13 Critical Tips – Local SEO for Multiple Locations

by Stuart McHenry January 22, 2019


If you’re a business owner, or own multiple franchise locations, or work in the marketing department of a national brand with multiple locations, you may already know how crucial local SEO is to your search engine marketing efforts. If you have more than one location, local SEO still applies and can be complicated.

You need to optimize your website for local SEO for multiple locations. And sometimes you may have multiple locations within one city. And depending on the services you offer you may have to have additional service pages for each location.
 

Why is Local SEO?

SEO is a broad terminology for many aspects of online marketing. It all boils down to getting traffic organic traffic from the search engines. Which usually involves creating content, building backlinks, technical website issues, and a plethora of other tasks.

Local SEO is the tasks associated with getting a website to rank for local search keywords. Which could mean in the regular search results with a location intend or in the Google local 3-pack. The local 3-pack are the three websites you see listed above the search results.

Example of Local 3-Pack:

Example of local Google 3-pack

Below are 13 local SEO tips on how to optimize a website for multiple locations.
 

1. One Domain – Why optimize mutiple sites when you can do one?

One common question business owners with multiple locations have if they should buy separate domain names for each location or use just one domain name. Stick to only one domain name. Managing multiple websites for multiple locations can be time-consuming, frustrating, and expensive. Plus, it is harder to rank multiple websites as opposed to one.

It’s also much easier to manage multiple locations from a single domain name. You only need to geo-target specific sections of your website, while everything else remains the same.
 

2. Pages for Each Location – You can’t rank if you don’t have content!

Ranking for each location will require that you create and optimize pages for each one. It’s almost like you’re making a homepage for each location. Each page should have information about your different products and services, as well as links to provide more details for each specific location.

This is where many multi-location businesses fail. They only have a page for each city. This would work if your business is simple and only offered one service. However, if you don’t have targeted pages for each location, you will miss out on ranking opportunities.

It would help if you created a locations page that will have links to each location’s home page. This will also make it easier for customers to find a location near them.
 

3. Location Specific Content – Targeted towards each location.

Every location page should have location specific content and keywords. This means including the city or town’s name in your keywords. And as mentioned above you should have pages for each service under that city.

Example:

Home >>> Los Angeles >>> Plastic Surgery

Home >>> Los Angeles >>> Coolsculpting

Home >>> Los Angeles >>> Tummy Tuck

Many larger companies that have city pages will have a city page. Then they try and stuff that one page with as many keywords as possible. It is easier to rank well if you have specific pages for each service within that city.

It’s also important to keep in mind that your content needs to be unique for each location. If you copy and paste information and then change the location name, then Google will see right through this and won’t help your efforts. No shortcuts here.

This includes reviews and testimonials. Avoid featuring the same reviews by the same person for each location. If you do include reviews, it’s a good practice to include reviews from that specific city.
 

4. URL Structure for Multiple Locations – Get it right from the start.

Don’t let anyone tell you URL structure doesn’t matter, because it does. It matters for relevance and user experience. Here is an example of how to setup your URL structure.

Example.com

Example.com/city/

Example.com/city/service1/

Example.com/city/service2/

Please note the specific service for that city should be linked from the specific city page.
 

5. Multiple Google My Business Locations – Get into the 3-pack!

Google My Business
If you haven’t done it already, sign up for Google My Business. With GMB, you can manage your online presence, how your information comes across on Google (including in the search results and on the maps page), and interact with existing and potential customers.

You’ll be able to create individual listings for each location. Make sure that you add the URLs for each location page in your business profile. Verify each location, list your hours of operation, add pictures, and manage reviews.

Make sure that your business name and the categories you classify your business into are consistent for each location. Don’t spam the title with keywords. You could end up getting penalized for this.
 

6. Manage Your Other Listings – NAP is huge for local SEO.

Business Listings
Google isn’t the only place that people go to to find a business. There are plenty of other sites, including Yelp, Yahoo, Yellow Pages, Bing, and Foursquare. You should also get your website listed in any related local or industry directories. And this means a listing for each location. Yext has a useful feature that lets you manage multiple locations and is super easy to use.

