Local SEO for Multiple Locations- How it Works, Benefits & Mistakes to Avoid
March 24, 2017 Rajat Tyagi
Local SEO for multiple locations is the most effective form of SEO where one optimizes a website so that products or services, that it sells or provides, can be easily found on multi-locations in a systematic manner. Local SEO for multiple locations is done with taking care of Google Places, NAP (Name, Address, Phone) and Company and Domain Name.
What is Local SEO for Multiple Locations
Search visibility is the key factor of local SEO. More search visibility leads to higher number of impressions and more impression/ traffic denotes potential customers that may finally direct towards sales.
There are various factors that affect the search ranking signals, but the most significant among them is the local factors. This is a positive approach for small local businesses as large businesses won’t be able to outrank them.
Link building strategy aims for organic search results, paid ads target to generate clicks, but local SEO helps to increase search visibility.
Benefits of Local SEO – Why Local SEO is Important?
You need to please both search engines and your target audiences to carry out a successful local SEO campaign.
- Google and other search engines prefer location based data while displaying the search results. They offer location data along with maps, accurate addresses and other specifications.
- Searchers tend to customize their searches as per the locations- regions/states/cities. For example, people search with keywords such as ‘Italian restaurant in CP’. This is because they are very specific about their interests and demands and want to get a customized search result.
- People are giving more preference to local businesses rather than well-known brands. Consumers want to get the most suitable product/service within a proximity location.
How to do Local SEO for Multiple Locations?
If you are running a business with multiple locations, then it will be a great challenge to maintain the same strong local presence in each of the markets. Here are some tips to run successful local SEO campaign in multiple cities.
SEO Strategy for Multiple Locations:
Maintain NAP Consistency to create Your Identity
NAP stands for Name, Address and Phone Number. NAP data is a pre-requisite for any business that wants to imprint its identity on the web.
Since you need to mention your NAP data on various sites across the web, it is important to maintain consistency. However, you may notice some inconsistencies in your NAP data. When you list your address, there can be variations in spellings like you can write ‘Road’ or ‘Rd’, ‘Street’ or ‘St’, ‘suite’ or ‘ste’, or ‘doing business as’ or ‘DBA’. But when it comes to the company name you need to mention the exact name. For example: If the company name is Kodak Inc., then you will not want it to be spell as Kodak or Kodak Co. Thus, it is equally important to maintain the consistency of data format.
Do remember that search engines such as Google and Bing rely on NAP information for providing accurate and relevant information about any website.
Consistent NAP data helps to create your identity and outrank your competition in local searches, especially for multiple locations.
Choose Subfolder or Subdomain as an Effective SEO Strategy
When trying to figure out a localised online presence for your multi-location business, your first task is to draw an effective strategy. The strategy formation should take into account the nature of your business and the resources you possess.
It will be pretty problematic and hectic to maintain 20 different websites for one business especially if you want to make all of them fully functioning. It goes without saying that you will want them to rank well and now your tasks are multiplied by the number of websites you will have. You have to create 20 different versions of ‘About Us’ page, ‘Service’ page or ‘Contact Us’ page.
Here the role of subfolders and subdomains and why choosing the right option becomes essential:
Subfolders are also popularly known as subdirectories, which are more suitable for businesses that cater to 3-5 locations. It is enough to list down all locations in the main page and get it linked to the respective pages of the localities. It is recommended to create geo-targeted landing pages for each location. They are a good option for the companies with limited resources and man-power to create content for every subdomain.
Subdomains should be your preferable option if you are dealing on a larger scale. If your company is targeting more than five locations, then it is better to create separate domain for each place. For example, if your company (ABC) is serving Paris, then there should be domain named paris.abc.com and optimize it properly. This helps to enhance your local SEO, improve user experience and boost on-site conversions.
Generate Location Specific Pages for Better User Experience
If you are targeting local SEO for multi-locations, it is mandatory to optimize the content for each location. You will have to dedicate a unique URL for each location and that URL should be a part of your website sitemap, so that, search engines especially Google can index it. Your geo-specific content of each page should get some focus on on-page elements, such as heading tags, page titles, localized URLs and so on.
Changing the city name in each geo-specific page will not help you in any way. The content of each page should be unique not only for avoiding duplicacy, but also for providing a more focused and better user experience.
Create Unique Listing for Every Location for proper Indexing
Search engines, Google and Bing, allow to create multiple listings. They recommend creating a unique listing per location and optimize each of them.
Directory listings and Google/ Bing listings that are integrated into the search results are extremely essential for multi location marketing.
There are some major mistakes that businesses commit while creating directory listings. They make duplicate listings, that is, they create more than one listing for the same location. They also create one Google listing in spite of having 20 different locations. They even list their corporate headquarters in Google or Bing. This is considered a wrong practice as businesses generally do not serve customers from their headquarters. So, this neither benefits your customers nor you in local search.
You will get the opportunity to expand the online presence as location listing is usually associated with Google+ account.
Focus on Paid Search to Enhance Online Visibility
We usually relate local SEO with organic traffic, citation-building, directory listings and geo-targeted content, but you should be aware that paid search marketing also plays a vital role. You can surely rely on organic searches, but if you can complement it with paid ads, then you can actually increase your online visibility for local search queries.
You will have to pay for each click, so, you will be able to get quick results with the help of paid search. Your ROI will be determined on the basis of traffic that converts into customers.
While managing local SEO for multi locations, you segment your campaign for geo-targeting and audience-targeting. Include negative filters to exclude demographics who are not likely to buy your products or services. For example: If a restaurant is in Connaught Place, then people around CP or entire NCR region will be interested. But someone who is located outside the city, will not be a target audience for the restaurant. So, you should have individualized approach for each location, which will ultimately help to perform better.
You have to find a suitable key for your business to unlock each and every problem that can arise from implementing local SEO for multiple locations. You will have to treat each location as a separate entity, but you should not narrow your marketing efforts. You should not generalize every market; each market has its own characteristics. You just have to identify your markets – rankings, traffic, and goal completions and optimize accordingly for search engine and users.
Mistakes to Avoid in Local SEO for Multiple Locations
One of the greatest mistakes that arises in local SEO is sticking to the old practices of using ‘City+Keyword’ pages. Many businesses create separate pages for every location, even if they do not have a presence in those locations.
Marketers sometimes make separate domains such as ‘EastCoast-ABC.com’. This creates confusion for the consumers. They are unable to understand whether it is the same site as ‘ABC.com’ or not. This leads to questions with regards to site legibility and reliability.
This even creates issues with SEO best practices. You may end up multiplying your SEO efforts manifold as you have dedicated one domain to one location and each domain needs to be SEO-optimized. Imagine the cost you have to bear for designing, hosting and optimizing multiple domain models. Effective content management will also become difficult.
These challenges will act as a barrier when you will try to successfully implement local SEO ranking factors for multi-location businesses.
If you can contribute more to this topic, you are always welcome.