Most multi-location businesses don’t realize the importance of having local websites for each of their locations and are concerned that maintaining a local website is too expensive and time-consuming. That’s not the case. Your multi-location business must have a local digital presence for each of its business locations.

The internet has seen some significant changes in the last few years. Consumers no longer rely on printed classified ads or white pages to research products and services. In today’s digital era, people can know everything about the businesses around them with just a few clicks. Rather than driving around looking for places to eat, people would rather look up local businesses online and read the reviews before they choose where to go. 

So, how can you get your local business to rank well in search results to reach consumers? It has to be a holistic effort, which means having a Google My Business (GMB) page or social media profile alone won’t suffice. Your local business needs an individual identity that is curated through a website, GMB profile, social media pages, online directory listings, and those platforms must have local SEO strategies, which we’ll cover next. 

1. Claim Google My Business profile

If you have a physical store location, the first thing that you should do is claim your profile on GMB and complete your comprehensive listing. Google often assumes that a user is searching locally, and optimizes results based on location. When looking for a restaurant, if you use the keywords “restaurants near me,” you’ll find a list of restaurants in your area. 

Local listings appear on top of the Google search result page before organic results. If you have an updated GMB profile, your multi-location business will also appear on Google Maps – enhancing your overall organic ranking. 

An updated GMB profile must include local business information like the business name, address, phone number, and website link. You can also include images and videos in your profile so potential customers know what to expect when they visit you.

2. Create a Facebook Business page

Another platform that is essential for your multi-location business’s online presence is Facebook Business Pages. Your multi-location business should have a Facebook Business Page for each location. Once the pages are created, you can post content to promote your business and engage with your audience. Here are some content ideas:

  • To increase foot traffic to your local store, you can host Q&A sessions 
  • To increase reach and brand recognition, you can host chat sessions with local bloggers or influencers. 
  • To increase brand authenticity, you can post behind-the-scenes videos to give a glimpse of your production process or the service provided.
  • To increase engagement, you can run offers or host giveaways.

The more engagement your page has, the better. So, creating a consistent posting strategy on your local Facebook pages is key. 

3. Leverage organic social media

Alongside Facebook, there are a number of other social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn that can help your multi-location business reach a larger audience and communicate with them regularly. These social platforms are a great way to maintain an online presence and build brand trust and authority.  

If your social pages are updated and link back to your local website, you are indirectly helping with your local SEO ranking factors. 

4. Have a consistent NAP (name, address, phone number) on all platforms

One of the simplest ways to ensure that your multi-location business will show up on Google search is to provide correct NAP information. Any inconsistencies could potentially cause your multi-location business to rank lower in online searches.  Search engine ranking algorithms take a consistent NAP into consideration and it affects the way you rank in online searches. 

5. Make your website mobile-friendly

According to Quora Creative, in 2019, about 80 percent of people used their mobile phones to look for business information online. About 63 percent of Google visits in the United States are done using mobile devices, but only half of the websites are mobile-optimized.

It is clear that for your business to rank higher in local search results, mobile optimization is a must. Google prioritizes mobile-first indexing, which means that Google ranks website content that is mobile-friendly higher than content that isn’t.

If you’re concerned that your local websites are not mobile-friendly, take the mobile-friendly test by Google, and make it a point to make updates to your website if necessary. 

6. Build local links

A local link is a link from local sources, typically, websites that are specific to a particular location. Having local links gives your business more credibility and will boost your website rankings. However, it can be a bit challenging for new local businesses to gain organic links. 

If you’re looking to increase the number of local links that go back to your website, you should forge co-marketing relationships in each local market. You can approach an influencer or a brand that is in your industry or relevant field and ask if they would be open to a content-swap or co-hosted event. You can also mention other brands in your content and call them out on social media. Once these brands are aware that you exist, they will be more likely to check out your content and even call you out in one of their own pieces. 

Earning links from influencers can significantly push your rankings up, which makes this one of the most important tips for rankings higher in local search results. 

7. Increase customer reviews

Data from Quora Creative further suggests that more than 50 percent of people read online reviews before shopping or visiting a store. With more people than ever basing their buying decision on reviews, positive reviews will really help your business stand out from the competitors.

It’s important to incorporate a review strategy into your marketing plan. How are you going to get happy consumers to leave reviews? What is your plan for responding once reviews are received? The more positive and authentic reviews that your business has, the better. It will add credibility to your business for potential customers. 

8. Use local keywords

The right combination of local keywords can help increase the visibility of your business’s local website. For instance, if you’re opening a pizza shop in Austin it would be important to research which terms are being used for pizza searches in the area, and include those on your site. Additionally, use location modifiers with your keywords for each local community, such as “best pizza restaurant in Austin” or  “pizza places near me” so that you show up in the search results for people looking for pizza joints in your area. 

If you’re having trouble finding keywords, you can use tools like UberSuggest to better understand the most searched terms related to your niche.

9. Keep an eye on your competitors and where they rank

While your local SEO strategy should be localized and based on your business, you should also keep an eye on your competitors and where they rank. With the help of tracking tools, you can gain insights about the keywords competitors are using, along with which websites link to them and other relevant information.

Once you’re aware of what your competitors are doing, you can make additions to your current local SEO strategy to ensure you’re staying ahead of the game. 

10. Update your content to keep your website fresh

As mentioned previously, content with local keywords can help your local search rankings. There are other tips to keep in mind when developing content that will help your rankings. For starters, Google will rank your content better if it’s considered “long-form” which means the content is over 1000 words. 

While you should be crafting new content regularly, you should also go back and update outdated content on your website. When you update content already hosted on your site it creates an impression that you’re striving to help your readers stay up-to-date with the latest information. Google ranks fresh content higher. Another great way to stand out is to include content on trending topics or new information about your business or industry. 

11. Improve your website speed and reduce bounce rates

Today, people spend most of their time on the internet and want instant results. Slow websites can really hurt a consumer’s online experience. 

If your website ranks on Google’s search engine results page (SERP) but takes too much time to load, a consumer may not wait for the site to load and will visit a competitor’s site instead. If your site takes too long to load, your website’s bounce rate will increase, therefore pulling your rankings down. This is why it’s critical to ensure your website loads within two to five seconds to provide an unmatched experience to your audience. However, each second beyond two leads to increased bounce rates. In fact, 40 percent of consumers report abandoning a site if it takes longer than three seconds to load.

Now that you know the top tips to rank higher in local search results, remember that you have to be patient, consistent, and committed to rank higher. It takes time to reach the first position on local listings or Google search results, so don’t get discouraged if you’re not at the top! Keep working on your multi-location business’s local SEO strategy, and you will start seeing results!

Stanventures contributed to this blog. 

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