Jesse – I think the moral of the story here is, if your business can afford multiple locations and if you have a need to be in multiple markets, multiple locations, go for it. It can be dangerous if you’re too close to yourself, your other locations. It can be dangerous if you’re too close to a competitor, especially a dominant competitor. So choose your location wisely. But yeah, there’s no hard and fast rule, a short answer. There’s no hard and fast rule for how close they can be. You just have to do the research on the side. Welcome back to Local SEO Tactics, where we bring you tips and tricks to get found in line. I’m your host, jesse Dolan. Here you get in this episode with Bob Brennan and Sue Ginsburg. How are you two doing?
Great Good to be here we’re gonna help out the SEO community here, sue, with. I think we got a pretty good topic here today. You want to set us up and set the stage.
Sue – That’s great. Today’s question comes from a listener Thank you, Meredith Velalta. And the question is how far apart do GVP locations have to be to not cannibalize themselves and work against each other? Is having a different zip code enough for both pages to rank? This is a great question. We deal with this often from business owners who are business savvy enough to know about this stuff, and so I know that we’re gonna have a lot of really good information that will be useful to our business owner listeners today.
Quote of the day. Today, leaders think and talk about the solutions, followers think and talk about the problems, and that’s a quote from Brian Tracy. He’s a Canadian, American motivational public speaker and self development author. Some of the more than 80 books that we may know, that may be familiar, are Eat that Frog, the Power of Self-Discipline, no Excuses and the Psychology of Achievement. So we want to be leaders and talk and think about the solutions.
Okay, so on this topic, every online savvy business owner knows the importance of their Google Business Profile, or GBP, because it establishes the foundation of your online presence. If what comes up, it is what comes up when you search for something on your phone and also when you’re searching on your laptop or your desktop. It’s the graphic part of what you see on the right side of your screen and, as humans, that’s where our eyes gravitate towards, so it usually is the first thing that you see, easy to understand why it’s so important to your business and the important role that it plays getting found online. Part of what Google looks for when choosing who to show in searches is proximity to the location of the search. We have discussions with our clients all the time about this, about their GVP addresses and the impact that that has on the searches that they show up in. Would they attract more leads online if they change their address? Do they want more leads in a different location than they are attracting them? Should they move their office location? Should they add another location, etc. Etc.
Changing your location or adding another location is a big decision and calls for some serious and smart thinking for a lot of reasons. So thinking of your office location as an area where you want to attract more customers, I think, is new thinking for most business owners.
It’s just not what is usually in the myriad of things that you’re thinking about and in the case of our client and others who are considering this, it gives you a business address on your GVP that will come up more in searches from that area, which that’s great and, again, very business savvy and business forward. I know that this question is one that business owners have wondered, are wondering or will be considering at some point in the future, whether they’re moving or changing or adding a location for different reasons or for this reason, it’s good to understand the impact that this has on the people who you’re attracting to your Google business profile. The implications are significant here and the benefits and the cost may also be significant. So a really good question for us to hear from Jesse and Bob on and to get the SEO as well as the business owner perspective. So, with that, let’s see what Jesse and Bob can tell us. That will make us all a little smarter and let us be more informed about how your business location impacts your GVP and the traffic that it attracts.
Jesse – I’ll go first, Bob, and just go through some of the maybe some of the do’s and the don’ts on how to do this, because, per the question, you know how far apart Should these businesses be so they don’t cannibalize each other right? So Even within that, the proximity of the locations, and in proximity in general, definitely matters, in both a positive and potentially negative way. Um, so I’m just kind of lay, some of the basic context here for everybody, quick.
So the proximity as a searcher, if I’m looking for, you know, coffee shop near me, the proximity of that coffee shop to me definitely matters, but it’s not the only factor. Um, google has proximity filtering, location filtering, distance filtering, whatever you want to call it Built in to the. When we’re talking about the gvp’s here, we’re talking about the maps algorithm, the maps search. With a google, that proximity and kind of distance filtering is in there. So we can test this ourselves by doing a quick search and just kind of see who shows up, how close are they to you, things like that. You can kind of see what I mean. You’re not just going to get businesses that are right next to you, you’re going to get a kind of a wider perspective of your, of your local area. Um, we really use as many things, not just proximity. Is the point there?
