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How to Build Effective Location Pages

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Protect the Hours of Operation on Your GBP from Unwanted Google Edits

The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.

Location pages are an important part of multi-location SEO for enterprises and SMBs alike, but they aren’t easy to get right. At best, they should give potential customers zero excuse to choose a competing business. Often, though, they struggle to provide unique value and offer essentially the same information as the home or service pages — but with a different city in the H1 and meta title.

This happens because unique content is hard to come by when every location does or sells the same thing.

The question isn’t, “How should I go about creating an awesome location page?”, but rather, “Am I giving customers enough unique value to even justify this page in the first place?”

If the answer is “no,” it’s time to find new opportunities for valuable content. Read on for ways to determine whether you’re offering unique value for your location pages, and how to make them better.

Is your content actually unique?

When it comes to building awesome location pages that will impress your customers and search engines, content is your most powerful tool. And I’m not just talking about words-on-a-page, paragraph-form content. Content is any information on your page, in any medium.

Regardless of the way you communicate to customers (text-based content, video, images, etc.), location page content will fall into one of three buckets:

1. Boilerplate

    Boilerplate content can be copied and pasted across all locations and remain accurate. A brand’s mission statement falls into this category, for example. The good thing about boilerplate content is it doesn’t require much work to implement. It also doesn’t provide the unique value we’re looking for.

    As a rule of thumb, use boilerplate content when it’s necessary (and it will be) but avoid creating pages where the majority of content falls into this category.

    2. Technically “unique”

      Let’s say you want to avoid duplicate content across location pages so you rewrite the same information (business description, services, etc.) over and over again. Voila! It’s unique, right?

      Not exactly.

      Technically, it’s unique — but it’s not saying anything new about that location. (Hence the quotation marks.) In other words, the content isn’t duplicative, but it’s also not that valuable. You’re simply using different words to relay the same message.

      This type of content is, in my opinion, the worst of the three because it takes manual effort to create but isn’t more helpful to customers than copy-and-pasting the source material.

      3. Unique value

        The third, final, and best type of content is “unique value.” This content only applies to the location the page is about. It can’t be copied and pasted anywhere else because the value of the content is tied to the value of the location itself.

        While this type of content takes a lot of work to create, it’s also the most helpful and should account for the majority of the content on location pages.

        What should a location page include?

        Creating enough unique value on location pages to outweigh boilerplate content isn’t easy, but it’s not impossible either. The following list includes content features that can add new layers of unique value to your pages — or close to it.

        1. Paragraph-form content

          Paragraph-form content is a great way to provide information to users about your location. When writing location pages, focus on information that is specific to the storefront the page is about. Here’s an example:

          • Diluted Value – “All of our locations have great customer service and we’re super passionate about offering [product / service] to people like you!”

          • Unique Value – “We’re located at the corner of [Street] and [Avenue] and a five minute walk from [Landingmark].”

          There is a time and a place for “diluted value” content, but your goal should be to provide as much unique information as possible.

          2. Location attributes and features

            If you’ve optimized a Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business or GMB), you’re familiar with location attributes. In short, these are a list of features that help customers plan their visit to your location.

            If you’re not sure what to include in your attribute list, check your GBP and carry over any boxes you checked there. That said, don’t limit yourself to those items — feel free to add as many attributes as are helpful to your customers.

            3. Staff profiles

            One of the things that is (almost) always unique to each business location is the people who work there. Highlighting notable staff members’ profiles is a great way to show humans and search engines what (and who) to expect when they arrive.

            4. Hours & NAP

            Hours of operation and NAP info (name, address, and phone number) are the most basic form of unique content, but don’t forget to add them to your location pages. Additionally, make this information easy for customers to find on the page so they can get in touch or get directions quickly. NAP information can also be accompanied by an embedded map.

            Illustration of a mobile phone showing a location page with hours and NAP info.

