To the untrained eye, service area pages may appear a bit ill-fitting on a website. However, they are incredibly important from an SEO standpoint considering they allow companies to market their services to a range of different areas.
What are Service Area Pages?
Service area pages exist primarily to increase a company’s web presence by appearing on search engine results pages for relevant queries. It’s an independent page located on a site, which targets a specific geographical market. These pages are often linked on the “Contact Us” pull-down menu.
Service area pages should only target cities and towns located in proximity to the specified company’s facility. It’d be detrimental to both the company and any potential customers if there’s a service area page for a city the company does not service. Also, if Google picks up on the page’s uselessness, it could penalize the site.
To maximize the page’s efficacy, it should be titled in a way that would match search queries. This would mean including the main service of a company in the title, along with the desired city/town/county the company wants to target. For instance, if a company in Northern New Jersey provides pool installations and wants to target Westchester County, New York, the service area page should be titled “Pool Installation in Westchester County, NY”. This optimizes the company’s web presence as people who are looking to install a pool in Westchester County, would search something along those lines.
Does Google Penalize Service Area Pages?
Awhile back, companies could get away with posting a simple bio about the town or city they’re targeting and then include a little blurb about their services. It was a lazy, yet effective SEO practice. However, times have changed and Google now wants these service area pages to be a little more helpful. Websites still using this older method have begun to get penalized by Google, and have found that these service area pages are now obsolete.
How Can I Avoid Google From Penalizing My Service Area Page?
To avoid Google’s penalties, there are a couple things you can add to your service area page. First, don’t include a bio anymore. If your site already has service area pages and they include these useless town bios, get rid of them. Instead – include relevant information about the town and its relation to your service.
Returning to the pool installation example – an ideal service area page would include information regarding owning a pool in the NY or NJ area. This could be about any zoning regulations specific to the area or just simply discussing the benefits of owning a pool, even in a cold weather-environment such as NY.
What Kind of Content Should Be on My Service Area Page?
A great addition to any service area page is providing directions to users. Google never penalizes this type of content as it directly serves to assist any visitors, which is one of Google Algorithm’s main priorities. However, it is probably best to avoid boringly listing the directions from the service area to your location; it simply shouldn’t read like Google Maps. You want your content to read as interesting as possible, so if you have any beneficial information regarding how to avoid traffic in the area and perhaps have knowledge of any additional, alternate routes best for certain times of the day, that would be ideal to include.
Also, if you’re using WordPress, you could add the SimpleMap widget to your service area page. This embeds the satellite imaging of your location from Google Maps into the post. It also includes a search field labeled “Directions”, in which users post their address into the field, which will then provide them with individualized directions from their specific location.
Why Will it Boost My Company’s Web Presence?
Essentially, service area pages are merely additional content, and more content equals more traffic. But if the page is done effectively, it can add a whole new market to your customer-base. If your company boasts of positive reviews on Yelp, Facebook and Google+, you can also use service area pages to tap into a rival company’s clientele.
If your company provides a better service, and this is reflected on social media, then you can begin attracting customers from an area with a competitor located closer than your company.