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The Beginner’s Guide To Local SEO for Businesses With Multiple Locations

With 46% of Google searches being for local business information, businesses in today’s tech savvy world need to utilize search engine optimization strategies that are designed to appear in location-based searches to attract new customers. Being one of the top-ranked website in the search result listings is possible through utilizing search engine optimization (SEO) strategies that incorporate keywords revolving around each location, great website designs, and quality local content.

This article is written to provide tips for local SEO for large enterprises and other businesses that operate in more than one location.

Factors Influencing Local SEO Rankings in 2020?

Let’s start by reviewing the top ranking factors for local SEO.  Like the algorithm that governs the national listings, links, content, and a great website experience rein supreme. However, the tactics and details that go into local SEO rankings are slightly different.

  • Use of Location-Based Keywords Within Content
  • Frequency of Content That Includes Names of Cities and States
  • Including Names of Places in Metadata Forms
  • Local links from quality sources
  • Creating a Complete Google My Business Page
  • Business Reviews Across Multiple Review Websites
  • Availability of NAP on Website and its Consistency Across Business Listings
  • Ability to Acquire Sufficient Citations
  • Consistently Generating Interesting Local Content

Why Multi-location Businesses Don’t Rank Well

No location pages

When creating web pages for a business with multiple locations, make sure each of the locations has its own unique, well-optimized, location page that provides users information about that location.

Poor Information Architecture Resulting In Undiscoverable or Buried Location Pages

If Google can’t find your location pages, they won’t index them — and searchers won’t find them. This is one of the primary reasons that most local businesses with multiple locations are not ranking.

  • If your location pages are only available through a search on your site, then Google may not be able to find them.
  • If you’re using a searchable branch finder map, please make sure there are other avenues such as a list of locations assessable by Google.

Poor location page quality

Do your location pages provide the user with everything they need to understand your service or product offerings, and contact your business?

  • Are the opening hours included on your location page?
  • Is there any specific local information a user would need to know?
  • Do they link to other elements of the site that are relevant to this location?
  • Is there a map that shows users where you are located in relation to their location?

Poor overall site quality

Does your local website have enough E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) to rank well. These 3 factors should be your focus when working on your site.  Websites with the most expertise, authority, and trust will more times than not beat their competition. Below are a few things that will negatively impact your SEO E-A-T score.

  • The website over-optimized
  • The website is poorly designed
  • The website is lacking quality content
  • The location pages largely the same, barring a few key details
  • The content well written
  • The site has technical and crawl issues
  • The website is not mobile friendly
  • The website is missing key link signals from other local websites

No local SEO strategy will be completely effective, if the website you’re sending users too is poorly designed or has a bad experience. So remember 97% of consumers check a company’s website before visiting them, and 61% of mobile searchers are more likely to contact a local business if they have a mobile-friendly website – so having a great website experience should be at the forefront of your strategy.

Google Penalties

Google Search Console  will detail manual penalties, but there are many different levels of filtering, and algorithmic penalties that Google uses – it’s rarely a black or white situation.

What Every Multi-location Local SEO Strategy Should Include:

1. On-Page Local SEO Strategy

What Is On-Page Local SEO?

On-page local SEO provides information to visitors and search engines about the location of your business.  The local keywords that you choose to describe your business will help visitors understand the relevance of working with your company, and it will help search engines classify your website.

A Couple Things To Know:

  1. When users conduct local searches, many use the phrase “near me.” It’s become so popular that “near me” searches increased over 500% in the past couple of years. Using these keywords on your page may not hold the weight it used to, but they may still may have some value.
  2. Over 75% of voice-enabled speaker owners use voice search to discover a local company. Thus, optimizing your website for voice search is important even for local businesses.

What to Include on Your Location Page?

  • It’s important for search engines to see your phone number, business hours, and the location of your store.
  • You might also want to include a map of your location to appeal to search engines, and potential customers.
  • Include general information about your business: your company’s logo, the type of business you are running, and the name of your business.
  • Include the reason that a custom should visit your business instead of your competitors business.

2. Google My Business Strategy

What Is Google My Business?

