The Organic Maids
Local SEO: Cover the Target Area
Summary of SEO Test:
This is actually a “reverse” test. We start with a website that is ranking #1 across the board for many terms and for many outlying areas on the outskirts of a metro area. What happens if we remove the supporting city pages for many of those bedroom communities?
A local maid service in North Carolina struggled as the pandemic wore on to find enough staff to handle the workload. As a result, the owner was forced to turn down work. Even though the demand for work returned to pre-pandemic normal, the staffing shortage persisted.
Looking at how they could best save money without sacrificing the quality of service, the company decided to narrow the geographic service area. When travel times are shorter, staff could service more clients in less time. Less travel time turns into more billable hours. No surprise there.
A technique that we almost always use is to cover our surrounding areas whenever we work on a larger city area – like a Raleigh, Charlotte, Nashville, San Francisco, etc. Cover the “bedroom communities” and it is always a help when it comes to ranking the actual larger metro area.. They were ranking number one in their current city as well as the surrounding smaller towns.
In late July 2021, they asked us to remove the outlying areas from their site to focus more heavily on geographically closer homes. This would also reduce the number of calls that had to be turned away. We cautioned them that this would likely affect the overall rankings as we removed these pages.
We took a deep look into their Analytics Reports and Rank Tracking Reports to see the difference that removing most of their service area had on their total traffic/search appearance. As expected, by removing our city pages, the client lost rankings for those particular locations and subsequently did take dips in the primary target area.
We can see a decline in total traffic of about 10% from the day we removed the city pages for the outlying areas. We can also see a decrease in contacts during that timeframe of about 40% for phone calls and 14% for Contact forms.
The affected areas, without any page to pull the search results, netted 40-60% less traffic for the following period than previous months.
After the removal of the pages, we have seen considerable drops for all areas. Understandably, the removal of many of the city/town pages led to several locations dropping completely out of the rankings.
Only two months after the removal, the company has seen a noticeable drop in traffic and rankings. We can safely conclude that city pages do have a considerable effect on Local SEO rankings. While removing outlying city pages was what the customer requested, we ended up seeing just about what we expected. The primary metro area suffered as a result of the city pages being removed. We operate on the concept/principle that building up a strong “web” or base of city pages is a solid geo/local indicator to Google and not only increases rankings in the new areas you target and will provide a solid boost to a metro area.