There are few things more rewarding for a business owner than expanding to one or more new locations. Expansion means that your business is growing. Sales are probably up and the possibilities are endless.
The downside of expansion – particularly if you’re using one website for multiple locations – is figuring out how to make sure that your SEO is keeping up with your company. As Google’s algorithms grow increasingly sophisticated, it’s become essential for businesses to rank for local keywords to keep up with the competition.
Fortunately, there are some things you can do to make sure that your SEO doesn’t suffer when you branch out.
Create Pages for Each Location
There’s more than one way to skin a cat, but let’s talk about the best practices to list multiple business locations online.
You may have noticed that huge companies often have a store finder tool on their website. Unless you’re dealing with thousands of locations like Target or Walmart, your best bet is to do the following.
1. Create a “Locations” page on your website that includes a list of all your locations.
2. Next, hyperlink each location listing to a dedicated page for that location. For example, you might create URLs like this: http://www.yourcompany.com/locations/service-city-state. This structure ensures that your site will be easy to map and easy to navigate.
3. On each page that you create, make sure to list the location’s name, street address, and telephone number. You should also include the location’s hours and any other pertinent information. The more useful the page is, the better it will rank on Google.
The benefit of keeping one domain name is that it’s less expensive than registering multiple domains. It’s also clear and easy for potential customers to understand if they want to frequent more than one location.
For each location page, you should make sure to include your city and state in the URL, the title tags, the H1 tags, and the alt image tags. This information will help Google crawl and index your site and ensure that it gets the search juice it deserves.
Standardize Your NAP Listings
The next step is to standardize your NAP listings. NAP stands for “Name, Address, and Phone Number” and having consistent listings is an essential component of local SEO.
When Google prioritizes search results, they want to make sure that the information they are providing is accurate and useful. If the NAP listings for your company vary from one another in any way, it confuses Google’s algorithms and dilutes your online presence.
For example, imagine that you have a location with 10 NAP listings. If you have two company name variations, three address variations, and a telephone number error, you have a total of seven pieces of competing information for that one location. It’s easy to see why that would be a problem.
Each time you add a location, take the time to list the name, address, and phone number as you want it. Then review all existing NAP locations and make sure that the information matches exactly.
Optimize Google My Business for Each Location
The next step you need to take involves listing each one of your company’s locations on Google My Business and optimizing it accordingly. That means:
1. Check your business name to make sure it is correct and matches what you have on your site.
2. Do the same for your NAP listing for each location, and make sure that Google hasn’t abbreviated anything that you have spelled out elsewhere.
3. Choose up to five relevant categories for your business.
4. Upload as many as ten images, making sure they are unique to the specific location being listed.
5. Write a unique introduction to your business. Here again, the content should be unique. Do not lift content from your website or other listings. You can and should list services and link to the relevant, location-specific pages on your site.
These steps will help ensure that your GMB presence is doing everything it can to help each location of your business rank in its own right.
Build Backlinks and Citations
Building links is an essential component of SEO. The best links are those that develop organically over time, but you can encourage links by:
- Connecting with people in your industry
- Connecting with other business in your area
- Claiming listings on Yelp, CitySearch, and other sites
It’s especially important to claim listings for each location because it can help you get reviews. The more reviews you have for a location, the more authoritative your web presence will be.
When you have multiple locations for your business, it’s not enough to rely on reviews for your main location to provide an SEO boost and give potential customers the social proof they need.
You may want to have the managers at each of your locations work to encourage customers to leave reviews. There are company-wide policies you can try, such as setting up a points program to incentivize customers to leave reviews. You can print links to your review pages on customer receipts, too.
Reviews help to raise your company’s online profile and make it easier for local customers to find you.
Keep it Fresh
Finally, keep in mind that Google’s algorithms prioritize fresh content. If your pages for individual locations are stagnant, they won’t get as much authority as pages that are updated on a regular basis.
For that reason, you may want to consider adding location blogs or, at the very least, making a habit of periodically adding pictures, videos, and other new content to your website on a regular basis.
The goal is to make sure that your page is always relevant, updated, and useful to your customers.
The prospect of trying to get each location of your business to rank on Google might seem like a daunting one. However, the key is to use a site structure that allows each location to shine. Then, standardize your presence across the web, build links, and add fresh content to make sure that your site is relevant. If you do that, it will be reflected in your Google rank.