Local SEO can be tricky for businesses with multiple locations. Knowing how to get each location to rank on local searches can drive a lot of traffic to your business and give a boost to your overall SEO efforts.
There are two basic steps to this process, listing each location separately in directories and creating individual pages for each location on your website.
In each case, making sure your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) info is correct is crucial to local SEO rankings.
We’ve put together some best practices to get the most from your business’s directory listings and location pages.
Local SEO Directory Listings
In order for each of your business’s locations to show up in local search engine results, they’re going to need to be listed individually.
When someone searches for a business in a specific location or for a nearby business, search engines use NAP info provided by directory listings to supply this information.
If one of your locations is at or near the area but doesn’t have its own listing, it won’t show up in a search. To avoid this, list each location separately.
Here’s a list of the top 100 directories. We recommend you concentrate on the top 50 directories - that should be enough for search engines to draw good data.
For each location’s listings, the NAP info will need to be identical to avoid confusing your customers and search engines. Here are a few guidelines to follow when listing these businesses:1. Make sure that the business name is exactly the same in each listing. If the name is even slightly different, search engines will assume that each version is an independent business and any SEO juice will be lost.
2. Each location should have its own phone number. This number should link directly to the location. It’s ok to use call tracking numbers here, as long as the number is different for each location.
3. Each location’s listing should be identical across directories. The NAP info should be exactly the same in each directory, or you lose the SEO benefits. For example:
123 Fake St.
Cityville, TX 12345
123 N. Fake St.
Cityville, Texas 12345
Search engines will see these two listings as two different businesses, and you won’t get any SEO juice from having multiple citations.
Each location’s listing should appear identically in every directory. Any variation in name, address, or phone number for a location will mean a loss of SEO juice, lowering your SERP ranking and your bottom line.
Take a Picture, It’ll Last Longer
Each location’s listing should have unique photos of the business as well. Take multiple pictures of both the interior and the exterior and add them to each listing.
This will give your customers an idea of what your business looks like (and what they should be looking for), and it provides search engines with images to use in SERP results (don’t forget the alt image tags!).
Google My Business (Google+) is especially important for SEO, so having a separate listing for each location there is essential. The larger your circles in Google+, the more credibility Google gives to your business, so community building in Google+ can pay huge dividends.
Try posting about local events, local teams your location supports (always a good idea!), and post pictures of locals enjoying themselves at your business.
This will encourage the community to engage with your business in this space and increase your authenticity to Google.
Don’t forget to remind your customers about your Google+ page while they’re in your store!
Monitor Comments and Reviews
Many directories offer customers a chance to leave comments or reviews of your business. This means that you’ll need to have someone monitoring these listings regularly.
Monitoring provides you with an opportunity to respond to bad reviews and address any issues (make it right!), and search engines also use reviews and ratings for SEO.
With the addition of some schema markup, you can add reviews to your SERP results rich snippets, drawing the viewer’s eye to your listing with images (star ratings) and encouraging their business with positive reviews.
Each listing should contain a link to the appropriate location page on your website as well. This will add inbound links to your SEO juice and provide customers with more information about your business and its locations.
If you keep the NAP info identical across directories for each location, you increase your SEO efforts and make it easier for your customers to find your business.
The second part of this process involves creating individual pages for each of your business’s locations. These pages are where your listings should link to, and will act as landing pages for any location specific search results.
For internal website linking to provide access to these pages from anywhere on your site, you should have a Locations menu tab with a dropdown submenu containing all of the location pages listed individually.
These pages should be optimized around the location keywords in addition to your other keywords, and they should contain original content (don’t copy and paste content from another location’s page) and images. The NAP info should be here as well, exactly as it appears in the directories.
Include Location Info with the URL and Meta Data
The URL of each page should mention the location. For example:
The Meta description should include the city and state as well, and putting it in the title is a good idea, too. Also, use the city and state two or three times in the text as a keyword to reinforce the title and URL.
The NAP info should be listed here as well, exactly as it appears in the directories. The preferred place would be next to the embedded Google Map of the location. Speaking of which…
Embed a Google Map on Each Location Page
It’s always a good idea to give your customers directions. Embedding a Google Map on each location’s page is an easy way to do this. Just follow these easy steps:
- Look up your location on Google Maps by typing the address in the search bar on the top left of Google Maps.
- Click the Share button on the left side info window.
- A Share link/Embed map window will appear. Select Embed map.
- <iframe src> code will appear in the box. Copy and paste this code into the page’s HTML in the appropriate place.
- Sit back and enjoy the many benefits of having an embedded Google Map on your location page!
Add Original Content
Each location’s page is going to need original content in order to have a positive impact on SEO. Simply copying and pasting your About page is going to get you penalized by search engines.
Don’t panic! There are some easy ways to get this content.
- Write about the local area here. Describe your location and mention some local landmarks - “We’re right by the Piggly Wiggly!”
- Promote local events and location-specific specials.
- Include a bullet-point list of location specific products or services.
- Use pictures from the location on this page. Show locals having fun!
If you want to get noticed locally, become a part of the community. Write about local events on your website and social media, share pictures of locals enjoying themselves at your locations, and support your community. Your community will support you back!
You can incorporate schema markups in your HTML to help with local SEO. Schema markups will highlight NAP info, hours, payment types, and more (for search engines only, the code does not change the look of the site).
This makes it easier for the search engines to identify the information and associate your business’s location with a geographic area.
If you’re not already using schema markups on your site, you need to be. Not only does it help with local SEO, but it’s necessary for rich snippets, rich cards, adding ratings to snippets, and plenty of other great ways to get your business noticed in a SERP.
NAP info correctly listed in directories adds SEO value to your business that you just can get anywhere else. Make sure your locations all have separate directory listings and web pages - search engines and your customers will take notice.
Getting this info correct will have a tremendous impact on your business’s local SEO results and on your business's bottom line.