by Jayson DeMers

Local SEO holds tremendous potential for almost any business with a physical location (and even some without). Because local SEO functions on an algorithm separate from Google’s national search, you’ll face less competition, higher relevance among your local audience, and even higher visibility, thanks to Google’s local 3-pack listings. Unfortunately, most conventional local SEO tactics cater to businesses that have only one physical location – what happens if you have multiple locations?

The Trouble With Multiple Locations

Having multiple locations means you’ll have multiple streams of revenue, and it’s a valuable way to increase brand recognition and your potential pool of customers. However, much of the power of local SEO is derived from associating your business with a single location. If you try to split your efforts inefficiently, you could end up only weakly optimizing for your target cities, but if you only focus on one city, you’ll miss out on the visibility potential of your other locations. What are you supposed to do?

Strategies for Success

Try using these strategies to succeed with multiple locations in local SEO:

1. Create a separate landing page for each city your business operates in.

Your first job is to create a separate landing page for each of your locations. It’s possible to create a new domain for each of your sub-locations, but this is inadvisable, as you’ll lose out on the cumulative authority you’ll gain from all of your sources. For example, you could create a page for a specific city location, complete with location information and any specific unique features that this location offers–for example, US Storage Centers has a designated page for San Antonio, with hours, directions, and unit availability.

2. Create city-specific content for each city you operate in.

Next, you’ll want to fill those pages with content specific to that location. Don’t leave your landing pages as empty shells! Instead, write rich, descriptive content about the unique features each of your locations offers that particular area. If you get hard-pressed, write about some of the features of the city, such as surrounding landmarks or things to do.

3. Split your social media pages.

If you only have two or three locations, you can probably get away with having one “master” social media presence, but if you have more locations than that, you’ll want to split your social media profiles into individual locations. Create a designated contact for each location to manage their respective pages, and keep one “master” brand page to help people find the social media page most relevant to them. This will help you connect more specifically with your target demographics, especially if your locations are around the country.

4. Segment your link building strategies.

As long as all your locations are under the same domain, you’ll gain collective domain authority with any links you build. However, remember that inbound links pass page authority as well as domain authority, and any links you have pointing to city-specific pages will help those individual pages rank higher. This is valuable if you want to promote one location more than another.

5. Manage your third party profiles and local reviews separately.

Each of your locations should have a separate entry in each third-party review site you leverage (such as Yelp). This will ensure that Google lists your businesses separately for each respective location, and will enable you to monitor and manage local reviews more efficiently. Again, you’ll want to designate a responsible contact for each of your locations to take charge of this duty.

6. Produce ongoing blog content for each city.

Finally, you’ll want to produce ongoing content for each of your locations that’s specific to that city. For example, if you have locations in San Antonio and Kansas City, you could write a post about the “top attractions in San Antonio” one week, and “top attractions in Kansas City” the next week. Rotate these geographic-centric terms in and out of your content strategy (always making sure they’re natural) to increase your relevance for each location.

With these six strategies, you’ll be able to optimize your web presence for each of your physical locations without sacrificing your potential to rank for any other location. It requires a careful balance, and you may find yourself wanting to optimize for one location more than another.

This is perfectly acceptable, especially if you have a “main” location, so feel free to evaluate your strategy and balance your efforts accordingly.

Be sure and visit our small business news site.

See more here:
6 Tips for Managing Local SEO With Multiple Locations

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by Jayson DeMers

Search engine optimization (SEO) is more popular than ever as a marketing strategy these days, and one of the biggest reasons for its mass appeal is its scale and sheer potential. There are billions of searches per day, performed by people all over the world, so optimizing your site to rank higher for these searches has practically unlimited potential. But can small businesses hope to capitalize on this potential when there are so many big businesses competing with them?

Popularity and Time

There are two problems with this “infinite potential” model. First, SEO has become incredibly popular–most businesses now have an online presence, and the vast majority of them are actively competing for more visibility online. Second, SEO has been around since the dawn of the Internet, and major corporations who have been pouring millions of dollars into their online strategies are pretty much untouchable in terms of rankings.

These two issues make it seem practically impossible to many small business owners–with limited resources and little existing domain authority–to break onto the scene. But it is possible for small and local businesses to gain an edge with these six strategies:

1. Zero in on a specific niche.

Your first job is to cut down the competition. Not all search terms get the same amount of search volume, and not all terms carry the same amount of competition. If you’re worried about squaring off against major national competitors, refine your target market to a more specific niche. This will cut down the amount of competition you face, and increase your relevance for that specific niche–you’ll be working with lower search volume, but you’ll rank faster and become more relevant for your audience. For example, you could focus on one specific demographic, or target a specific point in the buying cycle.

