Some local businesses operate as part of a franchise system, as a brand licensee, or underneath a corporate structure with many locations across a country or region. As with all other businesses, high organic search engine rankings resulting from search engine optimization (SEO) can be a profitable driver of traffic to your website or blog. All the basics of SEO still apply, but franchises and multi-location businesses face additional challenges. So, here are three key tips for increasing your local pages’ ranks in the local search engine results.
1) Avoid Duplicate Content
Whether your website is part of the corporate site or stands on its own, repetition of company “boilerplate” descriptions can be problematic for search engine rankings. Google and other search engines look for unique content and penalize the duplication of articles or language across multiple sites in order to serve more varied and higher quality search results. Both duplicate content within a website and across websites can be detected.
However, most corporate brands with multiple locations encourage consistency in the language used to describe products and services in order to reinforce the brand, leading to duplicate content. So in order to avoid being penalized, Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam team suggests that multi-location business websites include unique location information along with some localized content and, “they should be fine.”
To avoid creating duplicate content, you could include references to your location or indicate service areas such as “downtown Metropolis,” or “on the lake in northern Metropolis” in your local page’s content. Other ideas for localized unique content include the history of that location, management names or special offers. For example, “Owner John Doe has been tossing pizza dough in the historic Jones building in Western Suburb since 2005.” Make sure you are choosing 3-5 local keywords to optimize for on your blog or site.
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