            5. Photos

            Photos on your location page (and GBP for that matter). Should be of the location the page is about. Avoid generic, santistized storefront images that aren’t of the actual storefront. Instead, include photos that show customers what they’ll experience at the store (inside and out).

            Both of your audiences (humans and search engines) are very good at detecting these types of patterns and, should a website visitor become foot traffic, customers are more likely to be disappointed, confused, or frustrated if the photos don’t match reality.

            Screenshots of location page examples of Sprinkles shops showing unique storefront images.

            It goes without saying that stock photos shouldn’t show up on your location pages, either.

            6. Reviews

            Think of reviews as user-generated content for your location pages.

            When you add them, make sure you’re including ones specific to the location the page is about, as opposed to one feed of every review for every location.

            The goal is to provide a realistic look at what potential customers can expect based on the past experiences of others. Additionally, reviews about the location itself (and only that location) add another layer of unique value to the page.

            7. Products and inventory

            I recommend adding product information or an inventory feed to every location page, even if the products offered at each location are the same.

            Your customers only care if a given product or service is in stock near them, so inventory information is, in a way, another form of unique value content.

            8. Nearby locations

            Nearby locations are great if you have multiple storefronts in close proximity. They’re also another opportunity to add unique information to your location pages.

            These can be added as their own module on the page or integrated with an existing map. I personally prefer to dedicate an entire page section to them to avoid confusion for readers who land on the page to get directions.

            Illustration of a mobile phone showing an example location page with unique reviews, other locations, and what's in stock.

            9. Offers and specials

            Specials and offers don’t have to be unique for every location. I just wouldn’t make sense. That said, coupons and offers that are geographically relevant can be an opportunity to build additional value for local customers. Coupons, offers, deals, etc. by state or metropolitan area are one way to accomplish this.

            10. FAQs

            Frequently asked questions are one of my favorite ways to create rich, in-depth and unique content on local landing pages. I’ve seen a lot of businesses add FAQ modules to their pages, but I’ve also seen a lot of businesses only add generic questions and answers to those modules.

            When adding FAQs to your local landing pages, ask questions that will elicit a unique response. Also, try to avoid yes or no questions, unless you plan to expound on the answers.

            Generic:

            Unique Value:

            • Question: “Can I get to {Location} from public transportation?”

            • Answer: “You sure can! We’re a five minute walk from the {specific} bus stop. Just head toward {street} and take a left at {street} and you’ll find us on the right.”

            11. Departments and services

            Departments and services are another example of content that can be unique, but isn’t always. For some business types (automotive dealers, for example), departments are clear: Sales, Finance, Repairs, etc.

            For other business types, this content type isn’t as obvious. A bakery chain, for example, could include services in their location pages to highlight which locations offer wedding cakes versus their typical inventory.

            Like inventory, the value of these departments or services comes from the fact that as a customer, I only care if the location nearest me offers the specific thing I’m looking for.

            Illustration of a mobile phone showing an example location page with geo-specific specials, departments, and unique FAQs.

            A few words about structured data

            Schema (also called structured data) is code that tells search engines about your website content. Often, your customers won’t even know the schema is there — it’s strictly for search engines, with the exception of rich results.

            Schema is important for two reasons:

            • Context: It helps search engines understand how the “things” that make up your business form a larger entity.

            • Specificity: It removes the natural ambiguity caused by keywords (and language).

            If a website mentions the word “Avocado,” for example, it could be talking about the fruit or the mattress brand. Language alone isn’t enough to clarify without context. Marking up your content with schema removes this margin for error when it comes to Google understanding your content.

            Structured data can also help you qualify for rich results like FAQs or review snippets for products.

            Location page Schema best practices

            When it comes to location pages, there are a few things you should keep in mind regarding schema markup.

            First, make sure you’re using as many relevant schema types as possible. If you’ve optimized your page with unique images, FAQs, and staff bios, don’t add LocalBusiness schema to the page and call it done. Mark up every available item on your page to give Google as much information as possible. After all, search engines have to understand your content in order to index and rank it.

