prominence, but proximity, when we’re talking about map pack, to me and from what I’ve seen in my experience, proximity is the biggest factor. It’s literally yes, it’s going to look at relevance, it’s going to look at prominence, but it’s also going to show you it’s going to show the searcher the best business as closest to them. So if you have a physical location and like roof claim, you guys know, you know, roof claim is one of my clients. With roof claim, I had to mention this to them because they took a specific strategy of putting their physical office locations kind of on the outskirts of cities where the real estate was cheaper. And so they have less expensive real estate, that was a plus for them. But when it comes to map pack rankings for those office locations, they struggle because their competitors are all in the main city. And if all the searchers are in the main city, they’re going to lose the proximity game. Even though they have the relevance game and the prominence game on lockdown, they’re losing the proximity game. And that’s something we have no control over, right? Unless we physically move the office closer to the majority of searchers, which obviously, you know, isn’t super practical. So you have less control over the map pack than you do the organic rankings. And you can typically only rank in the map pack, by the way, in areas where the business has a Google My Business listing, typically tied to a physical location.

Those are going to take prominence, let’s say. All right, so let’s talk about the website link and like where to link that because you have a bunch of different options. Most people link to the homepage, but if you have a multi location business, then I would recommend linking the GMB to its corresponding service area page or location page, typically the location page. And then, of course, the location page then links to all the related service area pages. We’re going to talk a lot about internal linking and how all of this stuff comes together as we go. And I just want to note, you know, this isn’t a GMB optimization training. We can do an entire training on GMBs. There’s that much information related to GMBs that this is not that training. Okay, this training is going to focus on service area pages, which is organic ranking below the map pack. So organic results, just so again, so we’re all on the same page. The organic results for a local search are going to show up below the map pack. They look just like listings for any other type of search. And unlike the map pack, you have much more control over whether or not you show up here in the organic results. RPP still applies to organic listings. But again, in my experience, the scale is weighted far more heavily towards relevant and prominence now over proximity. So Google still knows where the person is searching from, but this doesn’t apply to physical locations anymore. So if you have zero physical locations, you can still rank organically pretty much in any city you want to rank in.

Because, like I said, relevance and prominence are the main factors and proximity is only like a secondary factor with regards to this. Basically, Google’s trusting you when you say we serve this area, Google’s trusting that proximity signal. And then it’s more towards like, because all competitors pretty much are targeting cities. The proximity is the city now. So everybody’s on the same page. It’s not really like where a location is like it is with the map pack. So you have to worry about things like proper keyword selection, domain and brand authority, quality content, on page optimization, your link profile, internal linking, all that stuff applies much more heavily than when we were talking about GMBs. So Google knows a local search from a national search. If you’re doing SEO for a service-based business, this is one area where people get really confused. If it is a service area business or a service-based business that you’re doing SEO for, you’re primarily optimizing for local searches. If you just think about this logically, if it’s a painter, it doesn’t matter if the painter paints in all 50 states. If somebody is in Georgia painting, they don’t care about painting services in Washington. They want to know who are the best painters in Georgia. Who are the people around me? Google knows that. So there aren’t really any, like if somebody goes to type in painting company, that’s really Google’s going to look at where that person is searching from and show them results based on that. It’s not going to show them a national result for painting companies because that’s not relevant to the searcher. What’s only relevant is painting companies in my area because those are the people that can actually show up and paint my house. So you’re not trying to rank a service-based business nationally, as in all in one. You’re trying to rank them nationally, but you have to rank them in all of the individual areas that they serve. That’s where all of this comes into play. Then you can see why the site has to be much more robust. That’s where the cost goes through the roof for a national company or a regional company. They got to pay to play this game. You got to show up in all these individual areas, which means we need pages and content for all these individual areas.

So if a company is national or regional or you want to target multiple service areas, then you can’t just create a website with service pages. This traditional service pages alone cannot accomplish the goal because services are only relevant to people locally, like I mentioned. Without local signals, there’s no indicator for how or where Google should rank these pages, but you shouldn’t put the most important local signals on the actual service pages. You can see why this is getting confusing because that’s what a lot of people try to do. They try to create a service page like we do home painting or whatever. Then they list all the cities on that page. You can’t do that. Number one is spammy. Number two, Google ignores it. Number three, it’s bad for UX. There’s a much better way to do all of this, and that’s exactly what this training is for. There’s also a subcategory of local search referred to as hyperlocal search. So depending on the type of business, hyperlocal may apply more than a traditional local kind of optimization where you’re talking about city, county, and state. So you might go with town or area nickname. I’ll give you an example. It’s like so near me. I don’t know if Hamilton Mill is an actual city. I think it’s just like an area name, right? So if you have a coffee shop in Hamilton Mill, for example, you might use the term Hamilton Mill because that’s what a lot of people in this area use even though it’s technically not an actual city. And the reason for that is like a painting company, they can get their van and they can drive to cities 45 minutes away and serve customers.

