Aaron Agius

Local SEO for Multiple Locations: Everything You Need to Know

We live in a mobile world.

Last year it was estimated that 60% of searches come from a mobile device.

86% of people look for a businesses information on Google Maps.

Google reports that over 40% of people prefer to complete their entire shopping experience on mobile.

If you have a local business or multiple locations then your local presence is key to success.

You cannot ignore Local SEO.

Learning the steps of local SEO strategy is key. Here’s how to make sure people find the right information about your business, no matter which location.

Create Location Pages

I see many multi-location businesses that include all of their information on one master landing page. This is a big mistake for SEO.

You need to create separate, optimized pages for each business location.

These should not be identical. Include:

  • That location’s name, address, and phone number (NAP)

  • Location-specific content (staff information, testimonials, news, etc.)

  • An embedded Google Map

  • Descriptions of where and how to get to your business - including mentions of local landmarks that Google can connect as entities

  • Location-specific comments and reviews from customers

  • Location-specific Title Tags and Meta Descriptions

  • Images from inside your business and the team members that work there

Think of your location pages as microsites that you can expand on to create relevant related content. You can set up your URL structure like this:

  • www.yourdomain.com/locations/location-a/testimonials

  • www.yourdomain.com/locations/location-b/testimonials

  • www.yourdomain.com/locations/location-a/directions

You should also optimize your content, title tags, meta descriptions, etc. with location-specific keywords. Apply a local business schema markup to each page so your business hours and other important information can appear in search results.

Lastly, make sure these pages are discoverable by Google. Google’s crawlers aren’t always able to find a page that’s only available through a search or branch finder on your site.

It’s a simple process: once you’ve created your new landing pages, submit a Sitemap to Google.

You can create one for free using XML Sitemaps. Then in Google Search Console, go to Crawl > Sitemaps. You’ll see a button to submit it:

Submitting a sitemap makes it easier for Google to find and index your pages.

Optimize Your Google My Business Listings

If you haven’t already, sign up for Google My Business. Here you’ll be able to create listings for individual business locations.

Add the URLs for each of your location pages to your business profile.

Follow Google’s guidelines to optimize each of your location pages. Guidelines include:

  • Verify each location

  • List accurate hours

  • Add photos

  • Manage and respond to reviews

Also keep in mind some important rules about multi-location listings:

  • Name consistency: The listed names for each of your locations must be consistent (e.g. “The Home Depot” shouldn’t be called “Home Depot at Springfield”).

  • Category consistency: All locations should include at least one category that represents the business as a whole (e.g. all “PetSmart” locations would have the category “Pet Supply Store”).

However, these rules don’t apply if your business locations really do serve very different purposes.

An example of this would be McMenamins. It’s a chain of brew pubs in Portland, OR, but some of its locations are also hotels.

Their listings reflect these differences:

Utilizing Google My Business Insights

Google has been working hard in the last year to improve the data that they supply in Google My Business Insights. I have been particularly impressed with some of their more recent additions.

The new dashboard gives you valuable data that saves time when you have multiple locations to monitor.

Google has even given us some of our keyword data back recently. Google My Business now shows us a month's worth of data on the queries that people used to find our business.

In Google’s (not provided) world this can be crucial in informing your Local SEO strategy.

Dig further and you can see data for:

  • How customers search for your business

  • Where customers view your business (listing on search or listing on maps)

  • Customer actions (visits to your website, direction requests, and phone calls)

Unlike older versions of Google My Business you can now get that data for the last three months.

Want more?

You can always save it into a Google sheet and keep it updated moving forwards.

Manage Your Citations

Multi-location SEO involves managing mentions of your business around the web as well as on-page optimization.

Google looks at how your name, address, and phone number (NAP) appear across the web, with or without links, to determine how to rank your business in local search.

If your listings are inconsistent, it can hurt your SEO.

To prevent this, you need to scour the web and make sure your NAP is consistent for each of your business locations. This includes making sure your business name isn’t annotated based on location (e.g. “Home Depot at Springfield”).

Together with Tim Capper, a local SEO pro from the UK and the founder of Online Ownership, we created a guide for local SEO specialists that describes every step of getting into the Local Pack and occupying top positions.

Get Free PDF

Look for and fix your business listing on these popular aggregators:

  • Yelp

  • Yahoo Local

  • Bing Places

  • Foursquare

  • Yellow Pages

Also look for any local or industry directories that your business might appear in.

You can use a citation tracking tool like SEMrush’s Listing Management Tool to help with this. It searches the web for your business listings and evaluates how accurate they are for you:

You can quickly see where your citations are correct and where there are issues.

You can then dig into your data and see which citations are missing and which need updating.

Unless you have an intern trying to keep all of this data up to date, it’s going to get expensive.

With the SEMrush Listing Management tool, you can have all the data distributed for $20 a month.

This is a small price to pay when Moz reports that NAP consistency is one of the most important aspects of Local SEO.