With 56% of local retailers still not claiming their Google My Business listing, having a GMB strategy is important. Since so many users look at Google search results for recommendations, Google has provided an easy way for business owners to outline details about their business.

Google My Business Best Practices

  • Name. Make sure the business name you provide is indeed the exact name of your business.
  • Address. Your business address should be accurate and consistent with how it appears elsewhere on the web (including both your website and external citations).
  • Phone. Your phone number should be a local number that connects people directly with the local store.
  • Website URL. The website URL should be your actual website — ideally, the specific location page with a matching name, address and phone number (NAP).
  • Categories. Ensure you choose the most accurate category first and use the least amount of categories possible.
  • Consistency. For multi-location businesses, keep it consistent from one location to the next.
  • Completeness. Ensure it looks the part and is 100% complete. Include photos and good descriptive copy.

3. Local Content Creation Strategy

What Is Local Content?

Local content has evolved from print advertisements to creating compelling website articles that discuss your company’s role within your community.

With 50% of users visit a store within a day of a local search, getting great local content in front of as many online searches as possible will help increase customers.

In short, local content creation will give your website more opportunities to rank higher than your competitors within the SERPs.

Local Content Creation Best Practices

Come up with a list of local keywords by researching what local users are searching for. Once you have this list apply the relevant keywords to the pages your website already has, the other keywords that are not applied can be used to create content for your blog.

10 Types of Content That Will Help Your Local SEO

  1. How to articles involving local activities
  2. Interviews with local influencers or other business owners
  3. Articles involving local landmarks
  4. Blogs about your staff’s involvement with local fundraisers
  5. Reviews of businesses near your location
  6. Video from local events for your YouTube channel
  7. Articles about history relating to your industry in your town
  8. Articles discussing the neighborhood where your business is located
  9. Video interviews with community members for your YouTube channel
  10. Blogs about your company participating in local events

Here are some additional ideas for blog content.

4. Local Link Building Strategies

What Is a Local Link?

In order to make your website rank high in search results, your site needs to have links that point to it from other blogs, media and publishing websites, and companies.  A local link is a link that is acquired from a local media outlet or business that resides in the same geographic area as your business or store front.

The main benefit of conducting local link building strategies comes with gaining more authoritative links that will help your website rank higher in search results.

Local Link Building Best Practices

Professionals recommend reaching out to a variety of local websites to gain links.

  • You could try contacting your alumni’s website to see if they will mention your business when they give updates about the lives of graduates.
  • Additionally, there are a variety of local directories that might be willing to include your company in their listings, as well as local sponsorship opportunities.

Learn more about local link building here.

5. Citation Acquisition & Management Strategy

What Is a Local Citation?

Citations are just mentions of your business name, phone number, location, and other information used to find your business in the real world, they are not links. While you’re revealing information for customers to find your business, local citations also help search engines with ranking your website in location-based searches.

Local business citations can occur on local business directories, on websites and apps, and on social platforms.

6. Local Listing and NAP Management Strategy

What Is a Local Listing and NAP?

Having a local listing and NAP (name, address, and phone number) is some of the main criteria that search engines take into account when finding relevant websites to satisfy location-based inquiries.

In the United States, there are four primary sources of data for all the major search engines. These primary sources include: Infogroup, Acxiom, Localeze, and Factual. Other companies like Yellowpages.com, Citysearch, and Superpages.com can also be used, but are less reliable.

Listing and NAP Best Practices

List the NAP information for your business on multiple primary directories. These primary directories disseminate their listings to secondary directories – so submitting to 100’s of directories is not necessary or recommended.

7. Business Review Generation & Management Strategy

Benefits of Getting Local Reviews

When you are looking for a way to speak to new customers, working on enterprise local SEO by getting local reviews is the answer.  Reviews display what it’s like to work with your company, and recent data shows that 91% of consumers 18-34 years-old trust businesses with positive reviews. By incorporating reviews into your website, you will be sharing positive experiences with potential customers.

Thanks for reading "The Beginner’s Guide To Local SEO for Businesses With Multiple Locations", by the Linchpin Team in Chicago, Raleigh, and Wake Forest.

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