Today, customers are constantly performing searches for local businesses on their phones and computers, and making their decisions according to search results and reviews. In most cases, single-location businesses find it easier to appear at the top of local searches. Why are multi-location businesses losing out? While there are a number of reasons for this disparity, a lot of it has to do with multi-location businesses placing emphasis solely on the brand as a whole - including the central website - rather than catering to local markets via local web presence.
Here are some of the traps that multi-location businesses fall into along with some best practices to ensure that they can successfully compete with their single-location competitors.
Sometimes, basic web design is the problem. Web design issues include a lack of responsive, mobile-first design, which leads to a slow loading speed. These design problems are especially important to address since potential customers use mobile devices to find businesses and Google's mobile-friendly algorithm now factors mobile loading speed when ranking search results.
The other main web design issue involves the central website's relationship with branch websites. Many multi-location businesses focus on a main web site instead of creating individual sites or location pages for each location. Even when a business has individual sites for each location, poor design and bad structure can negatively impact search engine results rankings. In these cases, local information is missing or structured in a way that cannot be indexed effectively by search engines.
Local Listing Accuracy
Accuracy in local listings is another crucial factor in achieving high-ranking search results. Since they have to manage multiple locations, multi-location businesses often forget to maintain consistency in local listings and citations. When information is missing or wrong, the local web site loses visibility and credibility in the eyes of search engines. Many simple errors often affect consistency in local listings, including typos, having more than one phone number for a location, business name changes and new addresses.
Multi-location businesses often lose out to local businesses in number and quality of local reviews. When businesses fail to encourage reviews, they may end up with a few negative reviews that turn away potential customers.
Fortunately, utilizing the following local SEO best practices can help multi-location businesses avoid these common traps. Putting these changes into effect can greatly strengthen the local business's visibility and reputation.
Create a unique landing page for each store
Having a page for each location helps customers and search engines to find specific information - such as name, address, phone number, hours and maps - when they perform local searches. While these pages should be customized in terms of locational content, they can be designed uniformly to retain brand integrity. Create clearly accessible links from local pages to the main site and vice versa, and be sure that the page is structurally optimized, with local key words in titles, tags, meta description and site copy.
Add specific local content to local pages
Multi-location companies can also link these sites to each location's social media accounts to provide extra authority. These social media pages can also contain name, address, phone and hours. It also helps to include local content in the form of meaningful local links, such as news, testimonials and tagged images. All of these elements prove to search engines that the business is real.
Check and update listings and citations
Make sure that NAP (name, address, phone) are present and consistent, without any errors, in local directories. Use a single phone number for each location, and account for any name changes and new addresses. Simple typos can also be a critical mistake. Clearing up these citations will improve search visibility and credibility.
Correct listings can improve reviews, since many business directories allow customers to provide reviews. In turn, more good reviews will help your local websites to appear at the top of search results.
If you would like to ensure that these best practices are implemented for your multi-location business, contact DAS Group.