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Advice Needed On Best Seo Strategy For A Location Based Directory


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5 replies to this topic

#1 2e1fmo

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 07:57 AM

Hi

I have a brand new directory website for the UK for a particular industry, I don't want to give away the real industry so for an example lets say it's power tool hire. My directory of power tool hire businesses is split in counties and then into cities/towns.

I want to be found at town level with the search: "Power tool hire in Manchester", or county level the search: "Power tool hire in Cornwall"

I currently have this setup with a homepage and a navigation link to the directory. On the directory page I have a list of counties. Each county links through to its own page which lists the towns. Each town links through to its own page listing the businesses for that town. Each business links through to a profile page for that business.

The directory is php powered but I am using url-rewriting to give more seo friendly names. For example a county page is called 'www.website.com/power-tool-hire-in-cornwall'. A town page is similar eg: 'www.website.com/power-tool-hire-in-manchester'.

There are certain towns/cities (eg the larger ones) which i am giving a homepage boost by linking to them from the homepage and listing them under the heading: 'popular power tool hire searches'

This has now been live and indexed for just over a month, but im not having much luck in the serps for the search phrases im after, for example, like I mentioned earlier 'power tool hire in manchester'

I am trying to get decent backlinks but finding suitable ones difficult to find.

Would anybody have set out their directory structure differently?

Any help or advice is much appreciated.

Thanks
Dan



#2 Michael Martinez

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 08:57 AM

You don't say whether all the county pages have content.  You should not be trying to promote stub pages into search results.

 

That said, you'll need a tiered HTML sitemap section to assist with the crawl.  You want to make the entries in the sitemap as descriptive as possible, don't just place links with county names as anchor text.

 

THAT said, you want to minimize boilerplate text on your site as much as possible.  You don't want 100 listings that say, "Blah-blah-blah for county [NAME]".

 

Think about what is most important to your visitors and emphasize that, leaving the rest for later when they start to show interest.



#3 2e1fmo

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 09:34 AM

Thanks for your reply Michael.

 

The county pages simply list the towns in that county, but i only add the towns when a company in that town signs up so the county pages are pretty poor in terms of content, the majority of county pages at the moment only have one or two town links - this was something i was concerned about.

 

I do have a sitemap but im not sure how you tier it? - i have set a priority rating for each, but i was told google ignores this so im not sure if thats actually doing anything. The other tags i use are: <loc>, <lastmod> and <changefreq> - you say make the entries descriptive - is there another tag i should use for a description?

The town pages are a bit better in terms of content - they list the companies with part of their description and display a thumbnail photo.

 

The best content is when you finally get to the company profile page, which is user generated with lots of content. My trouble (i think) is that these pages are buried 3 levels deep that by the time google gets to them they will have lost rank.

Im debating whether to remove the town page and place links to each company under the county (removing one level), or take out the county page as a level.



#4 Michael Martinez

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 11:04 AM

Your pages should be readable and informative.  A tier starts with the first page.  When it becomes so long that it is cumbersome to read it, you break it up into multiple pages that link to each other.

 

There is no standard for determining when a page becomes cumbersome.  In my opinion that varies due to site design and type of content.  Most Websites in my experience tend to paginate too soon, thus making the pagination cumbersome and user-unfriendly.

 

If you don't have a site search tool on your site you should consider embedding one.  Given a large Website, most people would rather search for what they want than have to click through complicated menu navigation.



#5 2e1fmo

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 11:46 AM

I do have a search on the site, whereas the directory is mainly there for seo purposes, so its mainly about getting that into its best possible structure which im struggling with.

I want people to find me by searching for '##### hire in location' where location is either a county or town. I want to cover both. Currently im way down in the serps, pages 5 or worse.

Could my directory structure be improved or is it lack of good content nearer the top of the tier (currently the good content is 4 levels down).

To give a better example of my structure its currently like this:

Level 1) www.website.com/#####-hire-directory/

Level 2) www.website.com/#####-hire-in-county/
Level 3) www.website.com/#####-hire-in-town/
Level 4) www.website.com/company-name/

On Level 1 - the main directory page, this has lots of Level 2 links (to counties) and no other content, link example: <a href="#####-hire-in-county" title="##### hire in county">
On Level 2 - a county page, this has two to three lots of Level 3 links (to towns) so is a low content page, link example: <a href="#####-hire-in-town" title="##### hire in town">
On Level 3 - a town page, this has two to three lots of Level 4 links (to companies), but with some textual content, link example: <a href="company-name" title="##### hire from company name">
On Level 4 - a company profile page, this has lots of good user generated content

If anybody can suggest a better way to improve this that would be brilliant!

Thanks



#6 Michael Martinez

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 02:45 PM

I have worked with some sites set up like this but it's not easy to satisfy the search engines' requirements.  How many total active listings do you have?  Unless you're averaging 3-5 listings per county, the county-based organization may not be optimal for you.

 

What you want to avoid doing is creating content for the search engines rather than people.  Optimized content serves both needs.






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