Business marketing is at a turning point. No matter the size of your company and how many locations you serve, your online presence and branding across all online platforms and locations matter. The local search engine optimization (SEO) tactics you employ across these channels can drastically impact how (and where) your business appears online.
Results of the Local Consumer Review Survey conducted by Bright Local show that 90 percent of consumers rely on online platforms to find a local business. The report further indicates that 87 percent of local queries are “I-need-it-now” searches.
Now, what does this mean for your multiple-location business? These reports simply indicate that for your business to flourish in the digital landscape, you need to be visible in Google search results.
“Whether you have two locations or 2,000, it’s crucial that you follow Google’s best practices,” said Shannon Thammasiene, Thrive’s senior SEO manager. “Doing so allows search engines to distinguish between different locations and present the right one to the right people at the right time.”
Gone are the days when customers only visit a company’s website to find the information they need. Today, when a user searches for a brand, the results appear in the form of digital business profiles, together with company URLs. To appear in Google business listings, you need to implement local SEO tips that help multiple-location businesses rank.
Before we deep-dive into local SEO, let’s first define multiple-location businesses.
What are Multiple-Location Businesses?
Multiple-location businesses pertain to service providers or product dealers that serve various areas. You are considered a multi-location business if:
• You have numerous physical stores or locations
• You service different areas, regardless if you don’t have a physical store
• You are a local business directory
When you have a multiple-location business, there is a lot to consider. Do all your franchise stores have the same branding? Do you offer the same products or services across all locations? Are the locations spread out from county to county or state to state?
The answers to these questions are crucial in your online marketing campaign. You need an integrated franchise SEO and digital marketing strategy that will amplify your online presence across your business locations. Moreover, you must ensure each location gets the appropriate attention online.
The problem, however, is that ranking at the top of Google search results can seem like an impossible feat for multiple-location businesses. But you don’t need to worry. The trick in ranking for local searches is through local search optimization.
What is Local SEO?
Local search engine optimization helps businesses build their brand’s online visibility and engage with prospects and existing customers within a geographic area. The goal of local SEO for multiple locations is to get indexed on the first page of search results for each target location.
What is the Difference Between Local SEO and Organic SEO?
The main difference between local and organic search is the intent.
If a user searches for product + location, the search engines know that the query has local intent. For instance, if you search for “digital marketing agency + Texas,” the following local results will show up under the ads on the first page of search engine results pages (SERPs).
Now, the goal for your multi-location business is to appear on the first page of search results for your specific target locations.
For larger and more established organizations, combining enterprise SEO services with your franchise marketing strategy is the best way to present your brand to your target audience. This is how you position your business in front of your customers at every stage of their buying journey.
The role of enterprise search engine optimization is to determine all actionable aspects in your online marketing solution. This includes your site structure, search visibility and social media presence.
Organic SEO, on the other hand, happens when there’s no local intent in the search. The purpose of the user is to acquire information about a particular product or service rather than a specific location. For example, if you search for “the best PPC services,” the search engines will show the best, most relevant pay-per-click services.
In order to rank for both local and organic searches, you need a robust franchise SEO marketing and enterprise SEO strategy. Search engines analyze hundreds of factors to rank and index websites in searches. These include outbound and inbound links, keywords and content.
If you want your multiple-location business to rank locally and organically, 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.
What is the Importance of Local SEO?
If you have a multiple-location business, local search engine optimization is an excellent way to market your brand to specific target locations and gain site traffic. Search engines need to know your exact company address so that when customers search for a location, they can find your business.
Here are more reasons local SEO is critical to your multi-location business’ success:
• 70 percent of customers visit a store based on the information they find online (Google)
• Google searches that contain “near me” have increased 34X since 2011
• More than 50 percent of “near me” searches result in a store visit (Mediapost)
• Franchise SEO activities help build online visibility and boost reputation at a local level
• Greater local visibility means increased foot traffic, more customers and more sales
• 50 percent of consumers who conduct mobile searches for a local business will visit the store within one day (Search Engine Land) — and 18 percent of these searches lead to a purchase (Think with Google)
• Local content marketing improves business relevance
With the Internet at their fingertips, consumers expect immediate and relevant search results whenever they need it. More importantly, customers are increasingly looking for products and services that are specific to their location.
If you’re an entrepreneur, the implication is clear: No matter if you’re a small business or a global brand, you need to deliver on the consumers’ specific needs.
Tight adherence to enterprise marketing and local SEO best practices is crucial to gaining profitable results.
