If your business relies on being found locally, you’re most likely aware of location pages’ and contact us pages’ importance in SEO. Increasingly, Google and other search engines are looking for various signals to help them organize your significance as a local business compared to other competitors in the area.
What exactly are those signals, and what role does a location or contact page play in those? Aside from being a combination of on-page and off-site signals, this article will explore best practices for designing Location and Contact Us pages. Whether you’re responsible for a small business website or a national organization with hundreds or thousands of locations, this guide is for you.
Why Location and Contact Us Pages Are Important
Whether you’re a one-location business or have thousands of them to contend with, the importance of fully-featured location and contact us pages has grown immensely over time. Putting aside the SEO implications of well-thought-out and developed location pages for a moment, consider first what your customers are looking for when they land on your location page.
What kind of value are you providing for them? Is the standard name, address, phone #, and location info enough? Probably not. Are your operating hours available? How about other information showing your commitment to operating in that location and its surrounding community? These are just the opening salvos in a battle to win with the value you’re providing to your customers by showing localized information.
From an SEO perspective, Google and other search engines always look for additional ranking signals that may allow them to surface the most relevant information. How does Google know to rank one retirement home over another in the same area for a specific keyword? There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of factors, but some are related to the signals your location page sends along with external links and the authority they convey to that location page.
I’ve had clients whose location pages often outrank the homepages of many local competitors just because of the effort they put into them.
Location Page Best Practices
Consider that not every location page will be made equal, as not all of the best practices listed here can be practically invoked. That said, if you have a web development team practiced enough in building complex page layouts while maintaining a friendly user experience, you should be able to develop a structure that works for your page.
1. Embed a Google Map
Why? A few reasons. First, Google loves pages that embed one of its core products, including Google maps. Second, your location page visitors likely want to know your specific address and get a better idea if your business is near a landmark or intersection they already know well.
Consider this when implementing your embedded map to ensure that the default zoom level you present the map at helps pinpoint your location and show enough surrounding detail to give your visitor an instant idea of nearby landmarks and intersections.
2. Include Operating Hours
The number of location pages that don’t include this crucial piece of info is genuinely remarkable. More importantly, ensure that your operating hours on your website are always kept up to date. Those hours should always match those listed on your Google MyBusiness profile, Yelp listing, Facebook page, and any other online directory listings you know of.
Additionally, you can provide more value about your operating hours, such as when particular services are available or when no one is around to answer the phones because it’s their lunch hour. In that case, that’s another example of providing more value to your location page visitors.
3. Include Directions
Why? Because doing so provides more helpful information and, therefore, more value. Most people will easily pop your address into their favourite mobile maps application, but there are still those that prefer to find their way by following a set of directions. Bonus points if you can include directions from major highways as well as provide some transit directions, i.e., the nearest bus stop or bus line or subway / LRT stop.
4. Include Major Nearby Intersections and the Name of the Neighbourhood
When it comes to local SEO signals, the trend is that things are becoming far more granular. That means search engines like Google are looking for ever more hyper-local signals to categorize businesses, their websites, and individual pages better. That’s why it’s essential to include the names of nearby major intersections, large nearby stores, and the name of your neighbourhood. You can accomplish this by wrapping it up into a single sentence under your directions section.
5. Include the Names of Local Landmarks
Are there any local landmarks nearby? Perhaps a well-known large store or a cherished local coffee shop that’s next door. It doesn’t hurt to mention all of those somewhere on your location or contact page. It can quickly be included in a sentence or two, demonstrating that you understand the value of your local community, and you can even use it to make a local recommendation of available nearby amenities, services, or shops. When doing this, keep in mind the kind of value you’re providing to your location visitors. Perhaps a local coffee shop is just what a mom that has just dropped off her kids at your pediatric dental clinic needs while waiting for them!
6. Include Complete Contact Info
Make sure to include your address, phone #, email address, and any other way your customers can contact you.
7. Use Photos & Videos
They say that one shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but if your cover isn’t overly appealing, you’ll probably be judged nevertheless. That’s the reality with today’s consumers. That’s why it’s crucial to present your location in the best light with an investment in professional photos and, at a minimum, a virtual tour. As of this writing, Google offers a guide on how to create your 360-degree virtual tour.
Customers increasingly want to know what your location’s exterior and interior look like. So let them see it!