But nobody’s going to drive 45 minutes for coffee. So in certain industries, you’re going to have to go with the hyperlocal area optimization versus more broad city optimization. Even just saying like a city like Atlanta, it’s not really relevant for a coffee shop to rank in Atlanta because Atlanta’s gigantic. So somebody going from one end of Atlanta to the other end of Atlanta for coffee is not going to happen typically. So you want to go with a hyperlocal in that regard. So understanding all of this, selling all of this, and then doing it successfully for clients is a win-win. I want you to know that. To win for you, obviously, but it’s a huge win for your clients like we already discussed. It’s not only does this benefit the client tremendously, it benefits you because you get to sell the strategy and bill for many additional deliverables. We’re talking about more wireframes, more user interface design, additional templates. Obviously, you have the dev that’s involved times the number of pages that need to be created. You have content billing involved times the number of pages that need to be created. This really, really expands the scope of the project. And then, again, it’s not just for shits and giggles, as we say, it’s driving massive, ranking, massive value to the companies that you’re doing this for and making them locks and locks of additional money. So it is truly, honestly, a win-win for everybody across the board.

But it’s only a win-win if you do it right and succeed at it and get the results. It’s not a win-win if you do it poorly and you don’t end up ranking. They don’t get any traffic. They don’t get any additional revenue. So let’s talk about components of this strategy. So to succeed with local SEO, we need three primary things. We’re going to be talking about service pages, location pages, and then the service area pages. Of course, this is aside from the GMB listings that we already discussed. Those are off-site. So right now, we’re just talking about stuff that’s happening on the actual website. All right, let’s talk about site structure and then we’re going to dive into more detail on each component. Okay, so proper site structure is important, which is why it’s important to create an SEO site map prior to building any site. So this is an SEO site map that you’re looking at right now. You have your service pages. These are going to have their, you know, standard slug. You can optimize that slug like I have here. We have martial arts programs. And then you have your service pages and then you might have even sub pages, whoops, sub pages for your services. All of that is standard. And if you’ve watched my How to Build an SEO site map, this is nothing new to you. All right. And this typically happens on most websites automatically. Most website designers, developers, whatever they know how to do this with service pages.

These, by the way, are not location specific. That’s very important to understand. Not location specific. Then you have your location pages. So location pages are going to be their own custom post type. And then they’re going to be, you know, the actual physical locations. So this is only for businesses that have physical locations with GMBs attached to them. We’ll talk more about how this works in a second. Then you have your service area pages. These are the, this is the meat of the training here. And then the, the lynch pin of this strategy will say, so you have your service area pages all typically by cities. In some cases, this might be counties. And then that you also might have multi state as well, which we’ll talk about. But you’re going to have your cities. And then these are actual pages. Okay. Targeting a primary keyword as we’ll discuss. But you also might have sub pages targeting other important keywords. This depends on the type of business. So like this business has five core services. All five services are super important to them. All five services are things that people search for. Not every business is like that. Some businesses of one core service were two core services. Some people have one core service that people search for and other related services that people don’t really search for. Really depends on the industry. Really depends on the business. How this is set up. But this is the primary site structure. So you have your homepage, your service pages, your location pages, and your service area pages aside from a bout and contact and all that good stuff. So within this strategy, internal linking is going to be your friend. It’s the technique that ties all these components together. So Google spiders can make sense of everything.

Google spiders are going to crawl that website. And they’re going to try to figure out what pages are related to other pages and how it all works. One important thing to note here is that the site map is part of the discovery process that you charge for. Watch my training on how to build an SEO site map for more details. So you’re not doing any of that work for free. Since a proper site map is critical, it’s a great selling point for why discovery is pretty much mandatory for every site build. And this helps you sell it. Like tell the client why this is so important. And say it’s basically mandatory. Like we’re not going to start putting a website together for you when we don’t have the underlying infrastructure mapped out. We wouldn’t build a house for you without blueprints. Like we need to create the blueprint of the house, right? So that’s kind of how you can sell it and just say like we’re not really moving forward without doing this discovery work. Because ultimately we want this to be successful. And without the underlying infrastructure, if we get that wrong, it’s going to affect everything. All right, so let’s talk about service pages. This is the first component of this overall strategy, service pages. So a lot of people get confused when it comes to service page strategy. Let’s clear it up. Service pages are basically sales pages for each service. You create them for the user. These are not for Google. Yes, Google’s going to crawl them. Yes, there’s going to be a lot of natural SEO that’s happening on these service pages.

But you’re creating the page for the user. You want to sell the user on the service. You want to convert the user. That’s it. That’s really your primary goal with service pages. And these pages do not need to be location specific. They should in fact be non-specific on purpose so that they can convert visitors regardless of their location. Because when we get to service area page structure, you’re going to see that often we list all the services in that service area. When they click on one of those services to learn more, they’re going to end up on one of these service pages. At that point, the location doesn’t matter. They already know the service is available in that location because they just came from a service area page. Now they just want to be sold on the service. And they want to convert. So you want these to be non-specific. And once you create the GMBs, remember the GMBs are also linked to the website. In some cases, they’re linked to location pages or service area pages. You create the location pages on the website, which we’ll talk about in a minute. Now we create the service area pages, which we’ll talk about in a minute. Google is smart enough to know the areas the business operates in now. Because you’ve done all the internal linking. Google has crawled all this. It’s made sense of everything. It knows which pages are related to which other pages. So you are good to go. Google is smart enough. The days of having to make it super obvious by putting the location 50,000 times on every single page and all the locations on every single pet. That’s over and done with. This is a much more intelligent, much more user-centric strategy. And it’s a strategy that I believe Google really prefers. So the question is how do these pages? Because the service area pages will rank when you do this entire strategy properly.