2. Target overlooked long-tail keywords.

There are two main “types” of keywords, with a bit of gray area in between. “Head” keywords are short, like “bike tire,” and feature high volume and high competition. “Long-tail” keywords are long, often using conversational sentence structures like “how do I change a flat bike tire,” and feature lower search volume but correspondingly lower competition. You can rank for these search terms easily because of how specific they are. Refine your keyword targeting strategy to focus on more long-tail keyword terms.

3. Prioritize local optimization.

Local search results rely on a different algorithm than Google’s national search framework. You may notice when you perform a local search that the top three relevant brands for your search appear in a box (with links to a website, directions, and a prompt to call on mobile devices) above typical organic search results. It’s possible to optimize your site to appear for these local searches; not only will you get a “free pass” by getting featured above the typical national search results, but you’ll face far less competition in the process. As an added bonus, you’ll get more locally relevant traffic for your site.

4. Use the power of personal brands.

Personal brands have a number of advantages over corporate brands. They’re instantly more trustworthy, they have a higher likelihood of being featured in offsite publishers, and if used independently from your local business, they’ll provide an additional potential route of traffic and visibility for your corporate brand. Start developing your key leadership and personnel through content and social media, and tie those personal brands back to your core corporate brand.

5. Work with local publishers.

Major corporations will have more power and resources to force an increase in their content’s visibility (through things like paid advertising), but as a small business owner, you’ll have more relevance in local publications, like local newspapers, blogs, and forums. Work with those publishers to build more of a reputation for yourself, and get involved in more local projects and volunteer opportunities to help your community impact grow. The more connected you are, the more potential search visibility you’re going to receive.

6. Build up a reputation with reviews and social media.

A big part of local SEO depends on the quality and quantity of the reviews you receive, but you can also generate independent buzz by cultivating more reviews (especially on offsite directories and social media). Work with your existing clients and regular customers to start developing better reviews and more visibility for your business. In turn, you’ll get more visibility and more peripheral traffic (bypassing and complementing the organic search route), but you’ll also get more inbound links and more “real estate” throughout the web, which can increase your overall organic search visibility.

The truth is, small businesses can be just as competitive as big businesses when it comes to SEO. They aren’t able to reach the same number of people, but they can receive huge increases in visibility, reputation, traffic, and eventually sales.

Knowing your strengths and weaknesses as a small enterprise means avoiding competing in areas where you’re outclassed, and instead focusing on where you can make the biggest impact.

Be sure and visit our small business news site.

Read more here:
The 6 Ways Small Businesses Can Stay Competitive in SEO

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It’s Friday, and time for our weekly round-up of the week’s news in search marketing. 

Today we have the most expensive AdWords keywords, a new site testing tool from Google, and a look at whether Google factors in anchor text in internal links.

Google’s next mobile update will factor in page speed

Mobile page speed isn’t currently used as a ranking factor by Google, but that will change with the next mobile friendly update.

Google’s Gary Illyes confirmed this at a recent Search Marketing Summit in Sydney. Though he wasn’t giving dates away, it appears this update is a matter of months away.

What are the most expensive keywords in the US?

Our columnist Chris Lake has compiled a list of the most expensive AdWords keywords in the US. (We have the same list from the UK too).

What have we learnt? Well, the US keywords are much more expensive than those in the UK. The top US keyword is upwards of four times more expensive than the equivalent across the Atlantic.

Also, whereas gambling terms dominate in the UK, it’s legal keywords in the States. 78% are legal terms, including nine of the top ten.

health adwords

A new mobile-friendly testing tool

Google has just launched this tool, based upon the Page Speed Insights tool.

The tool tests and gives a score for these three things:

  • Mobile friendliness
  • Mobile speed
  • Desktop speed

Google will also send you a report detailing the reasons for your scores and suggestions for improvement. Looks like Google needs to work on that desktop score ;)

google

Does Google count anchor text in internal links?

Shaun Anderson from Hobo Web carried out an interesting experiment looking at whether the anchor text used in internal links is used as a ranking factor by Google.

The answer seems to be yes. Please read Shaun’s blog for the full details, but he essentially linked to a page on his site which didn’t contain the keywords used in the anchor text linking to it.

The page then ranked for that keyword, and stopped ranking when the link was removed.

hobo web screenshot

A useful recap of Google I/O

There was lots to digest from Google I/O and Google has helpfully listed and explained the various announcements on the Webmaster Central Blog.

They are:

And finally, the launch of ClickZ Intelligence…

Last week saw the launch of ClickZ Intelligence, a new service providing a range of reports aimed at digital marketing pros.

There’ll be some dedicated SEO and PPC reports further down the line, but for now we have reports on social customer service, ecommerce checkout, customer journeys, mobile ads, AI, and mobile commerce (see Rebecca Sentance’s look at this report from a search perspective).

