Optimizing your website for local search results can seem a bit daunting, even when you only have one business location to worry about. Having multiple locations complicates things even further. How can you ensure outstanding results when you are juggling multiple addresses and phone numbers?
Without a good strategy, your SEO efforts may simply confuse the search algorithms, leading to poor rankings across the board. In this post, we’ll share a few tips and guidelines for achieving local search success, even when your business includes multiple brick-and-mortar locations.
Make Sure Each Location Has a Unique Identity
One important step is to create a totally distinct identity, along with a totally distinct SEO strategy, for each business location. For example, if your business has an office in Charlotte and another in Rock Hill, you can simply launch a separate SEO campaign for each.
In order for this to work, you would need to ensure that you list a specific location name any time you’re talking about your business. For example, when listing your business in online directories, you would want to ensure an entry for your Charlotte locale and another entry for the Rock Hill office.
This approach is easiest when you’re dealing with two or three businesses; if you have a whole network of franchise locations, doing location-based SEO may not work as well. For example, what happens if you have three locations in Charlotte and two in Rock Hill? In this case, you would need to do your SEO based on store numbers, which will require you to be really strict in keeping your list of stores up to date in all the different business directories.
You will also want to ensure that the separate identities you’ve created for each brand are reflected in your business website. The best way to do this is to have a main, corporate homepage, then separate subdomains for each location.
These subdomains should be logically named, so much so that someone could change the name of the city or suburb in your URL and be taken to the home page for their desired store.
With this approach, you’re not only ensuring each location has its own unique URL for the business directories, but you’re also sending an important signal to Google that these are indeed unique store locations.
One more thing: It’s incredibly important to ensure that each location has its own phone number. This is one of the most effective ways of signaling to Google that your different locations are indeed separate entities, and that they need to be treated as such in local search results.
Develop Location-Specific Content
Another important consideration is content development. Each location will need some content that’s unique to it.
Usually, making your content hyper-local is an effective strategy. For example, as you develop content for a specific location, don’t hesitate to note where customers can find free parking. Offer directions by mentioning which shopping center you’re located in, or near which major intersection. Not only does this kind of information help set each location apart, but it’s also genuinely useful information for customers who are trying to find you or who are planning a trip to your location.
Also be sure that you set up separate online review profiles for each location, and that you collect reviews for each of your brick-and-mortar stores. Not only does this help Google distinguish between your locations, but it also ensures that, if one location picks up a couple of bad reviews, it doesn’t tarnish the reputation of the entire brand.
Spend Time with Business Directories
When doing local SEO for separate business locations, it’s crucial that you devote some time to creating citations in online business directories.
It’s important that each location has its own entry in business directories, and that the information present remains accurate and up to date. Double and triple check that each location has the correct phone number, physical address, and URL listed. Don’t allow your individual locations to become confused or conflated.
When possible, use business directories to highlight the ways in which each location is unique. Do you have one brick-and-mortar store that offers services your other stores don’t? If so, that’s definitely something to mention in your directory listings. Likewise, be sure to specify when different locations have different hours of operation.
Developing an SEO Strategy for Multiple Locations
Without the right strategy, it’s very difficult to keep your locations separate from each other… in the eyes of Google, or in the eyes of local search engine users.
If you have any additional questions about developing such a strategy, we’d love to chat with you. The enCOMPASS team has provided digital marketing strategy for a number of clients who operate from multiple locales. Reach out to us anytime you’d like to talk further.
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