How To Approach Local SEO and Increase Rankings If Your Business Has Multiple Locations

If your business has multiple locations, you need a slightly different approach to your local SEO strategy. There are a few simple but highly effective concepts you can deploy to maximize your exposure and increase your Google rankings for all locations. In this episode we’ll break down the subtle differences that are needed when you feature multiple locations on your website, in order to get every location ranked and dominate in your local market!

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YOU’LL LEARN

  • How to setup pages on your website to rank and dominate for each location you have
  • Setting up one website with a page for each location is better than having separate websites for each location
  • Make sure you have a Google My Business (GMB) listing for each business location
  • Create an individual page on your website for each business location you have
  • Link to these individual location pages from the respective GMB listing for each page
  • Create a main “Locations” page on your website, making it an index listing of each location
  • Link to each individual location page from the main Locations listing page
  • Make each location page unique to the location, using images and information about the location
  • Optimize location pages for the specific city that the business location is within
  • Make your homepage focused on the brand and identity, not the locations you serve
  • Be careful when setting up your service area in GMB so you do not overlap locations
  • Make sure any local citations or online profiles for each location are linking back to the individual location pages on your website
  • If you choose to have unique Facebook pages for each location, take advantage of Facebook Locations to manage them

Thanks for Listening!

Here is  the transcription from Episode 27 Multi-Location Local SEO Strategy and Website Design Tips For Businesses With Multiple Locations;

Jesse: Welcome back to Local SEO Tactics, Jesse Dolan here with Bob Brennan. This week,
we’re going to be talking about multi-location businesses. Some of this may not apply to
you if you’re not a multi-location business, however, there are some tips we’re going to
talk about in here that you could probably tease out and still apply to your business.
We’re even talking about how to make good pages that convert, and some things like
that. Even if you’re not a multi-location business, I would still give this a listen and check
it out, what is going to be 15 minutes long, 20 minutes long, it’s not going to be the
biggest waste of time you’ve ever had, you’re going to get something out of it here, so
stay tuned.

For the rest of you, if you do have a multi-location business, we’re going to go through
some things on how to set up your pages and your website to rank and dominate for
each location on your single website. Some businesses have multiple websites for each
business, we’re going to be talking about having multiple pages on your one website.
That’s important for local SEO nowadays, you kind of have that main site with that main
authority and that main rank, instead of spreading that out over multiple websites. This
helps you really develop that rank and get that link juice back from Google on that.
One of the main things for local SEO, we always talk about it, is having your Google My
Business listing and Bing Places as well, here this is all going to apply to Bing too, but for
the rest of this episode we’re just going to say GMB, but do it on both. First and
foremost, as always, make sure you’ve got a GMB. Get one of these set up for each
location, you can have multiple locations in your GMB account. If you’re doing things
white hat, you’re not trying to really game the system, there’s no reason to split this up
into multiple accounts. Some places if you go online, they’ll say “split these up”, and
kind of manage them independently.

If you’re playing by the rules, don’t worry about that. You have nothing to be afraid of if
you’re doing it the right way, you can manage I think it’s up to 100 locations, if not
more, in a single Google My Business account. You can add them all in there, you have
to verify each one the same way, they have to have a physical address. They send you
out the postcard with the verification number, you’ve got to enter that in, prove you’re
a legitimate business. From there, you can treat them all independently, you can set up
different hours, different phone numbers, website links, posts, all the GMB features that
are in there.

The show notes, we’ll link to some of our previous episodes on how to optimize and set
up your GMB pages, so we’re not going to dive too deep into how to do all that, but we
do want to stress that you’ve got to start there. Have a GMB for each location, super,
super critical. Now, for those GMB pages, you link your website to it, just like you would
a single location business. The thing that’s a little bit different, and this is where it starts
to separate on multi-location versus single location, is you want to have an individual
page on your website for each location.