I’ll show you. I’ll give you proof of that. When you don’t have the GMBs, when you don’t have the location pages, when you don’t have the service area pages, the service pages won’t rank in specific areas, the way that you want them to. But when you have the whole system working, the service area pages, even without any location optimization, will rank in specific areas. And that’s because Google indexes based on the domain and the relationship between individual pages. It does not look at each page as a one-off item. That is so important for you to understand in SEO. It’s never pretending that the one page that’s crawling exists on its own. It’s always looking at the pages that surround it, the pages that link to it, the pages this page links to. It’s always trying to figure out the relationships so it knows and understands the context. And then it can rank that page appropriately. This is why the strong internal linking signals teach Google that these services are offered in the associated locations. So here is an example. This is from a client. You type in BJJ, Buford, Georgia. Now if you’re not in Buford, Georgia, you may get different results for this or near Buford, Georgia. You may get different results. Because you’re searching with the term Buford and GA in there, you’re probably going to get very similar results. It may change slightly. But this is a service page. You can look at the slug, classes Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. That is a service page that is not location specific. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes, BJJJM, SPG, Atlanta. There’s also the homepage ranking for this. And remember, the homepage is talking about not just BJJ, but five different programs that they offer, yet the homepage is still ranking. So we are dominating position number one and position number two for BJJ, Buford, Georgia.

All right. And that’s what I wanted to show you is that that’s not even really optimized for Buford, Georgia on its own. It’s the entire web that we’ve created has taught Google, hey, this is the page about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. This is the company that does that in this area. All right. Here’s a look at a lot of the terms that they rank for and the positions that they rank in. And I want to make it clear, we’ve done no ongoing SEO for this client. They did not pay for ongoing SEO. They only paid to have everything set up one time. So we set up the infrastructure one time. We haven’t even created a bunch of different service area pages for them. We have standard look. We did like a hybrid of service area and location because again, we were trying to work with the clients budget and all of that. There’s obviously ways that you can tweak this strategy and tweak the execution. If the client doesn’t want to go, you know, balls to the wall as we say, right, like, full on with this. There’s ways to adjust it. Okay. So no ongoing SEO, we just did the initial site build. We’re tracking keywords in Buford, Georgia, one of their key service areas. And we see very strong rankings, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes position number two, Muay Thai near me position number two, BJJ near me position number three, MMA near me position number three, Jiu Jitsu near me position number three, Muay Thai classes position number three. And you see it keeps going kickboxing gym position number four. That one’s, you know, tends to be more competitive. And then, you know, we see going down the list and we see obviously some things that we can still improve and optimize for some things that have been declining as of late.

But I also want you to see over here on the URL, Google chooses what to show. So for this one, they chose the service page, the non-location specific service page. For this one, they chose the homepage. For this one, they chose again. So here’s Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes BJJ near me, two different terms, same service pages ranking for both of those terms. Again, they chose the homepage. And then we get down here. Look at this. It’s choosing location pages for these two different terms. So all of these things can rank. And as you’re going to see when we get into the location page section, we’re not even designing those to rank really. The reason they’re ranking mostly here is because we created them as hybrids between a location page and the service area page. But I just want to show you, you know, how this works. It’s not always like, it’s not like always the homepage is going to rank or always the service page is going to rank or always location page or always the service area page. Google is going to pick and choose which ones it feels like are most relevant given that particular search. And that’s okay. That’s perfectly fine. We want to give Google a lot of options to choose from. All right, because if those things don’t exist, Google doesn’t get to choose, right? That’s an important thing. Now, I want you to notice this. The position two, position two, position three, position three, position three, position three.

For most of the target keywords, where the site ranks number two or number three for this particular client, we are not being beaten by competitors. We’re being beaten by corporate directory listings like Yelp. You know, you type in like BJJ near me. And then the first one because Yelp is such a massive brand. Yelp is going to have that like, here’s the top 10 BJJ near you places, right? That’s what we’re being beaten by. We’re not being beat by Joe Schmo Jim down the street. We’re dominating Joe Schmo Jim. We’re being beaten by Yelp, which is perfectly fine, by the way, because if you click on Yelp, we’re number one on the on the Yelp recommendation. So effectively, we’re number one for all these terms through Yelp. And then if the person doesn’t click on Yelp, we’re number one after Yelp, okay? So we are truly like dominating these key terms that they said, this is what we really, really need to rank for. Obviously, we’re ranking for those things. We’re dominating for those things. Again, the reason this works is because the location pages and the service area pages combined with the GMBs and other local signals flow their relevance to the main service pages via internal linking. So those main service pages do not need to have cities and towns and whatever plastered all over them, okay? They just need to be sales pages, high quality sales pages that convert the user. So to make this work, you have to develop high quality service pages and high quality service area pages. I bolded high quality because if you skimp on this, if you cut corners, if you don’t do it right, you’re going to get mediocre result.

