For businesses with multiple locations, chances are, you're probably already experiencing how challenging it is for your marketing campaigns to make headway. Fortunately, for SEO, there are solutions that can really drive your efforts.
When devising an SEO strategy for your multi-location business, the most important thing to remember is to have foundational SEO practices in place at the local level, before diving into some of the more complex SEO strategies.
Here are 5 strategies to consider when kicking off your SEO campaign at the local level:
#1 Stage a Viking Funeral for Your Duplicate Content
If you have duplicate content on your site/sites, it’s time to purge. Why? Because duplicate content cripples your page authority by forcing search engines to choose which pages they find to be original and relevant. Search engines then cancel out the rest of the pages that have duplicate content on them; thus, lowering the number of pages available to rank. It’s that simple.
#2 Forsake Not Thou Structure
I cannot stress how important structured data is for your multi-location SEO efforts. Investing a little time in creating simple markup in your HTML, allows for search engines to create rich snippets which provide the much needed information for Google, Bing, and Yahoo! to easily crawl, understand, index and differentiate your sites' content so that it can directly appear in search engine results - thus driving MORE traffic to YOUR local websites.
#3 Google+ or Stay Invisible
If you’re not serious about managing and updating your Google+ page, then you’re not serious about SEO, period. It seems like with each passing day Google flexes their muscles a little bit more so that Google+ becomes more influential for SEO purposes.
So what can you do for your local business locations? First, create a “Master Account” Google+ page for your overall business. Then, create individual Google+ Local Business pages for each location, highlighting each location’s unique mailing address, local telephone number, and URL.
Citations are right up there with links and reviews when it comes to Google deciding whether or not to rank your local business in local search engine results. In my opinion, this is some very easy low-hanging fruit that can dramatically increase your local business relevance in search engines.
Most top tier citations are free. However, free citations generally take a little while to show up in search engines. Trustworthy, paid citations on the other hand show up in search engines very quickly and are a great resource for businesses who are looking to promote sales, promotions, and specials.
5# Become a Social Butterfly
Where are your clients...your biggest fans? They're on social media. Whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Google+...the fact of the matter is, your customers/clients/fans are “hanging out” on social media.
Social media is the water cooler of the 21st century. The bottom line is you need to have strong social presence in order to drive each of your local businesses. And why wouldn't you want to have strong social presence? Social media provides the ability to directly market to your customers like no other digital platform.
For more on social media, click here to read our last blog, 3 Things to Know Before Considering a Multi-Location Social Strategy.
Keep in mind these are just a few options; nevertheless, they’re solid ones. In the end, SEO is not a sprint, but rather, a marathon. There is no “silver bullet," especially for businesses with multiple locations. SEO takes time, effort, and the willingness to invest time and resources to make a lasting impact. But, a little investment can also allow your multi-location business to reap huge benefits.
All the best,
Daniel is a Sr. SEO Strategist at Stream Companies, a Philadelphia area advertising agency.