If you have a local business, making it clear to search engines that you should be offered to local customers isn’t difficult: put your local address on your website, make sure you’re listed in Google Places and other local lists, get some local links, and you’re set.
We’re not all really local businesses, though. At Haden Interactive, we serve clients on four continents. We’re located in Fayetteville, with a satellite in Kansas City, and we’re not trying to pretend that we have offices in Kuala Lumpur or Peoria — but we also don’t want to be offered only to people searching in our physical neighborhood. Let us show you a couple of examples of how companies with a larger reach can increase findability outside their local area.
One of our clients, furniture management company EthoSource, has a national reach and wanted to be found more easily by people across the country. They are one of the nation’s top office furniture liquidators and they also deliver used office furniture to companies everywhere, along with designs for installing the furniture. EthosSource decided to write up case studies from different cities and focus on the geography. They could have gone with specific industries, writing about used office furniture for nonprofits, for legal firms, for government agencies, and so forth, but it makes just as much sense to focus on where the case studies took place.
They have “Philadelphia” in the title of the case study set in Philadelphia, a few times in the text where it naturally turns up when they’re talking about a Philadelphia company, and in the alt text for the beautiful photo in their header. This is not keyword stuffing; it’s good communication with the search engines as well as with the humans.
Another of our clients, United-Bilt Homes, has a special page for each of the five states where the company builds houses. The pages are short and sweet, pointing out some of the specific issues homeowners face in the state and identifying the favorite house plans for that state. Each page then gives a link to contact information for each office in the state.
Not only do these pages make it easier for customers to find UBH’s website, they also remind visitors that UBH isn’t a manufacturer up north somewhere. UBH houses are built on site by local contractors, so they know about hurricane season and understand that “energy efficient” in Texas isn’t mostly about keeping your home warm.
We also have blog posts about each of the towns where UBH has an office. Each post gives information about the town that we think will be helpful to people considering relocating in that town — along with contact information for the United-Bilt office in that town.
In both cases, and in your case as well, creating good local pages when you’re writing about locations away from your headquarters is about clear, honest communication:
- Find a good reason to write about a particular area and make the most of your connection.
- Use place names and other regional terms in a natural, appropriate way.
- Use the geographic terms in places like meta descriptions, alt text, and titles. Search engines are smart enough nowadays to find your terms wherever they are, but it’s courteous to make it clear.