This article has the audacious goal of itemizing the essential features of the ideal location landing page. Posts on this subject often discuss top-10 must-haves or essential aspects of location pages. This post explores the idea of what comprises an entirely complete location landing page without limiting that exploration to essentials only.
First of all, what is a Location Landing Page (LLP)? Opinions may vary on an LLP’s objective or purpose, but for this article, an LLP is defined as the most authoritative, complete and accurate representation of a given business location on the web. This includes services, staff, location details and all other key features itemized in this article. We will also cover items that are essential to support a set of LLPs for a multi-location business. Location landing pages are often referred to as local landing pages.
Why are Location Landing Pages important?
4 in 5 consumers use search engines to find information about local businesses. Half of consumers who performed a local search on their mobile device visited a business location within 24 hours. Location landing pages capture users with demonstrated intent to act. A local brand’s location content must deliver, not disappoint, when interacting with an audience with such high purchase intent. For more information on local searches, check out Google’s research and recommendations on the subject.
Essential Features of Location Landing Pages
Overall, a location page must be complete, simple to find and easy for a consumer and search engine to identify and interpret. This inventory of local landing page characteristics will begin with the most essential first:
- Name, address, phone (NAP): A location landing page must, of course, have complete, accurate and consistent NAP information. The name should be the consumer-recognized simple brand name. E.g. “McDonalds”, not “McDonalds Inc. Corp. Dist. Global Holdings etc.”. To-the-letter consistent use of the company brand name are important as citations are built and attributed to a given business location. The same concept holds for Address and Phone. Always use the exact same formatting of your NAP information. Ensure that suite numbers, area codes, state names (or abbreviations) are consistently used whenever publishing a location address on the Web. Where possible, provide a phone number with a local area code. Additionally, the content should be marked-up with proper LocalBusiness schema, which is covered later in this article.
- Hours: 54% of users search for local business opening hours on the Web. This is a large segment of action-oriented consumers with intent to engage a specific business location. Without concise, accurate store hours information on an authoritative LLP, the information will be difficult to find, and the user may instead visit a competing business that does provide accurate hours information. Store hours should be featured prominently on a LLP with proper schema markup. A current open/closed status indication such as “Open Now!” also helps the visitor quickly understand the location status.
- Products & services offered: Whether or not a brand’s products and services vary by location, the products and services available to a consumer at the location in question are essential. Services might include an in-branch ATM, tire rotation, Spanish-speaking etc. Products may include a complete location-specific SKU-level inventory or simply a list of product types available at that location. Restaurants should include menu information at this level if it varies by location. It may also be wise to provide information regarding services that this location does not provide, potentially prompting the user to choose another location (from the same brand, of course) that offers a desired service.
- Image gallery: Images of the store, its exterior, interior, staff and products should be showcased in a gallery format in a prominent location on the page. Exterior images help to orient the user and familiarize them with the location and its surroundings. Interior images further set expectations around what the user will experience upon arrival. Photos of where services are rendered, facility capability, equipment and other location features should be included.
- Call to action: An LLP is, after all, a Landing Page. Landing pages should have a clear, bold call-to-action (CTA) above the fold. A common CTA is to contact the location via email, get directions, sign up to a newsletter or even buy a product online.
- Interactive map: Display a location map with an appropriate zoom level to allow the user to view the surrounding area and nearby locations. Google offers free Places Maps that have no quota and provide a rich interactive map experience. Where possible, displaying an icon that shows the user’s detected location in proximity to the location provides important context and distance cues to the visitor.
- Location “type”: Is this location a kiosk, or a walk-in retail store? Be sure to provide a clear distinction if the locations differ greatly in their composition or services offered. A different map icon can help clearly designate the difference in location type.
- Keyword optimization: Optimization for location and service-specific keywords is critical throughout the page. Which keywords and phrases to choose is best discovered through a complete keyword research process. Focus on a service-oriented page title that also includes location information, such as “Plumbing services in Denver, Colorado”. Page Title is the most important local search organic factor. <h1> and <h2> tags are also important and should contain a similar content strategy. Other keyphrases can be peppered throughout the page content and should attempt to mirror search phrases. E.g. “Denver handyman”, “Flagstaff car repair”.
- Coupons & offers: Location-specific offers for product and service discounts can not only create unique content, but they also offer a compelling reason to visit the store in person. Offers can also create a sense of urgency with a time-boxed offer valid for only a few days or even hours from the moment of the user’s visit to the LLP. Each offer should include a CTA to print, download or otherwise take advantage of the offer.
- Local customer testimonials: Reviews regarding a specific location are excellent opportunities of unique content. “John from Colorado said that our Denver Plumbing Services are the best” is a somewhat corny example of local content that works in a key-phrase.
- Customer service contact: If a visitor has a complaint, or important question regarding the location, information regarding the store manager and her direct contact information provides a clear call-to-action for customer service. A profile photo and mission statement from that manager is a great personal touch.
