SEO Basics: Local SEO for Multiple Locations

A recent article on HubSpot shared a few statistics about local SEO.

  • 78% of local-mobile searches result in offline purchases.
  • 50% of consumers visit a store within a day of performing a local search on their smartphone.

Those are interesting statistics. It shows that while people look for and research products online, they will then go the physical store itself to purchase what they want.  This sharply illustrates how important it is for every store in a city to have a fully-optimized and easy-to-find website.

The final two stats we’ll share are these:

  • 50% of local-mobile searchers want to know specific business information such as its opening and closing hours.
  • 71% of local-mobile users look up and confirm the business’s location before they visit it for the first time.

In order to reach every potential customer you can, it’s essential to have a website that can be found during local search, so that your customers can check everything from the basics of your address and when you’re open, to finding out what types of products you offer and read descriptions of them – and reviews.

But what if you have stores in different areas of the same city, or out in the suburbs of that city? How can you perform local SEO for multiple locations, to ensure that your site ranks in multiple cities?

We’ll share a few tips with you below. Ranking through multi-location SEO requires that your website be designed to showcase each of your different locations.

Multi-page Websites Are Essential for Multi-Location SEO

As shown in the bullet points above, most users “on the go” use their smart phones to find stores that carry what they want, and to find out where they are located and when they open or close. So, most websites these days are designed to be smartphone friendly – meaning everything is on a single page and the user simply has to scroll down from screen to screen on their phone.

But having only a single page website makes that site very difficult to rank for keywords, so it’s better to have a multi-page site, each page ranked for different keywords.

So, if you have a couple of restaurants, one in Downtown City by the Bay and the other in Lower City by the Bay, you should create a page for each restaurant, with the appropriate information as to location, where to park, what’s nearby and so on. Even if the menu is the same at each restaurant, your longtail keywords will differ – “best ribs in Downtown City by the Bay” will result in the Downtown location being returned first in the search engine results, whereas “best barbecue chicken in Lower City by the Bay” will bring up the page for your other location.

Note that creating separate pages on your main site is better than creating a separate website entirely for each location. By keeping everything to one site, you increase the power of your backlinks since you don’t have to duplicate your SEO for multiple locations efforts.

Add a Google Map to Each Location Page

 In its never-ending effort to remain the top, number #1 search engine in the world, Google offers many free webmaster tools for use by businesses large and small. Using their tools will help build your site’s ranking on Google. This includes placing a Google Map for each location on the appropriate page of your site.

 Seek out Local Directories

Most cities will have local directories not only for the city as a whole, but also for its neighborhoods and suburbs. By placing a listing for each of your locations in the appropriate local directories, you’ll build backlinks back to your site and also provide your potential customers with the information they need to find you.

Many directories have a feature enabling the owner of the store/restaurant featured to “claim” their listing and add additional information to it. When adding or correcting information to local directories, be sure that each listing has the correct NAP – name, address and phone number for leach location.

Provide Quality Content on Each Page

The better your website is at providing valuable information for your potential customers or clients, the better it will be ranked by Google. Google’s searchbot actually has the capability of grading a site’s content according to its own criteria.

By combining all these elements in a systematic fashion, local SEO for multiple locations delivers the results every business wants – more opportunities to drive more customers to your business and give a positive impact to your bottom line.

Small Businesses Checklist: The Big Four for SEO Success

More and more people search for what they want – products or services – on the web. It is therefore essential that your company’s website show up on the first page of Search Engine Results Pages, or SERPs, and ideally in one of the first ten spots on that first page, because that’s as far down as most people look.

What can you do to get your website into one of those rarified positions? Ensure that your site is search engine optimized.

  1. Create a website that Search Engines will reward

Designing a website these days is so easy that many small businesses elect to do it themselves. They purchase a domain name and a hosting package from a provider, and use that provider’s one-page template to create their site. All the information is on one page – “About Us,” “Who We Are,” “What We Do” and a contact form.

This design is optimized for smart phone users, but it is not optimized for SEO.  For SEO purposes, your website should have at least five pages, and each page should be “optimized’ for certain keywords related to your business. The more pages your site has, the more opportunities for search engine web crawlers to find your site, index it, and reward it with a high position in SERPs for those particular keywords.

Smart phone users can easily access all those pages, by the way. Menu bars are responsive and show up at the top of the screen as a small button. The user merely taps the button to see a drop down of all pages he or she would like to visit.  PC users will reward you for providing all the information they could possibly want, and more, about your company.

