For local businesses, city-specific pages on a website are imperative for finding local, actionable leads.
At LeadAmigo, a digital marketing agency that specializes in lead generation for restoration companies, I work closest with a company called Regent Restoration. It’s a company located in Lewisville, but it services the whole Dallas/Fort Worth area.
My boss and I have worked together to develop the best strategy to reach the people in the surrounding cities. This is how to build, write and implement city-specific pages:
Establish Your Parameter
Determine which cities surrounding your business are important enough to market to. There are a lot of relatively large cities in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, so it’s important to know which ones are worth your time.
Start with the more important suburbs, like Frisco and Arlington, and work your way to the cities with smaller populations.
Things to take into account:
When I say “more important” suburbs, what I really mean is “the bigger ones” or “the ones with more prospective customers living in them.”
You don’t want to market to people who can’t afford your product or service.
For the restoration business in particular, it’s important to target suburbs with houses that are over a certain threshold, in terms of price.
Service area radius
Hello? Where does your business service?
Be realistic. If you’re located in Plano, maybe it’s not a super-hot idea to say you service Denton County if you’re a delivery driver for a local restaurant.
Consider who your audience is. Who is more likely to purchase your product or service?
In the restoration business, we target people who believe that their home is an extension of themselves.
Find your target audience and find out where they live so that you can market to them.
Brainstorm & Research
Here’s the thing about Google: You can’t have any duplicate content on your pages. Google won’t rank your page. And remember that’s the whole reason you’re doing this, right?
So, even though you want to include the same type of information on each page—what services you provide, why people should choose your company, etc.—you have to be sneaky about it.
Say the same thing but say it in a different way each time.
Keep the readers on their toes.
Write Unique Content
“Hey, wait a second—you already said that!”
Listen, you have to be cleverer than that. You have to have more content on your city-specific pages than just why your business is awesome.
Include some information about the city you’re trying to rank for—including something as simple as an “About Frisco, TX” page is a great way to rank for content related to the city.
Here’s the thing though:
Everyone who’s writing a city-specific page is including that kind of content. Don’t just put the “About City” section in your own words. Do something really unique. Really use that noggin of yours.
We know it’s got some good stuff in there.
Here are some things that we’ve done to make our city-specific pages stand out:
1. Interview the staff
That’s right: Actually, talk to the client. They have some really excellent things to say.
I introduced myself to Regent’s staff members and asked them where they liked to visit in specific cities. The smaller cities, like Colleyville and Argyle, were next to impossible to get a good response on, but the larger cities were a big hit.
We included staff names and titles to remind the readers that these are real people they’re reading about—real people who have been to the real places that are close to them.
Say you’re a customer located in Allen. How cool would it be to Google a company in Allen, just to discover that an employee at the company likes to visit the bar just around the corner from your house? Or what if they go to the same gym you go to?
We’re not just making it more likely for people to find us on Google. We’re also creating a connection with our readers.
And you know what? Connections lead to conversions.
2. Write case study narratives
OK, now this is some seriously classified stuff.
The top secret key ingredient for our City-Specific Page recipe.
Ready for this?
We went through our Salesforce database and pulled notes from past jobs that Regent Restoration has completed.
I looked for the jobs we did in specific cities and perused the notes. We’re really fortunate to have staff members who take really detailed notes about completed jobs.
Using these notes, I was able to write these little narratives—nothing too serious, just cute little stuff.
Here’s my favorite one I’ve written so far:
That’s, like, Nobel Prize-winning stuff, right?
But seriously, what you want is to make that connection we talked about earlier. These are real people that your client helped—real people who live near the prospective customers who are visiting the page.
This type of content is money. Literally.
Well, not literally—you know what I mean.
Use These On-Page SEO Tips
If you’re familiar at all with SEO, then you understand what you have to do on your city-specific page to rank, but just in case you’re not, here are some helpful tips and tricks on how to make your page rank well on Google:
Use bulleted lists
Your city-specific pages should be read the same way. Give your readers a break—give them the information they’re looking for right away.
Remember: If you can’t answer a viewer’s search query in a reasonable amount of time(like, 3 seconds—no kidding), then they are going to leave your page, and you won’t see any conversions from their visit.
Write unique content
“Hey, wait a second—you already—!”
Yes! For the third time, I’m saying it again because including unique content in on your page is that important. If you’re not providing the reader with a valuable, irreplaceable experience, then they’re going to move on to something else.
Get creative. Get inspired. Look to other content for ideas—but, for goodness’ sake, don’t copy it.
