What is local SEO and how to do it… well

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.

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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.

What are the benefits of local SEO?

Why should businesses focus on local SEO for their multi-location storefronts/offices? Here are a few of the benefits:

  • Helps improve their local presence
  • Improves local customer acquisition
  • It boosts leads, conversions, and revenue

How to optimize multiple locations for local SEO

Create and optimize separate pages for each location

It’s important to have separate pages for each location – targeting different location keywords on the homepage is not going to work out for your business.

These separate, location pages should have location-specific information like name, address, and phone number (NAP). Strongly recommend these pages also have an embedded map of the business location.

We also recommend that you continue to optimize the page, including more location-specific information like hours of operation, services offered in that particular location, etc. Adding a local schema to the page can also boost its performance.

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Add and Optimize your locations on Google My Business

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:

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Build and showcase reviews

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.

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Create local listings for each location

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.

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Build backlinks for each location page

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.

Maintain NAP Consistency on all citations

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.

Keywords and ranking

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.

Traffic to the local pages and conversions

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.

Impressions and phone calls from GMB

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.

Website health

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.

In conclusion

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!

Nikhil Ashok

September 14, 2022

By Nikhil Ashok