Check your business listings now

See if you are represented in the most authoritative directories

Please specify a valid domain, e.g., www.example.com Please specify a valid domain, e.g., www.example.com

Build Links to Each of Your Location Pages

You probably already know that backlinks pointing at your site are important for SEO. But now that you have many location-specific landing pages, you need to work to improve the PageRank of each of them.

To do this, develop a link-building strategy to focus on each of your pages. Here are a few ideas:

Become a sponsor

A popular tactic is to sponsor local events or participate in charities. This can help you build local links to your pages from the likes of colleges, event websites and local news outlets.

Host events

Hosting events at your business locations is another great way to create buzz about your business and build links in the process.

Host meetups

If you want to do something a little less formal, you could host a meetup. It’s simple and free to create using a service like Meetup.com

Start content marketing

Create valuable local content that people would be interested in reading and sharing. Host a blog on each microsite to attract interest and links, then use email marketing, social media marketing and paid ads (where appropriate) to disseminate your content.

Content marketing and SEO go hand-in-hand: the more pages of content you have, the more opportunities for link building.

Event sponsorship

If you have a budget for your Local SEO campaign, you might want to consider local event sponsorship.

This doesn't have to be related to your industry but it is important that it is local.

Local links aid Local SEO.  

Manage Reviews

Last but not least, managing reviews for each business location is an important key to success.

Chain businesses often focus on garnering reviews and testimonials for their business overall, forgetting about location-specific feedback.

Ignoring this can break your local SEO.

Google displays reviews right along with your business listing in search results:

If you don’t work to encourage positive reviews and do damage control for negative ones, a lot of people will never bother clicking on your business listing.

So how do you deal with bad reviews?

  • Respond quickly but make sure you give a considered response

  • Make sure you don’t blame the customer

  • Make sure that the language you use can't be deemed inflammatory

Include calls-to-action at your physical business locations and on your location pages to encourage customers to leave reviews.

You could even use a widget like the one that Bright Local provide - especially handy if you don't have a developer or the ability to code.

You can even make it easier by creating a QR code for each location’s page and displaying it at that location. (Although QR codes have fallen out of popularity! Do this at your own risk.)

When negative reviews do come up, try to resolve the issue and make that customer a happy one.

I won’t lie, local SEO for multiple locations can be a lot of work to set up and maintain. But the payoff is worth it – if you take the time to develop an attractive SEO strategy that helps local searchers find exactly what they’re looking for.

Is your SEO strategy attracting customers to your multi-location business? Tell us in the comments below.

Check your business listings now

See if you are represented in the most authoritative directories

Please specify a valid domain, e.g., www.example.com Please specify a valid domain, e.g., www.example.com
Hi Heidi! I'm considering launching a local business directory here in my city and I was wondering what the small fee is you charge for your standard listings in your directory? I've been wondering about how to control spam, and charging a small fee seems to be a great idea. Just curious... thanks again
Bobby Holland
sorry... didn't mean to double post this - I meant to reply to Heidi's comment... and now I can't delete this additional comment for some reason
Great list of tips! I love researching and finding the right online directories to list all my businesses. There are so many these days that its important to find the ones that will best benefit my business. Page rank and Alexa ranking also play a large part in which ones I choose. I recently created an online directory for women-owned businesses and am finding it exciting to see our own ranks increase almost every day. Its also important for me to create a worthwhile resource for our audience - we started out offering a free listing and found we got about 95% spam - most of which were not women-owned. Once we started charging a small fee, that eliminated those types of submissions. Our goal is to create an online place that our listers will benefit from being part of. Thank you for taking the time to share the importance of local seo for multiple locations.I will be sure and link to it in a future article.

Heidi Richards Mooney, Publisher - HER Business Listings Directory
Heidi Richards Mooney
Hi Heidi! I'm considering launching a local business directory here in my city and I was wondering what the small fee is you charge for your standard listings in your directory? I've been wondering about how to control spam, and charging a small fee seems to be a great idea. Just curious... thanks again
Bobby Holland
We charge $15 for standard listings and $37 for premium . You can see our list of benefits etc here: herbusinesslistings(dot) com/listings-overview/

Best of luck to you!
Google My Business Listings is most Important to pick Local SEO rankings to need to pick as per the Genuine Business name, Description, contact number, Official address, Positive reviews, ratings, Tracking and more small factors are helpful.
I have a customer who has 3 divisions of their business at the same address. What is the best way to approach this for Local SEO. Does multiple businesses at the same address affect Local SEO? The locations point to the same site but each has a unique landing page.
Hello, I have a site I am working on - it is a maid service.
they have just 1 physical location...but service an area of approximately 50 miles all around.

I have the names of the individual towns.

Do you recommend setting up pages for each city?

Or just stick with the other recommendations?

