I was asked recently if I could “do anything” with a local website for a business that served multiple locations. Well I can do all sorts! Tying down what “anything” actually meant was the interesting part.
This local website had several pages, each page dedicated to a specific town or city in the area.
That sounds fine doesn’t it?
Local Website Pages For Service Areas?
If your local business is mobile and covers a service area, having either a page on your current website or even a new website for that particular town or city is a good way to get noticed.
The problem was most pages from this site were not ranking. And, the one that did is not bringing any business at a time when seasonally, business should be picking up.
It was immediately obvious what the ranking problem was – every page was the same.
Exactly the same.
Other than the website address and the meta tags the search engine bots read, each page did not even include the town or city name. Each city specific page linked to each other with tiny text at the bottom if the page.
And, there were lots of pages!
This is apparently “search engine optimisation”. Now, I am not sure what decade this particular web designer is living in, it certainly isn’t this one!
Duplicate Local Pages
The practice of creating duplicate webpages to target specific cities is very common. It’s also misguided and more likely to wave a red flag to Google than to “optimise” for search rankings.
Google’s quality guidelines specifically state:
Don’t create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.
Google bot isn’t stupid.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) involves more than ramming a few keywords in the page header and putting the town or city name in the webpage name. That worked in the 90’s, it doesn’t work now.
Creating Local Leads
The next problem is the page that does rank isn’t generating any business.
The site itself isn’t user friendly.
A black background with tiny white writing makes it impossible to read. The few calls to action were below the scroll, and who would scroll anyway when faced with such a wall of tiny unreadable words?
A huge image containing the company name dominates the top of the page. There’s no phone number or information about how to contact them where you would expect to find it. I didn’t look any further…
I’m not knocking web designers, they can create some wonderful looking websites. But, if that website doesn’t work then it’s money wasted.
Can I do anything with this local website?
Yes, rip it down and start again.
Not the answer the owner was looking for…
The truth hurts and in this case, it’s totally necessary.
When you come to build your local website, keep it simple.
Think like a consumer – what do you want to see? Often it is simply what is being offered, how much and how can I contact the business.
If you are creating pages for individual towns or cities, then make it relevant to each area. It’s not just a search thing either, readers appreciate it too.
Can I help you with your local website? Get in touch and we can have a no obligation chat.Your Local Website - Is It Time To Sack Your Web Designer? by Jan Kearney