Local SEO is becoming more and more important for businesses looking to cater to a potential online audience of millions who might be trying to search for them on a local level. The opportunity to capitalise on these searches is huge!
Businesses with multiple locations, however, have a much more difficult challenge than single store locations when looking to centralise all of their local search efforts and to ensure consistency throughout their locations listed online. You may well have experience of this already, especially if you’ve had to manage multiple store accounts on your own – it isn’t easy.
With the correct process in place, managing a Google My Business page can be relatively pain-free. But if you happen to have more than 1 physical store, things can get a little complicated. This can become even worse if every single manager is running their local search strategy differently. Confusion is good for no-one and especially not when local search is concerned. You’ve all heard the saying – too many cooks spoil the broth.
To lend a helping hand, we’ve listed 5 tips on how businesses with multiple locations can tackle their local SEO strategy. Learn how to optimise your efforts and turn a complex task into an easy ongoing project. This will make sure that you don’t fall into the trap of having to go over every store listing with a fine tooth comb further down the line.
If you have one main website representing your brand but have multiple locations, the best course of action to take is to create dedicated store location pages. These should contain as much relevant information about that store as possible.
Your store location page should include at the very least:
You should also include ‘near me’ search terms as these will capture certain search habits of customers looking to find your store locations quickly.
The key for multiple locations is consistency. So this can happen effectively, the creation of a set of local SEO guidelines will assist you in making sure that each store is represented in the same manner. Here are a few pointers to start you off:
The creation of in-depth guidelines will mean that even if the responsibility of updating store pages and listings is shared amongst a few people, they will still remain consistent and clear to customers wanting to find relevant information immediately. In this way, there should be less chance of errors occurring.
If you have successfully created guidelines that will assist store managers, or have nominated members of staff to manage their own local SEO strategy, the next step is to make sure that you have one centralised document or spreadsheet.
This will be the master version of all your store details and can be kept up to date on a frequent basis. By using Google Docs or another shared file it will be even easier to collaborate and ensure that if store information changes for any reason that everyone is aware.
Communication should be clear to indicate if there is a change of address or any other important details, as this change will need to be implemented on any and all business listings linking to the store.
It’s not enough to just have one person replicating information for each of your stores – each store should be as unique as possible in order for it to be found by local customers.
Do your stores provide different services at all? It’s worth being explicit about which services are provided by individual stores, even if they are all the same.
Even if you have multiple stores all providing the same products and services, there will still be information unique to each store such as directions, location, opening hours, and local information (such as landmarks or places of interest). These should be included as a priority to set an individual store apart from the rest and to raise appeal to locals.
As part of your local SEO strategy, you will need to frequently check for any reviews or changes made online that refer to your business. This can be from customers leaving reviews on a GMB, Bing or Facebook page, all of which might not always be positive.
Reviews are important as they lend credibility to your business and show that others have already had a positive interaction or experience when visiting a store. It shows new customers that you can be trusted as a business and gives a positive first impression to those searching online.
A diligent individual in charge of dealing with the store’s local SEO should respond to reviews as much as possible, showing an interaction with customers whether it is good or bad. This can be seen most clearly on TripAdvisor when a hotel manager responds directly to the customer.
Replying to reviews, albeit even the negatives ones shows genuine compassion and diligent customer service. Consumers are more likely to return if they feel as though there is a genuine connection with the business.
Make sure to check the following sources for reviews on a frequent basis:
Depending on which sites are the most suited to your business, try and encourage loyal customers to leave reviews when possible, especially after a positive interaction or experience. This should be filtered down to employees working on the shop floor and only requested in appropriate situations.
Our experience of implementing a multistore strategy for our clients has taught us that if you have multiple stores to manage and are thinking of putting a local search strategy in place, then you should make things easier for yourself by having a process of monitoring business listings on a frequent basis, rather than leaving them to go unchecked for any length of time.
Over the past couple of years at Tecmark, we’ve defined our local search process. We’d recommend performing the following actions to get you on the road to a successful local search campaign:
Once the basic foundations are set in place, we have found that further optimisation has a significant impact on generating footfalls and sales for our clients. Some steps that you should consider taking to begin building a great local search strategy include:
Alternatively, make sure you have a digital marketing agency that can manage your multiple locations for you, and that have the expertise to make changes that will improve your chances of being found by local customers. Get in touch with Tecmark for further advice.
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About the Author
Rob joined Tecmark in January 2018 and has been working in digital marketing as a copywriter and content manager for over 3 years, writing for a huge range of different clients and subjects.Visit Rob's Page
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