The Ultimate Multiple Location SEO Guide for Franchises

It’s a big job to create an SEO strategy, but it’s even more significant when you have more than one location or franchise. It’s up to you to create an effective local SEO strategy for your business – as well as all of those business locations that you have.

 

That’s where a lot of people tend to feel overwhelmed. Planning and executing a strategy for multi location SEO is not easy, even when you are a local SEO pro. When you’re dealing with more than one location, your options for optimizing local SEO become that little bit trickier. The first key is not to feel overwhelmed by it all. It takes some extra organization and planning, sure, but it’s possible to put together a multi location SEO strategy without coming apart. If you learn the basics of local SEO, you’re already in with a chance of getting this right. With time and effort, you’ll be able to cash in on the customers locally who are ready to start buying from your client.

 

Almost half of all Google and search engine searches are local ones – 46%, to be exact. This means that if you don’t already have local multi location SEO set up for your business, there is a ton of traffic and sales that you could be missing out on. The good news, though, is that with a couple of changes here and there, you could start attracting targeted traffic to your online website. You could also ensure that your local business is the first one showing up for a customer who is ready to purchase.

 

In this guide, we will show you how to do it! Let’s get started!

What is Multiple-Location SEO?

If you are dealing with multiple locations, or your business services multiple areas, you are able to set up your business website in a way that maximizes the user experience while also optimizing search engine traffic. Multi-location SEO refers to the search engine optimization for companies that have more than one location which they want to appear highly in a search online.

 

Online search engines work to customize the search to the user. So, for example: when you have location services on your smartphone switched on, you will be able to locate businesses that are close to you, tailoring your search to your location and bringing you the best options. When a user looks for a particular store or brand, they can find a list of local stores in the search results. This is matched only by the business brand names.

 

Multi-location SEO is also becoming more relevant for those who use voice search, a new trend of asking Siri or Alexa by using terms like “restaurant near me,” and a map or directions pop up to the local store. Whether a business has five franchises or fifty thousand, multi-location SEO will work for them. Think about it: once you search for your local McDonalds online, you’re going to find every single McDonalds in the local area by distance – and if McDonalds can do it, so can you!

 

You may well be questioning whether multiple-location search is right for you, and if this is the case, here are a few things to consider:

  • Do you have more than one store or location for your business?
  • Do you serve more than one area – even if you’re based online?
  • Are you a directory that aggregates local business?

 

If any of these are correct for you, then you could benefit from multi-location SEO. It doesn’t matter how many locations you have; you must present the best accurate information to Google and other larger search engines. This allows the search to give the right location to people who are looking for it. So, with all of this in mind, are you ready to learn about how to do SEO?

 

Let’s go for it!

Page-Building For Each Location

The very first thing to focus on is your site structure for multi-location businesses. There are a lot of people who wonder whether they need more than one website for each business location, but the good news is that no, you don’t. While it may seem like it makes sense to have ten websites for your ten locations, what if you grow to a thousand locations? Would you then build a thousand websites? Probably not, because that’s crazy!

 

Not only is that bad for your business, to have a thousand websites associated with the name, but it’s terrible for your SEO. It’s also bad for your customers, as they’ll become confused with your multiple websites, especially if the information is different on each one. It’s difficult enough for one website to gain enough traffic, never mind thousands of them. It’s too expensive to have more than one website, anyway, and the money you would be paying to keep it live would be too much.

 

You have to have one website that offers the best quality while also providing a page for each location.when you do this, you can achieve one main goal with a multitude of location pages built into your website. When you create multi-location SEO pages for one website, you can have one leading site but a unique URL for each location page for your business. Search engines will tell you that there’s not much difference between the two when it comes to SEO, so don’t waste your time and money creating new websites every time you open in a new location.

What Goes On A Location Page?

