When optimizing local search for multiple locations, there are many different ways to do it. There are also penalties if you follow bad practices that violate guidelines. Things like fake comments or buying reviews will likely get you in trouble while optimizing correctly for local search will take some time but be worth the effort.
Optimizing Local Search for Multiple Locations on Your Website
It would be best if you made changes to your website to make sure that you will be fully optimized.
One Page for One Location
Multi-location businesses should not just have just one master landing page. There should be a separate, optimized page for each location. Here are some other tips:
- the pages for each location should not be identical,
- the location pages should include the name, address, and phone number (NAP),
- location-specific information,
- a Google map,
- descriptions of how to get to the business,
- images from the business and team member information,
- location-specific meta descriptions and title tags,
- and location-specific reviews and comments from clients.
Don't forget to make sure the pages are also discoverable by Google!
Build Links to These Pages
Building backlinks to your pages is an essential part of any SEO strategy, but for local SEO, you must be building links to your location-specific landing pages.
There are different ways you can do this.
For example, you can become a sponsor for local events or charities. This can help you build links to local pages from event websites or local news outlets. You can also host meetups or events to generate buzz about your business and create connections in the process. Content marketing is going to be a valuable tool to build backlinks. For content marketing, consider article length. Longer articles may perform better, as long as they are relevant and have useful information that readers find helpful. A general rule of thumb is 600 words for most industries.
Optimizing Your Business Listings
Accuracy is going to be essential, and you want to make sure that the business listings match up with the name, address, and phone number citation on your site with exact appearance and punctuation. If something is incorrect, it can lead to Google not knowing where your business is located.
Optimizing Local Search for Multiple Locations – Using Insights
Google has worked hard to improve the data that is in Google My Business insights. The new dashboard helps give you valuable data to save time when there are multiple locations to monitor. It also now shows you a month's worth of data on the searches that people used to find your business, to help with your local SEO strategy. You can see data for how customers are searching for your business, where customers view your business and other customer actions.
Don't Use Virtual Office Locations
A strategy for optimizing Google My Business listings is when businesses buy a virtual office, rent it, and then implement it in local SEO listings. It would be best if you didn't use this strategy for your business as it can wipe you off the map and have negative consequences for your site. The only time you should use an off-site location or multiple locations is if these locations are fully staffed during business hours.
Using Citations for Multiple Locations
Managing local search for multiple locations involves managing mentions of your business around the web and your on-page optimization. Google will look at how your NAP appears across the web and whether or not there are links to determine how your business should be ranked. If listings are inconsistent, this can hurt your ranking. To prevent this, you need to search the web and make sure it's consistent for all your locations. Optimizing location information includes making sure the name isn't annotated with the location information.
For example, “Home Depot at Lincoln.”
Look for business citations and listings on popular pages, such as Foursquare, Yahoo Local, Yelp, and Yellow Pages. You also want to check any industry or local directories that your business may appear. Using a citation management tool may help you manage this, especially for a lot of locations.
It's even more important to do a local SEO audit of existing off-site signals with multiple locations. When you do this kind of audit, you can look at whether your current local search is enough to continue forward or if it will need an overhaul. If you need to do an overhaul, you can spend some time cleaning up things and making sure your locations are consistent.
The main profiles you want to look at are going to be Google, Yahoo, and Bing. You want to check if you have claimed all essential local SEO profiles.
Look at the Competition
In a local market, you will have companies that are competing with each other that offer the same service and products. When looking at the competition, look at their linking strategy, content strategy, and website structure to see what could work for your plan.
Managing reviews for each location is also crucial for success.
Chain businesses may focus on just getting reviews for the business overall and forget about location-specific feedback. You need to encourage and promote positive reviews and do some damage control for any negative ones. For negative reviews, you should respond quickly but make sure it's in a professional manner. Don't blame the customer or use language that can be deemed inflammatory. Try to make that customer a happy one. To get good reviews, include calls to action at the location and on the location pages to encourage your clients and customers to share positive experiences.
Optimizing local search for multiple locations can take time, but it's worth the effort to make sure that your business is getting the best rankings on the search engines. If you take the time to develop the strategy, then local searchers will find what they are looking for. If you need help with local search, contact us.