Businesses With Multiple Locations Need SEO Love Too

So much awesome information exists out there to help small businesses get new customers in their local area. The growth of local SEO has been a win-win, matching small businesses and their customers in amazing numbers. Local SEO principles have been doing their job right! But what happens with those businesses that have more than one location? How exactly can local SEO work for them?
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Here at Be Locally SEO, we have worked with several multi-location clients, and have had a good chance to prove that the following strategies really do work well.

 

Keep a Single Domain

Some businesses might feel the urge to build separate websites for each location. To this, we say, “Resist the temptation!”  We always recommend keeping all your business locations under one domain roof, so to speak. There are a couple reasons for this.

  1. Keeping information on one site allows that information to build on itself, to compound, and give more strength to your website.  One strong site is much, much more valuable than several weaker sites.

  2. Having a single domain keeps you from duplicating content. Google and friends hate duplicate content, and will frown on you if your “About Us” page is the same on every url, for example.  Creating separate and unique content for each website can be a daunting task, not to mention the enormous job of managing each site, and making changes to each to keep the branding consistent.

  3. One good site is far less confusing for people to use than several location-specific sites.

We recommend putting separate locations in a subdirectory or subdomain. Create a “Locations” page on your website that lists each location, along with necessary information, with links to separate pages containing content for each location.

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Which brings me to my next strategy.

Create Location Specific Pages and Perform On-Site Optimization for Each

Each location should have its own page on the website. This strategy comes straight from Google’s Matt Cutts. These pages should be optimized with the area name in the meta description and H1 tagsBe sure the page has the name, address, and phone number clearly listed. 

You can make these location pages even stronger with a few pro techniques.

  1. Include schema markup to specify addresses, hours, prices, and so forth.  Schema is a collaborative effort between Google, Bing, and Yahoo to easily identify and display certain types of information.

  2. Include a Google Map on the page that identifies exactly where to find that location.  This is a particularly good strategy because, unlike schema, which is only for the benefit of the search engine robots, maps benefit robots and humans alike. Anyone searching for your location will be glad to find an easy-to-use map included on the web page.

  3. Write content for each page mentioning anything specific to that location, the area of town, or anything else visitors might find pertinent.  This could include the name of the office manager, or the proximity to local landmarks.

  4. Create videos or include photos of the location. Once again, well-made images and videos can really enhance the user experience, as well as demonstrating your professionalism to search engines. Be sure these are optimized with location-specific alt tags and image titles.

  5. Include reviews and testimonials that are unique to each location. Ask customers for a brief testimonial, or find reviews on Google, Facebook, or other local sites.

  6. AVOID mentioning other locations on each location page. It is better for locations to be mentioned in a separate page, rather than included in each location page.

Create Separate Business Listings for Each Location

Use Google My Business and Google Plus to create separate pages for each location.  This gives customers the opportunity to give reviews that are location specific, as well as find your address and hours directly on Google. 

And let’s not forget that Google uses this information in its results pages.  In fact, we strongly recommend asking your best customers to leave you a Google review for this very reason. Take a look at this results pages for the term “collision repair salt lake.”

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You can see that under the map, Everest Collision is the top resultYou can also see that they have an average rating of 4.9 stars, with 91 reviews.

The reviews and ratings are a powerful indicator to shoppers. Consider that anyone searching for collision repair is someone in need of collision repair today, as opposed to someone searching for funny cat videos, for example.  The cat video searcher is just in need of a laugh, or killing time, while the collision repair searcher is searching with the intent to spend money right now.  To the average searcher, Everest Collision Repair’s 4.9 stars and 91 reviews looks better than their nearest competitors 4.2 stars and 6 reviews.

You might also notice that the street name and closing time are also included. Google gets this information from Google + and Google My Business listings, so be sure each location is listed separately.

How to Create Google Plus Pages for Multiple Locations

Start by going to Google My Business (https://www.google.com/business) and following the steps listed there.

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Google has learned over the years to not just believe anything people say. Since so many people have used fake or false information in the past, Google now requires business listings to be verified.  The upshot for businesses is that you will need to give Google a real, actual business address.  Google will verify this using their Google Maps street view, so no cheating.

The same goes for the phone number. If you don’t currently have a separate phone number for each location, we recommend investing in separate numbers. Each Google+ page will perform best with a unique address and phone number.

Be sure to fill out the about information with a short paragraph about your business, your business type and hours, and the website address. Add your branded profile and cover images to make it complete. We recommend keeping branding the same across all your location pages, but include a few things to let people know that each location is unique.

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Then start adding people to your circles. These could be current customers, or other similar businesses. Join communities that are relevant to your business.  Engage by commenting or giving +1’s to posts from those you follow.  Start posting good content to your new page, like relevant articles, posts from your company blog, or questions. You can even use Google+ as a mini blog post, since there is no limit to what you can put in these posts. Many businesses create very useful and informational Google+ posts, and attract a lot of engagement that way.

We recommend posting on Google+ regularly, to keep your page fresh and useful.

Other Fish in the Sea

Google is not the only place to list your business locations.  Start with Bing and Yahoo, then move on to other directories such as Yelp, Angie’s List, DexKnows, YP, BBB, and so forth. Be sure each listing has the name, address, and phone number displayed exactly the same. Inconsistencies make the search engine robots confused, and confused robots never perform in your favor.

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Advanced Planning Pays Off

While SEO for businesses with multiple locations may be a little tougher to perform, with a little forethought and planning it can pay off. If you feel daunted by these tasks, consider using a full-service internet marketing company like Be Locally SEO to take care of the details for you. Having a professional look and feel to your online marketing can propel your business to the next level!

 

Want more? Our expert recommends:

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