Google Says New Location, New Page

There are a few things we know to be absolutely true in the world of SEO – Links are important, keywords help everyone find you, and if Matt Cutts ‘recommends’ some SEO advice, you’d be wise to listen.

If you’re not familiar with Matt, he’s part of Google’s Search Quality group and last week he delivered a very important bit of SEO advice for small business owners. If you’ve ever wondered how to best handle multiple business locations, Matt gives you your answer in a new post entitled SEO Advice: Make a Web page for each store location. Well there ya go.

From Matt:

If you want your store pages to be found, it’s best to have a unique, easily crawlable url for each store. Ideally, you would also create an HTML sitemap that points to the web pages for your stores (and each web page should have a unique url). If you have a relatively small number of stores, you could have a single page that links to all your stores. If you have a lot of stores, you could have a web page for each (say) state that links to all stores in that state.

Many times, small business owners don’t make pages for each of their locations. Instead, they’ll use an uncrawlable drop-down or simply use one page for all of their locations. According to Matt, this makes it really hard (if not impossible) for Google to identify and server individual store locations for users. As a searcher, you probably know how frustrating it can be to do a search with local intent and then be directed to a company’s main page, instead of the specific store you were looking for. To get around this, Matt suggested small business do two easy things:

  1. Make a web page for each store that lists the store’s address, phone number, business hours, etc.
  2. Make an HTML sitemap to point to those pages with regular HTML links, not a search form or POST requests.

You can also take this advice when creating Google Place page profiles. Create a profile for each individual location and use the location name as the page URL, not the URL for the main site.

Outside of simply being good for SEO, this is great advice to increase the usability of your Web site. We want to get away from directing people to our home page, because that’s often not the page they’re looking for. By creating pages for your individual locations, you give users the information they’re after. Include the hours, location and directions for that store so that users find it when they do a search. And of course, when you create the pages, make sure you include them in an HTML site map so that Google can easily find them and serve them to users. It’s all part of helping people find the information they’re actually looking for.

8 Comments ▼

Lisa Barone


Lisa Barone Lisa Barone is Vice President of Strategy at Overit, an Albany Web design and development firm where she serves on the senior staff overseeing the company’s marketing consulting, social media, and content divisions.

8 Reactions

  1. Hi Lisa,

    To clarify, is Matt recommending companies with many store locations to purchase and host separate URLs per store or simply have a separate web page on the corporate URL? For Example, http://www.XYZ.com/STORE-PAGE or is matt recommending http://www.XYZ.com (corporate site and corporate office location website), then buy new URLS like http://www.XYZ-NEW-STORE-LOCATION.com?

    Thanks

    RB

  2. Lisa,

    Great advice, this “if Matt Cutts ‘recommends’ some SEO advice, you’d be wise to listen.”

    A Google employee telling folks how to get found on Google in the best ways possible. Sounds like a plan.

    In my industry, it’s frustrating to go to a franchise company’s corporate website, and spend more than 30 seconds trying to find “locations.”

    This is not hard, folks.

    The Franchise King

  3. @Ryan – He is saying you should have a unique URL on you main domain for each store (http://www.XYZ.com/store1.html), not separate URLs for each store.

    My only caution for businesses that will go out there and create these recommended pages: keep the navigation simple so users can still easily find the store they’re looking for.

  4. Great advice. I’ve suggested doing this thing a few times and hear the words, “but it’s just too much work.”… well, it can be a lot of work if you do it yourself, but it’s worth the increased sales and the public eye!

  5. @Robert – Thanks for the clarification. I assumed this was the case but wanted to make sure!

    Breadcrumb navigation can help with user experience/ease of navigation to the different stores.

  6. Thanks so much for sharing your advice.Small internet businesses need this advice. I enjoyed reading and will continue to follow these articles. I have had the experience of being on page 1…2…3…and then not being able to find my company anywhere.Very frustrating in such a competitive environment.

    Please continue to give us more valuable insights.

  7. Thanks for sharing Lisa, this is great advice.

    “We want to get away from directing people to our home page, because that’s often not the page they’re looking for. By creating pages for your individual locations, you give users the information they’re after.”

    I think this is another great example of designing sites and laying out content that is useful and organised (and easy to navigate) for users first; and that will inevitably suit search engines too. A double-whammy.

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