Now, how you do that can be kind of how you want your style to be. Some business will
have like a store locator page, it really depends on how many locations you have. If
you’ve got dozens or 100 locations, you’re going to need some kind of robust searching,
you know people to search your website for the locations, so enter in your zip code or
things like this, it shows up on a map. If you’re more of just a local business just
operating in a metro area, and you’ve got maybe two, three, five or seven locations, you
don’t really need to get that fancy.

Bob: Right.

Jesse: I would definitely have a page on my website that has locations served, areas served,
locations, and just a straight listing of where they’re at, and then a link to each location
page from there. Now, this main locations page, if you will, kind of the index of all your
locations can be linked in your main menu of your website or in the footer of your
website. I would definitely make sure it’s found by Google, you know kind of putting in
your primary links, so Google doesn’t have to look for it, and then also for your
customers.

Sure, it’d be great if somebody searches for something, every single time they get to
that location that they’re looking for, and Google and Bing and everybody else isn’t
always going to do that. Your homepage is going to get served up a lot, so you still want
to make it easy for them to go from the homepage, find the locations, and then jump to
that actual branch or office that they’re looking for in there. Now, you don’t have to put
a ton of optimization effort into that listing index page.

Bob: Right.

Jesse: Where you want to be spending the energy is in those individual location pages. That is
what you’re going to link to back from your GMB, so city number one or suburb number
one or location number one, whatever, that’s going to go to its own page, city number
two location is going to go to its own page. For each of those pages, you definitely want
to make it about that page, right?

Bob: Right.

Jesse: If it’s got a very similar-looking building, don’t use the same image for all of them, you
want it to be that actual building, so that’s pretty important for

Bob: Yeah, because I mean how we search kind of dives into that. If it’s car repair Smithville,
that page has to be optimized so when they land on that page, it’s Smithville, and along
with the SEO element that’s tied in with that.

Jesse: For sure.

Bob: I think that’s how we search, I mean you either type in car repair, specific city, I don’t
think you use the larger greater, like here in Minneapolis I wouldn’t do “car repair
Minneapolis”, I would do “car repair Smithville”, because that’s where I live, and/or I
would do “car repair near me”, and Google will dial into that element with your page.
Anything that you can tie in locally, and like we talked in other episodes, tying in with
your local links, whether it’s a charity, or if you belong to the chamber of commerce in
Smithville, and everything else that goes with that, it’s about proof, and Google wants to
see that proof.

Jesse: To your point there, making sure each location page within your website is really
optimized for that city and for that location. Some things you’re going to want to do to
get that done, list your address twice. If you’re a single location, we talked about listing
your address twice on your homepage. If you’re a multi-location, first of all, your
homepage, just to kind of back up a minute, your homepage needs to be about your
brand and your identity. If you’re Bob’s Auto Repair, your homepage should be
dominated by you as the entity of Bob’s Auto Repair, “Here’s who we are, here’s our
story, here’s where we come from, here’s where we’re going,” blah blah blah, all that
great stuff, and then your products and services that you do.

Those products and services should still be illustrated with consideration to your GMB
categories. Now, you may have some slight differences location by location, some
businesses are identical no matter what location we’re talking about here, some might
have some nuanced differences, but I imagine you still have, a core thing that all these
locations do a primary GMB category that’s common to all of them or to most of them.
Your homepage for your identity of your brand should still be dominated by that main
GMB category, again, above the fold in your H1 tag, in your title tag, in your description,
and with some images, that’s still what you do regardless of the actual location here,
and that’s what your homepage needs to be.

If you’re a single location, you also want to be incorporating your geography there,
different when you’re a multi-location business. Your homepage becomes more about
who you are and what you do, not so much where you’re at. The reason that is is
because that’s what these location pages are for. If you try to tell Google on your
homepage like, “Oh, we’re in this city, or maybe our headquarters is in this city,” well
they start to assume that’s where you are as that brand and identity. I hate to use the
word “detune”, we say that sometimes, but you just want to make it known that your
homepage is not about where you’re located, you want to make that clear to Google.
You should have links, again, on your homepage, “how to contact us”, “how to find our
locations” and all that, you want to make it clear to your users and to Google and to
Bing and all the other bots how to navigate and find these locations. That being said,
let’s fast forward back into the actual location pages. You’re going to have one for each
office, one for each branch, those should be all about that local geography. Again, if it’s
Smithville, it should be all about Smithville on there, you shouldn’t be mentioning, “We
also have locations in XYZ.” You just have that link for “other locations”, or “back to
locations page” or something like that. You want to make sure your geographic
references on that page are all aboutBob: Smithville.