Jesse – Uh are Is the business’s product services offerings to your search. So, like, what’s the intent? How relevant and associated is it? Um, also, the amount of reviews and how popular is the business. The amount of reviews, these different signals that google can measure, driving directions um, those things come into play as well for how popular, relevant, authoritative things like that that the business is in the local area. Um, and then also, last but not least, your web ranking, right? So we’re talking here.
The question is about proximity of two GBP locations next to each other so they don’t cannibalize themselves. How close can they be before they hurt each other? Um, your web ranking will matter for your GBP ranking and the proximity and all this as well. So keep some of those things in mind. There’s a lot more to the GBP ranking, uh, whether it’s helping you’re hurting you, right? Uh, then just the proximity, and so we’re going to tie some of those things in. It’s not just about the distance between the two um.
So, like I said, do some searches and see what comes up. Usually, when you do some kind of local search, you’re going to get three options in the map back, at least three organic sometimes there’s some paid ones in there as well, and some services or Geographic areas may have more than three, but traditionally there’s three in the map back and that’s going to form a triangle if you look on the map, right? Um, so if you do search coffee shop, me, me or whatever it is, look at that triangle and, uh, see what shows up. How big is the triangle? Um, if you’re going to have a second location, or if you do have a second location and you’re wondering, are they too close? Um, is your second location within that triangle, right, is it?
Uh is it going to be competing against you and these other businesses there, or is it in a different area? That’s something to consider Depending on how many businesses and what your geographic area is. That triangle, that that distance google showing you between those top three choices could be greater or smaller. In seo we always have that phrase. It depends, and this is definitely An area where that is relevant. And and it comes to play um Another thing with that that polygon, that triangle and the distance here is are both locations in the same uh city limits. So For that, let’s just take St Paul, Minnesota. So both of my locations are in St Paul. Probably only one of those is going to show up just because of that common um city and address.
Right, Now if one of them is in St Paul and another one is in Minneapolis. You know, a few miles down the road, down the highway, um, then, yeah, because it’s a different city, um, even if they are close and, uh, within that triangle, um, you can, you definitely have some results there because you’re serving a different market, a different city. Google knows, uh, city limits and boundaries. You know, again, if you just type in St Paul, Minnesota, into google, you’re gonna have a knowledge panel that pops up and google’s gonna show you, with a red polygon, what it considers st paul and that’s what we’re talking here, right? So If both your locations are the same city limits, um, that could definitely be dangerous and you may be cannibalizing, because more often than not, google’s not gonna show both of your businesses in that same backpack, right? So when we talk about, are we gonna cannibalize ourselves by having two locations?
That’s the first thing to kind of really look at, in my opinion, is where are these businesses located? Not just from a actual distance, uh, but are we in the same city and are we now competing in that same triangle and poly on? Are we looking at two different markets here? Another thing to definitely consider is the type of business that you are. Uh, I use coffee shops here as an example a couple times. You’re gonna be a coffee shop in every corner and that’s okay, right, that’s, that’s normal. We expect that. That’s just how it is. Other businesses maybe if you’re more industrial or commercial or whatever it is.
I don’t have any examples off hand, but If your business typically isn’t one on every corner or one every mile or two. But then you’re, both of your locations are that close, um, google knows uh, industry types, business types and some of this Um, you know how, how close their proximities are right and how distances. And if you’re unusual right by having similar businesses really close together and that’s just not the norm, then yeah, google’s gonna pick one winner and show you. I’ll show one of your locations and not the other and I’ll show competitors there. Now, if there’s again, it depends, there’s asterisks here if you need geographic area that is Pretty sparse, there’s just not a lot of competition around, or maybe your business is such that there’s not a lot Uh, businesses that do what you do in your metro area, right, just, bottom line, the competition is lower. We’ll then sure you’re gonna have a much better Chance of showing up for both locations, even if it’s in the same geographic area, um, just because of the lack of competition. Inversely, if it’s super competitive, um, even if your locations are far enough apart, you know that that could be uh difficult for you to pop through in the rankings on either one of those. So those are kind of some of the things to watch out for and if there’s no hard and fast rule for how far apart they should be or how close before they’re dangerous.