And the client needs to know that, okay? So when I tell the client that I’m like, look, I need the money because we got to do this right. Yeah, we could skimp on it and we could lower the costs. But if we do that, you’re going to get mediocre results. And then I’m going to have a bad reputation. You’re not going to get the growth that you want. That’s just what’s going to happen, okay? So pony up now, invest the money, do it. Let’s do it the right way. Let’s get the results and then everybody’s happy. So here is the structure for a service page. So when I talk about high quality, that means it’s deep, right? Like content length and depth, content variety, photos, videos, bullets, blurbs, related content, like who are your staff members that teach in these areas? What reviews are related to, or sorry, that we’re not talking about areas right now? Staff members relate as to the service. So if you go to the BJJ page, we show the BJJ staff members dynamically pulled from the CPT related reviews to that service, related FAQs to that service, the service areas that we offer that service in, this is a longer page, a more costly page, but it’s the way to do it right. So you have your hero section. You typically have like sound bites. This can be for the gym in general, right? Or the company in general. Then you get into your service intro content, your value proposition. You put the related reviews. Then you have more debt, like in-depth explainer content. How does this service work? Right? What are the benefits? All of that. Then we talk about the process. So how it works is the process. Like how does a person go from, all right, I’m not using this service to now I’m using this service and what’s going to happen in between. Photos, related team members, related locations and service areas, related FAQs and then a final call to action and a really solid offer. This is kind of the structure. Now you can mix and match these things, you can change their order, whatever. That’s completely up to you, but these are the components that I would think about adding to pretty much every service page. You also need strong service specific on page optimization. So we’re not doing an on page optimization tutorial right now. That will be in a in a future training, but you need to make sure that these service pages are optimized to rank for the specific service. Next component is location pages. So location pages are typically thin pages by design that literally just establish location information, name, address, phone, map, contact form, GMB link. They’re nothing fancy and really they’re only needed for multi-location businesses. So here’s an example of a location page that we created for roof claim. You have your link to the primary related service area page right there. So just a little blurb about the office and then you know all your standard stuff, right? That would be like on a GMB along with a map and that’s really it, okay? Hours are super important to put on there. You can put reviews on there if you want to, whatever. And then you should link this back to the GMB, the GMB links to it and it links back to the GMB. This page doesn’t, but it should. We’ll probably add that to the template.

Here’s an example from Chick-fil-A one of their location pages. This is a big really popular restaurant chain near me. This is just look at it. It’s like it’s like their own internal GMB basically. Like there’s not a lot of content on it. It has their hours. It has you know order, pick up, and delivery, map, and directions, address, times, yada yada yada, phone number, restaurant operator, a little you know about us blurred from the restaurant operator, a photo. It’s really nothing like nothing there. It’s a pretty thin page. So I want you to think of these almost as an on-site GMB profile. Your location page is a big caution. Should not target any primary keywords that your service area page is target because you can actually cannibalize your search potential. You’re telling Google, hey this page is about this and this other page, this longer page, it’s also about this thing. And Google’s like, how can they both be about the same thing? We don’t know which one to rank. And sometimes you get lucky and Google’s like, well, we’ll just pick one and they rank it. Sometimes Google’s like, well, we don’t know. So we’re ignoring this and they move on. And neither of the pages rank. So you don’t want to take that risk. Don’t try to like, you don’t need to like hyper optimize the location pages. They’re already thin content. It’s really just an on-site GMB. Leave it at that. And then it’s used for internal linking purposes.

And this is why those pages are intentionally thin. We don’t want them to compete with the service area pages. We’re not designing them to rank. So they help provide additional area signals while still allowing the prioritization of service area pages. All right. So they are, by the way, very useful to users who are already on the site looking for locations near them. So that’s when I show you the template in a minute for how we do the archive page, you’ll see why that’s super important. All right. Let’s talk about the meat of this, the service area pages. So these are arguably the most important pages for any local service business. They’re going to be optimized to target the most important search term to the business while also being location specific. So here’s how you plan for these. You just ask yourself a bunch of questions or really, you know, check off a bunch of boxes. Is there search potential for a primary keyword in the target location? So let’s say a client says, well, we want to rank in XYZ city. And then you go into A-TREFs and you try to, you know, see if that there’s any potential in that city. And it’s really saying, ah, there’s no potential there. You got to relay that to the client. Be like, that’s, it’s going to be a kind of a waste of your budget because there’s nothing there. And when I say nothing there, I don’t mean A-TREFs shows zero to 10. If it shows zero to 10, very, that may be good potential. If it just doesn’t show up in the database, that’s what I’m talking about. If there’s like no listing of it whatsoever in the database, then that’s where it’s like, ah, I don’t think that’s going to work out for us. At least we shouldn’t prioritize that by any means.

