Forget Keyword Stuffing on Local Websites

I guess stuffing the names of towns into local business websites has been around for as long as the internet, but every time I see it I get annoyed. I don’t know why… wait… yes I do… because it’s a stupid thing to do!

And here’s the reason why. Putting the areas served on the page will help you with conversions. No one knows more about the content that will make local searchers convert in yellow pages than CRM Associates and I was fortunate enough to train a lot of their material, it’s copyrighted so I can’t publish it. But I can tell you that defining your target audience and listing the towns you serve is a very good idea in a yellow page ad. So, if you believe that translates to local search and I do (I actually think it’s more important on the web). Than you have to agree that displaying these words is to your benefit.

So, instead of stuffing a bunch of towns into a box and using CSS to make it unreadable to humans – display the names of the towns you serve and do it with pride.

How about something Like this:

We proudly serve these areas: list the towns, cities, counties, states, etc that you service here.

Now I can the hear the webmasters that serve 3 or 4 counties each with 70 towns moaning. Don’t worry, just go ahead and list them proudly on your site. Display them nicely on your home page like this:

We are proud to serve these communities in Orange County: list all the town names in alphabetical order and make them bulleted items so it’s easy for your visitors to find their own town.

Then go on to the next county and do the same thing. Repeat as necessary.

If the area you serve gets much bigger than optimizing your site will be more about your keyword + the 2-letter abbreviation of the State you serve, than listing town names.

Adapting this simple idea will make your site more useful to your target audience, convert more and you can stop worrying about getting penalized by the search engines.

More Ways to Display Towns Names on Your Website

I often see small business websites with photographs showing off their work, then in the caption it says something like ‘Smith Residence’. This is a waste of a great opportunity. Use the name of the town instead, this actually proves to your visitors that you serve their area!

You can use this same technique with testimonials. Joe says your great, perfect, now go ahead and tell your visitors where Joe is from.

Additional telephone numbers are another tried and true yellow pages way to make you look more local and drive calls through the roof. Pick some of the bigger towns or cities in your area and purchase an additional number with that exchange from the telephone company or a company like Ring Central. Then list the additional telephone numbers with the town that corresponds with the exchange.  This conveys the appearance of a well established company and your visitor knows you service their area if you are willing to pick up the charges for the call.  These types of numbers are also excellent tracking tools. And most importantly it’s all useful for your site’s visitors.  Stay from 800 #’s, local searchers are looking for local numbers.

Now, after all that, if you are still tempted to do stupid things with the content of your website, learn more about writing for search engines. This site is run by SEO professional Jill Whalen and she keeps it nice and simple.

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