From the 900% increase in “near me” searches to the additional 500% increase in searches with the words “can I buy” or “buy,” you know how important local search is. You may be getting impressive results with your SEO approach and driving more traffic to your site (and through your doors) every day, but then you decide to add another location in your city or a franchise in another state. SEO for multiple locations means following best practices to distinguish one location from another (without compromising your brand). Here’s how to make that happen.
5 best practices for SEO for multiple locations
An estimated 46% of all Google searches are for local businesses. SEO for multiple locations may require a little more planning, but it’s important. Here are five best practices when you start developing your SEO strategy for multiple locations.
1. Design one excellent website
People can get confused by multiple websites owned and operated by the same person or company. For multiple-location SEO, consolidate into one well-designed website and have all traffic headed in the same direction.
Consider a centralized strategy when creating your business’s URL. This means that the main website domain is the same for all business, but subdomains help guide people to the appropriate location.
For example, “yourbusiness.com” becomes “yourbusiness.com/locations/location1.” Looking for all locations? A landing page for “yourbusiness.com/locations” will send you there, with links to each page. You can expand as you add content with things like “yourbusinesslocation.com/locations/location1/reviews.” This builds your online presence more than separate, disconnected sites.
2. Create different landing pages for each location
Each location is going to be unique. Creating a different landing page is an SEO strategy for multiple locations that allows potential clients to get to know that specific location a little better. Each landing page should have consistent messaging as far as your business practices go, but customized pages help highlight each location.
Make sure the following information is listed on each location’s landing page:
- Phone number
- Office staff
- Google map (embedded for navigation)
- Promotions or special services at this location
- Links (i.e., to review sites)
To further differentiate locations (and improve search rankings), add a paragraph or two of unique content that features location-specific SEO keywords and information. Be careful, though, not to just copy-paste content from one page to the other.
Using Google’s structured data markup helper can also assist in creating location-specific meta data, headers, and tags. This on-page SEO tip helps people find the location they are looking for. Using other structured markup helpers like Schema.org also helps standardize the way you notate your website to make it easier for Google to crawl (and better for you in terms of search rankings!).
Make sure that all information for each page is consistent across all pages that use that information. Phone numbers and addresses that don’t match up across different directories can signal to Google that your site is not trustworthy – and that’s not good.
3. Create separate Google business listings
Even if the website is the same, each location has site-specific information (e.g., hours, phone number, etc.). Updating and optimizing the business listing for each location helps your customers get the information they need when they are looking for you. Make sure your Google My Business listing reflects each location separately.
Further, an updated, verified business listing is required if you are going to use the Google My Business posts. These posts announce sales, promotions, events, and promoted products for distinct locations.
Google My Business posts are free advertising that have become an important factor in local pack ranking. Local pack ranking is the group of three listings that come up when you search for a location-based business. For example, if you search, “pizza in Chicago,” Google selects three top-ranked business and posts them prominently on the search results page. If your location gets into this local pack, you’re golden.
4. Manage reviews consistently
Approximately 85% of consumers trust and use online reviews as much as or more than recommendations from friends and relatives. This means you need to actively seek out positive reviews from satisfied customers and respond consistently across your locations to all reviews, both positive and negative.
After a client or customer visits, you can solicit reviews in several different ways.
- With an email that offers two choices (good or bad) each linked appropriately (good to a review site, bad to that location’s contact information to resolve the issue)
- On a card that is handed to the client as they leave
- With incentives for reviews (and referrals)
However you do it, set a goal to respond to all reviews in a timely fashion, either by thanking happy reviewers or by offering contact information if they are not so satisfied.
5. Create unique, engaging local content
No matter how it has changed over the years, content is still king when it comes to how Google crawls your website. Once you have your URL strategy down and have created business listings for each location, get started on content. Content should be original and unique to each location (Google is not a fan of copy-paste content and will penalize you in the search rankings).
Consider the following content:
- Blogs and articles you create
- Specific descriptions of your services at each location
- “About me” pages for office staff
- Links to relevant articles
- Photos or videos
Essentially, your content not only helps Google rank your business, but it also gives clients a feel for your office and the services or products you offer. What ultimately helps your business grow is the satisfaction of your customers. Giving them lots of information to let them know what to expect when they walk through your doors is a best practice in every industry.
Managing SEO for multiple locations is not for the faint of heart. If you are expanding or you already have multiple locations, let Boost help you with your multiple-location SEO strategy. Get in touch today!