We even wrote the book on city pages.
One of the most common questions people ask me is how you can get writers to create content for these pages that actually sounds natural to someone who lives in the targeted city.
And that’s a critical question. I’ve seen so many city pages that sound like they could have been written about ANY city. Just imagine reading:
“Our location is nestled in CITY NAME’s vibrant downtown close to great coffee shops, restaurants and any services you can imagine.”
That’s pretty weak, and it could apply to ANY city. What it’s really lacking is any sort of distinguishable information.
To combat this, we usually provide writers with a selection of great data sources they should gather information from to include in their content. This makes the content feel natural to the reader and also produces higher-quality content that’s more likely to rank organically.
Below is a list of some of the sources we use. Keep in mind not every source will be helpful for your project, and there are a lot of other sources you can also include. The key thing is to identify your sources before your writers get to work, and make sure they know what their sources are and what data you want them to use.
1. Trip Advisor
Chances are you’ve used Trip Advisor when planning your vacations, or even checking out attractions in your own city. It’s also a great source that writers can turn to and find authentic information about cities including details and reviews about neighborhoods, attractions, shopping, and dining.
Trip Advisor does tend to feature reviews from travelers, so it might not work as well when you need perspectives from locals.
If you want reviews on local services and establishments from locals who live there, Yelp is a great source to turn to. This tool is useful
for discovering establishments to write about, as well as reading reviews that can help writers understand which establishments are preferred by locals.
3. City Hall and Chamber of Commerce Sites
These sites are a great source of information about a community’s laws, bylaws, plans, programs, and more. Depending on your industry, including some of this information (or linking to it) on your city page can be extremely valuable for your readers.
For example, if you were creating a city page for a plumbing company, you might want to include information about a city’s water conservation program.
4. Area Vibes
AreaVibes lets you see housing, education, climate, amenity, cost of living and other information down to neighborhood levels. They’ll also calculate a livability score based on these factors, which helps writers get a sense of which areas are the better areas in a city.
This can be really helpful when your city page needs to discuss specific neighborhoods in a city. That kind of information makes locals feel like the writer really understands the city, and also enables the writer to make recommendations.
For example, if your city page was going to recommend retirement communities in a city, you’d want to be sure that your writer recommends ones that are in nice neighborhoods.
While primarily a site to find homes, Zillow also includes a wealth of information about an area’s housing stock, schools, amenities, and other characteristics.
Trulia is actually very similar to Zillow, and you’ll find a lot of similar information. You might have a look and see which site offers better information for the cities you’re targeting and refer to the site you prefer.
8. Nerd Wallet’s Cost of Living Calculator
This is a really cool that lets you look up the cost of living in pretty much any area and compare it with other areas. Not only does this give writers perspective on the areas they’re writing about, but this type of information can be extremely valuable for companies whose customers would consider cost of living when using their services.
For example, if a company helped renters find homes in different neighborhoods, letting them know how the cost of living stacks up against other cities could be extremely valuable.
9. Bureau of Labor Statistics
The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides government data around employment. In the context of city pages, this lets your writers find out about the job market and average wages for specific positions in each location.
10. Census Data
Most countries have some form of census data available, so if you’re creating city pages for countries other than the United States you should look up that country’s data.
11. City Data
City Data provides similar information to census data, mostly demographic data, but in a potentially easier-to-access format. Plus, they include international information if you want to target countries other than the United States.
12. Local News
While not as condensed as some of the other data sources we’ve included here, having writers review a city’s local newspapers, television, and magazines can help them get a good feel for the community. In certain cases, referencing local stories and trending topics in your city pages can add an authentic flare.
Mo Data, No Problems?
While a case can be made that mo’ money creates mo’ problems, having mo’ data sources for your city pages is unlikely to cause you problems.
The more sources your writers can look at, the better they’re going to understand a community and the better they’ll be able to write authentically about it.
Identify sources that have the data you need upfront, share them with your writers, and be sure you provide instructions on how to use the data and you’ll get high-quality city page content created every time.