Local SEO Strategies for Businesses With Multiple Locations
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a complex field. It may be tempting to assume that the same techniques work across the board, but in fact, that’s rarely the case. Local business owners can rarely compete with giant, nationwide chains and corporations for the most popular short-tail keywords, but the good news is, they don’t have to.
Unless the company sells goods online, there’s little reason for a local business owner to advertise to national or international audiences. Instead, local SEO allows them to target the people most likely to purchase their products or services: members of their communities.
The problem is, things can get a little more complicated for businesses with multiple locations. There are a few strategies that need to be tweaked to fit business models like local chain restaurants, hotels, and shops. Business owners can learn what they need to know about how to tailor SEO services to their unique needs below.
Start With a Locally Optimized Brand Hub
Before optimizing the company website for multiple locations, business owners will need to get down some local SEO basics. Some techniques work just as well for small, local chains as their corporate counterparts, such as adding title tags and descriptions and making sure the website is mobile-friendly. Local business owners should also focus on:
- Claiming their Google My Business (GMB) pages
- Optimizing content using geographical keywords
- Submitting information to listing sites
- Collecting tons of positive reviews
- Creating a high-quality contact page with accurate information
- Building links
- Maintaining a strong social media presence
- Performing competitor research and keeping up-to-date with industry changes
Businesses with multiple locations will still utilize techniques like content marketing and social media marketing to focus on comprehensive branding. As long as they are all owned by the same umbrella company, there’s no reason to create separate websites for each location. In fact, it’s better to maintain a central brand hub with plenty of evergreen content that is shared across all locations.
Go Beyond the Basics
If a local business has established itself well enough to expand to multiple locations within the same geographical area, it’s usually safe to assume it’s already implementing basic local SEO strategies. Now comes the fun part. Let’s take a look at some of the ways that these basic strategies can be tailored to meet the needs of businesses with multiple locations.
Use a Single Domain
Many business owners assume that the most effective way to optimize on the web for multiple locations is to create separate web domains for each of them. That’s actually counterproductive since Google will index each domain separately, so efforts to optimize the individual sites won’t be as effective.
Even if each of the locations has something different to offer, it’s best to stick to one site with content tailored to the central brand, then create individual pages for each business location. To keep things organized, use subdomains to manage locations separately and build internal links between the different subdomains.
Focus on Location-Specific Content
Geographical targeting is one of the key differences between local and nationwide SEO content creation. Use long-tail keywords that target the city or neighborhood, post photos of the specific location, and get testimonials from local customers. On the back end, optimize elements like page titles and subheaders for each location and create unique content for every page.
None of these forms of content should be shared across the entire brand, so don’t just swap out city names. Google penalizes duplicate content, so every blog post, photo, and video should be unique. Posting content that is tailored to each location also lets business owners reach out to highly localized audiences.
Add Extra Locations to GMB
GMB is an essential local SEO tool for local business owners. It ensures that the business and all its information will show up on Google Maps whenever users perform a related search in the area. As with websites, there’s no reason to create multiple GMB accounts.
Business owners can manually add extra locations and share the management of the account with their top managers. If the business has more than 10 locations, business owners can streamline everything using Google’s bulk location management tool.
Claim and Optimize Local Directory Listings
There’s no competing with business directory sites. They’re typically run by large corporations with business models that accommodate large SEO and digital marketing budgets. Even national companies with hundreds of locations rarely see their content rank above that of the most popular business directories.
Instead of trying to fight these SEO behemoths, local business owners should use them as leverage. Start by claiming local directory listings on sites like Yelp, Bing, and industry-specific alternatives, then optimize them for each location. Make sure the contact information is correct, up-to-date, and formatted consistently, and link each local directory listing to its corresponding unique location page on the company’s website.
Target Content to Each Location’s Audience
It’s often the case that businesses selling the same goods or services in different locations have multiple audiences. A good digital marketing campaign or SEO strategy will build off separate audience profiles for each location, even if all of them sell the same products or services.
Let’s take a look at an example. Say a local restaurant chain has three locations: one in a historical downtown, one near a college, and one in a financial district. The three restaurants could serve all the same food items, but they’ll still attract very different crowds. It makes little sense to create content tailored to tourists or students for the location in the financial district. Instead, the content should target business professionals. Easy, right?
Divide and Conquer
Local businesses with multiple locations face unique challenges when it comes to SEO. They must divide and conquer by focusing on the overarching brand and separate location pages or subdomains at the same time. Finding the right SEO company is the key to success. Look for a provider with plenty of experience in this niche to ensure that no crucial strategies get overlooked.