Stop Overloading Your Local SEO Content!

Stop Overloading Your Local SEO Content! pixelwork

Stop Overloading Your Local SEO Content!


Developing content for your local business website is very important for search engine optimization, but that doesn't mean the more content the better.

I've been spending a lot of time talking to marketers and business owners, and I've been talking a lot about “content” lately. You know, the kind of talk that's almost as awkward as sitting with your kids talking about birds and bees, but in this case I'm talking to a business owner telling him that his last SEO agency cheated on him.

For some reason, more than ever, it seems like most business owners (and many marketers) are equating content with SEO. It's like suddenly, the only thing that matters is content, content, CONTENT. If several new pages are not added to the site each month, obviously no SEO has been done.

Hopefully, everyone reading this knows that “content, content, CONTENT” is not everything. The problem is that most business owners don't know this, and many of us aren't doing a enough job of educating business owners to show them why. If there's a huge disconnect between what salespeople know and what business owners think they know, we're all going to have trouble keeping customers.


Lazy local content pages are usually gateway pages

In most cases, local content involves the monthly addition of “location” targeting pages to a website. Yes, this is a legitimate strategy when done correctly, but in practice, most of the time the pages created are simply door pages. They are pages without any useful content with the sole purpose of positioning in local searches.

Google finds gateway pages and penalizes sites for using them. Yes, this is old news – from 2015 – but I'm seeing a resurgence of doorway pages in local SEO in recent months. If your site or your potential client's site has a bunch of pages that aren't included in any menus, and they're all basically the same page with different cities listed in each iteration, you have entry pages.

Let's take a look at the official Google documentation that talk about the door pages:

Doorway pages are sites or pages created to rank well in specific search results. They are not good for users because they can lead to several similar pages in the search results, where all the results end up directing the user to the same destination. They can also direct you to intermediate pages that are not as useful as the final destination.

Below are some examples of door pages:

  • Have multiple pages or domain names targeting specific regions or cities that funnel users to one page
  • Pages generated to funnel visitors to the really useful or relevant part of the site
  • Substantially similar pages that are closer to search results than a clearly defined, searchable hierarchy

The early 2015 announcement of Google on door page penalty It's even more specific:

  • Is the purpose of optimizing for search engines and funnel visitors the actual useful or relevant part of your site, or are they an integral part of your site's user experience?
  • Do the pages duplicate useful aggregations of elements (locations, products, etc.) that already exist on the site for the purpose of capturing more search traffic?
  • Do these pages exist as if they were an “island”? Are they difficult or impossible to locate and access from other parts of your site? Are they links to pages on other sites created just for search engines?

Since most low-quality local content pages do not clearly answer these questions, alerting business owners about these pages and the potential penalty for having them can go a long way toward understanding why continuing to submit pages of content each month can be harmful.

It's simple: Are pages made for humans?

If you're a car dealership, and you have 25 pages on your site about the 150 Ford F-2017, with each one targeting a different city, then you're probably wrong. None of the pages are likely to be in the main menu, or even a few clicks away from the main menu. The pages probably all have the same photo and just a few sentences about how you sell in that particular city.

Do these pages provide any value at all to a real human being? Absolutely not.

Even if you rewrite the content 25 times, they are still useless. Sure, they are not “duplicate” pages, but they are repetitive pages. They all say exactly the same thing, just with a different city mentioned. There is no value.

When you are writing content for your site, or when your SEO agency is writing content, you have to ask yourself if the content is being added to make your site better for users – or simply to appear in search engines. If your thought process is “This will help me appear in searches in this city,” then your thought process is incorrect.

You're not going to gain more search visibility in other cities by simply adding a few lazy pages to your site. Spot.


How many pages do you really need?

Many business owners I talk to ask the question “How many pages do I need?” And the answer is simple. You need so many tasks to answer all your customers' questions.

Simply adding 10 pages (or 15 pages, or 20 pages) of content a month won't make your site any better than adding just a few poorly designed pages.

In fact, your site will be infinitely better if you only add one or two quality pages each month. Once you have your site where you need it, you don't even need to keep adding pages! If you've decided to add 15 pages a month to your site, ask yourself where that number comes from. Why 15? Why 20? What is the strategy there, and what questions will you answer?

Local SEO is not just content. Many of the factors that affect your local SEO success don't even live on your website.

If you want to target other cities, it takes a lot more than creating a few boilerplate location pages. For a detailed plan in a better way (including content pages, blog posts, social media and link building), feel free to contact us.

Let's work together to educate business owners (and rogue agencies) and stop botched local SEO content!