Ways to Optimize Your Multi-Location Online Store for Local SEO
Today, the number of e-commerce websites is growing in proportion to customers’ demands. More and more purchasing decision-making practices are taking place on the Internet. According to Statista analytics, the global e-retail sales figure of $4.5 trillion captured in 2020 will rise 2021 by $1 trillion. The forecast for 2024 is even more optimistic – about $6.3 trillion in online retail sales.
There is another interesting statistic related to customer behavior. According to Bytracject data, 45% of Internet users willing to order something from e-commerce websites are searching for local service providers. This is a green light to local SEO strategies. And one of the most win-win approaches for e-commerce market players today is multi-location search engine optimization.
What Is Multiple-Location SEO?
Multi-location SEO is about the search engine optimization of online stores with a focus on attracting local leads. The retailer should choose specific locations (one state, several cities or towns, a city, and some nearby locations, etc.) to adopt a strategy according to the rules for multiple-location website optimization.
For example, let’s say your business has several physical offices or shops in New York and Miami. It means that you need to optimize your e-commerce project for multi-locations (NY, MI). This way, you will serve more locals from New York and Miami if they are interested in your niche services and goods. Take a closer look at the search results for the query “best coffee in Manhattan.”
Google Maps show local coffee shops to visit. One of them is the Coffee Project. After visiting the company’s website, it is possible to see that there is a chain of branded coffee shops in NY.
The focus on the local presence with search engine optimization for each location makes Coffee Project one of the top places in New York. At the same time, the company sells packed coffee and tea on an interstate basis and provides wholesales internationally. If Coffee Project decides to open new coffee shops in Los Angeles, Washington, and other American cities, the multi-location SEO strategy will also focus on the new locations.
Benefits of SEO for Multiple Locations
The main benefit of SEO for multiple locations is an improvement in your local search traffic. You will get more leads who are easily converted into customers if your offers meet their demands. Remember that one of the core requirements of the present-day consumers is to find a “near-me” reliable provider of goods and services!
Additionally, you will boost your SERPs with the help of multi-location SEO. The e-commerce websites that pay focused attention to search optimization for multiple locations are usually at the top of the search results.
Who Needs A Multi-Location Online Store?
Those entrepreneurs who operate across various locations require multi-location online stores. The eCommerce market players interested in sound online performance and well-recognized physical local shops should pay attention to multi-location SEO.
The size of the project also matters when it comes to search engine optimization. For example, eCommerce websites that sell internationally have to stay focused on countries and regions more than on separate-standing cities and towns. This way, the business will be easier to scale up. Medium-sized and small online stores that cover only several locations should optimize their sites according to the areas they serve.
Here is a checklist for business representatives who have some doubts about switching to performing through multi-location ecommerce websites:
- You have several physical shops in different regions.
- Your online business obtains a range of specialties in certain regions (language, country, region).
- You perform as an ecommerce market player internationally.
- Your website serves as the main virtual platform for supporting local business departments.
This way, both B2C and B2B businesses can benefit from multi-location SEO. This is all about having a website for multiple locations if your business-to-business website offers digital products to clients from different countries.
For example, the AIIA company is headquartered in China. Having established offices in Europe, the B2B ecommerce project switched to multi-locational performance (bi-lingual website, contact information including addresses and telephones of local offices, etc.).
The same story is about business-to-customer projects. These ecommerce websites can gain more public attention for services and products while complementing the SEO strategy with localization.
For example, the Bliss eCommerce website now performs internationally. However, first, it was an American project with interstate shipping only. Today, we can see that Bliss cosmetics is available globally, including on the shelves of top retailers such as Walmart, Boots, and Walgreens. The online store has a separate-standing page named Locator to help searchers find the most nearby local shop with the goods by the brand.
To sum up, if you find at least one item on the checklist that meets your business objectives and relates to your eCommerce performance, it is high time to switch to the multi-location SEO-friendly store.
How to Do the Online Store with Multiple Locations?
Local search optimization for eCommerce websites is not about long-tail keywords accompanied with cities, towns, + “near me” word combinations. This is only the tip of the iceberg. Let’s take a closer look at all the approaches for online store SEO for multiple locations.
1 – Create One Page for One Location
The most win-win eCommerce SEO approach is to create special-purpose website pages for each location of the company. This way, you will be able to add content targeted to locals. You can add specific keywords, locations, nearby cities and towns, descriptions of the services in the area, or availability of the goods in the local physical shops.
Add to these pages the local addresses and contact information like telephone numbers, email, etc. For example, the moving and storage company Step by Step has separate-standing website pages for each city and town they operate in.
2 – Manage Mentions of Online Store Business
Be ready to optimize your pages for specific locations according to the golden rules of local SEO. Among the essential optimization practices are:
- Relevant NAP – local name, address, and phone number should be specified on the website pages.
- No virtual offices – the virtual office is at high risk of being wiped off Google Maps and losing local traffic.
- Sign up for Google My Business listings of other popular aggregators like Yelp, Yahoo, Local Bing Places, Foursquare, etc.
- Creation of localized content for each location (despite the location of the store, you need to optimize the content for product pages, create blog posts for locals, and use location-friendly keywords).
- On-page SEO – do not forget about traditional optimization musts like adding targeting keywords to meta titles, descriptions, SEO-friendly URLs with the location embedded, image alt tags with locational keywords, etc.).
3 – Optimize Your Google My Business Listings
Google My Business is one of the most reputable aggregators today. If you are an e-commerce market player, it is critically important to sign up there and follow Google’s guidelines to optimize each of your location pages. Let’s take a closer look at the main rules to follow:
- Each location you mention on the website should be verified. That is why virtual offices should not be included.
- Specify actual working hours. This information will be shown to your potential customers.
- Add real photos of the location. This imagery will also be shown to the searchers.
