5 Tips to Improve Local Search Rankings Even If You Don’t Have a Physical Location

May 24th, 2016 by Search Influence Alumni

SAB Image

If you’re new to the world of SEO, trying to optimize your business on the internet can feel like you’re trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube: You have an idea of what the finished result should look like, but the process leading to the final product may feel convoluted. Given that SEO strongly emphasizes the importance of NAP consistency, it’s possible to feel even more puzzled on how to optimize your website if your business does not have a physical storefront.

Follow these five tips and you will be on the path to success.

Do I own a service area business (SAB)?

Before diving into how to optimize for a service area business (SAB) website, it’s important to identify whether or not your business is a SAB. A SAB is a business that does not service customers at the business’s physical location. Instead, an employee will travel to the customers to provide goods or services. Examples of SABs include HVAC companies, limousine companies, house cleaning services, landscaping services, mailing services, etc. (My favorite example of a SAB happens to be the ice cream truck that comes to my neighborhood during the summer.)

Ice Cream Truck

Know thy service area.

If your business is a SAB, you will need clear answers to the following questions for a successful online optimization campaign:

  1. What is your service area, and how far will you travel?
  2. Do you have multiple service areas? If so, where?

Tips & Recommendations

  1. Targeted Area Pages – A targeted area page is content that is specific to the area you are trying to service. The title tag, on-site content, H1, and meta description can be optimized to the specific location you service. For targeted area pages, the content should contain location specific information, such as specials that apply only to that area, customer testimonials from locals, completed projects in the area, and even location-specific videos.
  2. MyMap – A MyMap is a custom map that outlines the specific areas your business serves. It implements a visual on your website for a better user experience. You can create a standard one, shown below on the right, or even customize your MyMap, like the one shown on the left.SAB Search Results
  3. Categorical Directories – When you submit your business to a directory, you are receiving an authoritative link back to your site, which provides referral traffic and in turn strengthens your site authority in the eyes of Google. (The saying “You are judged by the company you keep” is a common expression that is helpful in understanding link building from authoritative sites.) While directories can advance your SEO goals, be sure to submit your business to a categorical directory instead of a local directory. Unlike a local directory that is organized by a business’s NAP, a categorical directory is organized by industry.
  4. Get5Stars – Reviews are a great way to reinforce that your business services multiple areas. Get5Stars is a tool that allows for customers to leave reviews on your website. In turn, you can review the client feedback before publishing it live on your website.
  5. Optimize your Google+ correctly – When you are setting up your Google+ page, be sure to select the box that says “I deliver goods and services to my customers at their location.”

Google My Business Screenshot

Follow this up by filling out the ZIP codes you service. If you are a SAB that also accepts customers at your storefront, you can check off the second box. Optimizing your Google+ page correctly will hide your physical location from the viewer while also increasing your page’s authority on the maps pack for the areas you serve.

Words for the Wise

When optimizing your SAB online, avoid from these common mistakes:

  1. Advertising your P.O. Box address as a physical location
  2. Portraying an existing business as your own
  3. Using a virtual office address
  4. Creating identical targeted area pages (also called “Find and Replace” pages where the content is exactly the same but only the geo modifiers are different)

Still have questions? Watch our recent webinar for more information and tips.

Ice Cream Truck Image Credit