Businesses with multiple locations face unique challenges when it comes to acquiring customers through organic marketing (SEO). Each location may have the same business name, but also needs to appear in local search results as separate businesses.
Before we dive into how to do it, let’s define local SEO.
Local SEO is the process of optimizing a business, product, or service for location-specific keywords on Google. If you were searching for something like ‘dentist in Nashua’ on Google, you may get the below result.
The first 3 results that show up in location-specific searches are called the “local 3 pack.” Google detects that your intent is local and serves the results accordingly. The information available on the local 3 pack, like business name, contact number, location of the business, ratings, and reviews, helps you decide and reach the business you are looking for.
How do you target your audience based on location for a multi-location business? The answer is localized SEO.
Why should businesses focus on local SEO for their multi-location storefronts/offices? Here are a few of the benefits:
Creating a local Google My Business (GMB) listing for each of your locations can further boost your localized performance. Your business also needs a GMB listing to get featured in the local pack – a group of three local business listings that appears in response to search queries for products or services provided by local businesses.
Here is an example of a Google My Business listing:
Reviews are an important factor to consider when you’re optimizing to rank for local results. The total number of reviews and your company’s response to both positive and negative reviews can also help improve your rankings.
It’s a good idea to ask your customers to give a review on your Google My Business listing. These ratings and reviews can also be showcased on the location pages. A good number of positive reviews can help improve customer trust.
When you’re trying to rank for location-specific keywords, your efforts don’t stop after creating a local page and GMB listing. It’s a good idea to create local citations on websites that influence the local market.
When creating citations for your location, it’s very important to make sure you’re consistent in the type of details (name, address, phone number, etc.) for all locations. You can also make use of third-party tools like Bright Local or Synup to manage your local citations if you have a large number of locations.
Businesses need a solid backlinking strategy to improve their local performance. Backlinks are simply links on other websites (other than your own) that link back to a page on your website. Acquiring high authority backlinks, for example from a highly visited website, can boost your performance even if your business is new.
You need backlinks for each of the SEO location pages to improve the ranking of each page. The more backlinks you earn the more likely you boost your rankings.
Backlinks can be built from local blogs, participating in events in the community, and other efforts that get your business featured on local websites. Networking with journalists can also get you involved in events and get published on local websites.
Name, Address, Phone Number (NAP) consistency means your business is consistently listed across all websites. NAP consistency is important because it can improve your search rankings. When search engines crawl the website and find an inconsistency in your NAP, it can hurt the confidence and the rankings.
NAP consistency can easily be maintained by making sure that the details on all websites/directories are the same. You can check this by a Google search of the business name with your city. There are also online tools like Bright Local that can help you with this.
How to measure your SEO performance for multiple locations
The first step in tracking the performance is to identify your goals and KPIs. Although goals may differ from business to business, these are some of the important metrics which can be tracked to measure performance.
The number of keywords that the local pages are ranking for is a good metric to measure the overall performance of those pages. The more keywords, the more organic traffic.
The number of keywords for which the GMB is ranking is an important metric that can help measure the performance of the listing.
You can measure your keyword performance on tools like Semrush or Ahrefs.
Organic traffic brings in users who are looking for a specific service in a location – it’s an effective indicator of your SEO strategy. An increase in organic traffic on your local page means your visibility has increased.
Conversions are the number of these users who have completed a goal on your local page, like filling out a form or making a purchase. These conversions/interactions can be easily tracked with Google Analytics.
GMB impressions are the number of times your GMB appeared on searches. An increase in this number means your listing is getting more visibility and your optimization is working.
One of the main metrics to track on GMB is the number of phone calls generated from GMB. Other metrics which can be tracked on GMB are Google direction actions and Website visit actions by the users.
Both of those metrics can be tracked on the Insights report on GMB.
The health of your website affects the overall SEO of your website. An unhealthy website won’t perform well on search engines and will bring down the performance of your location pages.
Semrush and Google Search Console are both tools that can measure your website’s health and gives you recommendations to improve your site’s performance.
Multi-location SEO is not a quick hit tactic, it’ll take some time and effort for both setup and maintenance. Once it’s in place it’ll boost your local presence and awareness.
To get the best out of your local SEO, multi-location businesses can create pages for each location, optimize them, and create GMB and local listings to boost local awareness. Maintaining NAP consistency and generating positive reviews can also help boost performance.
Do you have any questions on multi-location SEO or any strategy to share? Let us know in the comments below!
What is multi location SEO?
Multi-location SEO is a strategy to optimize a website to rank in search results for different geographical locations. Used by businesses with branches in multiple locations, it involves creating location-specific pages, maintaining consistent Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) information, and optimizing Google My Business listings for each location, aiming to increase local visibility and attract targeted customers.
How do I optimize local SEO for multiple locations?
To optimize local SEO for multiple locations, create unique location-specific pages on your website, ensuring consistent Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) across platforms. Set up and optimize Google My Business listings for each location, integrating local keywords in your content, and build local backlinks by engaging with local communities and businesses. The aim is to provide search engines clear information about your business locations.
How do online reviews influence local SEO?
Online reviews greatly impact local SEO. Search engines consider them in determining rankings, with positive reviews signaling reliability and value. The quantity and diversity of reviews, as well as business responses to negative reviews, also play a role. Additionally, reviews can incorporate local keywords, further enhancing local SEO.
What are the common mistakes businesses make in local SEO?
Common local SEO mistakes businesses make include: inconsistent Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) details across platforms, neglecting their Google My Business listing, ignoring customer reviews, not creating local content, failing to build local backlinks, not optimizing their website for mobile, and overusing keywords, also known as keyword stuffing. Each of these missteps can negatively impact local search engine rankings.
How can backlinks influence my local SEO ranking?
Backlinks significantly influence local SEO ranking. They act as indicators of your site’s value and trustworthiness to search engines, with local backlinks suggesting a strong community connection. However, quality of backlinks matters more than quantity, as high-quality, relevant backlinks can lead to higher rankings in local search results.
How to track my local SEO success?
To track local SEO success, use Google Analytics for monitoring organic traffic and keyword performance. Google Search Console helps understand how Google views your site. Track your site’s local keyword rankings using SEO tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs. Monitor insights from your Google My Business listing and keep an eye on online reviews and ratings. Lastly, check the quantity and quality of backlinks with a backlink checker.