On-Page And Off-Page SEO Strategies For Multi-Location Businesses
Let’s do some reality check. Majority of search engine marketers and SEO professionals work on local SEO projects. Indeed, local SEO can be considered the bread and butter of most SEO agencies regardless of where they are located in the world. In the US, particularly, more than 50% of all businesses can be put under the category of small businesses. Essentially, what this means is that all marketing campaigns and resources are limited to a certain locale or geographic region. This could entail marketing in a huge city such as Dallas, Texas or a small one such as Naperville, Illinois. This type of SEO is pretty straightforward. All the meta data of your webpages must be optimized using geo-modifiers to ensure that the content includes the target cities. With just a few tweaks, you can enhance the effectiveness of your local SEO campaign and drive targeted traffic to your site. But in the world of SEO, things aren’t always as smooth sailing. There might be instances in which we have to deal with large brands that have several branches across the country. As search engine marketers, the opportunity of working with big companies and popular brand names is something we cherish. However, working with larger clients requires more complicated marketing campaigns as well. Contacting a national SEO marketing expert or company who can assist with your multiple location strategies could be a huge benefit.
So how can you optimize an SEO campaign for a company with multiple locations across the country? This requires a strategy that works on the national level, something that is very different from the local SEO strategies we have grown accustomed to. This resource is broken down into two categories: on-page and off-page optimization.
On-Page SEO Strategy
Things might get a little tricky here. The authority of the brand has a tremendous influence in your overall on-page SEO strategy. The following are two ways to proceed:
To be qualified under this category, you must ensure that the business has been running for several years and that the brand is fairly well known. This doesn’t mean that the business should be as popular as Starbucks. You just have to ensure that people and search knows that your business exists and that you serve customers in several different locations. By having such great authority, you can just set up a location specific page on your site, such a drop down menu with a link to your “Locations” page. This is a very common method used by plenty of multi-location businesses. In terms of on-page SEO, this is one of the most critical things your site must have. It’s unnecessary to have your service pages geo-targeted. This is because search engines are smart enough to determine that you have multiple branches. Gold’s Gym and 24 Hour Fitness are just two examples of companies that employ this strategy. They have several locations but their services pages are not geo-targeted.
If your multi-location company just opened recently, you may not have an established brand yet, which means search engines would find it more difficult to figure out whether you’re serving customers from different locations. For this reason, you may have to create geo-targeted landing pages for each product or service you offer. This can be achieved by setting up subdomains (dallas.yourwebsite.com) or subdirectories (yourwebsite.com/dallas). Personally, I recommend using subdirectories as they offer a stronger impact on your overall SEO campaign compared to subdomains, which are essentially new websites in the eyes of search engine crawlers.
Regardless of the approach you take, you must ensure that the content on all the mini-location websites should be specific to the target cities and unique. This doesn’t mean they should be completely unique, but it’s best to make certain that your website doesn’t have any duplicate content issues. Essentially, your goal is to create different websites for each location you need to target. This entails a lot more work particularly when it comes to web design, but this strategy allows search engines to have an easier time figuring out all the locations you want to target for your campaigns.
Off-Page SEO Strategy
Off-page SEO is relatively more straightforward as there’s no need to restructure your website.
Make Google+ Profiles For Each Location
This will remind you of your local SEO strategy, as you would have to claim all Google+ profiles for all the branches of the business. The Google Places guidelines states that a different Google+ profile can be claimed for each business that has a different physical address. This also allows Google to recognize that your company has several locations because each one has been verified through a PIN postcard. For multi-location businesses, this strategy is simply a must. By not claiming all your Google+ profiles, you are not allowing Google and other search engines to know that you serve multiple locations.
Set Up Separate BBB Listings
Both online users and search engine crawlers place great trust in the Better Business Bureau. Each business location must have their respective BBB listing. This is another factor used by search engines to determine that each location has a distinct identity. The main reason behind this is that customers review the specific location of the business they have transacted with, so it’s necessary to create separate BB listings for different locations for more effective branding and improving conversions.