Q and A: How can I improve my local rankings with minimal effort?

Question

Hello!

I have a client that offers a delivery service for their nursery products to approximately 90 towns within a 100 mile radius. We currently have a page on the website listing each town and the corresponding delivery charge in a tabular format.

We would like to begin targeting each town on an individual basis in order to attain better visibility in the SERPs for search queries including my clients’ products & specific town and/or county.

My initial thought, was to build a separate page for each town announcing delivery service to the particular area. However, this would entail a lengthy and time-consuming process, while raising duplicate content issues as well – unless a separate product & blurb was created for every page/town scenario… Can you suggest a more efficient approach to accomplish our goals?

Thank you for you time and input – it is appreciated!

Dino

Hi Dino,

Whenever you plan to make changes to a website you should ask yourself the question :

Am I doing this for my users – or am I doing it for the search engines?

If any planned change is exclusively for the benefits of the search engines, I would think long and hard before going ahead and doing it, as it could be considered ( by both your users and the search engines) to be spammy, and may have a negative impact on both rankings (search engine) and conversions (users).

In this instance, I would consider that a page dedicated to each specific town is probably a better user experience, than a single page with a list of 90 towns on it, so for me it passes the test.  However, as you have pointed out, simply having 90 pages of the same content – with just the location name changed, is not going to help your rankings (because of duplicate content issues) so if you go down this path, I’d recommend that you customise or rewrite the content for each page (“spinner” software may help with this).

You could also consider grouping the different towns into separate regions.  This could result in (say) 9 or 10 pages each covering a group of towns within a particular region.  This presents you with an easier task for providing unique, relevant  content.  It also has the potential benefit of being found on related searches for nearby towns (within the same region) which your client does not currently deliver to (and maybe could).

Writing content for lots of new pages is not a trivial task, so don’t kid yourself (or your client) that SEO is easy…. However, it can often be those little extra steps that you are prepared to take (that your competitors can’t be bothered doing) that makes all the difference between a #1 and a #11 ranking.

Andy Henderson
WebConsulting (SEO Brisbane)

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