Optimizing for Local Search at Scale
Optimizing for local searches can be challenging if you don’t have the expertise, knowledge and resources. Some business owners see multi-location businesses as a disadvantage when it comes to cultivating a strong customer experience online. This is mainly because single-location companies only have one target market to analyze, one reputation to maintain and one online presence to manage.
To compete, you need to provide your customers across all locations with the same hyper-local digital experience.
Optimize your local search engine optimization (SEO) strategies to better accommodate your business’ multiple locations.
Here’s how you can boost your local SEO at scale:
1. Create Location Pages.
Several multi-location businesses incorrectly include all their information on one master landing page. This can hamper your local SEO strategy.
You need to build out separate, optimized pages for each of your business locations. Creating dedicated pages provides you with greater opportunities to rank for local searches.
Here’s how you can get started with each location-specific page:
▢ Conduct extensive keyword research. This allows you to understand user intent, search queries and how much you can capture if you rank well for this keyword.
“Understand what types of queries users are typing in, what search volume they have, what kind of competition is there,” Thammasiene said. “[Keyword research is] going to help you decide what keywords to start with — and that’s one of the most foundational pieces of an SEO strategy.”
You need to track and analyze valuable metrics, including search volume, keyword difficulty, competition and cost per click.
Some tools you can use to track these results are Google Ads Keyword Planner Tool, SEMrush, Moz and Ahrefs.
▢ Perform SERP research. SERPs are the pages displayed by search engines in response to a user query.
SERP research is crucial to understand the user intent. There are different intentions for various types of queries. These include:
⇾ Navigational search queries — These are search queries that aim to find a particular website. For instance, a user might search for “Thrive Internet Marketing Agency” on Google rather than entering the URL into a browser’s navigation bar.
The key is to make it easier for your target customers to find your official company website on search results.
⇾ Informational search queries — These are search queries that cover a broad topic, such as SEO or digital marketing. Informational queries are hard to monetize.
The best way to target these queries is through a robust content marketing strategy. You need to publish compelling content to address the common user queries, such as how-tos, step-by-step guides and tips.
The goal is to position your local business as an authoritative source of information.
⇾ Transactional search queries — These are search queries that indicate an intent to complete a transaction, such as purchasing a product or signing up on newsletters.
Transactional queries are the most likely to deliver ROI in paid search.
Now, SERP research is vital in understanding the difference between blog posts and landing page content. Aside from this, you also need to take note of the different types of results, such as videos and images.
In this way, you can evaluate whether the keyword you want to rank for is relevant to your target customers. Understanding user intent also gives you the opportunity to outrank your competitors.
▢ Conduct a competitive analysis. Doing so allows you to organize your SEO campaign priorities.
In performing a competitive analysis, you need to consider your onsite and offsite franchise SEO strategies:
⇾ Onsite SEO — Compare your rankings and content with your competitors. Determine content opportunities where you can zoom past the competition and work that into your content strategy.
⇾ Offsite SEO — Perform competitive backlink analysis. This allows you to determine the quality backlinks that your competitors have and add them to your link building strategy. Relevant links help strengthen your trust signal on Google.
▢ Build a logical URL structure. This method makes your website more organized, more user-friendly and more understandable for search engines.
Be sure to make the URL for each location geo-specific. Here’s an example of how to create a logical URL structure for your multiple-location business:
⇾ For a list of all the locations:
⇾ For a list of all the locations in a specific state:
⇾ For a list of locations in a particular city:
⇾ For store number 1:
⇾ For store number 2 in the same city:
In creating a URL structure, you need to ensure each specific location page can be crawled and indexed by search engines.
“You want to make sure that you stay with one system and keep it consistent across the board,” Thammasiene said, “because if you start to switch it off later, it can be very confusing for online users and yourself.”
2. Optimize Your Site for Local Search Traffic.
In order to earn more traffic from your local service area, you must improve your SEO, content and conversion rate optimization (CRO).
▢ Onsite SEO: There are two schools of thought when it comes to SEO: onsite SEO and offsite SEO. Onsite SEO pertains to everything you can find on your website.
It is essential that you conduct onsite optimization to rank well on search engines and improve your website’s overall readability for your target customers.
Here are some guidelines when revamping your website:
⇾ Include target keywords in the title tag, metadata and headers
⇾ Strategically position exact match keywords and latent semantic indexing (LSI) keywords throughout the content
⇾ Use geo-targeted keywords
⇾ Create a separate page for each service, product and location
⇾ Use local business, organization, product and service schema, where applicable
⇾ Show your business’ name, address and phone (NAP) on your website
⇾ Optimize site images
⇾ Boost your internal linking strategies
⇾ Optimize your site speed
⇾ Optimize your website for mobile devices
⇾ Create an SEO-optimized sitemap
▢ Content optimization: After augmenting your site structure, you need to add localized content to your website. Make sure you publish useful, compelling content that your customers would want to know.