And this is important, right? This looking at the actual potential in all the given locations, because you might be saying, all right, well, you know, this campaign is going to be 24 service area pages. So 24 service area pages is going to kind of take a while to create. And you obviously want to get them published sooner rather than later. And you’re going to be publishing one at a time, like one, two, three, four, five, six, going all the way up to 24. So when you’re planning, you need to figure out where’s our biggest bang for our buck. Which one should we work on first? So if there’s like 300 search potential in this city and 15 search potential in this other city, obviously you do the 300 ones first. Now you have to weigh in like what’s the competition like? How likely are we to rank all of that factors in? But you need to be you can’t just select cities and you can’t just take the list that the client gives you. You have to actually verify that there’s potential in every single location you’re going to target. You also have to know just more than one primary keyword, have potential in this location. So let’s go back to the roof claim example. Take Miami. Look up. Roof repair Miami. Roofing Miami. Roofing contractors Miami. Roofing companies Miami. And let’s just go with those. Okay. Oh, roof repair Miami. Roof replacement Miami. Okay. So there’s like five different things we could go with. All of them have potential. Not all of them have the same intent, which we’ll talk about in a second. But like, let’s just take repair and replacement and roofers. So you have roof repair, really actually just roofers and roof repair. Those are probably going to be the primary, right? And maybe roofing contractors.

So let’s take those three. Which one are you going to go with? Because you can’t really optimize perfectly for all three of them. Because Google has decided that, you know, those three things aren’t really always the same thing, you know, especially like roof repair is definitely different from roofing contractors and roofers. Okay. So you can’t create one page that ranks number one for all of three of those things. So you have to make a decision which one are we going to go with in this area. And then you may go into a sub page strategy later on where you actually create more pages to target all of those variations. That’s a little bit more advanced. But you’re like I’m saying, there’s more than one primary keyword that has potential in location. You’re going to have to choose which one you go with and which one you target primarily. Which keyword has the most potential related to really two importance to the business? So it’s hard to give you an example with roof claim because they actually don’t do roof repair, but we target roof repair. Now, if they, if what I’m about to tell you was not true, then we would probably not target roof repair. But what we’ve determined is a lot of people who need roof replacements actually go to Google and type in roof repair because they think it can just be repaired, but it can’t actually be repaired. And the volume discrepancy between repair and replacement is so great that what we identified is there’s just going to be so much lost business if we don’t target the repair site. Even though roof claim doesn’t do repairs, they only do replacements. They know that eight out of 10 times when they go out and look at a roof, there’s going to be a replacement happening, not a repair. But the people are typing in repair as if they need a repair just because they don’t know. So we have to target repair. But if there’s three key words that have potential in a given location and it’s like, well, this one’s not really that relevant to our business, we don’t get, you know, they say, well, that’s only 20% of the jobs we do. Okay, well, don’t target that one, obviously. Target the one that’s like 80% of the jobs that they do. Okay, hopefully that made sense. What’s already ranking in that area for that keyword?

Take special note of the search intent and what Google is delivering. This is very, very important. We’ll talk about this more in a second. Should you plan for multiple pages in this service area? So if you’re having to make these tough decisions, yes, according to the budget, it is currently set. You need to pick one and go after it. But I would also make note of these other opportunities and bring that back to the client and say, look, we very likely have to create separate pages. If you want to rank for these things in the future, should you plan for multiple pages in the service area to target multiple key words? Just talked about that. Should you plan for multiple page types in the service area to target different intents? We’re going to talk about that in a minute. Actually, we’ll talk about it right now. So here’s a common trap. Roofing companies in Atlanta. If you actually go type that in and look at the listings, I highlighted every single one with a red box is the same. Okay, so some local searches like this produce directory listings, not just one directory listing. Like my talks about BJJ classes near me, we had Yelp and then we had SPG at Atlanta. Okay, that’s not what I’m talking about. When Yelp or Angie or BBB show up once and then the rest are companies like service pages, home pages, whatever, then that’s fine. But if the every listing, look at this, every listing is a directory listing, then you cannot rank a service page or a service area page for this term. You can’t, it’s just not going to happen. Google has determined, we don’t do that. We only show lists for this term. Then if you want to rank for this, you have to create a list. Okay, so you cannot create a typical service area page to target that.

If a service, if a search produces lists as the primary result, then you must create a list in order to rank. You can use a separate service area page template or just a blog post to do this. Now, note down here because it’s this tough sometimes, you have to get your client comfortable with the idea of listing their competitors because that’s what the other listings do. It’s literally showing you, you know, the top 10 people who do that service in that area, you’re going to have to create a very, very similar list. You’re going to have to list your competitors. Now, the only difference is you have control over this. So you get to put yourself first and you get to be in the conversation. Here’s where I tell clients, it’s better to be in the conversation than to not be in the conversation. So if you have to list and talk about your competitors in order to be in the conversation, do it because it’s better to be in the conversation than to not show up at all. Right? And you have no control over what Yelp is showing or BBB or any of that other stuff. They’re all showing your competitors. Your competitors are already there when people search for this. So wouldn’t you just rather be in the conversation than not be in the conversation? That’s what I tell them. That’s how we typically get them to sign off on doing that. So for traditional service area pages, the page structure and content are very important. Here is a service area page structure that I recommend.