It really is doing some searches, going through some of the things that I just mentioned for what you’re seeing and make an determination on if it’s safe or not. So if you’re adding a second location, here’s some things to consider to do it the right way. And, bob, I’m gonna throw to you here in a second for, as a business owner so you mentioned a little bit on the front side maybe some of the costs or things to look at for the investment in doing this. Is it gonna be worth it? So if you are in a position where you’re adding a second or third or fourth whatever it is another location, here are some things to keep in mind.
If you’re gonna do this, you know, definitely do it the right way. It is something that’s not cheap to do, so you don’t want to redo this again in a few weeks or a few months. Doing it right the first time as you may be beneficial for your, your checkbook and to get those rankings up sooner than later. So, real quick. Here’s some things to keep in mind. If you’re adding a second location, do some research first.
If you have an address or multiple that you’re betting through. You’re gonna want to do some competitive research who is around for your business sector, your category, your niche, whatever it is. Do some searches and see who’s showing up. Again, like we talked earlier, what’s the trying or what’s the poly on, where do you see and who are they showing, and who’s right next to you? And you can even zoom in. If you do a search in Google Maps and they show you that initial three-pack, you can zoom in and get even closer. You’ll see that there’s businesses that aren’t shown on the initial screen, that as you zoom in they start to pop up. Those are getting filtered out based off proximity, location, things like that. So see who is. With some intensive research, see who is at that address previously or right next door to it now, within a mile, again, depending on your business and what an acceptable radius is right, just which competitors in this area. If you got somebody right next to your coffee shop, you got another one right around the corner, right? You don’t want to. You don’t want to put up shop there. You want to go down the road right or the next town over things like that. So definitely do some competitive research to make sure you’re not moving into a territory that’s going to be pretty hard to break through.
I did mention a real quick but especially at that address, who is the previous tenants? You might not physically be able to see them anymore, right, because they’re gone. So do some Google searching, type in the actual addresses, not just coffee shops near me or things like that, but plug in the actual address in Maps and just see what kind of history there is there. If there’s any active GVP still, you want to close those, get them, get a mark that they don’t exist, things like that, just to clean it up. So you’re not being filtered based off that location, right, that there’s a multiple businesses at that location. Okay, a couple other things here names of businesses nearby, causing issues, especially smaller towns, or just it’s very common for us to use the name of the city right in the business name. Just see what else is around, even if it’s not in your industry. There is name filtering in the map results, right?
Sue – So if another business has a very similar name, you know.
Jesse – If it’s St Paul, you know Blank, whatever the service is, if that is similar to your name, you know. Then maybe that’s something to consider as well. You don’t want to be right next door to them, okay. So, from selecting the address perspective, those are some things to keep in mind for where you’re gonna move, where you’re gonna open up shop, things like that. Now I’m gonna talk about just a couple more things relating to your website. If you’re gonna do multiple locations because your website definitely helps your rankings for your Google Business profile One of the key things you’re gonna want to do, especially if you’re going from a single location business to multiple locations usually for your single location business, your GBP will link to your website. You’re probably gonna put in your home page as the website link in your GBP profile.
If you have multiple locations now you want to create a location pages for each location and that’s gonna be maybe similar to your home page, but these location pages we have other episodes that break this down a little further. We’ll reference those in the show notes You’re gonna want your hours for that location, name, address, phone number, all that location specific information. You’re gonna want a page on your website for each location with that type of architecture and content and then you’re gonna link to that location page from your GBP. And this starts to show Google, right, that this is the same business. These are different locations and they can digest everything on the website, in addition to the GBP itself, to differentiate these locations, right? So Google doesn’t, you know, make any assumptions. You want to clearly communicate everything you can to them, so, definitely, create location pages on your website, make them unique from each other, make them special to each location. If you’re listing team members, hours, right, just anything that’s unique to those locations, make sure that they’re separate. Don’t just have two pages identical, just with different addresses, you know, and different phone numbers. Try to make these pages unique and special to those locations and then carry that same theme and concept into the GBPs themselves. Fill out your GBPs entirely, but make them unique from each other Photos of the business from the inside, from the outside. Team members you probably have different phone numbers. You get a link to the different web pages that you have your business description you put in there. Mention the cities, right, this location, things like that and just make them unique and definitively in different locations. Right, let’s see. Oh, one more thing real quick. Also, definitely do some basic ground of citation building, even social profiles, anything you can leverage from third-party websites meaning Facebook, yelp, right, anything that’s not your website to list this location as another location, as another. You know, business office is also going to help in getting that out there into the digital universe, if you will. Right For Googlebot and for everything else that crawls up to clearly see that there’s multiple mentions and listings, that this is a different location for this business and that helps.