Jesse: Yeah, that Smithville, or in some cases, depending on how wide your geography is,
maybe if you’re in Smithville and you serve the eight little towns around Smithville, you
can mention those too if that’s what that branch serves. If that’s overlapping with
another branch, don’t get confusing there. Make a location page for each one, and then
if we go back out, and you kind of almost think about that as being that branch’s or that
location’s homepage, so like we talked about Yelp, you should really have a Yelp listing.
You should have a GMB listing, you should have a Bing Places listing, you should have a
Yelp listing, you should have probably a Facebook page of some sort, just all these
different local citations you can get and review portals.

I’m going to back into the review portals thing, there’s an asterisk there actually, we’re
going to get right back here to that in a second. You should have as many of those as
you can for each location, because you want to build that identity, having that name,
address and phone number out there across the board. Do you want to say something?
Bob: Yeah no, my question, I think you were going to get into this, is, so as we set up the
GMB and the Bing Places, and you have multiple locations, one of the things we got in
trouble with a little bit was overlap, right?

Jesse: Yeah, yep.

Bob: Did you want to dig into that a little bit?

Jesse: Perfect, absolutely. That’s dangerous. Let’s say if you have, whatever, there’s a nice
metro area, and divide it up into four quadrants, and you’ve got four locations, you
know northwest, northeast, southwest, southeast, boom, I’m blanketing the whole
metro area. You want to be very careful when you tell Google what your service area is
for each of these businesses, or maybe if you have two locations that are right next to
each other. It can be dangerous, because Google will say, “Well, you’re overlapping,”
right?

Bob: Right.

Jesse: Now, we’ve got like Subways and McDonald’s all over the place, well they don’t serve
people within 20 miles, they’re all about within like a mile or two of where they’re
located. Just if you kind of take that concept and apply it to your own business, if you’re
a service area business where you’re going to your customers, you serve people within,
let’s say, 10 miles or 20 miles or 80 miles, whatever it is, you can’t have those radii
overlap. Now, maybe there’s a slight amount of overlap that can happen, depending on
certain geographic stuff, but you can’t have half of your zone by branch one be served
by branch two, and vice versa. Google is going to suspend one, if not all of those listings,
because you’re just simply trying to blanket the entire metro, and that’s not right.
Bob: In the settings, you get essentially a parameter or whatever of so many miles, and
you’ve just got to be cognizant of, “Hey, if I go four miles, I’m overlapping, and if I go
three …”

Jesse: Yeah, and this applies specifically to a service area business where you’re saying, “This is
where I serve my customers.” As you’re saying, Bob, yeah, you tell them what your
service area is, and you can do that in two ways. You can list the actual geography for
cities and zip codes, if you will, or you can say is it’s in your radius. If I’m picking the
method of outlining my cities, I can’t have the same city served by two locations, you
can’t overlap like that, and if I’m choosing the option of going on the radius, those
circles, if you will, they don’t show you all this on one page, so you kind of have to do
your own geographic and geometry on a map or something to figure out what those
radii are and plug them in, because if your locations are five miles apart, they can’t serve
a five-mile radius, because you’d be overlapping the other location. It gets a little funky
there, but you’ve got to be aware of it.

Bob: To be clear, so if we’re talking about a storefront, they’re still going to ask you the
service area?

Jesse: Not if you’re a storefront.

Bob: A storefront is a little different, right?

Jesse: Yeah, when you’re setting up your GMBs, you can be a storefront only, meaning that
people only come to you, you can be a storefront with a service area, meaning people
come to you and you go to them, or you can be just a service area, meaning nobody
ever comes to you, you always go to them. In any of those options where you’re having
the service area, that’s where you’re setting these parameters. If you’re only a
storefront and people always only come to you, then you don’t pick this.