Again, these are very robust pages. It’s very similar to the service page, but everything is optimized for the target area. So we have a hero with the area heading. We have an area optimize sound bites. We have area optimized intro content and a value proposition area related reviews. This is where we do. Here’s the reviews related to this area related to this service or this group of services. Then you have the services offered, which you link to those so that people can actually navigate to them. And that can be service offered in this area. Sometimes with a company, they offer these services in this area, but different services in other areas or like with roof claim, they have all these residential services. And then they also have commercial, but they don’t do commercial everywhere. So we have to optimize the template using the bi-directional relationships to say, well, this service area has these services, but not these services. All right. So area optimize how it works section area optimized photos. Do not use stock images here. Area related team members area related blog posts, which we’ll talk about that later. Area related FAQs area related call to action and offer all of it is optimized for the area. You can create as many service area pages as you want as long as the content is mostly unique and there’s relevant potential. When I say mostly unique little caveat about that, it’s really going to depend on competition. The higher the competition is, the more unique content you’re going to need or the more unique the content needs to be. If you have less competition, you can get away with more content overlap and more duplicate content typically.

All right. So let’s talk about executing this local SEO in oxygen. So first thing you’re going to do is create a custom post type for service areas. Next thing you’re going to do is create a template targeting posts of the service areas CPT. Then you’re going to use cut if all this is overwhelming. You don’t know what I’m talking about. You’re going to pick this up over time. You know, watch my trainings on CPT’s, watch my trainings on 10 best uses for CPT’s, all of that. You’ll get this in no time. Use custom fields and dynamic data to populate all the relevant data on the page. I will do a actual oxygen tutorial for how to build a service area page template insert the dynamic data from custom fields for the service areas. Using a template with custom fields and dynamic data allows you to rapidly create new service area pages and keep them organized. It also helps other people on the team. Even if they don’t know how to use oxygen, they can go in and add more service area pages with no problem whatsoever. Because literally all they’re doing is filling out custom fields and hitting publish. It also makes it easy to use bi-directional relationships between all of the different components, locations, services, reviews, etc. If the business is multi-state, you’re going to want to nest cities under state pages within the CPT. So I use in, I in, for the SAP primary slug.

So it’s like slash in and then you’re going to have the rest of the location slug. The reason I do this is because it’s the shortest slug that makes contextual sense. These are already going to be longer URLs because we got to fit the city name. We got to fit in some cases, the state name, the state code. We got to fit a lot of stuff in and some city names are long, right? Well in SEO, you want to keep URLs as short as possible. So the word in is just, it’s very short and it still makes contextual sense. It’s like this company has these services in these locations, right? So URLs should contain the city name and the state code because lots of local surges are just contained state codes. Like I showed you in my example, somebody types in BJJ Buford, they often put GA in the end. So if you have GA in the slug, that really helps Google make sense. And this is especially true because lots of cities and areas overlap from state to state. So there’s going to be a city in Atlanta that’s also in Washington that’s also in Texas, right? This is how it ends up being. So that having the state code in there means Google does not get confused with this. If you need the state in the URL, it’s going to look like this. So it would be in Georgia, Atlanta, dash GA. Key here, don’t abbreviate the state name in the main slug because you already have the state code at the end of the URL, which is the effect of abbreviation for the state. So you want the full state name in there because this is more variety obviously, but it also makes sure that there’s really no confusion and then no overlap. If you put GA Atlanta GA, you’ve just lost potential in that URL. You’ve duplicated a term in the URL. We want to avoid doing that.

So for multi-state, you’re going to need to create a separate template that applies to the state pages as these are going to need a different layout. So it’s just a kind of a side note. You’re also going to need an archive template for the service area CPT in general. Ideally, this is going to have a way to navigate all the service area pages and perhaps even search them. So here’s an example of the archive template for roof clamp for service area pages. I used WP Grid Builder and I do this on pretty much every site we do the strategy on to create an interactive map facet that zooms in on the location the user puts into the search in real time. So somebody types in Atlanta, Georgia in this box right here. This map will zoom into Atlanta, Georgia. WP Grid Builder makes that super easy. It’s not technical at all. It’s really easy to implement. And then this also, this search box from WP Grid Builder, ties into Google Maps API and actually auto completes the address as the person types it in or the city or the state or whatever. So that’s really cool as well. Then you have your traditional pageination so that we don’t have like 80,000 things in this list. So it’s a pretty good example of just an archive page template for service areas. And then I use a very similar template for the state level pages. The only difference is we’re not searching anymore. We just have all the cities within that state.

And then a generic map of the state. And this is pulled directly from Google Maps API and then this is just a badge that’s overlaid on top of it with positioning and Z index basically. And then I’m gray scaling the map behind it. Okay. Lastly, I use RankMath Pro to manage all on page SEO, location SEO, schema, etc. Okay, let’s talk about supercharging your service area pages. How to get even better results than you otherwise would get. So there’s a few ways that you can supercharge the strategy and get better results. This obviously is going to require more budget. If the client doesn’t want to go all in, it’s going to be you’re not going to be able to do these things. But if the client’s willing to pay for it, then I would highly recommend you do it. Number one is hyper local blog posts. So a blog post, here’s an example from roof claim, right? And you’ve got to kind of, this is why discovery is so important. And just knowing what are our options and how does this industry work and what are all the related keywords, not just the top level keywords, but getting super granular. Very, very important. So for roof claim, you know, any roofing project, you need what’s called a notice of commencement from the city that you’re doing the project in and or the county or whatever, right? So here’s like Miami day, and you’ll see notice commencement Miami day. There’s 400 searches a month for this. For this variation, there’s 350 searches a month. Notice a commencement Miami. There’s 100 searches. So there’s almost a thousand, probably a thousand searches a month for notice of commensments in Miami.

