If you see search results for Paul Mitchell Schools, Meineke, Avis Rent a Car, Visionworks, or AlphaGraphics, there’s a good chance local SEO had something to do with it.

All of these are nationally recognized brands—leaders in their respective fields. But they share one thing in common:

They all reached out to Big Leap to help with their local SEO for Multiple locations.

In this exhaustive guide, we’ll cover what your business needs to do to get seen online.

Table of Contents

Why Does Local SEO Matter?

When data was collected in 2018, there was already a 900% growth in mobile searches over two years for “near me,”. Add a 500% increase in local “can I buy” or “to buy” searches, and you can understand the importance of having accurate local information for your business.

As mobile searches continue to increase, on-the-go people turn to Google to help map out their immediate plans. Eighty-eight percent of users will visit a physical store within a week after conducting a local mobile search.

Local SEO is an opportunity to boost brand awareness, increase local foot traffic, and even take advantage of free Google marketing opportunities. But it’s not enough to have an online presence. Local SEO means offering unique content for every location of your business.

That’s right: Every store must stand out to be seen online.

That’s a tall order! We’ve created this guide to help you understand what it takes to get your brand in front of every one of your local target audiences.

What Does Local SEO for Multiple Location Businesses and Franchises Mean?

The goal for local SEO for multiple location businesses and franchises may be fundamentally the same as for a small business: To get seen in search results and generate organic traffic to your site. But the process to accomplish this on a large scale is very different.

First, we must distinguish between multi-location and franchise business models.

SEO for Multi-Location Businesses

A multi-location business is owned and operated by the same company. Every physical location under this business structure is a direct extension of corporate operations.

Branding, hiring, management, and marketing are unified so the public finds consistency in products and services no matter which location they visit. Since the same entity owns every location, they have to oversee each store’s online content and SEO.

SEO for Franchises

A franchise may appear the same to customers, but it is a very different business model. Some will describe a franchise as owning a business that is independent—but not alone.

Franchises are licensed to individual store owners but centrally controlled under a corporation’s strict guidelines. The overseeing corporation provides the branding and logos, unified products, general marketing guidelines, and perhaps a minimal budget for the local store’s online presence. However, every store location is independently owned and operated.

Store owners benefit from brand recognition, and the corporation markets this brand. The responsibility for SEO tasks and website maintenance associated with local SEO for franchises is up to each store owner.

How Is Local SEO for Multi-Location Businesses and Franchises Different?

Local SEO for multi-location businesses and franchises requires an extra layer of planning and coordination compared to a single location (or online only) company because every location needs to stand out. The distinction pertains to two main areas:

  1. Content: Local SEO incorporates keywords specific to a business location and its surroundings while avoiding duplicate content (a search engine no-no).
  2. Listings: A campaign should include quality backlinks, citations, and local listings for each business location.

Single-Location/Web-Only Businesses

A single-location or web-only business competes against others in their industry but with only one primary presence to manage. From site optimization to content and SEO goals, the company’s online presence should include everything that unifies its brand.

Whether that means social media accounts, a storefront on Amazon, or a physical store local listing, all must be high quality, consistent, and designed to scale against competitors.

Multi-Location Local SEO

Local SEO for multiple locations is about maintaining consistent branding and online presence, with each location fighting for visibility against local competitors and their own company’s other locations.

Every store location must have its unique presence online, and that content needs to share the recognizability of the central brand. This strategy calls for unique location-specific content, including in all directories.

What Are Some of the Benefits of Local SEO?

People often search locally, even within their immediate surroundings, when they’re ready to make a purchase.

The following are just some of the ways local SEO benefits multi-location businesses and franchises:

  • Local SEO can help protect your online reputation. Keeping location profiles up to date and differentiating every location with unique content will protect your business from reduced ranking or visibility.
  • Every one of your locations needs to be seen by people searching in that location’s proximity. Providing accurate map and name, address, and phone number (NAP) information helps each listing compete against other local businesses. Additionally, it directs people to your door with online map features and GPS.
  • Local SEO provides a strong trust signal about your location’s legitimacy. When people find your local details are accurate and consistent, it reduces their concerns about whether your location has changed or is still in existence.
  • Local SEO isn’t only for companies with in-person stores. Online-only stores and locations that aren’t open to the public can still make use of the powerful, positive exposure that comes from backlinks, directory mentions, and other online connections.

Clipboard showing benefits of local SEO in list form

What Are the Greatest Challenges of Local SEO?

Local SEO for multiple location businesses and franchises can positively reinforce your ranking and authority online, or it can lead to mixed signals and seriously damage your ability to connect with your audience.

Accuracy and Consistency

Your local listings must be consistent and error-free for NAP fields. Errors can negatively impact the ranking of a primary business.

Businesses with multiple locations find challenges with phone number and address accuracy across every store. If this isn’t managed efficiently, your brand’s ranking is vulnerable.