At the very least, each of your location pages should contain the following information:

  • Business address
  • Telephone numbers for this location
  • The opening hours
  • A Google Map with the location viewable
  • Anything unique to this location, such as any nearby services
  • A paragraph of content about the location that has keywords embedded based on your location
  • Any directory links that remain relevant

 

Bear in mind that with your location pages, you should avoid duplicating any contact information from other locations. If the text is generic across your location pages, search engines will pick it up as spam. It’s only after you have created your location pages chock-full of interesting information that you should optimize them. For this, you will need:

  • Title tag
  • Meta description
  • H1 tag

 

All of these should include keywords that are specific to your location, and if you ensure that your data is structured to the page, you can tell Google more about the location. There is a data markup helper on Google that can help you to do this.

 

Building separate pages for each location may seem like a lot of work, but there are services out there that can write the content for you and ensure that each page remains unique. Websites will often try to ensure that their home page is ranked for multiple locations, but this isn’t ideal. Each page of your website should be optimized to one thing: you wouldn’t optimize the location for a general services page. You would also get more chances of ranking high in the search engine results pages if you build dedicated pages!

 

No matter what you want to include on your location pages and in your URLs, you should keep your structure tidy and organized so that you can stick to a system that will make sense for your website. All of your location pages should be appropriately indexed by Google and other search engines, and proper structure can do this for you.

Optimizing Location Pages For SEO

Once you have built your pages individually for multiple locations, it’s time to think about that multi-location SEO and optimizing it so that Google and other search engines understand what each page is about. Your brand may have multiple locations, and those individual pages are imperative to your multi-location SEO strategy. These are the pages that will help your local customers to find you, and optimizing these pages will make it easier for your visitors to use them.

 

Local consumers turn to search engines when they want to buy products and services from a local business. During the year, shoppers rely on online search for their seasonal products and research. Even if they plan to go to a physical store, they use search to understand whether local businesses are offering what they need before they visit the store. This isn’t just a seasonal thing during the holidays throughout the year; it’s what people do when they want to know if local businesses can help them. As we mentioned earlier, almost half of all the searches on Google have a local intent. With that in mind, how do you ensure that your location pages are correctly optimized for multi-location SEO search?

Make It Easy

Being the best at local multi-location SEO is not hard, but it does take way more than just creating excellent content. You have to know that the search engines out there will know what your content means. Search engines have to know what your page is about, otherwise it wouldn’t be able to decide whether your page answers a specific question.

Optimize Title Tags

Your page needs to have a title, but you must always ensure that your title tags are optimized with the location. Along with this, you need the name of your business and the main service or product that you offer, too. This ensures that your users know what you are offering the minute that they come onto your page.

Optimize The Meta

While meta descriptions won’t impact the search ranking directly, it doesn’t mean that you should slack on it. Search engines always show the snippet previews of what a website is going to offer, and if you aren’t ensuring this is optimized content, then people will go elsewhere. This is the content that will draw in the users, so write it well and keep that location keyword in there.

Don’t Forget URL Structure

Your URL structure is going to have a big impact on your local search engine status. Always use the parent domain with the location pages to create smooth website URL’s that the search engines will like. Multi-location SEO requires you to do this for each location page.

Slip On Header Tags

Header tags on your website are like titles that will help you with your page content organization. They’ll allow you to communicate the main topics on the page – much the way we’ve used them in this article! Any keywords you have that are location specific must be included in both the meta descriptions and your titles.

 

Each of these hints will keep your multi-location SEO in line and working for your business, allowing people to find your business information from wherever they are.

Optimizing Your Page Content For All Locations

Adding content to each location page is essential – especially after you’ve done all your title tags and your descriptions. Content is absolutely crucial here, as this is what will draw in the customers and get them interested in you – it’s how you sell your business to them. Content is going to make them feel emotional about your business, and if you make the content specific to the location you’re in, you’re going to be talking about the areas in which the customers are most interested. They will be able to get to know your services that you are offering; they’ll get to learn that the FAQs that they may have will be covered, and they can view images of the storefront and the local area.

 

Some businesses even like to add in local information for guests visiting the area. Lastly, a savvy business will add location details a little more clearly. Six specific categories should be included in each of your multi-location SEO location pages, and you need to consider each of these points when you are optimizing your content.