Keep the call-to-action above the fold
The “fold” is the bottom of the webpage when you first land on it.
All the content that’s on the page before you do any scrolling is “above the fold.”
You want your call-to-action to be one of the very first things people see when they visit your website.
Sure, you’re writing all this great content in the hopes that people will read it, but here’s the unromantic truth: You’re only writing all this stuff to get people to your webpage in order to boost sales.
If people convert before they read a single word of your writing, congratulations! You’ve made it in the digital marketing business.
Perfect your meta descriptions
Contrary to popular belief, meta descriptions do not actually affect your rank on search engines.
Nope, not kidding—look it up.
What they do is tell people, from the search engine, what the content on your page is about. It tells them, “Hey, this page has information that you’re looking for. Click here!”
The bolded text in the image above includes words that I used in my search query: “water damage dallas.”
Include valuable, relevant keywords in your meta descriptions to make people click your link.
PRO TIP: Include a call-to-action, like a phone number, in your meta description to gain conversions directly from the search engine.
Name your images with keywords
It’s really important to include images in your page. No one wants to look at a solid wall of text.
Including images isn’t just good for aesthetics though: Naming your images with keywords can make it that much more likely for your customers to find you online.
For city-specific pages, I try to use pictures from actual jobs that Regent Restoration has completed—pictures that real photographers took with a descent camera. Before uploading them, I save them to my computer as something relevant like, “water-restoration-argyle” or “water-restoration-arlington.”
Use dashes, not underscores, between each word to make it easier for Google to crawl the content associated with these images.
Use keywords in your URL
Are you starting to glimpse a pattern here?
Once you give your webpage a title, you’ll notice a URL appear beneath the title bar.
Click the “edit” button beside the url to change it from the coded gobbled-y-gook that WordPress creates for you automatically.
First and foremost, include the name of the city you’re writing about. Kind of important.
But if you’re feeling ambitious, you can add a dash after the name (not an underscore) and add a few keywords in there.
For example: Some of our URLs end in “service-area/argyle-restoration.” This makes it more likely for people to find your page if they search those two keywords together.
Include two outbound links per page
Google loves when you link to other sources. It knows that there’s no way you can include all the information a person is looking for on a single page.
Link to at least two other pages in order to build credibility. This signals to Google that you’re an “influencer” in this topic.
In the city-specific pages, we included our outbound links in the “Staff picks: Places We Like to Visit” sections.
Build the Layout
WordPress is your best friend. All that scary HTML coding? You don’t have to worry about it thanks to WordPress widgets.
Seriously, building a website has never been easier. Follow these steps to impress your friends, your boss and, most importantly, your client.
1. Understand your theme
In the steps that follow, it’s important to note that our set up is going to look a little different from yours because we have a different theme than you do (probably; just a guess).
The sidebar settings should be the same though, so you’ll get the basic gist of it.
2. Download Visual Editor
Remember how I said WordPress was your best friend? Well, Visual Editor is like the day you two became best friends—it’s the secret you shared with each other that solidified your friendship.
What I mean to say is that Visual Editor is the widget that makes WordPress so easy to use. You can add text, HTML and media with just this one widget.
Under Plugins on the sidebar, select “Add new.” Search for SiteOrigin Widgets Bundle. This will download a myriad of widgets for you to choose from, but remember the most important of these is Visual Editor.
Once you’ve downloaded the Plugin, it should look something like this.
3. Add a new page
Go to the left sidebar and click “add new” under Pages.
4. Set up a page template
Then go to the right side of the page and click “Page Builder.” (It’s the tab next to “Visual” and “Text.”)
From here, you can click the “row” button to add a row. This is basically creating the skeleton for your webpage. It’s the place where the boxes that hold your content will go.
It automatically gives you two rows but you can change the number of rows by changing the number next to “Set row layout.” I wouldn’t recommend doing any more than 3. That would be kind of silly.
Click “insert.” This will bring you back to your original options under “Page builder.” Now you can add the box where your content will live by clicking the “widget” button.
It will pop up a little menu that looks like this.
Once you select Visual Editor, click “close,” and it’ll insert your widget into one of the boxes from the row(s) you created earlier.
Now you can do some playing around with adding rows and widgets. You can create a layout that looks something like this if you wanted.
Really, though, it’s best to have a structure for your content in mind before creating a layout. Otherwise, you’re just going to be making content boxes with no real direction of what will go in them.
Here’s the evolution of our city-specific page wire frame:
Nothing serious. We just wanted to make a clear formula and vision for how our pages would look before we started stringing together content.
