Our latest Content Tools add-on feature is a game-changer for members who want to quickly expand site reach into secondary markets without having to worry about periodically updating their site content whenever a change is made to their homepage. It saves time and checks the appropriate SEO boxes to ensure these pages rank and can generate leads previously inaccessible to your primary market.
With those benefits in mind, it is highly recommended this FAQ be reviewed so that you are fully informed on the location strategy at play with this feature prior to diving into creating your first Auto-Location page. If you have questions about what markets to target, the below tutorial will help ensure you have a plan for what areas to target:
Once I’ve created an Auto-Location page, can I edit any of the content on that individual page?
Rather than spending time editing individual pages, Auto-Location pages are created to “mirror” the homepage, reflecting any updates you make to homepage/parent page automatically. This mirroring action does not allow for you to edit the Auto-Location page content itself. That being said, Quick Edit options are available for each page to tailor to your specific location SEO settings or shortcode override needs.
See the video at the top of this tutorial to demonstrate how Auto-Location pages mirror the homepage.
This all puts the emphasis on adding strong homepage content that is helpful, unique and valuable–this in turn positively impacts your linked Auto-Location page rankings without you spending nearly as much time meticulously updating content across your site.
Follow up to the above question: can I localize the hero image for an individual Auto-Location page?
This is an important tradeoff to consider when deciding between manual creation and ongoing maintenance of a Location page or the ease of Auto-Location pages. To still bring a localized element to your site outside of photos in the content, consider replacing your hero image to be more generalized to the region you work in, or enable the optional image blurring functionality.
Do I need to perform any internal linking myself?
No internal linking work needed on your part–at the bottom of each Auto-Location page (exclusive of the Homepage they are mirroring) is a section titled “Areas We Serve” that contain links back to the Homepage or and other city pages that fall under the same state. This puts a bow on the URL hierarchical structure and is super helpful to Google when crawling a site map.
Anytime a new city or county page is created, this section automatically updates with the additional page. Deleting an Auto-Location page you no longer need? That link will automatically disappear from the above section–no need to worry about a broken link on these pages!
Why are shortcodes so important to this feature working correctly?
To effectively target the secondary markets you are adding, we override the shortcodes that are built into each template homepage to ensure search engines will correctly “read” and correctly associate the page content to the specified location. If you delete or replace those shortcodes (read more about shortcodes here) from your homepage with your primary location, all of your Auto-Location pages content will appear to be targeting your primary market!
If you make that mistake, it’s an easy fix–just be sure to add and/or shortcodes where relevant in your homepage, and the content across your Auto-Location pages will automatically be updated without any further work on your part.
Can I customize an individual Auto-Location page meta title and description? What else can I update?
Yep! By default, this will display the settings imported from the homepage. Making individual updates are all in the Quick Edit dropdown option for each page. You can edit quite a bit from here, including overriding the shortcode info for phone numbers and zip code, even adding individual page tracking codes for campaigns!
What if my Auto-Location pages aren’t getting indexed?
While Google states that it may take anywhere from 2-4 weeks for new site content to be crawled and indexed, it is also perfectly normal for Auto-Location pages to be indexed and rank within a week of publishing. Several factors may prevent Google from indexing your Auto-Location pages that quickly–fortunately, there are a few steps to take outside of simply waiting for that window of time to close!
- Adjust Homepage content to be more unique from the template: adding new content relevant to the market you operate in, incorporating any specific keyword phrases related to the niche you are targeting…you can find more information here about writing unique content, but the main takeaway here is that this will ultimately help differentiate your content from competitors not making any or little changes.
- Increase / density: This depends on the amount of new content you are adding from the above step–ideally, aim for 1.5-2% keyword density from the total wordcount on the page (to calculate this, divide the amount the phrase appears by the total wordcount, e.g., 15/1500 = 1%). Landing in this sweet spot will signal to Google that the content isn’t just a direct copy of the homepage–even if the only difference is in the override applied to those short codes.
The first Auto-Location page I’m allowed to create targets a state–why is that? Am I really expected to target my entire state?
We’ve deliberately set the first action to be a state Auto-Location page to ensure the URL hierarchy generated will be SEO-friendly and easy to navigate. But that’s not the only reason to create a state page!
Google is constantly crawling and checking your site for updates and evaluating to see what page is best to send traffic to depending on their search–it also uses the site map to understand the full geographic area you serve to ensure its suggestions are helpful to those searching for your site. A state page will not automatically mean you will get leads clear on the other side of the state you operate in–if you work in Northern California, for instance, Google won’t send you traffic from San Diego! Instead, you’ll see traffic coming through your state page just outside of the primary market or other secondary markets on your site.
Simply put, a state page allows you to capture traffic that is still within reach of your business but may not fit the other Auto-Location page location criteria neatly.
A reminder to read this tutorial to plan what locations you want to target with Auto-Location pages.
What if my homepage is set to target a state instead of a primary city?
For the time being, Auto-Locations should only be used for pages that are targeting a city or county as their primary market–if you are currently targeting a state and want to create a Location page targeting a secondary market, you can do so by duplicating your homepage and applying a market shortcode override for the new page created. Check back here soon for an update on support for state-as-primary-market support!
What if my homepage is set to target nationwide instead of a primary city?
Auto-Location pages can be utilized if targeting a national audience on the homepage, but and shortcodes should be carefully reviewed, implemented, and previewed as a State Auto-Location page to ensure the location is present throughout the content.
Working with existing Location pages
I have existing Location pages I created in the past but they aren’t ranking–should I create Auto-Location pages for those markets instead?
We’d absolutely recommend doing so–the feature’s unique, SEO-friendly URL structure and mirroring of the homepage helps keep best practices in place and a clear sitemap for Google to follow. Just make sure you’ve added unique, personalized content to your homepage first! It’s a major ingredient in the recipe for success when it comes to Auto-Location pages ranking.
I’d like to swap out existing Locations that aren’t ranking with Auto-Locations. What should I know before doing so?
- If the location pages aren’t indexed and don’t have backlinks pointing to them, delete the existing pages–those pages will turn into 404 pages, and Google will eventually remove the 404 pages from the sitemap altogether.
- If you DO have backlinks pointing to the original Location pages, make sure to create a 301 redirect in the from the SEO menu within the Visual Editor (under “Visibility” tab) and point it to the new auto location page URL. It’s vitally important to NOT set the redirected page to ‘no-index’ or draft after creating the 301 redirect. Search engine crawlers will read the ‘no-index’ or draft mode first and never make it to the 301 redirect.