This is probably the wrong way to represent it, but that helps Google just digest that you’re not a single location business, that you’re multiple location businesses, and then whatever juice you have from an overall entity standpoint of your brand recognition right now that can kind of funnel each location, instead of these being on their own island or in verse, to. Google really only recognizes you maybe as a single location, business, things like that. So again, maybe I didn’t represent that entirely clearly, but I hope that makes sense. Make these distinct as different locations and, just like anything in SEO, be intentful with it and make sure you’re not just copying and pasting from one page or one profile to the other. Make them unique. Okay, so hopefully that sets the stage from a technical standpoint on when it’s okay, when it’s not and some do’s and don’ts.
Bob, we’d love to hear your feedback, like you mentioned on the front side, about the strategy as a business owner, is it, is it worth it to pay for multiple locations, right If, even if it’s just from an SEO standpoint, to get to the right address, to break through and then map pack? Love to hear your thoughts on.
Bob – Yeah, one of the things I do look at if I’m looking at a different market that’s nearby, is this is an important piece too, I think is to look at that, that three pack. As I know you know an interest, we have no problem getting in three pack. That’s not the issue. The issue for me is a business owner knowing what I know is how many reviews that have right. You know where am I in and like, if you’re going into a market that is the demographic of what you want, you know the income, everything else in that market and or it’s growing and you know there’s there’s three predominant companies in that three pack and they’ve got hundreds and hundreds of reviews and good reviews. It’s not a deal killer, it’s just this is the work you’re going to have to do to make that happen. So one you got to get in the three pack. That’s kind of our job to get those reviews to convert. So we’ve gotten people in the three pack before and they didn’t have the reviews and it wasn’t really, you know, I mean there wasn’t enough to sustain that location.
The other thing to look at is is you know different ways of of getting either rent or you know around the rent equation. So if it is an organization that is, let’s say, a service organization. It’s going out let’s say, a locksmith or a window cleaning organization. They’re obviously never going to come to your location. For the most part 99.9% of them you’re going out to them. So is there another business that you can team up with that you’re not compromising their SEO and their GBP? You know, for instance again let’s just use an analogy of window cleaners and locksmith Well, let’s say you’ve got a buddy who’s got a locksmith office. Can you create a GBP there? Does that all make sense? Does that make sense, jess? I mean, I think we’ve seen that in the past. Right, yeah.
Jesse – Like you said definitely make sure you’re not going to cannibalize their business by right by being the same thing, but yeah, you can rent a broom closet from your your friend and and make it an official address and put it out there. That’s a that’s a great way to get into it without spending thousands of dollars a month at an address.
Bob – Yeah, no, it’s different. If you’re a law firm, right, you know you need, you need to be, you’re going to have an office, this bottom line and then. But then you got to be careful there too, right, like Jesse talked about the, you know who’s already at that location. If there’s 20 other lawyers and you’re a bankruptcy attorney and there’s four of them are within that firm and all bankruptcy attorneys, it’s not impossible. But it’s a different, you know, it’s a different animal altogether. So those are, those are some things to consider. And then just ROI Are you going to? If rent is five grand a month, are you going to get enough business to justify that? But that to me the critical piece 60, 50, 60% of the calls, depending on what your services are going to come off that GBP. And if you don’t have those reviews and you don’t have that penetration, it’s kind of an old go. And then, obviously, any kind of long term commitment that you have to that rent you’re going to be on the hook for. So, whatever, whatever you can do to dip your toe in the water, so to speak, you know, try you.