The first step is to determine your audience and identify their pain points.
“How does the product or service that you offer solve their pain points?” Thammasiene said. “Come from their perspective if you can, and also what makes you stand out from the competitors.”
If you don’t pay attention to your customers’ biggest challenges, you won’t be able to provide valuable solutions to their needs.
Let’s dive into a few different methods you can serve your customers better through content optimization. Here are some ideas to consider:
⇾ Find the balance between writing for Google and writing for humans
⇾ Insert keywords throughout the content seamlessly and avoid keyword stuffing
⇾ Avoid industry jargons
⇾ Breakdown information into bite-sized pieces to make it more scannable
⇾ Incorporate images and videos
⇾ Create a strong emotional response from your readers
⇾ Develop comprehensible content
⇾ Interlink to your service pages and blog posts
Once you’ve delivered your brand’s unique selling points (USPs), include a clear and concise call-to-action (CTA) at the end of the content.
“Decide what your goals are and make sure that your calls-to-action align with those goals,” Thammasiene said.
▢ Conversion rate optimization (CRO): This pertains to the process of modifying certain site elements to increase the percentage of your site visitors and convert them into customers.
“The goal in conversion rate optimization is to encourage users to avoid any roadblocks to the final destination,” Thammasiene said. “If the goal of your website is to get more phone calls, then you want to optimize for them.”
Here are some of the best practices you can follow to create high-converting landing pages:
⇾ Simplify your submission forms
⇾ Ask your customers only the relevant information
⇾ Include specific call-to-action texts and buttons
⇾ Use background, layout and headlines that attract the attention of your target audience easily
⇾ Incorporate slideshows and videos strategically
⇾ Avoid elements that are distracting to the eyes and don’t directly relate to the goal of your website, such as sliders
⇾ Leverage upsells, cross-sells and personalization
Overall, the key to converting your site visitors into actual customers is creating landing pages that resonate with your target audience.
3. Create And Optimize Google My Business profiles for each location.
Google My Business (GMB), now called Google Business Profile, is a valuable tool that allows you to control how your business appears on Google Search and Google Maps.
Claiming your GMB listings is a relatively easy process. If your franchise SEO company has more than 20 locations, you can use bulk location management to import and manage your new locations.
Simply follow these guidelines to streamline all your business information across all locations:
There are available guidelines on Google for specific multi-location setups, such as chains and brands, institutions and individual practitioners. Be sure to follow these guidelines to create a successful listing.
4. Leverage Local Business Listings for Each Location.
Claiming your business listing in local directories for each location is crucial in acquiring maximum visibility with SEO. You need to get listed on all the popular, relevant sites for your niche.
In addition, make sure your business’ NAP is consistent across the web. These include even minor differences such as a comma, period and using abbreviations, such as “St”’ in one place and spelling it out in another as “Street.”
Remember, search engines are all about confidence, trust and authority.
“Search engines basically make their money by providing users with the very best results,” Thammasiene said. “So if you are not providing the users with the best results or if you can’t prove to Google that you are confident, they’re not going to show your listing.”
5. Encourage Positive Local Reviews.
Studies show that 88 percent of customers trust online reviews. In order to appeal to this market and acquire more positive online reviews, you need to make it as easy as possible for your customers to leave a review on your website.
Here are some tips you can follow:
▢ Ask quickly
▢ Ask for help
▢ Offer incentives
▢ Use a service
▢ Respond to your reviews
Star ratings and user comments are displayed directly on your Google Business Profile or Google My Business listings. The more positive reviews you get, the higher chances you have of attracting your target customers to your location.
PRO TIP: Partner with a reputable digital marketing agency with a proven track record of successful local SEO campaigns. Do your research before hiring an enterprise SEO company to avoid agency hopping.
Some more tips to get your local and enterprise-level SEO started:
⇾ Ensure you have a highly organized system for all your login credentials
⇾ Keep track of all logins for your Google Business Profile listings, Google Analytics, Search Console, website and hosting
⇾ Stay abreast of the latest updates in Google’s guidelines and best practices
Target More Qualified, Local Traffic
Optimize your multiple-location business for local search and never miss a customer! Tell us your business goals, and we will create local SEO strategies tailored to your company’s specific needs and requirements.
Schedule a call with our digital marketing managers today. Let’s get your multiple-location business’ local SEO started!