5 Free Local SEO Tips for Marketers of Multi-Location Startups and SMBs

Every business has its limitations — but for brand new business startups, those limitations can be especially stringent. This is something that marketers often hear when working with young companies: They want to make a big splash, but have limited means with which to make it happen.

What complicates matters further is when the business has multiple locations, each one requiring its own localized SEO approach. Paid search solutions, potentially viable when you just have one campus to worry about, can be prohibitively expensive when you’re dealing with multiple localities.

Fortunately, there are many avenues for multi-location startups and SMBs to do an effective job improving their local SEO — with little or no financial investment. What follows are five of these low-cost, local SEO opportunities.

Create a Google My Business page for every location.

As Google puts it, Google My Business (GMB) “helps you attract new customers with a FREE Business profile.” I recommend you treat each location as its own business and create a unique Google My Business account for each. Make sure to input the correct address, phone, fax and operating hours of each location. Always use phone numbers with local area codes if possible, not 1-800 numbers.

Post to your Google My Business pages.

Google has provided some advanced features for your business to take advantage of, including some that can have a real impact on local search visibility:

  • Posts – Tell your customers and clients what’s new. You may use Posts for pretty much anything regarding your business. They can even be a summary of your blog posts if you blog regularly.
  • Events – You can also create local events at each one of your locations. These might include happenings such as grand opening, holiday sales, etc.
  • Offers – If you have limited time promotions and coupons, this is the place where you can post them.
  • Products – Showcase any new arrivals and products.

Note that among my clients, those that actively engage their users via GMB Posts get more local visibility and traffic.

Create a Bing Profile for each location.

Google rules the roost, but having a Bing profile is also important, especially with voice search. Luckily, setting up Bing is incredibly easy, as you can simply import your Google My Business settings. This is a smooth and important way to ensure accurate information across both major search engines.

Create or claim a Yelp listing for each location.

Each location should have its own Yelp listing. This way you can optimize for each location, and it also allows for you to collect reviews for each location, upload location-specific images and videos, etc.

Create social media platforms for each location.

Multi-location brands usually make the mistake of creating just a single set of social media channels, but I recommend having a set of social media profiles for each location in addition to your corporate office. You may pick the top social channels that are relevant to your business. For example, a chain restaurant would probably want to focus on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. When creating these profiles, make sure your city or location name is in each one. For example, Umami Burger Irvine, Umami Burger Downtown LA, etc. Be sure you have the unique address and contact information for each profile.

Bonus Tip

Submit each location to top local directories. Most are free and I have collected a list of top local directories you can download and implement. The key step is to ensure the data for each location is consistent with what you have in Google My Business, Bing Places, Yelp and your social media platforms. Alternatively, if you have a small budget, you can use local data aggregators such as Synup, Moz Local, or Yext — valuable tools, though maybe not attainable for those whose budgets are truly tiny.

The bottom line is, if you have multiple locations, you want to treat each location as its own business, creating unique platforms and profiles for each. There are paid tools that help with this, but you don’t necessarily need them if you’re willing to spend a few hours completing the steps outlined here.

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