Search Engine Optimisation, or simply SEO is a buzzword in the world of digital marketing. By definition, it is the process used to improve the quantity and quality of traffic to a web page or a website from various search engines. Though very commonly used in digital marketing conversations, for someone who is probably new to the space, you might wonder about the importance of SEO and ways to use it, if your business is operational from multiple locations.
What are Multiple-Location Businesses?
Businesses – dealers in products and services, operate out of multiple locations in order to be able to service their customer base quickly and efficiently. You are recognized as a multi-location business if:
• You have a few physical stores or locations
• You cater to different parts of the market, even without an actual physical store
Deciding to expand is not an easy decision to make. While there is a prospect of future growth, there are challenges too, namely, the right choice of location, consistency in branding, communication & offering, people, management, etc. While the answers to these questions will help you plan your SEO as a part of the digital marketing strategy, to help augment your online presence across business locations that you are present in. While ensuring optimum visibility for all locations is another challenge to deal with, probably the biggest of them all is that of getting most if not all of your locations at the top of Google search results.
What if we tell you that there is a solution for it – local search optimization or local SEO.
What is local SEO?
As the term suggests, local SEO helps in ensuring that your business comes in top of search results when prospective customers in & around your location are searching for goods and services related to what you have to offer!
What is the Difference between Local SEO and Organic SEO?
The key differentiation between local and organic search is the purpose.
If a user searches for product + location, for instance, “digital marketing agency + Hyderabad,” the search engines know that the query has local intent.
Organic SEO, on the other hand, occurs when there’s no local purpose in the search. The user is looking for information about a specific product or service in general, rather than a specific location. For example, if you search for “the best digital marketing agency,” the search engines will generally show the results and not for a specific location.
Search engines analyze hundreds of factors to rank and index websites in searches, including outbound and inbound links, keywords, and content.
Suppose you are looking to get your multiple-location business to rank locally and organically. In that case, you need to show search engines that your company is the right answer to the users’ queries. To make this happen, your business and products have to be relevant to specific searches.
This is where local SEO for franchises comes into play.
Why is local SEO important?
As it is amply clear by now, local SEO is a great way to market your brand to particular target locations and gain traffic to your site if you have a business based in multiple locations. And to execute this, the search engines need to know & understand the exact address of your company so that your business pops up every time customers search for a location.
Key benefits of local SEO are:
1. Reach your target audience
With each location catering to a different part of the market, integrating your marketing efforts becomes much more challenging. The solution lies in creating individual pages and content for each location, which will help communicate with potential customers in each area better.
2. Get a higher rank in search results
Google and other search engines, when displaying search results, factor in location data. By using local online marketing, you can push up your rankings in search engine results pages (SERPs) and give a boost to your visibility with the local audiences.
3. Expand your reach
As a habit, people looking for information, end up including location (localities, cities, states, regions, countries) when looking up about businesses online. For example, they might search for “butterflies in Madurai” or “restaurants in South Kolkata.” During these searches for goods or services related to your trade, you would wish to see your company appearing in the top search results. Local SEO can help make it happen.
How to do local SEO for multiple locations
With an understanding of the importance of local SEO for your business, let’s take a look at the ways in which you can use local SEO for multiple locations to reach more customers.
1. Competitor research
Understanding the market and evaluating your competition is key for any business. It’s no different when it comes to the effective implementation of SEO for your multiple locations to help you target, draw in and convert more customers.
You can begin with a SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities & threats to get insights and arrive at your unique advantages. Campaign strategy arrived at after thorough research will help connect with your potential customers in a more effective manner resulting in more customers to try and even purchase your goods and services.
2. Use a single domain
While independent domain for each location may be tempting and look like a better footprint but in reality, it’s that much more challenging, almost like handling multiple businesses. With each domain being indexed separately, you will have to put that much more effort, in terms of time and marketing efforts, for each of them to be ranked high in search your marketing efforts (like publishing content and building links) will only affect the domain you publish content on and build links to.
Hence, to get each of your locations to rank well in customer search results, we suggest having one common domain and possibly separate pages for each of your locations. This will enable you to geographically target particular parts of your website without having to maintain and optimize multiple sites.
3. Create location-specific content
In continuation to the previous point, in order to have different locations ranked high in search results, you need to have pages and content unique to those locations, like shop photographs, local events, videos, directions, services offered in each location, and possibly location-specific case studies which in turn provide search engines with more local signals.
4. Claim your listing on Google My Business
Google My Business is a handy option to advertise your business’s multiple locations. It helps you create a business profile for free and connect with potential customers searching for goods and services using Search & Maps. It also lets you manually add new locations. If your business has 10 or more locations, you can use bulk location management to import and manage new locations and bulk verification to verify them.
You can also look at the listing in other directories like Bing, Yelp, and many others popular in your market. Make it a point to add your complete address, contact number, and hours of operation. This can be linked back to respective location pages on your website, helping potential consumers to learn more about your business and the offerings.
5. Focus on building links
The more the number and quality of backlinks you have to your website, stronger the signals to Google about the authority of your website.
To help give your rankings in local search results a boost, you should target earning more authority backlinks from your market/location-specific sites. Engaging with local content creators like bloggers, YouTubers, and reviewers for a service listing or experience review will help. You can encourage reviews through surveys and post-purchase feedback as well. Another way to build local market credibility and earn backlinks from local media is by sponsoring or hosting events, and also keeping them updated about things of importance.
6. Avoid packing your content with keywords
While keywords are important when doing local SEO, it’s equally important to ensure not overdoing it. Content packed with keywords will make for not-so-great reading and might end up violating Google’s quality guidelines which ends up causing damage to your business prospects in the long term.
7. Keep consistency with citations
As a part of the local SEO process when you list your business in the online directories, you must remain your name, address, phone number for each location should remain consistent and in the same order. You don’t want to risk confusing and possibly losing potential consumers.
Consistency also helps register your business location in the minds of the consumers further enhancing business prospects.
8. Schema and structured markup
For starters, Schema.org is a collaborative, community activity with a mission to create, maintain, and promote schemas for structured data on the Internet, on web pages, in email messages, and beyond.
Using Schema.org or any other structured data generators for structured data markup for your address and hours will allow you to describe your content to Google’s search engine crawlers more accurately, increasing the chance that Google understands and thus ranking your content.
Google is always evolving, always updating its search results with the aim of giving users precisely what they are seeking, to become more user-friendly. Local SEO has become an indispensable piece in today’s digital marketing strategies and plans. Even more so when competing with players who try to dominant local Google listings for your targeted keywords.
Want to learn about how local SEO can take your business to the next level? What are you waiting for? Write to us at email@example.com
or call us at +91 984 903 7822 today!