What is Local SEO?
It’s safe to assume that we all know about SEO and its importance for businesses trying to win the online race. However, are you familiar with local SEO? It’s precisely what the name suggests – getting your website or business to rank for local search keywords.
Why is Geo-specific search optimization key to your overall local SEO strategy? Simple. If you’re in Boston searching for the nearest Starbucks, it’s a waste for the results to show Starbucks outlets in New York as well.
Irrespective of whether you have four outlets or 40, providing search engines with the right information is paramount.
Here’s how you can go about your local SEO strategy for multiple locations:
1. Google My Business Listing
It’s an easy first step. If you don’t have one already, create a Google My Business account and claim your business. Thus, your business can show up on Google Maps for hyper local searches.
It also allows you to add additional locations manually. If your business has 10 or more locations, you can use bulk location management to import and manage new locations.
Make sure that the URLs for each location page in your business profile are added. Verify each location, list your hours of operation, add the pictures, and manage the reviews.
2. Competitors Research
Competitors research is an integral part of marketing strategy, and when it comes to local SEO strategy, it’s just as crucial. It’s vital to study the market scenario, what your competitors are offering, and clearly understand and define your differentiation.
Why would anyone be interested in your business is the most fundamental question that you need to answer. You can start by doing a straightforward SWOT analysis. The inferences can be used to design a local SEO strategy that will help you attract and convert more customers.
3. Single domain for all local citations
Business owners or the stakeholders are constantly pondering on whether they should invest in separate domains for each location. If you’re in the same boat, then you need to change your thought process and go for a single domain.
It can be time-consuming, frustrating, and expensive to manage multiple websites for multiple locations. Also, as opposed to one, it is harder to rank multiple websites.
Remember, though, that your address should be consistent across all local citations. This can greatly help search engine SEO rankings.
4. Different landing pages for each location
Now that you’re convinced about opting for a single domain, it’s imperative to understand that it alone won’t suffice. You need to create different landing pages for all the locations where your businesses are present.
The lazy option is to make generic content that’ll be used in all the landing pages and change the name of the location. Not only will that hamper your SEO performance, it’ll also invite penalties from Google for duplicate content.
A great step is to embed a local Google map, and highlight the address, on each of the location pages.This adds value to the customer and potentially offers him or her easy access.
While we’re talking about landing pages, it’s vital to get the URL structure right as well, especially for overall user experience.
A sample illustration is as follows:
5. Location-specific reviews and comments
Allowing for consumers at each location to review and comment on your product and service is an excellent SEO strategy.
For the consumers, there’s the added assurance of a company that’s close to them, if not physically then in spirit. This goes a long way in increasing faith and confidence.
For the same reasons, and for convenience,it’s also important to highlight any offering that is limited to a specific location.
6. Go beyond Google
Yes, a majority of the internet traffic is directed through Google, but that doesn’t mean you should not target other search engines like Bing and Yahoo!
Apart from them, make sure you add your business in as many business discovery platforms as possible.
In this exercise, the most crucial aspect is the NAP (Name, Address, Phone) consistency.
The use of local SEO strategies for multiple locations is fast becoming a trend, and you as a business need to hop onto this band wagon as soon as possible if you are someone with multiple branches and are struggling for visibility. SEO research and by extension its optimization can get you that ‘valuable visibility’ that you and your business have been crying out for.