One of the biggest challenges that businesses forget as they expand from one store to two stores is how to position that change online. As companies grow larger they tend to have challenges with promoting multiple locations and stores through Google.
It is more management, and harder to keep information straight on multiple stores in a company.
That is why we included six killer steps for your location SEO that you can use to ensure your business ranks well on local Google searches, no matter how many stores you have:
First, make sure each store has their own information updated on your Google My Business Account.
Google My Business is the dashboard for business owners to manage their location information on search, maps, and Google+ From there, you can manage the information that is included on your Google store profiles.
Here are a few items that you want to specifically include when creating your account:
Name, Address, and Phone (NAP) – Your basic contact information has to be correct. Otherwise, how do customers find you?
To do this, make sure your name is the legal name of the company. Do not include the company and store name. Otherwise, you could cause confusion with Google. Similarly, make sure your address is consistent with your website and other legal documents. Use this free address validation tool before you save your address to ensure that the map lines up with your real address. Better to double check ahead of time. Finally, make sure that you have a local phone number for each of your store locations. If you have multiple locations you should have a phone number for each store. Otherwise, consumers might be confused which store they need to visit to buy your products.
Photo- Have a photo of the front of each store location. That way when visitors look at your page, they know they are in the spot.
Website URL- We discuss this in further detail below, but make sure you have a specific website page for each location. Link each page to the corresponding Google Business page.
Categories- Search Engine Land mentioned in an article lately that less is more with categories. If you have too many, then consumers will not know what you do. Have one or two categories describing your business.
Consistency- Now that you have the basic information filled out, make sure you include this information consistently across all the stores you operate. Names and categories should be the same across the board. Complete this information for every store. Remember whenever you move or change your contact info, you need to update that on Google.
Second, keep your website updated
A big challenge for those looking to have traffic from location SEO on Google is they do not keep their site updated. According to Google, your website should have the following items for each store.
Third, Ensure your website is mobile ready.
In April, we discussed the Google Mobile Algorithm Update. If you want any location search for any of your stores, you need a mobile site. Check the Mobile Friendly app from Google to find out for free whether your site is optimised for mobile traffic.
The value of a mobile site is definitely worthwhile. Recently, cosmetics retailer Sephora mentioned how every dollar in mobile search drove $6 in customers – https://youtu.be/UfIz0PYyucw
Fourth, use Google Local Inventory Ads
Another tool for businesses looking to spread the word about their local pages is through Google Local Inventory Ads.
As you can see from the mobile screenshot below, local inventory ads show up in a carousel at the top of searches for common day products. The ads also show if any of the products are located near you, and how far away they are based on your GPS location. For example, the Chromebook mentioned below sells for $169 at the Best Buy 2.6 miles away from me. When I click on the ad, I can see the Google My Business page for that location and get directions to go there through Google maps.
The local ad listing, maps, and my business are all integrated into one beautiful search feature for users to find and buy products while on the go.
Fifth, Create Content for each page
Additionally, you need to create engaging content for each page. For local stores and restaurants this means photos and inside views of the store itself. The photos you provide can be anything from your products to staff to events to whatever you feel would best represent your business. Remember to Geocode these photos, so they can bring in additional local traffic. Additionally, you can create a business view of your operation as well. Google has a list of trusted photographers who can provide photos of the inside of your store. These are 3D photos of your location, so customers know exactly what it looks like before they visit.
This is an extension of the street view cameras that Google has going throughout neighborhoods around the world.
In the Tetsuya example below, you can see how the Japanese restaurant mixes photos of the food with inside photos of the restaurant.
Sixth, Provide Credibility
The final step is to provide reviews for each location. This is a crucial, on-going process. According to a Bright Local survey, in 2014 88% of users check reviews to determine whether they want to visit the establishment. Make it a point to get reviews for your business, because they are a vital part of why customers check out your establishment.
You probably need a local seo champion for each store who can get reviews for the store on a regular basis. Generally this will be a franchise owner or manager. They need to be in charge of getting reviews on a regular basis to ensure that they are fresh and entice customers. Make sure you establish guidelines for getting these reviews. Specifically, you cannot bribe customers to provide a review. It violates Google rules.
Running a multi-location store has never been easy. You need to manage twice as many properties, problems, and challenges. The same is true when you want search traffic on Google. However, a well-run company that maintains a quality website and Google My Business page can do amazing things for revenue generation.
In the meantime, if you still have additional questions about how to use local search engine optimisation, learn more about our location SEO Melbourne services.