Q: I've been told that I cannot optimize my website for multiple cities at once. Is this accurate?
A: Never say can’t! I think the reason our friend here was told this is because you shouldn’t do on-page optimizations to the same page for multiple locations, like a home page for an air conditioner repair business. Don’t make the title tag something like “Indianapolis air conditioner repair | Fort Wayne air conditioner repair.” That’s just spammy. It’s not like you can’t do that…you just shouldn’t. Instead, focus on doing it the right way. Check out the below info and educate your bad self:
Local search is a large and integrated ecosystem involving multiple listing services that cross check citations and validity of information with the Google+ Local listings and Google maps at the core.
Make sure all your location info is up-to-date across multiple listing sites. The best way to identify local business listings and get them verified is through www.getlisted.org. This site allows users to find a business location by ZIP code and see which important listing services have the location information. It then provides insight into which listings are verified and which still need information provided. Having all the information that’s complete and uniform is key to improving rankings and showing up in results.
Winning at local search (both organic results for local keyword and local map results for products/services) requires a combination of Google+ Place page optimizations and corresponding webpage optimizations. Both types have their own set of ranking factors. This is where you should make landing pages for each one of your locations that has information specific to it. Have a page dedicated to that specific location: its hours, the phone number, address, what’s different about it, pictures – as much as you can! Link to that page from your map listing/Google+ page for that location—not just the home page.
Example (using our air condition guy again):
Google+/Map Listing: Delux Air Indianapolis (links to) www.delux-air.com/indianapolis
Google+/Map Listing: Delux Air Fort Wayne (links to) www.delux-air.com/fort-wayne
On both those landing pages is where you can do some good on-page optimizations specific to those stores and locations. If you have hundreds of locations, you’d better get to work!
It may seem like a massive undertaking to optimize and verify thousands of locations across the country, as well as create webpages for each, but there are services like RIO SEO can help automate this process. Many major ecommerce sites that have brick and mortar locations, such as Best Buy and Sports Authority, are utilizing this strategy and setup. Getting store managers involved can also scale these optimizations and place ownership at the store level.
Links still matter for local SEO, but so do citations. That means that simple mentions of your address and location on blogs or elsewhere on the Web can help send a signal to Google that says, “Yes, this is a valid store site or page.”
Hope this helps—this is a big issue. What other local SEO issues are you having? Tell us in the comments or send us a question.