Understanding how and why to market your multi-location business is an important part of online marketing, especially with the importance of local searches. It is vital to your businesses online health to understand that most internet users make multitudes of specific local searches in order to find businesses of all different kinds. It is up to you to make sure that your business is available when searched for locally.
The Plus of Local Search for Small Businesses
If every restaurant in the world was listed in a "restaurant" search, small businesses would be doomed. The good news is that they are not. A Google search of "burgers in Dallas" brings forth a list of burger locations, articles, and blog posts about the best burgers in the Dallas area, not to mention paid ads for burger joints. The interesting part is that even though I've lived in Dallas my whole life, I've only heard of maybe 3 of the restaurants listed on the first page of Google.
Now, I'm not necessarily a burger connoisseur, but I do love a good burger and have eaten probably more than my fair share. The point is that there is hope for smaller, local businesses to be on the first page of a Google search, even in a big city like Dallas where you might think the bigger names like Red Robin or Five Guys would reign supreme.
The More Complicated Issue
So now that you have some hope to make it to Google's coveted first page, lets say that you are a fairly small businesses in comparison with your competition. Even so you have many locations ranging from Texas, Washington, California, and perhaps Oklahoma. So what do you do to make sure each and every location comes up in their respective local search results?
1. Individual Location Website Pages
On your website you should be listing each respective location with the full address and correct phone number on a local landing page. Getting this right lays the groundwork for the rest of your local search optimization efforts, because it should be the most reliable source of information about your company.
Also be sure you follow Google's guidelines as to what should be on these local pages. Clients should be able to look up your website and verify any information they found elsewhere against your website. In fact, all your listings should include a link back to your home website.
Each location having its own page allows for a unique, optimized URL. This makes it super clear to search engines what is on that page, instead of having Texas and Washington keywords all jumbled up together, making it confusing for customers and search engines alike what information the website page actually holds.
2. Directory Listings
Now that you have that cleared up, you want to branch out from your actual website to ensure that people can find you on sights like Yelp, Google+ Local, Bing, Yahoo! Local, and anything else someone might use to search for your business. Provide as much information on these sites about your business as possible. This means not only having the correct address and contact information, but also forms of payment accepted, correct hours, and products and services offered at that location.
The products and services is highly important as I know that I myself have driven to an out of the way location thinking it would have all the services of a full location, only to find it only offered select services, as it was not a full location. And this was not what I wanted at all. This is extremely frustrating and cost me time and gas. This means be up front with your customers, and make it very obvious what it is they can expect at each and every location.
3. Local Social Media
This is a great way to draw attention to each and every location. LinkedIn allows for you to segment posts based on area so that they are displayed to specific locations, but you could also have different accounts for different locations. This may seem like an overwhelming task, but its almost easier for someone in Dallas to post social media content about Dallas and the location there, than it would be for someone in Oklahoma City to try and find relevant information for all four different states on one platform.
As always, content plays a huge part of SEO, and this goes for local content as well. With multiple pages covering different locations it can be super tempting to just copy and paste the same content to each page. Resist!
Duplicate content has been a big no-no for a while, no matter what page, so don't start now. Keep in mind Google's ever increasing crack down on content quality, and make each location's unique location landing page have just as unique content. This means avoiding merely replacing a few keywords on pages. This strategy is not helpful to clients looking for good information, its lazy, and search engines will catch on to your strategy, cause trust me, everyone's tried it.
5. Mobile Compatibility
Think about it. Are you more likely to search for a Starbucks on your phone or on your laptop? If your out and about and need a caffeine buzz your not going to take the time to pull out your laptop and power it up. Instead, your going to begin your search with your mobile device. The importance of this?
Let's say you really need that coffee pick me up, so you search coffee shops in the local area your in. Now you may gravitate towards the Starbucks, but perhaps your eye is caught by a quaint little coffee shop. You decide to look into the location more to see what menu items they have, and get an idea for the atmosphere, but you click on their website and all you see is distorted images and constant loading.
Your going to get frustrated, and decide to stick with the Starbucks.
If instead you had clicked on the website and it displayed a page that fit your screen, was easy to navigate from your phone, and loaded quickly, displaying all you wanted to know about the coffee shop, this might change your decision about where to get your coffee. Mobile friendly websites are vitally important when it comes to local searches.
Having multiple locations on one website can be a bit daunting at first, but local searches are a great way for small businesses to dominate search engines. If your still nervous about your website, contact us today to schedule a free web presence consultation.