Have you ever wondered how to structure a site that hosts multiple Google + Local profiles? Or rather, when such a setup is or isn’t viable?
Sidecar: No way am I typing “Google+ Local” again in this post. Henceforward, on my blog, it will be GL. Deal with it.
Most of my posts are fueled by an overwhelming amount of questions about a particular facet of SEO, most usually Google + Local.
Over the last 2+ years I have worked with more variations than I care to know about. There are 3 that have been consistently successful. For the sake of simplicity, I will break them down into my three most common categories: Corporate, Small-Medium Biz & Publisher.
Typically speaking, big business (i.e. Macy’s) will use their home page in their GL profile. This is the super-easy option. The majority of your PR typically sits on your homepage, which will translate well in your local rankings.
I however, prefer a second option. If I worked with Macy’s, I would build out a separate landing page for each location. The URL would be stuffed, a map embedded, NAP, keyword rich content—the works.
You could appeal to so many pieces of the local & organic algo that otherwise would have been missed; trumped by aesthetics and such. In my experience, this leads to better rankings and far more traffic.
Unfortunately for Macy’s, it is too late. To change (for example) every local directory which points at their home page would be an absolute nightmare. For the individual building a business that will one day rise to the size of Macy’s however, I would strongly consider this option.
Let’s assume you are a small/medium sized business and you have a total of 4 locations.
Most often I would throw all the addresses in the sidebar or footer. I’d have them appear site wide.
A business of this size will most likely not have a SUPER authoritative domain, so we must be more conservative with where we allow PR/link juice to flow. As such, the example above would likely be overkill—especially if you are in a competitive market and have to push these 4 extra inner pages up organically.
Instead, keep it simple and stick to using the home page in your GL profiles.
If you are an eager beaver and have a bit of budget to throw around, I would build out an inner page/landing page for each city. For example: mydomain.com/Vancouver-Auto-Body-Repair. As long as these pages are well-optimized, they will grow with your domain authority. The end game would be ranking these pages alongside the GP page.
I define a publisher as an affiliate or lead-generation operation. A local SEO example might be a fellow who builds a website or multiple websites, ranks them for legal service terms, collects leads, and then sells said leads. Alternatively, he could be an affiliate who forwards traffic from his GL page (w/ affiliate link) to a dating site like Match.com.
I’ve seen dozens of different variations in dozens of sectors like: legal, health, real estate, bail bonds, escorts, movers, etc. Such an operation falls well outside of GL’s guidelines, which brings me to a different option: multiple sites.
You could go the corporate, multiple inner page route, BUT you end up with all your eggs in one basket. If Google catches you outside of GL guidelines, it very likely will ban your domain, addresses, etc. from GL. Use one domain and you show Google all your cards. Too many times I have seen the castle fall down. It’s heartbreaking.
Instead, I would advise you to grab a hosting account at Arctic Hosting and go domain shopping. Pick up EMDs or semi EMDs in all your markets and get to work.
This way you face less risk of losing your investment before you’ve had a chance to cash in. I would recommend checking out this post from the folks at Microsite Masters. It contains good information re protecting your neck when you have a ton of sites like this.
On the local SEO side of things, my best advice would be to NOT group your GL listings. Use one Gmail per listing. This is smart, not paranoid.
EDIT: I should mention, I have used this setup many times for small/medium size businesses who are sporting lots of virtual addresses/mailboxes.
Got any questions about any of these three options? Bring ‘em on!
Thanks for reading : )