Bob: You don’t worry about it.

Jesse: It’s not an issue.

Bob: Okay.

Jesse: However, with that, just be advised that depending on if one location is much more
dominant than the other, if these locations are a mile apart or two miles apart, the
results might get a little funky sometimes. Back to the McDonald’s and Subway, you
know just everybody out there, you can check this out by yourself by whatever the most
popular fast food chain in your area is, just do a search for them and you’re going to see
sometimes maybe your city where you’re in will pop up number one, but then there
might be one that’s a little further and one that’s in between. The one that’s a little
further, because it’s more popular, might be your second result, and that one that’s
closer as maybe your option two, is actually pushed down the list.

Most businesses that we’re talking about here for all of us, we’re not going to have that
many locations and not need to worry about it. That’s definitely, if you are a service area
business, that’s something that can really get you in trouble, and it’s something that’s
super easy to miss, because you just don’t really think about that. You say, “Oh, of
course this location would go five miles,” well, but your other location is, and that’s all
that they care about is that overlap, not how far you actually would go and where you
would serve. Check that out, that can be dangerous.

Some other things that you’re going to want to do kind of in that non-website related
deal, and I’ll bounce back to the website here in a second, but it’s Facebook. Brands can
go two ways, one, you can have like one Facebook page for all of your locations, just as
like a corporate Facebook page, if you will, or like a headquarters Facebook page. Some
people choose to do that, purely for administration and management. That’s cool, that
can work really good, but if you can have multiple Facebook pages for your locations,
that’s really good too. Facebook has, what’s it here, Facebook locations actually, clever
name, where it kind of acts like a parent/child relationship, so you can set up multiple
Facebook pages-

Bob: Oh really?

Jesse: Yep, and then kind of bring them under one umbrella. That’s useful if you are really
getting local with those locations. Now, if you really don’t care about really getting out
there and using Facebook a lot, I wouldn’t worry about it a ton, but if Facebook is really
part of your strategy and something that you’re utilizing, I would take a look at this, I’ll
put a link in the show notes. For the SEO aspect of this, that’s good because you’re
getting those citations out there, you’re having a Facebook page with your location on it
for each location here, as opposed to just one that doesn’t have that information. You’re
getting that citation, you’re getting those social signals to Google about your Facebook
page.

Same is going to be true for Yelp, for Pinterest, everything else. They’re not all going to
have this one to many or parent/child type of a setup, Facebook does, which is super
helpful. On those, the decision on yours is how you’re going to handle the marketing
and the administration side. If you can muster the resources, and I don’t mean this to be
overwhelming by any means, it’s not, but if you can handle multiple locations, do it,
because you’re going to get those citations. All locations, the more times you can have
your name, address, and phone number out there on these websites, the more each
location itself is kind of going to get that juice, and on all of these, like Yelp for that
location page, that’s going to link back to not the homepage of your website, but that
location page for your website.

Just like your GMB links to the individual location page, your Facebook page links to that
individual location page, so does your Yelp, and so on and so forth. Now, the more you
can do that, the more juice you provide into each of those location pages, again, going
back to Google, giving them those signals that when people are searching for … Where
do you live again, Smithville, is that where?

Bob: Smithville.

Jesse: That’s how that Smithville location gets to be more popular, as now all of these other
citations are pointing back saying, “Smithville Smithville Smithville.” A little bit more
work to kind of manage that many profiles and have those logins, but it’s worth it at the
end of the day to pump up each of these locations. Definitely a little different than if you
have a single location, that’s a lot easier for single location businesses to manage all of
this, but if you’re multi-location, you’ve probably got some kind of infrastructure
already, like some kind of corporate backbone or HQ, put this on them to kind of
administrate it as a brand, as a whole, because you’re going to want similar verbiage
and similar themes and similar looking styles.