- Directions and parking: Narrative directions are a great way to include location-unique content. Author clear, concise directions from local major highways in both directions, including recommended exits and parking tips.
- Mobile enabled: LLPs should respond intelligently when loaded by a mobile device. The page should take advantage of the user’s GPS location, if allowed, to provide highly accurate directions. Phone numbers should become tap-to-call links. Similarly the page must also follow responsive web design best practices.
- Local community information: Local businesses are often involved in charity work and other local community involvement. Any information regarding community program sponsorships, nonprofit partnerships, etc. should be highlighted to further support the connection with the local area.
- Links to external social pages: Links to sites such as Yelp, Foursquare and Facebook help build trust in your page by providing third-party validation. What others say about a business is often seen as more reliable than what the business says about itself. Location-specific “place pages” on Google+, Foursquare etc should be claimed and managed by the brand. Social Media Widgets can also help build community around a brand and show the visitor any friends that also “like” the business. While a complete social media strategy is outside the scope of this article, Google My Business is an essential first step in getting brand location data on the Web.
- Trust symbols: Local associations, chambers of commerce, Better-Business-Bureau, even SSL companies provide icons and badges that help build trust and 3rd party validation around a brand. Include these near any CTA for increased conversion.
- Location staff information: Depending on the type of business, information about the staff working at that location is often appropriate. Staff photos, specialties and direct contact information can be provided.
- Languages spoken: If the business offers services in multiple languages, provide the contact name and language spoken on the page. Ideally, offer that content also in the native language. For example, “Hablamos Espanol. Pregunte por Michael Fatica.“
- Sensible, navigable URL structure: Location pages for multi-location businesses should be displayed in a URL hierarchy that reflects the geographic distribution of the locations. For example, mybusiness.com/locations/us/colorado/denver/Denver-Plumber.html is a great example for an international business with hundreds or thousands of locations. A Colorado-only brand might omit the higher-level folders and use an URL such as mybusiness.com/locations/denver_plumber_aurora.html. The URL should be short enough to be easily read by the searcher. It should also contain relevant keywords for the campaign’s target search terms.
- Google My Business: Google uses My Business as a started point to index your business location information. This off-page recommendation is an essential step to getting this content found on Google. Pay special attention to ensure the content in Google My Business is complete, accurate and consistent with the LLP content.
- Links to other locations: Often times the location landing page is visited by a Google searcher, and it may not be the correct location for that search. Embed links to the store finder, and also include a geographic breadcrumb such as “Store Finder > Colorado > Denver” to visually cue the user as to their position in the Website’s content hierarchy.
- Region landing pages: If a user lands on /United-States/Colorado/Denver/ it stands to reason that the user may navigate to /United-States/Colorado/ to see coverage in the state of Colorado. At this URL, a regional landing page should be provided which contains keyword-dense content related to services provided in the state of Colorado. Additionally, links to each location, or City should be provided at this level. Regional hierarchies also provide a logical structure for search engines to follow and index location content.
- Tight integration with a store locator: A prominent link to the LLP should be included in the search results presented by the Website’s store locator. There are many other best practices related to store locators covered in another article on this Web site.
- Schema.org markup: This point has been raised previously in this article and should be a constant reference during the construction of an LLP. Any content placed on the page should be cross referenced with schema.org to ensure every opportunity to include schema has been taken. This step is essential for search engines to extract the rich information provided from the location page.
- Location news & events: Special announcements, events or recurring programs make for excellent location-specific unique content. Events can include a happy hour, tile saw demonstration, product training or sales presentations. Information regarding staff promotions and employee of the month provide more valuable local content.
- Make this “My Store“: This link often sets a cookie on the users computer and helps the host website understand the preferred location for a given visitor. Knowing the user’s preferred location can be useful in customizing other aspects of the Web site, such as an eCommerce checkout process or an automatic local inventory check when viewing a product.
- Social and self-sharing: The ubiquitous “Share This” control can allow a user to share the location with friends on social media sites, or via email. However, recall that local searches are often followed by a store visit, and the brand should do everything possible to empowering the user to easily reach the location. This includes a “Send to Phone” option that allows for a text-message to be sent to the users phone that can include a link to directions, the location phone number and address details.
- Print-ready: Location Landing Pages should be printable and immediately serve as a usable guide for reaching a local business. This can be accomplished with print-specific styling that ensures the print layout fits the key information reasonably on a single page.
- Lead capture: Extend any lead generation campaigns to the LLP by providing a clear call-to-action. Consider using a generation tool such as Drip to enroll potential customers into marketing automation.
- Career opportunities: Any job openings available at the location provide good local content and show community engagement. Provide complete job descriptions and links to apply online.
This list of recommended features for location landing pages is hopefully a starting point to build a template that helps agencies measure a local landing page project specification against best practices.