It’s a common mistake to copy the exact descriptive information for every location website as this practice is a huge red flag to Google. A few duplicates of data reduce individual store visibility. Now if your company has dozens or even hundreds of locations, it could hide the whole brand from search results.

Targeting Search Intent

Companies with a national brand presence and numerous physical locations find it challenging to optimize keywords and content with correct information optimized for national, semi-national, local, and hyper-local query results.

Managing Franchise Locations

National brands operating on a franchise model face unique challenges in addition to what they share in common with multi-location businesses. It’s difficult to coordinate digital marketing for franchises when independent owners operate the website for their own location.

Franchises must focus on their online reputation, have an active online presence, maintain their Google My Business (GMB) profiles, and stay connected to the parent company and other stores.

Often, independent franchise owners feel overwhelmed with all these tasks and unable to keep up. They’re counting on the franchisor to provide assistance and infrastructure for every local store.

What Does It Take to Do Local SEO Right?

Here are tips every multi-location company should follow to remedy the challenges of local SEO for multi-location businesses and franchises.

  • On your main company website, create a landing page for every location of your business.
  • Keep your GMB profiles updated and accurate.
  • Maintain online directories for every location.
  • Use actual images for every physical location to distinguish it from other stores.
  • Upload local keyword-optimized blog content.
  • Create and maintain location service pages.
  • Showcase your local reviews and star ratings.
  • Use schema markup to generate your local business data, like business hours and holidays.

SEO Tips for Franchisors

Here are a few SEO tips specifically for franchisors:

  • Have clear guidelines for individual location owners on maintaining their website.
  • Provide a budget for every location’s website presence, upkeep, and SEO optimization.
  • Explain the importance of utilizing positive reviews, accurate listings, and local business promotion.

For individual location owners, it’s valuable to understand the importance of adequately researching local terms to incorporate into their website content. Quality content with targeted phrases helps every location stand out uniquely in its area.

Tips for Multi-Location and Franchise PPC Campaigns

Your PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns must be well-orchestrated and well-organized. The goal should be to raise awareness for your brand while pointing people to the specific location they’re searching for in their area. This planning means ads are targeting the right geo-location demographics for search terms that are locally recognized and relevant.

Multi-location businesses running campaigns for all locations must keep campaign data organized to know which results align with each site. Tracking success based on keywords and local demographics can leave complex campaign data with hundreds of variations, requiring a well-planned strategy.

Franchises should coordinate PPC campaigns with the parent company, carefully choosing local phrases and demographics unique to their area. You don’t want different locations competing against one another for the same keywords, driving up costs and reducing potential leads. Instead, highly-specific targeted words and audiences will help you focus on the right customers.

The Results You Can Expect from Big Leap’s Local SEO Services

When companies contact us with local SEO challenges of their multi-location business or franchise, they want reassurance that duplicate content, inaccurate or outdated listings, and generally underperforming ranking are all resolvable.

We provide that reassurance in the form of proof.

View the results we’ve attained for multiple location businesses and franchises, all facing unique challenges.

Visionworks: Results Everyone Can See

Our journey with Visionworks is a great starting place to display our skill in local SEO for multiple locations.

Visionworks is a national brand that had significant challenges when updating its site. Our SEO strategy for Visionworks involved three critical goals:

  1. Collaborate on a full-site migration
  2. Develop and execute a plan for localized content, which included 250+ location pages
  3. Create long-form blog and on-site content

Throughout their site migration, we worked on local-page content creation and optimization, including highly-targeted keywords. Our efforts resulted in the following:

  • A 124% increase in organic views
  • Over 250 pages of optimized local content
  • An increase of 313,000+ clicks
  • 5.86 million more impressions

Once we finished their successful site migration, Big Leap aimed to deliver results for two of Visionworks’ critical markets: Texas and Florida. We were able to:

  • Improve their organic GMB listing views by 146.7% for Texas.
  • Improve their organic GMB listing views by 124.7% for Florida.
  • Increase their clicks by 41% for Texas.
  • Increase their clicks by 46.7% for Florida.

AlphaGraphics: From Duplicate Content to Repeatable Success

AlphaGraphics is a superstar among companies using a franchise model. With over 270 locations, the company designed a microsite for each. However, technical SEO and location-specific content are the responsibility of each franchise owner.

Big Leap generated original content with unique details about every location’s service area and utilized custom keyword targets separate from every other site.

To the same degree that AlphaGraphics is a world-class designer and marketing company—and not just a place to make copies—they soon learned local sites aren’t something you can copy off the press. Google began devaluing and suppressing its content.

We overcame this incredible challenge by developing a custom sales funnel, identifying SEO opportunities, and designing custom content for every location.