            Second, use the most specific schema type available. Within the “LocalBusiness” schema category, there are 145 types of schema for specific businesses. Dentists, for example, should use “Dentist” schema instead of “Local Business,” and restaurants should use (you guessed it!) “Restaurant” schema.

            Conclusion

            Creating valuable location landing pages takes time, effort, and a bit of creativity. As you review the elements above, don’t gloss over the ones that seem the most difficult or time-consuming. That’s what your competitors are already doing.

            Instead, prioritize the value you’re providing to potential customers because strategies that don’t scale may be your competitive advantage.

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Marketing Team Reorgs: Why So Many and How To Survive

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Marketing Team Reorgs: Why So Many and How To Survive

How long has it been since your marketing team got restructured? 

Wearing our magic mind-reading hat, we’d guess it was within the last two years. 

Impressed by the guess? Don’t be.  

Research from Marketing Week’s 2024 Career and Salary Survey finds that almost half of marketing teams restructured in the last 12 months. (And the other half probably did it the previous year.) 

Why do marketing teams restructure so often? Is this a new thing? Is it just something that comes with marketing? What does it all mean for now and the future? 

CMI chief strategy advisor Robert Rose offers his take in this video and the summary below. 

Marketing means frequent change 

Marketing Week’s 2024 Career and Salary Survey finds 46.5% of marketing teams restructured in the last year — a 5-percentage point increase over 2023 when 41.4% of teams changed their structure. 

But that’s markedly less than the 56.5% of marketing teams that restructured in 2022, which most likely reflected the impact of remote work, the fallout of the pandemic, and other digital marketing trends. 

Maybe the real story isn’t, “Holy smokes, 46% of businesses restructured their marketing last year.” The real story may be, “Holy smokes, only 46% of businesses restructured their marketing.” 

Put simply, marketing teams are now in the business of changing frequently. 

It raises two questions.  

First, why does marketing experience this change? You don’t see this happening in other parts of the business. Accounting teams rarely get restructured (usually only if something dramatic happens in the organization). The same goes for legal or operations. Does marketing change too frequently? Or do other functions in business not change enough? 

Second, you may ask, “Wait a minute, we haven’t reorganized our marketing teams in some time. Are we behind? Are we missing out? What are they organizing into? Or you may fall at the other end of the spectrum and ask, “Are we changing too fast? Do companies that don’t change so often do better? 

OK, that’s more than one question, but the second question boils down to this: Should you restructure your marketing organization? 

Reorganizing marketing 

Centralization emerged as the theme coming out of the pandemic. Gartner reports (registration required) a distinct move to a fully centralized model for marketing over the last few years: “(R)esponsibilities across the marketing organization have shifted. Marketing’s sole responsibilities for marketing operations, marketing strategy, and marketing-led innovation have increased.”  

According to a Gartner study, marketing assuming sole responsibility for marketing operations, marketing innovation, brand management, and digital rose by double-digit percentage points in 2022 compared to the previous year.  

What does all that mean for today in plainer language? 

Because teams are siloed, it’s increasingly tougher to create a collaborative environment. And marketing and content creation processes are complex (there are lots of people doing more small parts to creative, content, channel management, and measurement). So it’s a lot harder these days to get stuff done if you’re not working as one big, joined-up team. 

Honestly, it comes down to this question: How do you better communicate and coordinate your content? That’s innovation in modern marketing — an idea and content factory operating in a coordinated, consistent, and collaborative way. 

Let me give you an example. All 25 companies we worked with last year experienced restructuring fatigue. They were not eager creative, operations, analytics, media, and digital tech teams champing at the bit for more new roles, responsibilities, and operational changes. They were still trying to settle into the last restructuring.  

What worked was fine-tuning a mostly centralized model into a fully centralized operational model. It wasn’t a full restructuring, just a nudge to keep going. 