Read the rest here:
Five of the most interesting search marketing news stories of the week

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It’s Friday, and time for our weekly round-up of the week’s news in search marketing. 

Today we have the most expensive AdWords keywords, a new site testing tool from Google, and a look at whether Google factors in anchor text in internal links.

Google’s next mobile update will factor in page speed

Mobile page speed isn’t currently used as a ranking factor by Google, but that will change with the next mobile friendly update.

Google’s Gary Illyes confirmed this at a recent Search Marketing Summit in Sydney. Though he wasn’t giving dates away, it appears this update is a matter of months away.

What are the most expensive keywords in the US?

Our columnist Chris Lake has compiled a list of the most expensive AdWords keywords in the US. (We have the same list from the UK too).

What have we learnt? Well, the US keywords are much more expensive than those in the UK. The top US keyword is upwards of four times more expensive than the equivalent across the Atlantic.

Also, whereas gambling terms dominate in the UK, it’s legal keywords in the States. 78% are legal terms, including nine of the top ten.

health adwords

A new mobile-friendly testing tool

Google has just launched this tool, based upon the Page Speed Insights tool.

The tool tests and gives a score for these three things:

  • Mobile friendliness
  • Mobile speed
  • Desktop speed

Google will also send you a report detailing the reasons for your scores and suggestions for improvement. Looks like Google needs to work on that desktop score ;)

google

Does Google count anchor text in internal links?

Shaun Anderson from Hobo Web carried out an interesting experiment looking at whether the anchor text used in internal links is used as a ranking factor by Google.

The answer seems to be yes. Please read Shaun’s blog for the full details, but he essentially linked to a page on his site which didn’t contain the keywords used in the anchor text linking to it.

The page then ranked for that keyword, and stopped ranking when the link was removed.

hobo web screenshot

A useful recap of Google I/O

There was lots to digest from Google I/O and Google has helpfully listed and explained the various announcements on the Webmaster Central Blog.

They are:

And finally, the launch of ClickZ Intelligence…

Last week saw the launch of ClickZ Intelligence, a new service providing a range of reports aimed at digital marketing pros.

There’ll be some dedicated SEO and PPC reports further down the line, but for now we have reports on social customer service, ecommerce checkout, customer journeys, mobile ads, AI, and mobile commerce (see Rebecca Sentance’s look at this report from a search perspective).

Credit:
Five of the most interesting search marketing news stories of the week

Share/Save/Bookmark

 

It’s Friday, and time for our weekly round-up of the week’s news in search marketing. 

Today we have the most expensive AdWords keywords, a new site testing tool from Google, and a look at whether Google factors in anchor text in internal links.

Google’s next mobile update will factor in page speed

Mobile page speed isn’t currently used as a ranking factor by Google, but that will change with the next mobile friendly update.

Google’s Gary Illyes confirmed this at a recent Search Marketing Summit in Sydney. Though he wasn’t giving dates away, it appears this update is a matter of months away.

What are the most expensive keywords in the US?

Our columnist Chris Lake has compiled a list of the most expensive AdWords keywords in the US. (We have the same list from the UK too).

What have we learnt? Well, the US keywords are much more expensive than those in the UK. The top US keyword is upwards of four times more expensive than the equivalent across the Atlantic.

Also, whereas gambling terms dominate in the UK, it’s legal keywords in the States. 78% are legal terms, including nine of the top ten.

health adwords

A new mobile-friendly testing tool

Google has just launched this tool, based upon the Page Speed Insights tool.

The tool tests and gives a score for these three things:

  • Mobile friendliness
  • Mobile speed
  • Desktop speed

Google will also send you a report detailing the reasons for your scores and suggestions for improvement. Looks like Google needs to work on that desktop score ;)

google

Does Google count anchor text in internal links?

Shaun Anderson from Hobo Web carried out an interesting experiment looking at whether the anchor text used in internal links is used as a ranking factor by Google.

The answer seems to be yes. Please read Shaun’s blog for the full details, but he essentially linked to a page on his site which didn’t contain the keywords used in the anchor text linking to it.

The page then ranked for that keyword, and stopped ranking when the link was removed.

hobo web screenshot

A useful recap of Google I/O

There was lots to digest from Google I/O and Google has helpfully listed and explained the various announcements on the Webmaster Central Blog.

They are:

And finally, the launch of ClickZ Intelligence…

Last week saw the launch of ClickZ Intelligence, a new service providing a range of reports aimed at digital marketing pros.

There’ll be some dedicated SEO and PPC reports further down the line, but for now we have reports on social customer service, ecommerce checkout, customer journeys, mobile ads, AI, and mobile commerce (see Rebecca Sentance’s look at this report from a search perspective).

Credit:
Five of the most interesting search marketing news stories of the week

Share/Save/Bookmark