Even though they’re multiple locations, they’ve got to be connected, they’re still part of
the main brand. I definitely kind of put that shell over it, just from like the agency
standpoint here, how to control it all. Definitely have a tie that binds everything, but
don’t be afraid of getting deep into multi-locations and all these different areas, because
that’s only going to help you if you’re trying to get ranked in Google, which is kind of
what we’re talking about here, so take advantage of that. Really, that’s about it.
Everything else that we could really dive into is pretty much the same for a single
location, but just doing it for each location as well.

The main thing here is making sure your website is set up with that proper location page
architecture, and then just using those individual links as your effective homepage for
each location, and use them across the board everywhere. Hopefully if you’re doing it
right and you’re thinking about this ahead of time, you can set up your links and your
URLs, you know if it’s bobsauto.com/smithville, then it’s not some huge link, because
you can use those ads for your website for that location. It can be in your email
signatures for your business, it’s going to be on your business cards, you know what I
mean? Then you don’t have to have some weird, you know
bobsauto.com/location/mn/smithville, that’s just ugly.

If your architecture is set up like that, let me just take a quick side note here, there are
URL shorteners. If you’re using WordPress, a very popular one that actually is called
Pretty Links, I’ll put a link to this in the show notes for everybody. It’s free, they have a
pro version too, both so you have that big old ugly URL for Bob’s Auto. That can be the
actual location page, that’s completely fine, and you would submit that location page to
Google, that’s fine that that’s what it is, but talking from a usability standpoint, for users
to remember it and what you want to use in your marketing when people aren’t clicking
on it, when they’re trying to remember it or copy it down or write it down, you would
use something like this Pretty Links to say, “What I want to show people is
bobsauto.com/smithville,” and they would actually type that in and it would redirect
them to that big old ugly URL.

Pretty handy, if that makes sense to you guys. If not, let me know, we can help you out
in getting that set up and making sense of it. That’s about it, do you have anything else
to add, Bob?

Bob: No, that’s it, that’s great.

Jesse: Okay, so hopefully that helps you guys out. If you like what we’re doing, if you want to
hear more about any of these particular topics, go to Intrycks.com/show. There you can
find, well first of all, all our episodes, the full archive of all of our shows on there, but
also that’s where we take feedback for, “Did we say something right here, did we say
something wrong? Do you have an idea, a question for us?”, whatever it is, check that
out, intrex.com/show, we’d love to hear from you. Let’s also jump into here our five-star
review of the week, we’ve got a great five-star review from Phil, and hopefully, Phil, I’m
saying this right, Lichtenberger, that looks right, I think that’s right, a great five-star
review.

Phil says, “SEO is one of those things that I ‘know about’, but don’t really understand,
and “know about” he has air quotes here, I’m doing, “SEO is one of those things I ‘know
about’ but don’t totally understand yet. This podcast format is very easy to listen to and
understand, and with each episode I am learning more and more about this topic that I
always found tricky to understand. I would recommend anyone trying to make heads or
tails of SEO to give this podcast a shot, you can thank me later,” smiley face. That’s what
we love to hear, you know what I mean?

Bob: Yeah, that’s great.

Jesse: Thanks Phil, for the awesome five-star review. Everybody else, we’d love to hear from
you as well if you’ve been paying attention to the show for awhile. We try to read one
every week, as long as you guys keep sending them in, we’re going to keep reading
them. Go to intrex.com/itunes, it’s going to get you to iTunes where you leave a review.
Even if you don’t want to put some words to it, if you just want to give us a star rating,
that helps us out too, gives us more exposure on iTunes, which is the biggest platform
that we get listeners on, and again, if nothing else, it lets us know we’re doing a good
job. If you just want to give us a virtual pat on the back or a virtual high five, we’d love
to have it. Intrex.com/itunes is where you can do that, and that’s about it for this week,

Bob, unless you’ve got anything else.

Bob: No, just dig in. I know it can be intimidating and a little bit overwhelming, but just go out
there, make a mess, but follow our guidance and you’re going to do just fine.

Jesse: Right on. All right guys, that does it for this week, have a good week.

Bob: Bye now.

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