8. Unique Services or Products at Location
Does your location offer unique services or products that may differentiate it from your other locations? Make sure to mention this somewhere. This again provides the value of letting your potential visitors know what to expect during their visit.
9. Access to your Location
Does your location have a dedicated parking lot? Is that parking lot always full? Is there a best place to park or direction to arrive from if you’re travelling by car? Is your building or space wheelchair accessible? These are all seemingly minor details but will also provide some value to a percentage of your location and contact page viewers.
10. Location-Specific Promotions
If your business has more than one location and is prone to run different promotions at each location, you’re probably best off mentioning those here. At the very least, if your location lists specific promotions by way of a flyer or in another place on your website, you can link to those location-specific deals or promotions from your location page.
11. Include Strong Calls to Action to Desired Customer Paths
Put yourself in your location page visitor’s shoes. Why have they arrived on this page? What primary action would you like them to take from this page? Visit your location? Contact you? Inquire about an appointment? Just because they’re looking up your address doesn’t mean you can’t get your visitor to perform a conversion action. Make sure that your CTA’s are clear and well represented.
12. Ideal URL Structure
The URL structure you deploy for your location pages will depend highly on the total number of locations your business has and how widespread they are geographically speaking.
For example, if you are a single-location business located in the Liberty Village neighbourhood of Toronto, an ideal URL structure for your location page could be: https://yourdomainname.com/liberty-village
You could also go with something like: https://yourdomainname.com/toronto-liberty-village
If your business has more than one location but is in a similarly grouped metro area or region, you could still employ the above-mentioned URL scheme. That said, it’s best to use a URL structure that identifies the difference when you have locations in two separately identifiable towns or cities.
If your business has a more significant number of locations spread out across various regions, cities, towns, states or provinces, your ideal location page URL structure will look something like this:
If your business has locations in more than one country, you’re best off categorizing at one level higher:
13. Header Tags Still Important
Ensure that you’re properly using your H1 and subsequent H2, H3, etc. tags on your location page. This means that your H1 tag should include at least one geo-modifier.
14. Schema Markup
So what exactly is Schema Markup? Think of it as merely a way to “markup” or “tag” your website content with specific standardized information to help search engines properly categorize your page or business. Increasingly Google and other search engines rely on properly implemented schema markup on websites to help with their ranking and categorization algorithms. Regarding SEO, schema markup is a relatively straightforward way of getting a leg up on your competitors who are not using it. I won’t delve into the implementation details here as there are several ways of accomplishing proper schema markup on your website, but suffice it to say that numerous excellent guides are available on how to do it.
15. Embed Google Reviews or Testimonials
What’s one way of providing additional value to your potential customer while simultaneously enticing them into a conversion action? Provide actual social proof. It can be accomplished by embedding some portion of your Google MyBusiness reviews or compiling some of your most glowing reviews about that specific location from various review platforms and adding them to your location page. Many of these reviews will often mention some of your staff by name, and if your customer sees the same team member during their visit, it will further promote a connection and sense of trust.
16. Link to Your Other Locations
Depending on the total # of locations, you may want to link to your other locations from each location page. This may be accomplished using a more prominent call to action or merely providing an easy way to show your different locations and link to them utilizing an embedded map or handy navigational links.
17. Link to Your Location Pages Internally and Externally
If your location pages are not linked to from your main navigation, make sure that you’re linking to them internally from other parts of your website or pages in some other meaningful way. Additionally, when building external links, don’t neglect to build some to your specific location pages.
18. Location-Specific Copy
Every one of your locations is different in some way. So give the copy describing each place the differentiating text it deserves. Here are some more ideas on how you can differentiate each location’s copy:
- How long has that location been open?
- Fun facts about that location
- Involvement in the local community
- How do customers use your products or services in the local area?
- Mention non-competing businesses near you that you are friendly with
19. Media Coverage
Has your location been mentioned in the media or received any positive press or awards? You can easily add award badges or those mentions on any given location page and link out to those mentions.
20. Don’t Forget About Page Speed
As mentioned at the start of this article, depending on your business’s location setup, you won’t be implementing all of these best practices. But if you do wind up implementing the lion’s share of them, don’t forget the importance of page speed and its role. Slow-loading pages, particularly mobile ones, can negatively affect a page’s SEO rankings. Google is notorious for crushing the ranks of slow-loading pages.
Need help designing and developing your location and contact us pages for optimal SEO performance? Get in touch with LRO Solutions today.