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Local SEO for Multiple Locations: 5 Steps to Success

Optimizing for a blog with nation-wide reach or an online store with a large demographic is one thing — connecting with consumers in a local market presents a different set of challenges. But going local is more important than ever. About 85 percent of consumer interactions with a brand happen via local listings and web pages. What’s more, local shopping behaviors are becoming even narrower. More than 93 percent of consumers say they won’t travel more than 20 minutes to find a good or service.
What does this mean for crafting an SEO strategy that works? Doing SEO for multiple locations requires a lot of thought and creative content — and keeping an eagle eye on your listings. Here are five steps to succeeding in local SEO.

Creating Quality, Localized Content

Content is king and it won’t be dethroned any time soon. From a content perspective, good SEO is all about writing on topics that people actually care about. In other words, don’t focus on cramming a bunch of keywords onto a landing page, but instead, check out BuzzSumo to see what type of topics are trending locally near your business locations. When you’re creating local content for multiple locations:
  • Never, ever copy content from one page to the next. Local content must be unique (yes, Google will punish you if it’s not). If you’re writing pages for seven retail stores, craft a story for each page that highlights the virtues of the locale and describes the neighborhood the store is in, etc.
  • Make your local content relevant. What interest consumers in New York may not work when you’re reaching out to people in Seattle. Customize your editorial calendar so that you’re creating content based on the needs of each local market.
  • Update your local pages often. Google rewards new content, so change your localized pages to reflect upcoming events, changes to local products, and other pertinent info that local customers will value.
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Localizing Listings

When you’re creating an SEO strategy for more than one location, you should claim and personalize all of your major online listings. Start with Google, because Google traffic outnumbers all other search engines combined. Each unique listing must have an accurate name, address, and phone number. Nailing your listing strategy includes:
  • Create a Google My Business (GMB) account and add photos, an address, and allow reviews for each business location.
  • Claim your Yelp profiles for each location of your business. If one doesn’t exist, add and claim it so you can control it from the start (other users may create a profile for your business if you don’t).
  • Create an Apple maps profile. Getting on Google maps for multiple locations is crucial, but the iOS maps program is also very popular. You should have a unique map location for each of your businesses on both mapping apps.

Analyze Your Competitors

Because local search is increasingly powerful, the competition is growing fierce. In other words, you need to keep an eye on your competition in the local market. Do a simple Google search for [city/neighborhood name] [industry] (i.e. Brooklyn sushi) to see what is currently ranking. Are your competitors posting long-form blogs? Do they have 1,400 user-generated reviews? Do a review of:
  • Which keywords on Google AdWords have high value with low competition. This will give you an idea of where you can sneak in and rank quickly.
  • What type of SEO thrives in each of your multiple locations. Your biggest competition on one side of town may win customers with long content, while a different location may be surrounded by businesses who are winning people overusing discounts and ads.
  • Which local influencers are being leveraged. A part of getting to know the consumers in each of your multiple locations is figuring out who they are following and listening to online.
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Thinking Local when You’re Linking

Getting backlinks provides much-coveted link juice and tells Google you know what you’re doing. Link strategy for multiple locations is naturally multi-pronged. You should earn links to your specific local pages — don’t point all backlinks to the same main page or you won’t boost your local visibility as much. For each of your unique physical locations, you should explore how to:
  • Get links from local community newspapers at the city or neighborhood level.
  • Ask local bloggers in each of your markets for the opportunity to create a guest post or get a link placed in a relevant piece of content on their site.
  • Create an event that will earn organic links in community calendars specific to your unique locations.

Optimizing Your Markup

SEO for multiple locations means a careful review of your markup on each unique landing page and the blog for each location. On the front end, you can do things like add a linked address and include a location in the page URL. On the back end, your schema should be targeted with the location. Some vital ways to optimize include:
  • Embed a map on each location’s page. Once you add multiple locations to Google maps, each page on your website should have its own map pointing to the associated location.
  • Update each title tag and URL to optimize for a specific location. 80 percent of people use a website to find a new product or service, and you want to point them to the location that is nearest to them.
  • Make unique meta descriptions for each business page, and always include the name of the neighborhood or city.
Localizing your SEO for multiple locations requires getting to know each target market and making no assumptions. When in doubt — do research about your individual locations and let consumer behavior guide you.

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