One other thing I think we’ve talked about this before virtual offices. Google’s kind of cracked down on that. So you got to be careful with that whole deal. It can be done but it’s pretty difficult. And then, yeah, stay away from it. And if you do like cohabitate a office space with another business, you’re going to want to get signage out there that kind of proves who you are and legitimizes Google’s want. Going to want to see that. So those pictures of that and other things that do that. But other than that, I think it’s a brilliant tactic and anybody that’s in that service business that effectively you can do it out of your house, you know, give that a go. And if your sister lives in you know the part of Seattle or whatever, tried getting the GBP going out of their house and see what happens, because nobody’s going to go to her house to to task about their cleaning service, so to speak. You know from an ROI standpoint to be you know.
Jesse – So if you have a single, location you’re, unless you are just established and primo primo primo, known in town as the source for this, you probably won’t dominate a large market like the Twin Cities, minneapolis, st Paul, with a single location, that’s, you know, on the fringe of the suburbs, right or maybe in some sector. You’re just not going to be able to dominate everywhere and I think sometimes people like, well, let me maybe do some Facebook ads or do billboards, like spend money in other ways to penetrate a market and, like you’re saying here, a couple hundred bucks, 500 bucks, even if it’s $1,000 a month, you know, to get a space that’s good enough to get verified and show up, especially if your service area.
This is going to be a crazy cheap investment for you, even though it is a substantial amount of money That’ll allow you to break into that market when you couldn’t otherwise. And asterisk on that, bob, you mentioned this. If you want that to happen, you’re going to invest. You get reviews on day one, as soon as that location is verified, start getting your reviews. That’s going to be very, very key.
Bob – Yeah, and I’ll throw this in the audience can filter it however they want to filter it. Basically, my mind, if you’re a plumbing company and you’re opening up in another market, it’s going to be a long poll to get reviews. If you can get reviews from your existing clients in your market, I personally have no moral problem with that review being put on that new market. Does that make sense? Because it’s Johnson Plum, right, it’s going to be good plumbing here, it’s going to be good plumbing there. So to me it’s semantics. Land that review on that new location. Get it built up so you can build it up, because otherwise, if you build it up with quote business that you’re developing on that market, it’s going to take a long time to do that. So that’s kind of how I’d approach it.
Jesse – Yeah, you’re not wrong, it’s definitely a gray area, for maybe how people feel. That’s why our hats are gray in Intrycks, though, these are the things that you have to do to launch or to penetrate and do it. In long term, you’re going to get all the reviews that you want. You’re talking about launching it right, and moving the needle quick. So all fair and loving marketing, right, ok, and I don’t need a gray hat.
Bob – I have gray hair, so that’s how I deploy it.
Jesse – Long as we represent doesn’t matter. Right One way or the other, that’s right. Hey everyone, just a quick message about our free SEO audit tool on localseotacticscom. We’ll get right back to the show. If you haven’t taken advantage of it yet, go on out to localseotacticscom, slash free SEO audit, or look for the yellow button up in the top right corner. Click that and it’s going to take just a couple seconds.
You enter in the page that you want to optimize what you’re looking for the audit to score against. Enter in that page, enter in the keyword you’re looking to get optimized for and enter in your email address. Click the button and it’s going to take a few seconds, and then it’s going to send you off a PDF report via email. It’s a great report. It’s going to kind of give you an overall score of some vital SEO areas for that page and for your website at large, even though it’s auditing this page. That’s going to tell you some of the good things that are happening, some of the bad things that are happening too, and give you basically a checklist of some things that you need to shore up and what you can do to improve your SEO for that page, for that keyword that you’re auditing.
Now. You can use this as many times as you want. You can do multiple keywords, multiple pages, multiple keywords on the same page. You can even use this to check against your competitors, right, if you want to do a little reverse engineering, see how they’re scoring for a certain keyword, what they may be doing good, that you’re not, and some things to improve there. So lots of different ways to use it completely free. Again, go on to localSEOTactics.com slash free SEO audit, or look for the yellow button in the top right corner of the website.