- Give feedback for each review. You need to respond to your visitors to show the way you manage customer experience.
- Use location-friendly names. For example, “KeenCoffee” should be complemented with “Monaco” – “KeenCoffee Monaco.”
This way, you will optimize your Google My Business and have something like an online business card generated by the top search engine.
4 – Build Links to Each of Location Pages
There are many ways to get local links that will become trusted signals for search engines in the context of eCommerce website authority. The SEO linking strategy should combine all the following approaches (or at least several of the tactics mentioned in the list):
- Sponsorships – think of local influencers, blogs, forums, and news platforms. Practice guest posting, including press releases, product unpacks, and other content posted on third-party websites.
For example, the Nesta self-storage company used sponsored articles in the local press for local link building. The Dublin Live newspaper published press releases of the local eCommerce market player regularly. As a result, Nesta hit the top SERPs and received increased media outreach (attention from citizens of Dublin).
- Hosting local events – arrange webinars, meetings, and live streams focused on local audiences. Inform people from specific regions about planned occasions. It is best to do this on social media accounts and in the local press.
For example, giant online retailer Alibaba uses Taobao live streaming platform to boost sales in China. There is a particular local channel for the Chinese audience. It can be explained by the high popularity of live streams in Asia. That is why the flagship eCommerce market player practices local live streams.
- Content marketing – your eCommerce SEO is impossible without win-win strategies to disseminate your content. That is why it is better to use email programs and social media networks to get extra attention from locals. Activate paid ads with geolocation targeting, add location-based hashtags to your Instagram and Facebook posts.
For example, the fashion boutique Style Me in Miami has an eCommerce Instagram account for attracting locals with geolocation marks and specific hashtags like #buyshoesmiami #stylememiami.
The more high-grade local backlinks your eCommerce website has, the more it is targeted to your region. Remember that local SEO is about strong signals sent to Google or other search engines to prove that your business is among the top-performing for specific locations.
To create a sound backlink profile in the context of multi-location search engine optimization, use special-purpose software and online tools (SE Ranking, backlink checker, SEO SpyGlass, Google Search Console). This way, you will get timely insights on links – options to find and analyze them in real-time mode.
5 – Use Structured Data for Local Pages
One more essential step of the multi-location SEO for online stores is to acquire a Google Knowledge Panel. The main idea is that this is an automatically-generated graph by search engines. The knowledge panel consists of data entries the business representative specifies on the website and social media accounts.
Remember that this is about improved visibility on the Internet and increased authority of your company and brand. That is why it is important to ensure that your eCommerce project shows up in the Google Knowledge Panel.
To force search engines to generate information about your eCommerce website and create the panel for your organization, follow these basic steps:
- Make a Wikipedia or Wikidata page. This way, you will increase your brand awareness and level of authority.
- Add all key information to your branded Google account. The search engine will extract all required data for the knowledge panel itself faster.
- Create corporate social media accounts. Be active with branded posts and practice social backlinking to provide Google with recognizable signals.
- Implement a Schema markup. Structured data is SEO-friendly in default. It is easier for Google to recognize all the video-rich results, thumbnail images, etc.
- Create a Google My Business profile and listings in other local directories (Google Maps, other search engines, and aggregators).
If everything is done correctly, the Google Knowledge Panel will appear as soon as possible. It will contain all the core information about your online store and bring more engagement from local search engine users.
6 – Deal with Local Online Store Reviews
If your service and product range differ from location to location, it is critically important to run the multi-location review generation strategy. An approach where customers’ reviews are linked to a specific town, city, or region is beneficial for your reputation and trustworthiness locally. People prefer sellers that obtain positive feedback from the purchasers nearby.
Also, Check – Online Reputation Management Strategy
Start with listing management while creating unique links for each location to be reviewed. This way all the consumers will be able to leave local feedback. And potential buyers will see these reviews from locals that will boost the trust in your eCommerce project. Here is a list of hacks on how to get good reviews and deal with bad ones:
- Encourage your customers to leave feedback with the help of email surveys, messages to their personal accounts right after the purchase, and attractive promotions for a product review.
- Always provide an answer to people who left a review (either positive or negative). This way, you show that each client is valuable to your online store. Avoid templated feedback – address personally to the customers.
- If the feedback is positive and thankful, express your gratitude in the responding message. Your appreciation will encourage other consumers to share their opinions.
- If you received a negative review, do everything to solve the problem of the customer. Your response should be respectful, kind, and timely. Address the incident and leave personalized feedback to show that the case is an exception to the rules.
- If the customer complains about high rates, long delivery terms, or other situations, find the best-matching words to explain all the circumstances. The seller of premium cosmetics can leave feedback about the top and eco components of the mascara and powder. The long delivery can be explained with numerous orders before holidays.
Do not forget about personal promotions for unsatisfied clients. The best way to deal with customers’ negative reviews is to demonstrate your responsible approach to conflict regulation. But always check the authenticity of the information.
Sometimes your competitors stoop to the level of speculations and lies. If you detect false comments and reviews on the local pages, write that your online shop does not serve that person who left the fraudulent comments.
Additionally, contact the moderator of the third-party website like Google Maps or TrustPilot and explain the situation. Defend your reputation and show that you keep track of all the orders.
The eCommerce market sector is rapidly growing. A large number of competitiveness forces business representatives to try new approaches and perform well in the niche. A win-win strategy is switching to a multi-location online store if your company serves more than one city or town.
The eCommerce SEO for multiple locations is an excellent solution for modern entrepreneurs who strive to make their online business highly visible on the Internet for locals. Following the steps mentioned above for multi-location eCommerce search engine optimization makes it possible to become the best product and service provider in the targeted region. Hit the top SERPs with the local SEO and remain satisfied with the local organic traffic.