Creating online local listings get even more complicated if you own a chain store or a business with multiple locations. Not only is there the process of uploading the info for each location but Google will sometimes want to merge your listings if they look too much alike and there is the difficulty of getting each location to rank. The best way to prevent problems and later headaches is to sit down and come up with a plan in advance before you start uploading.
- Phone Numbers – To keep each listing clearly separate and to help each listing rank well you will need a localized phone number for each location. Having a local phone number is a big ranking factor in Google Maps and Google will want to merge your listings if they all have the same number. So get separate phone numbers even if they all ring to a central call center.
- Individual Web Pages – Create a separate page on your website for each of your multiple locations. If possible have it mirror the information you would have on your places page. Have the phone number and address clearly visible and crawl-able on each page. Use the location in the URL structure for the page as well. For example, if you have a location in Jackson Hole Wyoming have the page be named something like www.yourbusinessname.com/jackson-hole-wy/. The more hints you can give Google on your webpage about the location the better.
- Bulk Upload – Unfortunately not all online directories have this option but Google’s spreadsheet upload feature is quite easy to use if you follow their guidelines. Create a Google account with a company email address. If your email matches your website domain (i.e. if you create the google account with [email protected]) it will make the verification process a million times easier. Make sure to upload as much information as possible about each location including each location separate phone number and URL.
- Citations – As I said, not all local directories have a bulk upload option and some of them, like Bing, only let you do it if you have over 25 locations. So you won’t be able to build as many citations for businesses with multiple locations as you would for a single location business. So focus your efforts on some of the major data providers. Expressupdateusa.com, supermedia.com, and localeze.com all feed their data to several other online directories. You won’t be able to do the bulk upload but you should get several citations all at once.
So if you do a little planning up front you can save yourself a lot of the pain and headache of having to do local listings for multiple locations. If you do that along with some Local Search Engine Optimization you’ll be able to dominate the market for wherever you are located.