Sue – Yes, the question is there any simple thing that business owners can do Regarding a zip code and how that relates to determining a second location or a location for GVP purposes, google Business Profile purposes, showing up online?
Jesse – Yeah, I would use that just like the city. You don’t type the other game. You can plug a zip code, just like a city name, into Google and it’ll define the boundary for you. And I’m not saying that’s the legal boundary, but that’s what Google considers the boundary, and that’s all we care about in this, because we’re showing up on their game board, as Bob always puts it right. So all the stuff we talked previously applies. Just use zip codes right, instead of city names, the. I think the moral of the story here is, if your business can afford multiple locations and if you have a need to be in multiple markets multiple locations, go for it. It can be dangerous if you’re too close to yourself. Your other locations. It can be dangerous if you’re too close to a competitor, especially a dominant competitor. So choose your location wisely. But yeah, there’s no hard and fast rule. The short answer there’s no hard and fast rule for how close they can be. You just have to do the research and decide strategically right If the distance is good enough and the place is the right place. So hopefully that answers the question.
Sue – Well, on that note too, I will say that for our business savvy clients, we have helped them determine what area of the city would be good for them to go in, or to look at it and say, no, this area is, you have a lot of competitors here, don’t go there. Or what about here, or whatever. So it is something that we can help with, whether it’s your initial location you’re looking at moving or an additional one as well.
Jesse – There’s two parts on that, sue. Even more, we can help you with really showing you in your metro area where your GVP doesn’t show up. If nobody out there has ever used a local search grid of any sort, that’s an amazing tool and you can see almost block by block or mile by mile where you show up in your rankings. You may have strong and weak points going out in a radius from your location that aren’t like geometrically that doesn’t make sense. That’s going to be because you have stronger competitors, maybe in certain quadrants of your backyard.
And so you can see where you’re strong and where you’re weak. If you want to move a second location to an area that you’re already strong in, maybe that doesn’t make sense. Maybe you want to go to where you’re weaker to try to capture some of that business. Inversely, then we can also do that with your strongest competitors. We can see where their weak points are or where their strong points are by running them through the same audit process. And, yeah, just find out what’s, strategically, can make the most sense, and then you can begin your hunting for property from there.
So definitely something that’s worth like an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Put a little bit of time and maybe even some money into some services To do this research the right way, because having a second location isn’t just physically you’re operating there and we’re talking SEO and digital marketing and makes a big difference on what this location is going to be for your success and if you can break through. So I think that’s pretty good education. Sue, you want to give us some closing thoughts on this one?
Sue – Okay, if you remember one thing, and one thing only. Remember this Choosing a location and or an additional location is a strategic decision that needs to factor in many things, one of which is the impact it has on your online visibility, your online presence, your Google, google business profile. There’s no hard and fast rule. Like Jesse said, you need to do the research yourself, literally do the research, do searches yourself, see who’s showing up and where they are. What we want to impart to you is that location is a very important factor and warrants spending some time, investing time so that it can be done strategically and makes sense. The new location, or your additional location, makes sense on all funds for your business. So thank you, bob and Jesse. Thank you, Meredith Villarta, or Villarta, for this good question. I’m not butchering your name and I will say the quote of the day again leaders think and talk about the solutions. Followers think and talk about the problems. Thank you, Brian Tracy and Bob and Jesse for allowing us to be leaders. Thank you, sue. Good topic today.
Jesse – Hopefully that helped everybody out who’s listening and or watching. If you have a question, we would love to hear from you. You can go on up to localSEOtacticscom. Share your thoughts on this. You can go on up to localSEOtacticscom. Scroll to the bottom, click the link for submit a question. You can type it in and if we use it on the show, we’re going to fire off a t-shirt. If you call it in and record the audio which we can then play on the show, we’ll fire off a free water bottle for doing that as well. So we’d love to hear from you. Whatever questions you have. Other people out there have them and we can all help each other. So check it out, localSEOtacticscom and submit your question. We’ll be happy to tackle that on a future episode. Thank you, sue. Thank you, bob. Fine. Thank you for everybody tuning in to this one.