And what we can do is we can create and this is hyper local, right? Most blog posts are like, you know, here’s the difference between shingles and tile roofs, right? That’s like global applies to any location. This is hyper local content. This applies specifically to Miami. And we have a service area page for Miami and we have a location in Miami. So really, it’s very helpful if we can publish some content that’s specific to Miami. And here’s an example of content that is specific to Miami. So we can write an article showing people, all right, if you need a notice of commensment and you live in Miami, here’s the exact process you need to get that notice of commensment. And then we can put some other helpful information in there. We can publish that blog post. And let’s say we’ve published six blog posts that are all specific to Miami for different things. We go back to the service area page using bidirectional relationships and we say these six blog posts need to be in a grid on that service area page. So somebody’s looking in roofing in Miami and then they get down all the way the very end and here’s more blog posts all related to Miami and roofing in Miami. This tremendously helps Google understand that this is in fact the highest quality service area page slash company slash whatever in Miami. They need to be ranking. And you can rank for this independently. So you can rank for all of these 1000 searches a month. The person shows up.

They’re like, wow, this is how I get my notice of commensment. Oh, look, it’s roof claim, right? I heard I needed a notice of commensment. I haven’t even picked a roofing company yet. I’m just trying to figure out how to get the notice of commensment first. And now suddenly they’re choosing roof claim because roof claim helped them out with how to get that notice of commensment. And then they can see roof claim serves the Miami area, right? You can get clients like that too. So it helps rank your service area pages. It can rank on its own. Look, the competition for this is not super stiff. Okay. So you see hyper local blog posts is a supercharged strategy for service area pages. Also, number two, hyper local backlinks. So most service area pages don’t have any backlinks. You look at across the competitors. They might have junk or spam backlinks, but they don’t have any meaningful backlinks. So getting links to your service area pages, especially if those links are from other local businesses or publications, it’s going to dramatically boost the rankability of that specific service area page. Number three, Google Maps. Include a Google map, via the Maps API on your service area pages. This is an additional piece of unique content that directly ties into Google’s ability to place that page. So you can see this is one that we’ve dynamically injected from a custom field. And then we have the badge that’s again overlaid on the top of it that just has more keywords in it. So this helps with on page optimization.

Cool. All right. Number four, geo tagged media. So when you post photos with service area page, make sure they’re unique. Make sure they have their location metadata preserved. Google can read this metadata and will confirm that the photos are related to location and question. So with, this is one you go to the roof claim, their service area pages, you’re going to see we don’t have this. And I’ve been poking and prodding them saying we’ve got to get this. We’ve got to get this. We’ve got to get this. We’ve got to get this. There’s so much potential here. Their technicians, their roofers can literally every project they do take a completed photo of the project with a camera or a phone that injects that location metadata. So if they’re in Miami, they take a picture of a roof they just did in Miami. The geo tag is going to say that’s in Miami, right? We take that photo and we put a whole gallery of Miami projects on the Miami page all with the Miami metadata, all with Miami alt tags. Very, very, very powerful. Problem is you’ve got to get your client to do this. I ain’t flying down to Miami to take pictures of all their projects. They already have people on the ground that need to be doing this. They’re having trouble getting their people to do this. Just being honest, okay? And they know this. I’ve told them this, right? I’m poking and prodding. We’ve got to get this done because it’s so powerful. But if you can get your client to do this, I’ve got a pool client that I’m going to be doing this for, right? They build pools for people. They need to be taking a picture of every single pool. I had them send me pictures. He sent me screenshots from his phone. There’s no metadata in it. I can’t use this, right? I don’t know why it’s so hard.

Honestly, like, you take a picture. Send, share, whatever, right? It’s got the metadata in it. Some clients can’t get it done. You’ve got to get your clients to get it done. I’ve had a lot of clients that did get it done. And we’ve gotten great results. But for some reason, it’s a problem with certain clients. So if you can get your client to execute on this, it’s very, very, very powerful. Number five, leverage YouTube. So you can create hyper-local videos on the company’s YouTube channel. Link to the target SAP in the video description. You can also publish the videos to the SAP if they’re relevant enough. Another client I have, again, it’s getting the clients to do these things, okay? If they have like unlimited budget, you can do it for them. Like put a freaking video team together, send them out there and get this done, right? But there is a challenge in like, what are we going to make a video about? And then we actually got to do the video. So I’m just going to edit the video. So I’m just going to publish the video. It’s work, right? But your competitors are not doing this. So if you do it, if you manage to find a way to do this, you win, right? You win. So I have a client that has an auto shop, right? You’ve all probably seen that site. And they’re getting ready to open a second location. So they have one location in coming. They have another location. They want to open in Alpharetta. So this would be fantastic. And you can do this on a phone. It doesn’t need to be professional video, right? You create videos of life. Hey, is your BMW check engine light on?