PRO TIP: When you’re designing your webpage, create an F-shape with your formatting.
People read content on websites in the F-shape illustrated in the image above: They start with the logo in the upper left-hand corner, move across the top menu, return to the logo, review the left-hand sidebar and then their eyes usually travel to a headline or sub-header toward the middle of the page.
When you create a new webpage, you should have the option left-align or right-align your sidebar. For our WordPress theme, the option looks like this:
Our theme automatically right-aligns the sidebar, so we have to manually change this each time we create a new page.
Before publishing your page, just make sure your sidebar is on the left.
5. Find Your Extras
So, OK, you’ve created a layout. What you need now is some content.
Hopefully, at this point, you’ve written your city-specific content, and you can just start plugging paragraphs into your Visual Editor text boxes.
I’m sure your writing is beautiful, but you have to keep the reader engaged in other ways, too.
Including images is the best way to do that.
Because of copyright, you have to include images that link back to where you found them originally. The easiest way to do that is by embedding the HTML code for the image onto your webpage.
It sounds a lot scarier than it actually is.
First, let’s go to Flickr and search for relevant images.
For city-specific images, we searched for something simple like “Frisco, TX downtown” or “Frisco, TX city hall.”
We perused the images and found one with pretty decent quality. I thought this one was pretty cool.
Now you’ll click the little “share” arrow at the bottom right-hand side of the page—right between the “Favorite” star and the “Download” arrow.
Clicking that arrow will make a menu that looks like this pop up.
It will automatically open under the “Share” tab, but you can just click on the tab that says “Embed” to get the code for the image.
We’ve selected the “Header” checkbox so that we can give credit to the photographer. We have also selected the larger “Small” option in the dropdown menu because that’s the size that fits best in the page design we created.
Now you’ll go back over to your page, hover your mouse over the Visual Editor box that you want your image to appear in and click “edit.”
In the “Text” tab next to “Visual,” paste the code you copied from Flickr. It should look like the image above.
When you switch over to the “Visual” tab, you’ll see your actual image there. That’s how you know you’ve successfully embedded the text.
Ta-da! Now you’ve got something eye-catching that’s relevant to the city you’re writing about!
Now, let’s talk about widgets.
We wanted to include a weather widget so that the people who searched for “water restoration” or “water damage” near their city would see information about the weather where they are.
Weather widgets don’t change from page to page—they only show the weather in the area you’re searching from. Our assumption is that people who are searching things like “Allen water damage” will be in Allen when they’re searching it.
To find the code for a WordPress weather widget (say that three times fast), we went toCodeCanyon and performed a search.
We typed in something simple (“weather widget wordpress”). Follow through with the search to see some cool weather widget options, like the ones below.
If you hover your mouse over the image icon for the widget, a green button will appear that says “Live preview.” Click it.
Here’s an example of what the live preview will look like.
Keep doing this until you find the widget that you think will fit best on your page layout. Or find the widget you like the best and restructure your layout to fit the widget.
The world is your oyster, as they say.
Purchase the widget and copy the HTML code.
Now, you can go back to the Visual Editor box that you want to embed your code into and do just that—exactly the same way we embedded the code for the Flickr images.
Look at you! Building a webpage and whatnot.
6. Save the template
Remember when we were first putting this page together? How we went to the “Page Builder” tab, right next to the “Visual” and “Text” tabs on the right side of the page?
Let’s go ahead and click “Page Builder” again, but this time, instead of adding a widget or a row, you’re going to click “prebuilt layout.”
You’ll come to a page that looks like this.
On the left-hand sidebar, click “Import/Export.” On the right-hand side, kind of toward the middle of the page, there’s a big, bright red button that says, “Download Layout.” Click that.
Now save that template to your desktop for easy access.
Voila! You’ve successfully created and downloaded a webpage template. You’re awesome! You deserve at least one thousand high fives.
Use Your Powers for Good & Not Evil
Now that you’ve created this template, you can start editing it to accommodate to the new content you’ve created.
When you’re ready to start creating new pages, you can go to the main WordPress sidebar menu and click “Add New” under “Pages.”
Go to the “Page Builder” tab that we were just on in order to download the layout you built. Go back to “Import/Export”—but this time, you’re going to click “Select import file” and upload the layout you saved to your desktop.
See that? Full circle.
Now you can go in and edit your Visual Editor boxes to include content from the city-specific pages you wrote.
You can start publishing city-specific pages like it’s no body’s business.