People have this assumption that big brands and businesses always have the best rankings. This may be true for some, but when it comes to using non-branded keywords and search queries, this is simply not the case. Streamlining individual marketing programs may prove itself to be rather difficult, especially when working with multiple locations, as each market caters to a specific, often different demographic. That said, here are some tactics and strategies you can use to achieve a high ranking for multiple locations at once.
Always Use one Single Domain
Managing 20 different websites for a single brand or business can be time-consuming and rather expensive. As each domain is indexed separately, you have to optimize each and every one of them in order to achieve a good ranking. And to do that, you would have to create 20 different about, contact, terms of service pages, etc. Using a single domain and subdomains or subfolders makes a lot more sense, especially when you have to geo-target only a specific part of your website. By doing that, all the URLs you have for content which isn’t geo-targeted remain the same.
Create Separate Pages for all Your States and Cities
Ranking each target market high in the search engine results page is virtually impossible unless you create and optimize content for each and every one of your locations. This means that each location must have a unique URL and each URL and the pages that come with it need to be included in the sitemap. This allows for search engines such as Google and Yahoo to index your content properly, which is one of the requirements for search engine optimization.
Notice how this website has a different page for every location on the footer, including the map location.
Furthermore, making a separate web page for each of the locations allows for better optimization of the elements on said pages. These include localized URLs, headings, page titles, location-specific content, etc. Have in mind that this “location-specific content” needs to be unique for every location, otherwise Google and other search engines might penalize your website for duplicate content and won’t feature it at the top of the search results. This is particularly important if you feature any product or service reviews and testimonials, as you mustn’t have the same review made by the same person used for all of your locations.
Don’t Neglect Directory Listings
If done correctly, the amount of value they provide for your business is incredible! There are numerous city listing directories available at the moment, but if you were to use only one for your business, then Google+ Local might be the right choice for you. Formerly known as Google Places, Google+ Local allows users and businesses to create one specific listing per phone number. Just make sure you read through the Google’s guidelines and policies to be absolutely positive that your locations actually meet Google’s requirements.
One of the best things that come from using Google+ Local is that all the details of your listing are included in the search results, which results in an increased visibility when it comes to locally relevant search queries and keywords. Not to mention that the listings are tied to your Google+ profile, which were recently combined with YouTube accounts, which provides you with an added level of visibility. Of course, there are other directory listings online which you can use, just remember to keep those directory listing records properly maintained at all times, to avoid any problems in the future. You can take a free scan online to see how your business is listed across directories. Once you’ve known that, you can create new business listings on niche and other popular directories.
Always Maintain and Update your Citations
NAP consistency in your citations is extremely important for good, multi-location SEO. NAP stands for name, address and phone number, and maintaining these three simple pieces of data, as well as the format in which they are presented is a trait of a good SEO practice. Although Google is quite capable of resolving minor inconsistencies with your NAP data, it’s still considered a great business routine to have this data formatted using a certain standard. Also, it is very important to have the right NAP for each of your business location.
Schema markups and structuring data allow you to add special tags to your content. This helps Google and other search engines to extract the information it needs and display it in the search engine results page. Although this practice doesn’t help with boosting your website’s rank, it provides a greater click-through rate, which results in bigger revenue over time. The traditional search results all display the information in following the order: page title, URL and a description of the content on that page. Schema markup allows business to display more information in the results, by tagging specific parts of the content.
Optimizing your website for multiple locations boils down to treating each and every page as it were a stand-alone website. Markets differ from each other; some need an extra push while others fare well on their own. But by treating pages individually, you have the opportunity to analyze the performance of those locations and easily identify the ones that require additional help in terms of goal completion, ranking and traffic. Geo-tagging not only results in more visitors but can lead to an increase in conversion rate and in turn, an increase in revenue.