SEO strategies for multi-location businesses
Marie Turner, SEO specialist at Vertical Leap, looks at some of the most important SEO strategies for building search visibility across multiple locations, driving real business from local search and making local SEO more manageable.
Vertical Leap on how companies with multiple locations can boost their local search presence
Build catchment areas with sub-location pages
As a multi-location business, you want to reach customers within a certain radius of each business premise, not only in the immediate area. Unfortunately, the November 2021 local search update – nicknamed by some as ‘the vicinity update’ – made this more difficult by prioritizing local results within a smaller radius of users’ locations. This means businesses have to be physically closer to user locations to show in local results.
To help combat this, you can build catchment areas by creating sub-location pages. For example, one of our self-storage customers in Portsmouth wanted to attract customers from the surrounding area, so we created sub-location pages for Fareham, Havant, Cosham, Waterlooville and Emsworth.
With these pages, we can provide visibility for our customers in the areas around their nearest business location. These pages generate a low volume of leads but the purchase intent is much higher than average and competition is lower, making them valuable high-ROI leads.
Drive business with localized content
To maximize the visibility of each business location, you need to produce a regular supply of localized content for each of them. This includes a mix of optimized location pages and regular blog content, which we produce with the following six steps:
Create a localized landing page (or set of pages) for each business location
Insert landing page content from a boilerplate template
Insert location names and local keywords
Add business location details, such as an address, phone numbers, opening times or Google Maps embed
Add unique content about the specific location to each page
Publish regular localized content for each location
Localized content is generating ~400% ROI for some of our multi-location customers through direct bookings. Crucially, we’re able to automate most of steps 1-5 and create thousands of sub-location pages to build highly-targeted catchment areas and expand our customers’ local search presence.
This frees up more time for us to concentrate on publishing regular localized content.
Differentiate your business locations
To boost the performance of each business location, you need to look at the competitors in your area and find ways to differentiate. Each location produces different business rivals, which brings unique challenges and opportunities to take into consideration.
We routinely analyze the local landscape for our customers, including any changes made to their competitors’ Business Profiles (opening hours, services, accessibility).
For example, analysis for one of our multi-location customers discovered three unique characteristics from the other companies ranking for the same local keywords:
It was the only one in the area offering 24-hour access for customers
It had more on-site parking than local alternatives
It had a covered loading bay to protect items on rainy days
Once we’re aware of these USPs, we can promote them to win customers our clients’ rivals can’t compete for. We start by ensuring each characteristic is mentioned on their location page and Business Profile.
This provides visibility for anyone specifically searching for these characteristics, and Google even shows relevant information in local listings.
Build long-term website authority and growth
To build long-term authority and growth, you need to develop a link-building strategy that earns backlinks from quality, relevant sources. Location is an important factor in the relevance of links for location pages and links from local news outlets, publications and other established sources in each area.
Here’s an example of one of our strategies for a multi-location business:
Content quality: Produce high-quality, in-depth content for each business location.
Localized content opportunities: Our analysis found opportunities in detailed moving guides for people relocating homes, including sections on the best things to do in their new area, important contact details (local council, police) and other information to help with the move.
Build content clusters: Publish shorter pieces of localized content exploring related topics to your in-depth pieces.
User questions: Publish shorter, localized pieces addressing the questions your target audience asks in search on your Google Business Profile.
Internal linking: Build internal links to your location pages from relevant pages and posts on your website.
Update content: Update existing content, expand with more detail and add more value over time.
Audit: Combine pages competing for the same keyword and remove pages gaining no traction.
Earning quality links for local SEO takes time, especially when you’re promoting multiple locations. Shortcuts are generally short-lived in this game, so prioritize your most important business locations and accept that this is a long-term strategy.
To supplement your link-building efforts, integrate PPC campaigns into your search marketing strategy and use location targeting in social media campaigns to build brand awareness and brand searches that cut out the competition and generate direct traffic.
For a more comprehensive look at how we manage SEO for multi-location businesses, take a look at our guide (PDF): SEO and content strategies for multi-location businesses.
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