Is there a difference with Optimising you online presence with Multi-Location Businesses?
Does your business happen to have a number of locations in the same community or in the region?
Well, believe it or not, each and every one of those storefront locations should be serviced online with their own specific SEO identity.
Sure, it may sound a lot easier to broad brush your brand by saying there are a dozen locations in the greater Tweaksbury area, but with smartphones and even smarter shoppers, you need to make each location easy for them to locate.
This is where Local SEO can be your best friend in business.
Here are a few reasons why.
1 – The Importance Of Local SEO
Okay, we just gently touched on that. The idea behind local SEO for businesses with multiple locations is this: local search visibility is the goal. How exactly does it matter if you’ve got 15 other storefronts in the same general region?
Well, it matters quite a bit especially for customers who will actually search online to find the storefront that is either the closest to where they live or where they intend to travel today to take care of other personal errands. Being able to find your business on X Street when walking down X Street with a smartphone or tablet in hand will get that customer into your X Street location.
That’s the stripped down version.
2 – What If Your Local Stores Don’t Show In Searches?
Well, this can happen but it is easy to remedy if you put some effort into it. The problem may stem from how your brand is being promoted as a blanket part of your many locations rather than your many locations are each sharing your brand. In other words, the individual locations require unique attention that sets them apart much like their street addresses.
There are ways to do this and they include:
Unique Location Pages On Your Website
You read that correctly. If your stores carry X Brand, then each of your 15 stores should have their own, distinct page on your website. Yes, it means your website will increase in size by no less than 15 pages.
But look at it this way, not only will each of your store locations gain an individual page that can focus on their specific storefront, your website footprint just got bigger as well.
A larger footprint is going to help your entire web presence so it is a win/win.
The Unique Location Pages Have To Be Discoverable
Even though you have gone to the trouble of expanding your website to allow pages for each of your storefronts, the pages need to be found by Google. The extra pages won’t be much good to those searching online for them if the only way they can access them is through your existing website. The individual pages have to be Google-friendly so they will be indexed. Once they are indexed, customers will be able to see them in searches.
Keep The Quality Up For These Pages
Here’s where you really need to avoid a cut ‘n’ paste approach. Just because all 15 of your stores have all the same things in them does not mean each of their web pages should be identical except the street address, email and phone number. For these pages to be effective for the individual stores, they need to stand out from each other in some unique manner. Even a small bit of information local to each location can be helpful. Street photos, staff photos, a map and anything else that will make the page for Location A appear somewhat different to Location B is going to get these pages noticed by the search engines and easier to locate by customers.
Speaking Of Quality, The Website Needs It Too
It’s great to have a massive web presence with lots of pages and content that says everything you want to have said.
However, does that make your website cluttered, clunky and just overall difficult to use? There is a fine line between functional and fouled up and a good SEO expert will be able to direct the progress to a place where your website will get ranked.
They can help with the individual location pages ensuring that they comply with good SEO practices and each get ranked accordingly. A poorly constructed website is a lot like a condemned building. After awhile, no one will go near it.
Stay Out Of The Penalty Box
This is where it gets a lot more complicated. Google has a lot of guidelines related to good SEO practices. The best way to keep your website from earning any kind of penalty – which will severely impact ranking and traffic to your site and pages – is to have an expert on the job monitoring the situation. SEO is more of a science now than it ever has been in the past.
3 – Local Business Locators
You have a great tool at your disposal in Google My Business. This freebie allows you to create unique map locations for each of your storefront addresses. If you are not using this tool, you really should. There are some basic guidelines you must follow but once your business(es) are plotted on the Google Maps system you will be able to do a lot of local SEO with them. However, you will need to focus on keeping the information unique to each storefront. This includes: business name, street address, phone number, and website URL (here’s where you can direct traffic just to the individual page for this specific storefront location). When you add a category, make it relevant to the business, keep your basic information consistent from one location to the next and don’t leave anything out that may be of use to a potential customer.
4 – Content That Is Local In Flavor
Again, it has to be stressed that for multiple store locations the content used in conjunction with each has to be as unique as your fingerprints. The content here not only serves to set one store location apart from another but it will make your customers find a specific location easier. If two storefronts of yours are located on X Street, you need to differentiate one from the other. There are many ways to do this. Local content that helps individualize your storefront locations may include such things as testimonials, local neighborhood news, photo galleries of the store and local area and even links to local clients of note. Your goal here is to help someone who has never been in any of your store locations find each one with ease and without confusing one for another one.
5 – Don’t Ignore The Power Of Reviews
One excellent way to have local feedback is to provide an outlet for, and to accept customer reviews. Sure, this is often a sore spot with some business owners because the reviews may not always be positive. In actual fact, if the negative reviews are public and you respond to them publicly, it shows you have interest in trying to please your customers. And, yes, you can’t please everyone. However, the good reviews will outweigh the not-so-good but you can still leverage them to work in your favor. The point is, by giving customers an outlet to communicate about your business, they become local champions of your business. Happy customers will actually talk about your business in ways you could not afford to advertise. Reviews are like that. They show your business as being what it is. Hopefully that message is one of integrity and honesty.
Local SEO can be your best marketing tool if you have multiple storefront locations. But in order for them to work properly you need to use the tools available for individualizing your business locations. You may know where all your stores are, but not all of your customers will. With so many people relying on smartphone technology to find what they are looking for when out shopping, you need to act on this to be part of it. For a better handle on all the details that need to be met to keep your individual storefronts in front of those searching online for your service, a SEO expert is a good business investment.