Businesses With Multiple Locations Need SEO 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?

Here at Be Locally, 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

I spoke with one business owner who proudly told me about his multiple websites on multiple domains to target each area his business was in. I almost didn’t have the heart to tell him what a bad idea this is.

In fact, there are several reasons to keep all your locations on one single website and one single domain.

  1. Building Strength: One strong site is far more valuable than several weaker sites. Let the information grow, compound, and bring lots of strength to your website by keeping it all in one place.
  2. Avoid Duplicating Content: It’s possible you might get penalized for copying and pasting content from one website onto another, and how many ways can you re-write the “about us” page?
  3. Managing One Site is Easier: It can be an overwhelming task to manage several websites, keep the branding consistent, make sure nothing is broken, monitor multiple contact forms, and so forth. Make your own life easier by sticking to one website.
  4. Easier for Customers: One well-built, organized and professionally branded website is far less confusing for users than several separate location-specific sites.

What we recommend instead is that you create one page on your website where the locations are listed. In the example image below, there is a “location” page which lists all their locations in one spot.

Which brings me to my next strategy.

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

Not only should you have a “location” page with a list of all locations, but make each location link to a separate page. This means there will be separate pages for each location. Even Google’s Matt Cutts thinks this is an awesome idea.

Optimize each page with H1 tags and meta descriptions, and most importantly, list the address and phone number clearly on the page!

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

  1. Include schema markup: You can often see this markup used to display recipes and movie times, but it also works for addresses and prices.
  2. Include a Google Map: Google loves when you use their stuff, so a Google map can only help.
  3. Write content for each page: We generally recommend writing anything readers might like to see, such as the name of the manager, distance from local landmarks, or anything else that might be pertinent to your specific business.
  4. Include videos or photos: If images and videos are well-made, they can really enhance the quality of your location pages. And don’t forget to optimize these images! Give them titles, alt tags, and descriptions.
  5. Include reviews and testimonials: Especially if you can get some reviews that are specific to each location, these can enhance your individual location pages quite a bit.
  6. AVOID mentioning other locations: Don’t list other locations at the bottom, in the sidebar, or in the footer. Keep the list of all locations in just one spot: the “locations” page.

Create Separate Business Listings for Each Location

We recommend you use Google My Business and Google Plus to create separate business listings for each location your business owns. Customers will appreciate being able to leave and read location-specific reviews, and viewing the address and phone number for the location they want.

It’s important to recognize how Google uses this information in results pages. In fact, Google’s usage of this information is why we strongly recommend that you ask your customers to leave you a Google review. The hours, location, phone number, and reviews are all used in results pages.

As an example, check out this results page (below) for the term “collision repair salt lake.”

See that top result? Everest Collision has 91 reviews, with an average of 4.9 stars. Their closing time and street name is also provided.

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.

Google will require a verification that your location and phone number are the real thing. They often verify your address using Google Maps street view, so be sure you don’t try to cheat the system. If you are using a single phone number for all locations, this verification is tough. We recommend getting separate phone numbers for each location.

Fill out all the information with a business description, hours and the website address. Add some branded imaging to complete the setup. We recommend keeping branding the same on each location listing, but include one or two small changes to let people know each location is unique.

Branding is the same, only the address and phone number are different.

We recommend posting on Google+ regularly, to keep your page fresh and useful. Add people to your circles, comment and +1, post good content, and join communities.

Other Fish in the Sea

There are other places to create listings, too. Bing, Yahoo, YP, Yelp, Angie’s List, and the BBB are all great places to start. Be sure your business address and phone number for each individual location are identical in each listing.

Inconsistencies will never work in your favor.

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!