Great info and thanks!
We are a property management company. We have multiple locations and different apartment names in the same city but uses 1 centralized phone number. Will this create a problem if we create a list for each of these apartment locations? Thank you.
Ferdinand Pasion
Hi Ferdinand - you can use the same phone # on multiple GMB's.... so long as the NAP on each is unique.
Bobby Holland
Hi Bobby. Thanks for the info. When you say NAP is unique, the phone is not unique on our situation. We need that same phone to be published on each of the unique address and business names that is used by the management company running these apartments. I appreciate your feedback.
Ferdinand Pasion
Hi Ferdinand! I apologize... I realize my answer wasn't very helpful. In your case, you can use different names and different addresses, but use the same phone # on your GMB's. So your name and addresses will be / can be different, and then your phone # the same across all.

And I'm assuming that the URL's for each GMB will be unique as well? i.e. does each location have it's own landing page within your management company's website, or does each location have it's own website?

Thank you again

Bobby Holland
Hi Bobby. Each location has different landing page from our company's website. Appreciate your input. I was thinking of obtaining one virtual local number subscription for each location if that one will help. Thanks once again.
Ferdinand Pasion
I think having a unique / local phone # would help from a user experience perspective... which in turn typically translates into customer conversion / happy customers, etc... especially if the phone # has a local area code.

But having a unique / city specific land page (i.e. City Pages) is a huge deal in my opinion...

But these are more strategy types ideas.
Nice work Aaron!

I've always found creating a direct link to the "leave a review" section in the Google My Business listing and sending that through to customers (with a polite request) as one of the highest converting methods of gaining good reviews. This can also be done on a per location basis.
Although it seems that it is not very difficult to do Local SEO and does not require too much investment of time or financial resources, the reality is different...
Thanks for a great article!
Hey Aaron,
It's been a great pleasure to read your posts!
You have pointed out the most important facts of local SEO. The mistakes you have pointed out for multiple locations is absolutely right. Even, I did the same mistakes so many times in the beginning. But, its stable now. The newcomers could find this post very helpful. I also want to praise the service of SEMRUSH listing management feature. It's really awesome.
Thanks, buddy, for sharing such a great post. Keep up the great work! Cheers!!
Greg Davids
Thanks for reading, Greg. Appreciate your insights here and glad you found the post helpful. Let's hope we can help some newcomers learn from our mistakes. Cheers!
Local SEO is of utmost importance for local businesses to get ranked on top Google SERPs. However, some companies operate on a single location, and some have branches in different areas. For the former, local SEO is comparatively easy than it is for the latter. Companies with offices in different locations need to optimise a lot of things on their site and follow specific guidelines to get ranked on the top SERPs. Aaron has included those guidelines that those businesses should abide by to get ranked for each of their branches. I know that this process requires a lot of attention, efforts, and time but the results would be worth it all.
Sahil Kakkar
Thanks for your thoughts. Agreed - it is significantly more difficult for companies with multiple locations but the effort required is well worth it.
Thank you. Very helpful.
Michelle Whitaker
Thanks for reading, Michelle. Glad you found it helpful!
Aaron, you have made explanation of local SEO excellent and plain. 2018 is almost done. The importance of local SEO is higher than ever especially for small businesses. I can't appreciate enough for your effort. It is helpful as well as inspiring.
Michael Haley
Thanks much, Michael. Definitely agreed that local SEO is key for small businesses, especially heading into the new year. Appreciate you taking the time to read and glad you found it helpful.
Exactly this is what I was looking for. I will implement this. One small question we don't need to link these micro pages with front pages? Only sitemap will work?
How would you structure a website if the business offers multiple services in different locations? Meaning not all locations offer the same services. Should I go with:
A. businessname.com/locations/location-1/service-1
B. businessname.com/services/service-2/location-1
C. your or any suggestions please

Any thoughts on this is greatly appreciated. Great post! ??
Cool, Thanks)
great article!!! Highly valuable for my local SEO
Some great tips. I'm going to look at that schema now. Our site has location pages already, i.e. /chicago-il. What if that location services several neighborhoods it wants to target? Is it worthwhile to also create, for example, /bartlett-il and /palatine-il? I would think if those were just links to the /chicago-il location, the duplicate content may hurt SEO, so if I were to do that, would it mean generating unique content for each neighborhood? Thanks!
So I have a client who ranks so/so and pretty good in his locations with a multiple location setup through his homepage...

I know I can bring the locations back up.. but a bit worried that it'll cause a drop in the mean time.

I know for long term growth this is needed if he is going to keep building out locations.
Wonderful article by far the best that I ever read about how to manage multiple location on seo
What about having the same number listed for all locations? Does that go against Google's policy?
Would you suggest most of these steps for getting results for a business simply expanding its reach into adjacent towns or states, perhaps just 100 miles away? In this instance there wouldn't be a need to leverage another or a new NAP, but everything else seems like it would apply to get better regional coverage. Ideas?
Hi Aaron, Enjoyed reading the article, some really good points. I'm just about to start working for a company which doesn't have any local addresses but does have a team of over 300 local experts placed around the UK. Do you have any advice for being local without having an address? I can't really disclose their personal home addresses, but want to support in generating leads for them via search.
I'm already thinking of creating pages with relevant local content, contact details for the relevant experts and adding in testimonials at a local level, but any other ideas for this challenge would be much appreciated.
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