Businesses with multiple locations encounter unique challenges when trying to boost their ranking.
There is lots of information out there about SEO best practices, but what helps multi-location businesses?
Why does multi-location SEO matter? And where can you start?
Here is a list of strategies that you can use to bolster your multi-location SEO campaign that you can reference as needed.
What Is Multi-Location SEO?
Multi-location SEO allows you to optimize your on-page content and manage how your business will appear in local searches.
For example, if you were searching for LASIK eye surgery in Seattle, WA on Google, the map will highlight locations in the area that Google thinks best fit your search.
The first three non-advertised businesses listed are called the local pack.
Nearly half of all Google searches are local.
This makes the local pack one of the most valuable pieces of digital real estate on the internet.
In the example above, Northwest Eye Surgeons and Evergreen Eye Center are showing up on the Local Pack as an organic result. SharpeVision paid for that spot. These businesses may or may not have multiple locations, but what they do have is dominance over local SEO for this search.
At this stage of the buyer’s journey, those searching for something in a specific location are narrowing down providers, and are likely ready to purchase. Optimizing multi-location SEO is critical in making sure your business is the one that gets visited.
How Do You Rank Multiple Locations?
If your business has multiple locations, ranking on Google takes paying careful attention to the details on the landing pages for each business location.
Each location page is optimized using a number of key tools such as:
- A Google My Business profile for each location
- Getting reviews for each location
- Optimizing the content for each location
- And more
Understanding How Google Thinks and Approaches Multi-Location Businesses:
Google looks at multi-location businesses under one big umbrella as a single business, and also as separate businesses.
This is why multi-location SEO is so important.
Google My Business (GMB) plays a large part in helping you understand how Google approaches multi-location businesses and how to optimize local SEO for multiple locations. On a GMB listing, you’ll see a lot of potential information that can be included.
Google wants you to add lots of details because those details matter in ranking for organic SEO.
Keep reading to learn how to optimize your GMB.
6 Steps to Optimizing Local SEO for Multiple Locations
Step 1: Individual Pages for Each Location
Each location of your business should have its own separate page. When some websites try to rank their homepage for multiple locations they would redirect traffic to their main page.
This is doing you a disservice.
When you begin to build up a web page for each location, that specific location is more likely to rank in a local search. The business’ primary website, or homepage, is unlikely to rank well for a city that your home page is not listed for.
This can be easily fixed by building out pages for each location of your business.
Provide Comprehensive Business Information
Google is big on adding as much comprehensive info about your business as you can. And consistency is key.
Start by searching Google for the phrase or keyword you want to rank for. You might start to see themes and location-specific pages.
Take a look at this example. If you want to search for Buffalo, NY dentist, these results come up:
Each of these websites that are ranking well is specifically about dentists in Buffalo, New York.
Add Location Specific Information and Data
The description for this page needs to be specific and comprehensive.
Each of these local pages should seem as though they were created by someone who knows the city or neighborhood that this business is in.
Whether it’s to let customers know about nearby parking options or the best time of day to avoid rush hour traffic.
It should speak to the residents in that community.
Even adding in a picture of that specific location is an important element in helping you rank in that local search.
Make it easy for people to find information specific to that location of your business.
You can even optimize the name for each location.
Let’s say you had multiple dentist offices across New York.
To optimize your Buffalo, N.Y. location, you may want to change the name from something generic, such as New York Dental Group, to something location-specific such as Buffalo, N.Y Dental Group, or, Buffalo, New York Dental Group.
If it’s relevant, be sure to add in all the specific services that the location provides.
For example, if you have a physical therapy practice with multiple locations, make sure each location-specific site has a comprehensive list of all the services they provide such as:
- Aquatic therapy
- Fall prevention
- Pelvic floor physical therapy
- Vestibular rehabilitation
Within the content itself, try to include keywords related to this specific location.
If people are searching for certain physical therapy specialties, you can include in your content a keyword related to that location and that specialty in order to make that piece of content hyper-relevant to that location.
How Does Creating Individual Location Pages Help With Multi-Location SEO?
Google mentions over and over the word comprehensive.
Google finds more value in location-specific pages that have thorough details. Adding in these details is one of the easiest ways to help your location rank higher.
Step 2: Optimize Location Pages for On-Page SEO
When building local SEO for multiple locations, the …
- URL structure
- Title tag, and
- Meta description
… of your local website can make a big difference.
Create a Logical URL Structure
By having a logical site structure with easy-to-understand URLs, your site will be organized and easy to understand for users. Plus, this helps you rank well.
Let’s say you are trying to create a logical URL structure for a Pizza Hut location. Here is an example of what that might look like:
As you can see, the location gets more and more geo-specific. You want to make sure your URL structure is as specific as possible.
You can organize your URL structure in different ways, but make sure it’s consistent. Stick to one formula that makes sense.
Add a Title Tag and Meta Description
Each title tag and meta description should be location-specific.
This small donut chain with a few locations around Washington, D.C. has a locations page, but they do not have a separate page for each location. They might benefit from creating a separate page for each of their three locations with URL structures that match.
They could create a URL structure that looks something like this:
By adding the locations to the URL structure, people searching for local donut shops in these three places might be more likely to see Astro doughnuts show up on my local pack.
This would greatly increase the chance that a consumer will click on their site or check out their shop.
Within the content, altering the headers to be location-specific helps Google find greater value in that piece of content.
It adds to the hyper-relevance to that location and is more relevant to that consumer.
Here are a few ways to think about comprehensive, location-specific information you can give to potential consumers:
- Does this particular location require appointments?
- What are the exact services that this particular location offers?
- Are they different from other locations?