 

Each strategy is valuable on its own, and when you use them together, you have a powerful location page optimized with multi-location SEO and ready to impress the customers on your website. Let’s take a look!

Contact Information

You are writing location pages and optimizing them for multi-location SEO, so it stands to reason that you would include a name, address, and phone number on that page. An excellent way to improve your multi-location SEO is to ensure that you are listing all the relevant information when it comes to locating your business physically. 

 

Search engines pick up on the name, address, and phone number for every business, and it’s done in a way that relates to the location of the person searching for the business in the first place. It then links that data together and voila, the person can find the business. It’s essential that you have this information displayed clearly on your business website so that it’s readily accessible to be used in Google’s cross-referencing. 

 

You should ensure that you have a separate web page detailing all of the locations for your business alongside all of those individual pages. This way, you can hyperlink each website to the main listing page, with the contact details easy to find.

Make Your Site Multi-Dimensional

If you have a long list of locations for your business, it makes sense to have those individual location pages created for your site. Your main website is your main port of call for your customers, but when they want something more location-specific, they will be able to find the right page via an embedded link on your homepage. When you do this, you can tailor the pages to their locations, as we’ve mentioned earlier, and allow the search engine to access it for the front end user of the search. When you do this, you enable the search engine to provide the user with more individualized search results. Once again, hyperlinks will help!

Google Map It

One thing that all customers appreciate is a visual aid. If you are adding in an embedded Google Map to the location of your business, you are ahead of the game as this is a pretty new approach that companies are taking to show their audience where they are based. It’s an excellent way to optimize the location, as when the keywords are typed in by the user, they will cross-reference with the user’s location. 

 

Adding a Google Map will make it easier for consumers trying to find you, and when the customer uses it, search engines pick up on that. This will increase your traffic over time and ensure that people are able to find your business, too. 

Get Verified With Google

Did you know that the Google Search platform allows you to verify your business and your location? You can do it via Google Places, and this will enable your company to appear higher on search result listings than you would have before. It’s a very useful way to improve your multi-location SEO and gain some popularity online. Of course, you can get this verification opportunity with more search engines than just Google, and you should consider that you can use it across all of these search engines to further increase traffic and all the other benefits.

Add Your Hours Of Business

On every single location page, you need to include your business hours. It may not seem important for this information to be listed, but it’s going to aid in multi-location SEO if you do. It offers another tool for search engine optimization to do more with searching any given topic. If your customer is looking for your service but generically searches “_____ business open after 7pm” then you want your business to be able to show up if it’s also open that late. When you add the business hours, the search engines will pick up on it and bring about the most accurate results.

Don’t Forget To Add Images

Every website is there to appeal to the customer and you can do this better when you have added images to the website. A well-taken, well-placed image can bring the customer in as well as a delicious looking pizza could! You want to welcome your customer in and give them something to enjoy when they are looking at your website. You can also include other keywords that are multi-location SEO specific so that you pop up on the right search results at the right time.

 

As they scroll across the image you have provided, they’ll be able to identify what the product or service on offer is. Images added to the website are far more likely to to entice the customers to come to your pages than any other website, so you can’t afford not to add images!

Spread The Word With Google My Business

Once you have built your websites pages for each location, you need to think about spreading the word. After all, you didn’t spend time putting them all together for no one to find you. What you need is a Google My Business listing. Google My Business is a service by Google to help you control how your business appears on the search engine and on maps. You get the chance to take control of your Google presence and how you appear online.

 

For each of these listings, you need the business name, address, phone number, hours and website included. A part of Google My Business is also categorizing your business appropriately so that the search engines will ensure that your business comes up during a location search. It’s the perfect tool if you have multiple locations, as you can use one account across all of them without having to constantly move between more than one. You can even use the Google My Business Spreadsheet to upload your locations simultaneously as there is an import tool. Always check it before you upload, though, as you wouldn’t want to mess up your multi-location SEO strategy if you’ve made a mistake on one of the websites. Some of the tips that you need for Google My Business listings include:

 

  • Link all your locations to the main website page. 
  • You should have the location phone number listed for each individual Google My Business listing rather than the main business telephone number.
  • Make sure that you include the business name across every listing – but not other city or locations in the name.
  • Don’t select too many categories from the list provided and make sure that every category that you choose is consistent across all of your listings. 