  1. Design for both smart phone and desktop computers

Because a lot of information –condensed versions – is on your home page for the benefit of your smart phone viewers, the ideal solution is to give headers to each piece of information that will differ from the page names you will have in your menu bar.

For example, if you have a header called “About Us” in the body of the home page, create a page entitled “Meet Our Team” in order to expand on what each team member does. Similarly, if you have a header called “What We Do” on the home page, create a page called “Services” to expand on the services they can obtain from you. In fact, depending on how many services you offer, create a drop-down menu with a different page for each service.

One important page that always seems to be missing from these do-it-yourself websites is the Privacy Policy page. If you collect emails from your visitors – and you really should for your online marketing – you must have a Privacy Policy page. It’s also a page that search engines expect to see.

  1. Use an integrated blog and social media

Search engines reward new content – but it’s rather hard to add new content to static web pages on a regular basis. The solution is to create an integrated blog to which you post at least once a week. Each post should be at least 500 words and be optimized to a specific keyword (4 uses of the keyword – also called a key phrase – per 500 words).

Facebook and Twitter are the two big social media applications that people love. At the very least, they will expect your business to have a Facebook account, from which you can offer discounts, specials or coupons to reward loyal customers. Properly written Facebook and Twitter posts, with appropriate hashtags, can do wonders for your SEO – and your business ROI in general.

  1. Become a thought leader

Search engines reward your website if there are a lot of external links that point to it. Typically, a small business owner does not have the time to create the number of external links needed, but one way that you can build those links is by becoming a thought leader – establishing yourself or members of your company as experts in what they do and writing articles, blog posts and comments to blog posts, with links back to your website.

Not only are you rewarded when search engines find those links, but individuals reading these articles will begin to view you as a thought leader and influencer and this will build respect for your company, which will translate into more sales or clients.

These days, your company simply must have an online presence. SEO, properly instituted, can help bring your online presence to the forefront of your industry, and to the top of Page 1.

 

Small or Big Business: Local vs. National SEO

There are two main types of Search Engine Optimization.

Local SEO focuses on companies that conduct business in a limited geographic region – the city in which they are based.  Such companies are typically locally-owned businesses such as restaurants, locksmiths, dry cleaners, caterers, or event planners.

National SEO focuses on companies that have customers or clients throughout the country. It doesn’t matter where the company is located as its customers or clients do business on the web, or they have locations in several cities in several states.

Local companies will rarely benefit from a national SEO strategy. However, national companies can benefit from local SEO if they have a budget for a two-pronged approach. An example would be restaurant or grocery store chains that have a loyal customer base throughout the country.

There are many ways that local SEO differs from national SEO.

Keywords

Locally-owned businesses are in competition with each other for the spending dollars of people in their community.

Searchers for locally owned businesses will often be quite specific about what they’re searching for, using what’s called “long-tail keywords.”

Examples would be “best Chinese restaurants in the Bronx,” or “plumber open 24 hours Rapid City” or “closet locksmith to Pike Hotel in Fairbanks.”

Local businesses will conduct surveys to learn what the most popular searches are for their particular business sector, and then optimize at least one if not more of their webpages for that keyword.

Searchers may use long-tail keywords to search for national businesses, but the geography used is a bit broader. “Cheapest book printers in United States,” or “best ski resort in the US” or “best shoulder surgeon in the Northwest.”

Rather than competing for business in a single city (albeit potentially a very large city) or state, national businesses are competing against other companies in every state. Their SEO budget must reflect this, as they must optimize their on-page and off-page SEO with a much wider variety of keywords.

Local Search Services

Local businesses can take advantage of local search services and directories – including Google Business, Google Maps, Yelp, Fourquare and so on.

Typically, these local services will list businesses for free – which is a great help to their budget! In turn, it’s essential that local businesses seek out any and all directories and provide them with complete information – including NAP – name, address and phone number – as well as a website url.

Having said that, there’s no reason why national companies that can benefit from such directories – restaurant and grocery chains, to repeat that example – should not make sure they are included as well.

Budget

The more keywords a business must optimize for, the higher its budget must be. As a result, local SEO is typically less expensive than national SEO.

The more backlinks – links from other websites, article repositories, blog guest posts, blog comment sections, and so on – that a company’s website has, the more chance it has of beating out its competition for the top positions on page 1 of the search results.

 

Top
Free SEO Audit