It’s essential that you are consistent across each listing. Your name, address, and phone number (NAP) should match in each one. All NAP information listed on your site should also be consistent. Google looks at all of this information and considers it, whether or not there are links associated with it.
 

7. Embed a Map of Your Locations – This helps with local rankings.

example of Google maps
Google Maps is one of the most popular online mapping services. You can embed a map onto your website that has pins dropped for each location, showing your customers, and potential customers, where you are. These embed maps should go on the specific location page for that city.

Embedding a map helps customers to get directions, makes it easy to find contact information for each location, and includes a street view of the location so that customers will know what your business looks like from the outside. It also keeps website visitors on your page, giving them information about your locations without them needing to navigate away.
 

8. Link Building for Multiple Locations – Only build quality local links.

Local link building
Link building is an important part of your ranking in the Google search results pages. It’s not just building any links, however. It’s essential that you build backlinks from quality sources. I always look for blogs that will bring some traffic. If a blog doesn’t have any Google traffic I would avoid it.

Build backlinks for each location page to increase their ranking. Work on developing a strategy to focus on each page. There are several techniques for local link building. Strategies include hosting events or meetups, become a sponsor for a local charity or event, and employ content marketing.
 

9. Structured Data/Schemas – Tell Google what your page is about.


Structured data and schemas allow you to markup content on your website with special tags that provide Google with specific information to be displayed in the search results page. Traditional search results display the page title, URL, and a description of the content found on the specific page.

With schema markup, you’re able to tag specific parts of the content on the page to provide a potential customer with more information in the search results. Google recommends you use schema and it’s good for click-through rates as well.
 

10. Manage Your Reviews – Review have a huge impact on local rankings.

Manage Reviews
Reviews, especially positive ones, are essential for success. Many people look to reviews before making a purchase or deciding to use a specific company for needed services. You don’t just want overall reviews, though. Location-specific reviews are key.

If you don’t work to gain positive reviews, or you don’t address negative reviews, people are less likely to click on your page. If you do get a negative review, make sure that you address it quickly, provide a thoughtful response, and be careful of the language that you use. Prompt, professional responses will help to turn unhappy customers into happy ones.
 

11. Track Your Progress – Always take detailed notes.

You’ll need to pay attention to your progress for each location page. Pay attention to where each location page lands on the search results page. Manage your citations on other websites and make sure that they’re all consistent.

You may need to check your citations periodically to make sure no changes have been made. You can also track your progress by monitoring your website traffic as well as offline interactions with potential customers.
 

12. Sitemaps – Help get your content indexed.

When you have an extensive website having a good site map is of vital importance. Most all content management systems have a sitemap function. With some, you can even control the specific pages you want to be included on the site map.

If your website is huge, it’s a good idea to have multiple sitemaps. A best practice is to organize those sitemaps by categories or by geographical regions.
 

13. Google Analytics – Actionable insights to help with SEO.

You don’t have to use Google Analytics, but you should use some analytical software. As an SEO I use Google analytics more than any other tool in my arsenal. The information that is provided can help give you the knowledge on what’s working and what needs improvement.

Once you get it set up, you can track your location pages to see how they are performing. I like to identify the high converting pages and pages with high bounce rates. This gives you both the essential pages you should focus on as well as the underperforming pages that may need some work.
 

Final Thoughts

What multiple location SEO comes down to is treating each location page as if it were its separate website. You need to optimize each page for its specific location and services. This helps you to rank for each location so that each page can reach your target audience. It might take a bit more effort on your part, but the results will be worth the extra energy you put into optimizing for each of your separate locations.
 

Stuart McHenry
Stuart McHenry is the President of McKremie a US-based SEO Company focusing on link building, content marketing, local SEO, and reputation management. Follow Stuart on Twitter @smindsrt