 

Doing this gets your Google My Business listings ready to go and when they are, you can spend time ensuring that you create listings that will sit on other third-party websites. For example, Google has Google My Business, but Bing has Places for Business and Yahoo has Yahoo Local Listings. You can start here, and add Yellow Pages and Yelp along the way. Facebook even has business listings where you can be found online by your customers. There are plenty of places that are industry-specific where you can list your business, and a simple search online will help you to find this. Yelp is a major online business directory, and it’s definitely a place to start!

 

One thing to remember though, is that you shouldn’t create too many listings. Hundreds of listings won’t help you too much and can actually oversaturate your business image and make you harder to find, particularly if the search engines decide you are spamming! Google does pay attention to whether your business information is consistent. When you vary your information from listing to listing, you look less than trustworthy in Google’s eyes. It’s so much easier to monitor and update your business information when you only have a small number of business listings to manage.

Finally, when people talk about your business online there is a chance that they can provide information that will ultimately hurt your business if the information is misleading or not accurate. This alone can hurt your multi-location SEO strategy, even if it’s not your fault. So, you need to ensure that you are Googling your business regularly to learn what people are saying about you and what reputation you have. If you noticed any incorrect information posted online about your business, you need to contact the site straight away and ensure it’s changed so your SEO isn’t harmed.

Make Your Listings Local

How many local directories does your business have? You need to ensure that you are listed within them, as without those, you won’t have as much visibility with your multi-location SEO. You should ensure that your local business listings hit all the popular sites for your business niche, and your information is as accurate as possible. Your name, address and phone number should be included and when Google sees their presence, it’s a positive signal for SEO.

 

The thing is, Google can often pull out inaccurate or outdated details on your name, address and phone number from other aggregator websites. The best thing to do is to manage your contact information and how it’s presented online.

Get As Many Reviews As You Can (For Each Location)

When you are looking for a break online, do you go for the website of the hotel or do you look to review websites to get the opinions of real people who have been there? Yep – the reviews website wins out every time! In fact, 85% of customers prefer to look at what online reviews say over what a business has to say about itself. Reviews are important: it’s the real experience and opinion of someone who has used a business.

 

When you feature these on your location web pages, you are going to have a better chance of being found in the search engine results pages. They are a key part of maintaining your business reputation, but it can be hard to get the feedback you need that is location specific. So, wht you need to do is include calls to action in your pages. These can encourage customers to leave reviews and feedback. The best thing that you can do is just ask

 

Approach your customers who have bought from you and ask for the feedback to be posted about your business. Even bad feedback gives you a public chance to respond, which looks good on your business. Customers are much more likely to leave immediate feedback if they’ve had a good experience, so pay attention to that, too!

 

Printing review requests on receipts and following up online purchases with an email asking how you did is going to help with encouraging your customers to leave you a review. You can do this with a discount incentive for another purchase in return for a review – whether it’s good or bad. As mentioned earlier, you get the chance to respond to reviews and if you have someone looking after your reviews online, monitoring negative ones that come in, all the better. When you handle a negative review, you can boost your brand as one that is willing to be wrong and willing to make changes if necessary – it’s excellent customer service!

 

When you are dealing with multiple locations, it’s easy to lose track of them. Have your reviews monitored and tracked so that you stay on top of it. Multi-location SEO has a lot of depth, and reviews can make all the difference.

Track Your Data

The very last point that you need to know is that tracking your data on the search engine results pages is going to make a big difference to your multi-location SEO. You’ll be able to see whether your locations are ranking well or not. As part of your strategy, you can then improve which locations need extra help with their optimization.

Conclusion

When you follow this strategy for your multiple-location SEO, you can rank better online and improve how many customers you have. Local SEO for more than one location isn’t too different from doing it for one place – the principles are the same, it’s just more work to get it all done!

 

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