Google is working to remove duplicate and low quality content from search results. In today’s Tech News Tuesday episode we’re talking about Google search algorithm changes that are removing some location pages from the Google index.
Google is Closing the Door on Doorway Pages
Creating multiple pages on your website for each area you serve was once a popular method for ranking in nearby locations. For example, a local plumber might have a page titled Plumbing Services in Collegeville, and another one called Plumbing Services in Valley Forge, another one called Plumbing Services in Phoenixville, and so on, you’ve probably seen these. These location pages (not actual physical locations of your business) are called doorway pages, and typically, they have the same content on each page with just a few minor edits for the city or neighborhood name. Doorway pages are web pages that are created for the deliberate manipulation of search engine indexes by creating duplicate pages that have several different search phrases.
Individual location pages that say essentially the same thing and target each of the areas you serve (not physical location pages) were once a popular SEO tactic for local service businesses.
From Google’s perspective, these are low value duplicate content pages that typically have the same general content of the main services pages for the site. Google is not just downranking these pages, but they’re removing them from the index altogether. This means that they won’t show in search results at all. When Google crawls your site, it may find pages that exist, but elects not to include them in the search index for any of a number of reasons.
Google considers these doorway pages with duplicate and low value information so is removing them from their index
What Should You Do Instead?
If you have a service area business, but want to rank for nearby communities, don’t use these types of locations pages, or remove the ones you have. But what can you do instead? First, make sure to have a general service area page where you tell users where you serve. This makes sense from a user experience as well. Having people contact you outside your service area wastes your time and theirs! On this page you can list the counties, cities, or neighborhoods and include a map that visualizes your service area.
A great way to highlight the areas you serve are project pages. If you do project-oriented work like construction, for example, create pages for specific projects you complete. Treat it like a blog or gallery. Add before and after pictures, explaining the job or project details and mention what city it was located in, how much it cost, some challenges, etc.
Find other ways to highlight the areas you serve like a general service page or project pages with location information.
This method will not only show potential customers what your company is capable of and the type of work you do, but it’s also a great way to rank your service for the location you performed the service. An example of a project page for a contractor could be titled Modern Kitchen Upgrade in Collegeville PA.
You can also join multiple local Chambers of Commerce in the areas you serve. This helps with location-relevant backlinks to you and enhances geographic authority.
The bottom line is this: Having multiple location pages for your business is an outdated SEO strategy (much like keyword stuffing and not writing for humans) that can work against you.
Links in this episode:
Location pages in Google’s crosshairs after October spam update
Google My Business For Service Area Businesses