As a pillar of most marketing strategies, SEO is an absolute necessity when it comes to increasing organic search traffic. I mean this metaphorically, of course, but think about the most beautiful ancient buildings, the ones with actual pillars — the Pantheon, the Parthenon and the Temple of Hephaestus. These Greek and Roman structures have been upright for centuries, and are mostly still well preserved.
Similar to how those pillars have done the hard work holding up the buildings, SEO can hold your digital marketing efforts up. Remember that every component of the search engine optimization strategy is an essential part of maintaining its integrity.
What Is an SEO Strategy — and How does Local SEO Fit in?
Let’s do a brief review of what search engine optimization is so that we can begin on the same page. SEO is the process of positioning your business’s web content in such a way that it will rank highly in the search engine results pages (SERPs) when users search a particular keyword or phrase. The ultimate goal is to be number one on the results page, making it easier for consumers and readers to access your content.
Within the pillar of search engine optimization, there are many smaller pieces that combine to create a strong search engine marketing strategy that can stand the test of time.
Ask any architect, and they’ll tell you that Roman architecture is known for its innovative use of arches, which relies on strategically placed materials to hold up an impressive amount of weight. Take away one piece, and the whole thing is bound to collapse.
With an effective SEO strategy, all the accompanying pieces are important to its success. One of these important building blocks includes something known as local SEO. This not only helps drive traffic to your website, but ultimately helps you reach users in the right franchise locations.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is a tactic that involves getting your company to rank at the very top of the search engine results page for specific people in your target market’s location. When potential customers who are in the right location search for products or services that are directly related to your business, your information should come up as an answer to their search query.
It’s extremely important for all of your company’s physical locations to be easily accessible through search. This means customers should be able to see the addresses, phone numbers, hours of operation, promotions, photos and reviews for each location.
All this information is valuable to the customer and is usually something that they will look for before making their way to the business in person. In fact, about 70% of potential customers will take a look at multiple locations before finally choosing a place to go. So, you can see why we refer to local SEO as one of the building blocks of a physical location’s SEO strategy.
Local SEO is when businesses try to increase their online visibility for a specified local audience. They place more emphasis on location-based keywords and other SEO strategies. This tactic can take your strategy to the next level, especially if you have a business with multiple locations that relies on local patronage. Developing a solid multi location SEO strategy for multiple locations is essential. Let’s dive into the importance of this component for your marketing approach.
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Moving Search Traffic to Multiple Locations
It’s pretty mind-boggling for a building that’s over 2,000 years old to be in good enough condition that you could stand inside it today. When creating your own masterpiece of a marketing strategy supported by SEO, it’s also important to think in terms of long-term success.
Your team should consider the best ways to drive search traffic to multiple locations and focus on local intent if you want to attract enough online and in-person visitors to meet sales goals across all of your physical locations. This is especially important if your company relies on its geographical footprint, and less on online sales. As a local SEO strategist, your goal will be to find what works best for the different franchise locations associated with your business.
In the end, if you have a physical location near a searcher, your business should show up in that searcher’s results whenever they’re looking for products or services they can purchase nearby.
Why Local SEO Matters:
Imagine that you’ve gotten your group of friends together for the first time in a while, and you’re excited to spend some quality time. But wait, there’s one problem! You were all so thrilled about this little gathering that no one planned where to eat or what you were actually going to do.
I know what my first move would be, and I’m sure that many of you would do that same: Go straight to the all-knowing search engine, Google. I’d throw in the term “best brunch spots” and hope that the algorithm would serve me the best brunch spots near me. What a disappointment it would be to glance at the search engine results page and see all these incredible restaurants that aren’t located close to where my friends and I are.
This is where local SEO comes around to save the day — for both my hungry group of friends and the business on the other side of the equation — making it one of the most important tactics you can use when creating your SEO strategy for multiple locations.
5 Ways to Create a Sustainable SEO Strategy for Multiple Locations
While your SEO strategy may not be made out of marble, like the ancient structures in Greece and Rome, it should be created with long-term success in mind.
This means a multi-location brand should stay flexible while working toward an end goal with steadfast hardiness. I mean, think of the people who built the Pantheon — some of them didn’t even live to see the finished product (but don’t worry, this won’t be the case for the marketers behind your SEO strategy). So how do you create a sustainable and lasting SEO strategy for multiple locations? Here are some of the basics to help you get started:
1. Claim Your Google Business Profile
Start by claiming your Google Business Profile, one for each storefront location. This is a free service from Google that is extremely important for those who are focusing on local SEO. Here you can:
- Ensure logo and branding consistency.
- Glean helpful Google analytics insights.
- Connect with customers.
- Showcase products and services.
- Help customers find your business.
As with most things that make up search engine optimization, it’s best to look to the king of all search engines, Google. Ranking on this popular search engine is extremely important, especially for local SEO. Use key information in the profile like an address, a phone number, when the location is open and even visual images of the physical location. Have it readily available on your website, and include it in your Google Business Profile. This will help your company claim local business directory listings, which is helpful for someone looking for your multi location business and is especially useful for those with several locations on a Google map.
2. Create Content
Your team should work together to create location-specific content for your website. This means using local reviews and other indicators like photos to set one specific location apart from the next. Unique local content for each region that you are trying to reach is a must in order to boost your targeted user experience. For example, readers and potential consumers normally respond well to localized product reviews or customer testimonials. Again, unique localized content for every individual location is the key to success, especially when it comes to the search engine.