Over two years and with more than 4,000 original pages of content, Big Leap:

  • Increased their organic traffic by 105%.
  • Improved conversions by 77%.
  • Raised their domain authority.
  • Decreased their bounce rate by 24%.

Avis Rent a Car: Driving SEO Success Across Multiple Locations

Do you have 1,700 locations across North America? No problem! Avis is one of the most recognized names in car rental services, and it’s not easy to avoid duplicate or expired local content 1,700 times over.

By implementing a content strategy and a location-specific keyword campaign, Big Leap aimed to drive traffic (really, how are we supposed to avoid the wordplay?) to their local pages.

The results? We helped Avis enjoy 213 new, high-quality keywords ranking in the top positions on Google. That meant a constant stream of hundreds of thousands of new reservations.

OyBoy: Cranking Up the Heat on Organic Traffic

When the multi-location, Utah-based HVAC company OyBoy Heating and Cooling contacted Big Leap, they needed an SEO partner to improve site and data visibility while generating results for each location.

Big Leap stepped in with a site migration, providing them with complete transparency. At the same time, we went to work on their local SEO with citations and major aggregators for their GMB.

We were able to gain them 4,237 new keywords ranking high on Google, and:

  • A 95.4% increase in organic traffic
  • A 92.5% increase in page views
  • A 990.9% increase in new visitors
  • A 9% drop in their bounce rate

SwimJim: Swimming Laps Around the Competition

With 20+ years in aquatic education for thousands of swimmers, SwimJim is a leader in their area of expertise. Still, their local SEO wasn’t reflecting this. They simply weren’t getting spotted online.

Big Leap started working with SwimJim in 2013 on their GMB and other optimizations to bring page-one Google rankings and answer box listings.

Among other local SEO goals, they needed to improve brand visibility in Houston, Texas. We were able to grab them the #1 spot for “swimming lessons” and #2 for “Houston swim lessons.”

Strive Pharmacy: Compounding Success Across the US

When Big Leap began working with Strive, they were a single-location compounding pharmacy in Gilbert, AZ, looking to expand into Utah.

We’ve helped them enjoy continuous growth throughout Utah, Colorado, Arizona, California, Florida, and now Texas—on track to continue through all 50 states.

Cascade Collision: SEO that Busts the Competition

We began working with the successful, multi-location Utah auto body repair shop Cascade Collision in 2016. While they were already savvy about SEO and building a robust online presence, they wanted to maximize every opportunity for online exposure and gain more insight into their traffic.

As a result of focusing on technical SEO, local SEO, and link building, we’ve helped them realize the following:

  • A 96.62% increase in year-over-year sessions
  • A 102.51% increase in new users
  • 100% of their keywords ranking at the top of Google search results (90% in the first through third position)
  • A conversion rate increase of 173%
  • A 103% increase in phone calls for all locations

Cascade grew its four locations into seven, and we’re proud to be a part of their journey.

Pinnacle Roofing & Home Exteriors: Raising Keyword Rankings Through the Roof

Big Leap has worked with Pinnacle Roofing & Home Exteriors since 2019 on their multi-location services throughout Northwest Arkansas. The locality was fundamental, so we helped refine their GMB listings for uniformity and expanded their reach with original content, keywords, and improved metadata. The results are as follows:

  • A 72% rise in their Google ranking
  • 600 top ten positioned keywords, including a prominent answer box
  • Over 40 citations with over 40 backlinks

Exterior Remodeling: Bringing Home the Win

A midwest B2C roofing company with an excellent local reputation wasn’t getting online visibility. 

Big Leap began working with this exterior remodeling client in 2019, combining SEO and content marketing. We’re proud to have helped raise them from the 100th ranking in vital keywords to number one!

Because this client services specific counties in Indiana, we understood local SEO would be essential to our client’s campaign. But SEO is just one piece of the pie. To maximize their online results, we knew combining this client’s SEO with content marketing would help them achieve their desired success.

We worked with their local SEO for the Indiana locations they serve by:

  • Optimizing their site
  • Identifying keywords and developing relevant content for them
  • Creating around 70 location pages
  • Securing local citations
  • Defining their service areas that extend beyond their multiple locations
  • Improving their Google rankings by over 19,639 positions: 3,282 for local keywords
  • Increasing their organic traffic by 192%
  • Increasing new organic users by 301%

Local SEO with Big Leap: Every Detail for Every Location

You can see that a lot goes into perfecting your local SEO strategy. Local SEO isn’t solely about increasing your brand recognition and reaching the right crowd with keywords and content. You also have to ensure your unique business locations stand out—with their online visibility over your competitors and also word-for-word against your own locations.

The good news is that we’ve tackled some of the biggest challenges you’ll face—with huge wins!

Your multi-location business or franchise deserves specialized care. And doing local SEO right requires attention to every detail—at every location.

Big Leap’s SEO strategists would love to talk with you about your local SEO goals, so call us today!