Need a cup of coffee but don’t know where to find the nearest Starbucks? Search for “Starbucks near me” and Google will return search results for the Starbucks that’s closest to your current geographic location – even if there’s another one just a mile away.
The same goes for other major chains ranging from Home Depot to Bed Bath & Beyond. These stores all have a single, central website with multiple local landing pages and local Google listings to ensure each location can be found in local search results.
If the big guys can do it, why then do so many small businesses struggle with managing multiple location listings or end up with only one listing? Or worse, have that one listing be their company headquarters rather than an actual brick-and-mortar store that serves customers?
Google and other directories allow businesses to have multiple listings and optimize each listing for a specific location. Whether your small business is opening up its second store or its one hundredth store, learning how to manage multiple local listings to dominate local search (and prevent duplicates) is an absolute must.
Dominate Local Search
Create Location-Specific Landing Pages for Hyper-local Targeting
Yes, you can still have one main website, but each location needs its own landing page within your main business site if you’re to dominate local search. These pages will contain unique geo-specific content and contact information. Place the geo-descriptors in the most valuable SEO page elements, including page titles, H1 tags, and image tags.
Naturally integrate location-specific keywords into your page content. For enhanced hyper-local targeting when describing your location or how to access your business, include relevant neighborhood descriptors, like the nearby landmarks, malls, or parks. Reference the neighborhoods or main streets near this location or include local customer testimonials and/or pictures, as appropriate.
Fix Auto USA, which has multiple locations throughout California, does a solid job with its local landing pages. The Chula Vista location just south of San Diego, for example, includes the location’s name in the Web address (http://fixautochulavista.com/), the name “Fix Auto Chula Vista” in the page title and H1 tags, naturally integrates references to the neighborhood into the copy. There’s even a customer testimonial that includes the customer’s name and location (nearby Imperial Beach).
Optimize Business Listings for Accuracy
Google My Business allows business owners with a verified account to import and verify a business locations list. In theory, the entire import process won’t take more than an hour; however, actually optimizing these listings and managing them appropriately can take a bit longer. For starters, you need to verify the NAP data (name, address, place) — your business’s digital “thumbprint.”
It’s not enough to ensure your address is correctly listed on your website. Since your NAP will appear in a variety of places across the web, it’s important for your business to keep this information as consistent as possible so that a searcher finds the same information on Google, Bing, Yelp, and other directory sites. Finally, be sure your listing is consistent. Do you spell out “suite” or abbreviate it “Ste.?” Is the “doing business as” name correct across all platforms?
If your business is “John’s Consulting, LLC.,” you don’t want to use “John’s Consulting Inc.” or “John’s Consulting.” NAP consistency is critical to outranking the competition, especially when it comes to your Google My Business ranking.
Holiday Hours or Store Closings? Update Listings with Search Directories
Changing your store hours because of the holidays? Closing one location and opening another nearby?
Take a few minutes to update your listings with the local search engines, including Google My Business, the Bing Business Portal, and Yahoo! Local.
In addition to store hours, check phone numbers, categories, coupons, images, descriptions, and mobile page links. Holiday hours, business hour changes, closings, and moves to new locations are essential to dominate local search and keep your business’s local search results current.
If prospective customers can’t find your business online, they may (incorrectly) assume that you don’t have a nearby location and end up doing business with the competition.
Don’t lose out on valuable foot traffic because you fail to optimize your local listings online. Mastering multi-location search doesn’t have to be hard. Get started by creating location-specific pages, ensure NAP data is accurate, and update your data across search engines and directory sites as needed.
Local Search Image via Shutterstock