3. Know The Value of Linking
Because you rely so much on your business location’s website, internal link building can be very important when trying to boost your local SEO strategy. The links that you choose to include in your content will guide potential customers to your products and services. Google will use these links to better understand your website.
4. Use Keywords to Your Advantage
When adding written content to your website’s landing page, keywords are absolutely essential. For multiple-location SEO strategies, use a specific local keyword on your landing pages and blogs to help search engines evaluate relevancy. Use the name of a region when you can, but be sure not to overstuff the keywords into content where it doesn’t sound natural.
By identifying the right local keyword for each piece of web content, businesses can build their content strategically, to improve the web page’s standing in search engines, as well as to increase visibility for online audiences. Sounds great, right? Just do your best not to overuse particular words in your content, also known as keyword stuffing. Use them carefully and strategically to avoid making the content too dense, otherwise the entire thing is liable to crumble.
5. Value Local Customer Feedback
When trying to deepen your connection with a particular region through multi-location SEO, customer interactions are extremely important. For example, your business should encourage local reviews by people who are familiar with your services or products. This is partly because customers trust other customers’ opinions, and will likely make a choice based on what they read.
There are several ways to get more reviews, whether that is on your own website or through Google. You can also request reviews via in-person conversations, emails or visual reminders in the physical location. As you start to gather positive reviews, this will also boost your credibility within the local community where your target audience resides in.
The Value of SEO for Multiple Locations
Note that certain places have various requirements. If you are a business owner who operates several different locations in one geographic area, you need to ensure that your SEO strategy is driving customers to the right place. Images and addresses are important components to consider.
When it comes down to it, the searcher has a need and your business, with the answer to their need, should be easy for them to find.
About 46% of every single search that someone does on Google is made with the intent of finding local information. If your business relies on patronage from the people who live near your establishments, local SEO for those locations should be an imperative part of your marketing strategy.
Without SEO that focuses on multiple locations, your whole marketing strategy crumbles before you can reach tourists in khaki shorts and Hawaiian shirts thousands of years later — or friends who need a good brunch spot, stat.
Local SEO vs International SEO
The existence of local SEO exposes the question, “What about international SEO?” It’s a fair question. Local SEO involves optimizing your web content so people near the physical location can find it more easily. Acting as another building block in your SEO strategy, international search engine optimization targets a global audience, as the name suggests.
What Is International SEO?
When building your SEO strategy for a multi-location business, you’ll take into account what each location requires — just like how architects will use more of one building material than another depending on the end goal. While the Pantheon was made from bricks and concrete, the Greek Temple of Hephaestus was created using mostly marble. Each material is strong, effective and has lasted a seriously long time.
Think of local and international SEO as marble and concrete. They’re both useful on different occasions, and even better when used in combination. However, if you have a business that relies on website visits and can serve customers regardless of their physical location, international SEO should be your primary building material. With this method, you’ll be targeting consumers around the globe to offer your products and services to a wider audience.
International SEO relies heavily on website and landing page optimization. While local SEO does to a certain extent, the end goal of international SEO is to make a sale or connect with a global audience, regardless of their proximity to your physical location. Here are 2 of the best practices for international SEO strategy:
- URL structures: Keep in mind that search engines might interpret URL structure slightly differently.
- Tailor the language: Be sure that the website you’re promoting is using the same language that its target demographic uses.
International SEO actually may use some localized tactics, but not to increase locational presence. Instead, it’s all about expanding awareness across borders.
Using Both International and Local SEO Strategies
Even the Ancient Greeks and Romans knew that combining their strongest materials could result in a strong and stunning structure. You can do the same thing; you don’t need to pick either international or local SEO to build your ultimate strategy.
Lean more heavily on local SEO if your business requires a deeper connection with a particular region or community. The nice thing about local SEO is that you only need to create content that is targeted to one special different location. Your writers and website developers will focus more energy on building SEO through keywords that are specific to the location where the physical storefront can be found as a search result. Your competition is limited to those in the city or region that you’re team is focused on.
International SEO, on the other hand, broadens the competition to a global status. The evaluation is much broader and looks at competitors from around the world. There is more emphasis on online ordering or booking online and less on the physical location of the business. A slight combination of both strategies can be used if your business is both physically located and available internationally.
When looking to create an SEO strategy for multiple locations, look at what the goal for the business is to determine whether you’ll need to combine both international and local SEO strategies. Are you selling from a few coffee shops around a localized area, or are you offering services to clients in multiple countries across the world?
What to Know About Geo-targeted Content
There is a lot of value that comes with beefing up the online presence of each of your business locations. According to HubSpot Marketing Statistics, about “72% of consumers that did a local search visited a store within five miles.” That’s a huge advantage for a small business with several locations, and it all relies on local SEO. Businesses have to leverage local SEO so they show up in search and those that are good at it can turn search traffic into foot traffic
With this, it’s important to optimize your website and content for mobile users as well. About 59.4% of all web traffic comes from those who are searching on their phones and are more likely to contact a local business if they have a mobile-friendly site. Put a little more effort into your web design so that both desktop and mobile users can have a good online experience. This may result in more leads, sales or other connections to the community.
Are you ready to learn more about how to optimize your content for a local area? It’s time to pick up the building blocks and begin working on your own Pantheon.