Whether your business has multiple physical locations or provides services to specific geographical areas, when someone comes to your site, they should easily find out both what your business does and where it operates. Both users and search engines need to be able to understand this from the content on your site. Ideally, you want your website to rank well for all of the locations you operate in. Here are a few things to include on your site to make sure people find the right information about your business, no matter the location.
What is Multiple Location SEO?
Multiple location SEO is the process of optimizing your website in a way that enhances your search traffic and user experience for all of the geographical areas that you operate in. This strategy is great for anyone who has multiple physical stores or locations or has a service that serves multiple geographical areas without a physical location.
When users in your different locations search for keywords related to your products or services, multiple location SEO makes sure that they find your website. Let’s say your furniture company has physical stores in Oakland and Long Island, optimizing your website for both these locations will enable you to rank in these two cities without the need for multiple websites.
Why is it important?
Whether you operate in two locations or a hundred, you need to optimize your website for local SEO in multiple locations. Optimizing for multiple local searches means that your website has a higher chance of showing up in front of your local audience. In doing so, you enable Google to understand your geographical markets and display the correct page to your local audience. It allows each one of your locations to receive the online visibility it deserves and be found by relevant users. Although multiple location SEO might seem trickier than optimizing for just one location, it doesn’t have to be with these easy-to-follow guidelines for setting up, publishing and improving your multi-location website.
Setting up your website for multiple locations
Choose a site structure that makes sense for your business
There are different ways you can organize your site to make it location-friendly. Ultimately, the structure you choose will greatly depend on the number of locations as well as the resources, time and effort you want to put in.
In the same way that clear site structure makes your website easier to navigate for users and easier to understand for search engines, the pages that you build for each location need to be organized in a logical manner. It’s also important to structure your website in a way that drives traffic to each one of your locations.
The most common choices are to create a unique page per location is the way to go or create a locator page with information about every location.
Option 1: Create a page for each location
By creating separate web pages for each of your locations, you can better leverage your optimization possibilities. Think of each location page as a stand-alone microsite that you can expand on to create relevant content. This means that each page needs to have value on its own. If you decide to add a unique page for each location, make sure that each page is linked to your core pages like the homepage, about page and contact page. These location pages contain detailed information about the location and can be optimized for targeted local searches.
Option 2: Create a locator page with all locations
If you don’t have enough unique content about each location, you can create a single locator page with information about all of your locations. This page should be linked on your homepage, menu and footer.
Optimize each location page
If you decide to create a page for each location, the first step to optimizing your website for multiple locations is optimize each location page with location-specific elements.
After setting up your location pages, you need to optimize them so Google can understand what each page is about. This means making sure title tags and meta descriptions are location-specific. All the usual optimization recommendations for title tags and meta descriptions still apply. To optimize for your geographical market, make sure you specify the location.
Once you have created the location pages and optimized their title tags and descriptions, you need to add content. Don’t just make every location page identical. If you want to rank well, it’s important that the content be specific for each location. You should create original content that is unique to the location. It will make it easier for search engines to rank your page, while being useful and relevant for your visitors.
So, what exactly should go on a location page?
You should add anything location-specific that might be helpful for your users. This can include:
NAP: the combination of your name, address, and phone number is called a NAP, or NAP citation. Your location’s name, address, and phone number are the most important information about your business and should always be present. If there are other means of contact such as email or social media, don’t forget to mention them too.
Offer description: describe your products and services, especially those unique to the location.
Common questions: include frequently asked questions, along with their answers.
Any information that is specific to the location such as opening hours, team information, special announcements, etc.
An embedded Google Map with your location pinned: add detailed instructions for getting to the location.
Testimonials: capture prospects with comments and reviews from local customers.
Photos: illustrate the page with images of the location and the team members that work there.
Call-to-action: entice your users to ‘book’, ‘contact’, ‘order’, ‘sign-up’, etc.
List your site and locations on Google My Business
Google My Business is a free tool that allows you to create a business profile and control the information that shows up on Google Search and Google Maps. After creating your Google My Business account, you can add a new business or claim one from the database.
Make sure each location has its own listing. For each listing, provide the business’ name, address, phone number and website. Google’s additional guidelines include verifying each location, listing accurate hours, adding photos and managing and responding to reviews. When dealing with multiple locations, it’s important to make sure that your business name and categories you classify your business into are consistent throughout all listings. You can manage all locations from the same account and have access to a bulk upload feature and import tool that can be used to submit business information in bulk if you have many locations.
Add local structured data
For maximum visibility on the SERP, it’s always a good idea to add local business schema markup to each location page.
Schema markup, also known as structured data, is a piece of code that describes your content to search engines and explains how it should be treated. This increases the chance that Google will fully understand your content and present it as a rich snippet in search results.
By adding structured data to your location pages, you provide Google with information about each location including your NAP, business hours and other important details so they can appear in search results. You can do this with Google’s structured data markup helper or other structured data generators.
Publishing your location pages for SEO
Once you have sorted out your site structure, and updated each location page with unique content with relevant information, there are a few things to consider before and after you hit that ‘publish’ button.
Submit a new sitemap
Make sure your new pages appear in search results by submitting a new sitemap in the Google Search Console. When you submit the new sitemap, Google crawls all the pages of your website and updates their system with the new pages and content. You can do this easily in the Google Search Console.
Manage your business listings in other places
Google isn’t the only place where you can list your business on the web. You can display your information on many other directories. The most popular ones include Yelp, Yahoo Local, Bing Places, Foursquare and Yellow Pages to name a few. Local business and industry listings also exist. Check with local blogs and newspapers to get your business listed there too.
Getting mentioned in directories is how people find you. It’s also used by search engines to determine how well you rank in local searches. Make sure that you appear on most listings and for all of your locations. It’s essential that the information provided in each listing is accurate and consistent. This means that your NAP citation needs to be identical across all listings.
Search engines check your business information across multiple websites. Inconsistent or outdated NAP citations can seriously hurt your SEO by confusing Google and preventing your site pages from achieving their full potential. Managing your listings can be a bit tedious but it’s important to regularly check how you are mentioned in every directory and fix any issues.
Improving your site for multiple-location SEO
Once your location pages are live, you should review them regularly to see what’s working and what needs improvement.
Track performance of each location page
The best practice is to compare the performance of all your location pages together. This way, you can see which ones are ranking well and which ones need more optimization.
The first step to tracking the performance of location pages is to identify your goals and KPIs. For example, you can check your progress by monitoring the ranking position of each location page in search results as well as the traffic it gets. Pay attention to your users’ behavior once they land on your page: do they leave shortly after or do they stick around? This will help you identify the high converting pages and the ones with a high bounce rate.
Once you know what to look out for, track your data with any analytical tool or software. If you are already using Google Analytics to monitor your website traffic, you can also check your location pages with it to see how they are performing. Another option is to use Google My Business Insights, the analytical dashboard provided with Google My Business. This tool will give you actionable insights into how your customers search for your business.
As you can see, multiple location SEO takes a bit of effort to set up and improve but is an essential aspect of website optimization. Follow these guidelines to set yourself up for success in local searches.