Here’s what that might mean, right? And they go over it. By the way, you know, come see us up at free performance and coming, right? We’re mentioning the word coming Georgia. And then we publish that video to the YouTube channel. We put coming Georgia. We put a link to the location page for coming in the description. You see how it works, right? And that’s kind of hypers because it really is known like, you know, did you get a flat tire in coming? Here’s like a flat tire is a flat tire anywhere, right? But because they have a coming shop, they can mention that location. And then they can create a very similar kind of video for the Alpharetta location, especially the two locations have two different YouTube channels. Okay? A bunch of ways to execute on this. The challenge is that it is hard to execute on because of the process. You got to have the video ideas. You got to have the production. You got to have the editing. You got to have the publishing. You got to be consistent with it. You got to then get the linking down, right? You got to have the pages to begin with to link to. Okay, you get it. Number six, SAPs and PPCs. So we often run PPC traffic to service area pages. They convert really well because they’re locally relevant to searchers. The SAPs for roof claim, for example, I mean, I’ll I can show you the actual stat lines, right? They’re converting 8 to 14% of traffic on average. That’s huge. Like a website, like general pages across a website for general website traffic, like 2% conversion, you’re doing pretty good, right? So to convert 8 to 14% of traffic is amazing. It works really, really, really well. Schema, number seven. So Schema is an entire beast in itself, but if you’re familiar with Schema, you can add relevant schema to SAPs. I’m going to have to do a completely separate training on Schema because it’s a beast. All right, final notes.

Number one, avoid duplicate content. Okay, so you’re creating 24 different service area pages, let’s say you can’t take the same block of content, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, and use it across all those pages. Okay, it needs to be as unique as possible to avoid Google viewing these pages as duplicate content. This is one of the hardest and most expensive parts of creating service area pages. Why? Because content is hard and content is expensive, especially when you need to say basically the same thing in a bunch of different ways. And by the way, Google is very good at understanding context, right? And latent semantic indexing of words in the English language. So you can’t just kind of rewrite it. Like Google is going to be like, that’s exactly the same. You’re saying exactly the same thing. Yeah, you move some words around, but that’s not unique content. Google is smart enough to do that. So you really truly have to write in a different style, different former fashion, say different things, find different things to talk about, right? You’ve got to, and that’s expensive, and that’s time consuming. So this is the hardest part of this strategy. You also need to avoid doorway pages. So doorway pages are sites. This is a direct quote from Google. Doorways are sites or pages created to rank for specific similar search queries. They are bad for users because they can lead to multiple similar pages and user search results where each result ends up taking the user to essentially the same destination, even though the pages are different. They can also lead users to intermediate pages that are not as useful as the final destination. So here’s how to avoid doorway pages. We’re going to boil all of this down. You take a service area page. It needs to be uniquely relevant to users. The content is unique. The location is unique. The area unique.

Everything is unique. The blog poster unique. The reviews are unique. If you’re doing all that, it’s not a doorway page. But second, the user must be able to convert on that page. If you’re forcing the user to go to another page on the site to convert, that’s getting into doorway page territory in the eyes of Google. So if you go to a service area page, like I mentioned, what was at the bottom? A call to action and an offer, and the person can convert on that page without leaving that page. That’s what Google wants to see. So that page, if that page is uniquely relevant and uniquely useful, it’s not a doorway page. All right, thin service area pages. The thinner a service area page is, the more likely it is to be flagged as a doorway page. Why? Because the person can’t get all the information they need on that page. They can’t convert on that page because they don’t have all the information they need to convert. They’re going to go to a different page to try to find that information. That’s a doorway page. Okay, another challenge. You’ve got to find relevant ways to link to service area pages from high level pages without making the UX awkward or spamming. The better your internal linking is, the better this strategy will work. So you have your archive page, which is going to link to all the service area pages. It’s not like these pages are what are called orphans, right? So they don’t have any links coming to them.

They have links coming to them from the archive page automatically. And then presumably your archive page, like that template that I showed you with the search box and the map and all the service areas, that’s probably a link to from your homepage, right? Should be or in your footer or your header. So it’s technically on all pages. But still, it’s your service area pages, especially if remember, there’s a state page in between them. So it’s state and then the service area, you’re getting down the chain of pretty good ways. And that means those pages are kind of hidden. They’re not going to be crawled nearly as much. And if they’re not crawled nearly as much, they don’t stand a better chance of ranking and they don’t have as many links pointing to them. So they’re not going to do as well. So you’ve got to find ways to link directly to specific service area pages from these higher level pages on the site. That takes some creativity. That takes some experience because it’s very easy to just try to list them all on different pages and it gets super spamming. It’s very awkward for the UX. So that’s another challenge, I’ll say. And that’s it. I’m just going to say, hey, good luck, right? As long as you create solid infrastructure, you don’t have to worry about being perfect on the execution here. You can make changes over time. You can fix mistakes over time. You can make additions over time. You can literally dial in the results. So don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. Most local businesses in these areas are not doing this strategy at all, much less doing it really well. So just do it. All right. That is going to be the end of this. Like I mentioned, this was all for education and context. For those of you who want to see me build in oxygen, a service area page, custom fields, pull in the dynamic data, do the bi-directional relationships.

I will be doing that as a separate training that will get attached to this. But I need you to understand the strategy first. I need you to understand all the context first. All the technical details have to be understood before you go building templates. Okay. So any questions, anything unclear, anything you think is missing, drop them below and I will jump in and help you out.