If you nail website structure or site structure during the build or rebuild of a website, you’re going to make your SEO very happy. Having the right pages with the right content provides an amazing starting point for a lot of growth opportunities in the future.
I usually give an example of your foundation being rated out of 10. Your website is your foundation. If you start with a 10/10 foundation, this will be your multiplier for any other growth-focused effort. However, if you start with a 1, you’re efforts are going to result in a lot less in terms of success and growth.
Get it? Because something x 10 is higher than something x 1.
Now that the bad analogies are out of the way. I’ll stop beating around the bush.
How to structure a website for a local business
Most local business website structures are lacking the right foundation. This is based on doing hundreds of free audits in the local business space.
Now don’t get defensive on me. It’s not your fault, it’s just the way this industry is moving. Businesses don’t always want to pay more for their website, and so website builders are left having to get creative and come up with some unique ways to serve these markets while remaining profitable. I totally respect this. But it leaves local businesses with $2,500 websites that have 5 pages.
What I’m hoping is that this post insight will inspire you to create a better website structure for your local business clients, even if they are resistant at first.
So, I’m going to give you the perfect site structure for any local business. I’m not saying this is the only site structure for a local business, but it is the one we prefer to work with when we start an SEO campaign. If you had a site with this structure on day one, any SEO could do some great work for them.
I’m going to try to give you the outline here, but then I’ll shoot a video and create a small Google Sheet for you that you can take if you want it.
I’m going to pretend that we are working with a local dentist. Because for whatever reason I choose a dentist for like 90% of my examples. Let’s choose a local market in Halifax, Nova Scotia because I’m Canadian and I live in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
So we’re dealing with a local Dentist in Vancouver.
Here comes the website structure:
1. The home page focused on who they are.
Obviously a site is going to have a homepage. But us SEOs (or maybe just me) like to leverage the homepage to focus on search terms that describe who the business is. In this case, they are a Dentist in Vancouver. Our keyword research is pretty well done for this one.
2. Service pages focused on what they do.
Gone are the days of getting away with a single service page. Unless you just offer one service you should have more than one service page. At least give me a few of them with decent content to work with.
I get it. Another page template to build, another “X” dollars of client budget in content and template buildout. Don’t skimp here. Build out service pages. Answer questions, solve problems, have call to actions.
These pages are going to be leveraged to target the intent of what they do, such as “Invisalign braces” or “Professional teeth whitening” or “Dental Hygienist appointments”, etc.
They are probably going to be geo-modified but this will depend on the size and complexity of the website.
3. Service area or location pages focused on where they do it.
Honestly, you could stop here and only have the homepage and service pages and you’d be better off than a lot of starting site structures. But if you feel ambitious let’s get into service areas or location pages.
But Adam, you want me to write unique content for how many service areas and I have to rewrite this same boring content over and over again and try to make it unique? Yes.
Well technically you could follow a great template for a local service area page (which I promise I will create for you in the not so distant future) but it’s not as bad as it sounds. These pages are great resources to target suburbs and other neighbouring markets.
Now for a physical location business like a Dentist (not a service area business like a plumber) you obviously want to 100% have a dedicated page for each location if they have more than 1 location. However, just because they are a physical location business does not mean they can’t have great service area pages that serve neighbouring markets.
In the Halifax example, you could have a service area page for Bedford, and for Dartmouth, and for Sackville, and for Clayton Park, and that’s probably where you’d net out without going too crazy.
So these pages are leveraged for you got it, geo-modified dentist search terms in other markets.
4. Industry or who they help page focused on who they do it for.
Most people don’t do these. But you’re a better website builder than most so let’s not stop yet.
Industry pages can be a gold mine for some businesses. For most, they are another opportunity to better target search intent. Keeping with the dental example, we could build out pages for:
- Family Dentistry
- Childrens or Pediatric dentistry
- Dentistry for anxious patients
These are just a few and probably more than enough to have a good “who we serve” section or at least these pages within the mix so we can leverage them to target specific markets.
5. One to two blog posts / educational resources for each topic that supports their services.
These are definitely nice to have but will go a loooong way in helping to improve growth efforts down the road. I’m not saying you have to consistently write content for a blog, but if you could come out of the gate with a handful of blog posts – educational ideally – that solve problems that your clients or customers have then you would have a leg up on most of your competition.
For the dental example this could be something like:
- Best at-home teeth whitening products
- How to floss a child’s teeth?
- How to clean your dental device / spacer / braces?
- How to speed up recovery after a root canal?
- What age should you remove your child’s wisdom teeth?
I think you get the point. If you could do 1-2 posts per service you offer you’d be really off to a great start.
If you’re not really sure what to write about or you want to make sure you write about things that will actually get traffic, I created a guide on what to write about to actually drive traffic.
I really didn’t have to put these here but for those who would complain if I didn’t, yes, you can still have these generic pages.
That pretty well sums it up.
Do I need all of these pages?
Yes. Well, not really, but honestly, if you had this as a foundation you will a) probably already have good visibility in any local market and b) have a much easier time improving that visibility and dominating your local industry if and when you do decide to invest in SEO.
I promised you all a deliverable and a video, and I’m all about keeping my promises:
And also as promised, here is the Google sheet that you should have access to copy:
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