In most of those situations, the Gartner data rang true. Marketing has shifted to get a tighter and closer set of disparate teams working together to collaborate, produce, and measure more efficiently and effectively.  

As Gartner said in true Gartner-speak fashion: “Marginal losses of sole responsibility (in favor of shared and collaborative) were also reported across capabilities essential for digitally oriented growth, including digital media, digital commerce, and CX.” 

Companies gave up the idea of marketing owning one part of the customer experience, content type, or channel. Instead, they moved into more collaborative sharing of the customer experience, content type, or channel.  

Rethinking the marketing reorg 

This evolution can be productive. 

Almost 10 years ago, Carla Johnson and I wrote about this in our book Experiences: The 7th Era of Marketing. We talked about the idea of building to change: 

“Tomorrow’s marketing and communications teams succeed by learning to adapt — and by deploying systems of engagement that facilitate adaptation. By constantly building to change, the marketing department builds to succeed.” 

We surmised the marketing team of the future wouldn’t be asking what it was changing into but why it was changing. Marketing today is at the tipping point of that. 

The fact that half of all marketing teams restructure and change every two years might not be a reaction to shifting markets. It may just be how you should think of marketingas something fluid that you build and change into whatever it needs to be tomorrow, not something you must tear down and restructure every few years.  

The strength in that view comes not in knowing you need to change or what you will change into. The strength comes from the ability and capacity to do whatever marketing should. 

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT:  

Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Subscribe to workday or weekly emails from CMI.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute 

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Boost Your Traffic in Google Discover

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Boost Your Traffic in Google Discover

2. Understand topical authority: Keywords vs. entities

Google has been talking about topical authority for a long time, and in Discover, it is completely relevant. Traditional SEO includes the use of keywords to position your web pages for a specific search, but the content strategy in Discover should be based on entities, i.e., concepts, characters, places, topics… everything that a Knowledge Panel can have. It is necessary to know in which topics Google considers we have more authority and relevance in order to talk about them.

3. Avoid clickbait in titles

“Use page titles that capture the essence of the content, but in a non-clickbait fashion.” This is the opening sentence that describes how headlines should be in Google’s documentation. I always say that it is not about using clickbait but a bit of creativity from the journalist. Generating a good H1 is also part of the job of content creation.

Google also adds:

“Avoid tactics to artificially inflate engagement by using misleading or exaggerated details in preview content (title, snippets, or images) to increase appeal, or by withholding crucial information required to understand what the content is about.”

“Avoid tactics that manipulate appeal by catering to morbid curiosity, titillation, or outrage.

Provide content that’s timely for current interests, tells a story well, or provides unique insights.”

Do you think this information fits with what you see every day on Google Discover? I would reckon there were many sites that did not comply with this and received a lot of traffic from Discover.

With the last core updates in 2023, Google was extremely hard on news sites and some niches with content focused on Discover, directly affecting E-E-A-T. The impact was so severe that many publishers shared drastic drops in Search Console with expert Lily Ray, who wrote an article with data from more than 150 publishers.

4. Images are important

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. If you look at your Discover feed, you’ll see most of the images catch your attention. They are detailed shots of delicious food, close-ups of a person’s face showing emotions, or even images where the character in question does not appear, such as “the new manicure that will be a trend in 2024,” persuading you to click.

Google’s documentation recommends adding “high-quality images in your content, especially large images that are more likely to generate visits from Discover” and notes important technical requirements such as images needing to be “at least 1200 px wide and enabled by the max-image-preview:large setting.” You may also have found that media outlets create their own collages in order to have images that stand out from competitors.

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Everything You Need to Know About Google Search Essentials (formerly Google Webmaster Guidelines)

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Everything You Need to Know About Google Search Essentials (formerly Google Webmaster Guidelines)

One of the most important parts of having a website is making sure your audience can find your site (and find what they’re looking for).

The good news is that Google Search Essentials, formerly called Google Webmaster Guidelines, simplifies the process of optimizing your site for search performance.

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