- What makes them different from other locations?
- What is the name, address, and phone number of this particular location?
- Can you provide a photo for this specific location?
How Does Optimizing Your Pages Help With Multi-Location SEO?
When you optimize your local SEO, the likelihood of you ranking well in that local pack goes way up.
Step 3: Create or Optimize Content for Local Pages
Here are some specific ways you can optimize the content on each local page. When you do this well, you avoid looking like spam, which looks bad to Google algorithms.
Steer Clear of Duplicate Content
It’s important when you have multiple pages with essentially the same information to avoid duplicate content.
You should still have good content that:
- Uses local keywords where possible
- Is written to add value to the reader
- Is unique to each location
Avoid Keyword Stuffing
Keyword stuffing is loading a piece of content, or a section of content, with keywords you’re trying to rank for. You’re essentially trying to manipulate Google into ranking your website.
Keyword stuffing can appear in different ways:
- Unnecessarily repeating words or phrases
- Adding words or phrases that are out of context just to fit the keyword in
- Using irrelevant keywords not related to the content
Here’s an example of keyword stuffing:
“Electricity companies in Plano, TX offer a variety of plans. When you’re looking for electricity companies in Plano, TX, be sure to review your household’s needs. You’ll find that electricity companies in Plano, TX offered incentives and packages to catch your attention.”
In this example, the writer goes overboard, and the keyword stuffing becomes obvious. Both the reader and search engine crawlers will look at this negatively.
Write for People, Not Search Engines
Google is getting smarter every year, and it’s built to understand good content.
One of the primary goals of any piece of content should be to add value to the reader. Anything else looks spammy and besides not being SEO best-practice, it can harm your brand.
Create an Internal Linking Strategy
A good internal linking strategy is one that links relevant internal links to the content you’re writing.
If you have a dog grooming business and you’re writing an article about different kinds of shampoos to use, you can link to another article from your blog about grooming tools, or coat maintenance.
You also want to create an internal and external link ratio strategy.
Solely linking to your own website or blog looks like spam.
How Does Optimizing and Creating Unique Content Help Multi-Location SEO?
By optimizing and creating high-quality content for each location, Google sees that content as having high value to the reader. By linking to relevant internal links, you’re increasing that value for the reader.
Step 4: Optimize Google My Business for Each Location
There are tons of search engines out there. So why talk only about Google?
It’s the best option for increasing your visibility.
To optimize the Google My Business (GMB) for each location, one of the first things you need is a separate location page for each location. Many businesses have a ‘locations page’ on their website, but they don’t have specific pages for each location.
Add Comprehensive and Detailed Business Information
Update your business information to be as detailed as possible.
Make sure you have accurate information for each location which may include but is not limited to:
- Category and subcategories for your business
- Physical address
- Phone numbers
Add Photos for Each Location
This is especially important for consumers looking to visit your location. Each location might have its own parking limitations, or maybe your business is located inside a larger building that’s not clearly advertised from the outside.
Seeing these photos makes it easier for consumers to find and get a feel for the location.
They have landmarks to reference, and the photos show consumers what product or service your business offers, and more information about your brand.
How Does Optimizing Your GMB Help Multi-Location SEO?
Google shows a limit of three organic results in the local pack. These “Big Three” dominate local SEO.
By optimizing your GMB, the likelihood of your business ending up here rises sharply.
Step 5: Claim Local Business Listings for Each Location
If you’re building and managing your local business listings on GMB, you’ll need to go through the claiming process for each.
Claiming a listing online verifies that you are the owner.
Your business can also be claimed manually in local directories. The process differs depending on the local business index. You can seek out the relevant and popular sites for that niche and list your business there for maximum visibility.
Manage Your Citations (NAP)
NAP, an important ranking factor, stands for:
- Phone number
The NAP needs to be consistent and optimized for each business location.
These are the key things that Google looks for in each local listing, and can make a difference between a consumer feeling confident and informed, or likely to get lost, frustrated, or unable to reach your customer service.
How Does Claiming Local Business Listings Help Multi-Location SEO?
By claiming a local business listing on GMB:
- Google sees that site as having higher authority
- Helps businesses appear more credible
- Increases your likelihood of showing up on local searches
Step 6: Encourage Customers to Leave Reviews
To boost SEO for multi-location businesses, encourage customers to leave reviews in multiple locations.
Having reviews in places such as …
… will help boost visibility and credibility.
Send a Survey
For companies that send emails to customers, sending follow-up surveys is a great way to get comments and reviews to add to the local website.
Having this detailed and specific data for that location adds trustworthiness and credibility.
Reviews at Checkout
One way to get reviews quickly is to ask for them at checkout. Some companies might hand their customer a tablet at the cashier with a brief survey.
Customers put on the spot often leave good reviews, and these can be used for local ratings.
How Do Reviews Help Multi-Location SEO?
Local reviews are social proof that is proven to drive potential customers to a business.
Reviews matter: About 90% of consumers will read online reviews before visiting a business.
How Do You Know If Your Multi-Location SEO Strategy Is Working? Utilize SEO Reseller’s Dashboard to Track Local SEO for Multiple Locations
With so many moving parts to a quality SEO strategy, managing the different cogs in the machine is key. Tracking your data to measure success can make a big difference in your multi-business local SEO.
Our SEO Reseller Dashboard can help discover if your SEO strategy is delivering the results you want.
With the SEO dashboard, you can quickly build SEO reports for your SEO projects, and get data on campaign performance.
No need to juggle spreadsheets or jump from tool to tool. With the ability to integrate Google My Business data, SEO Reseller can help you keep your reporting organized and in one place.