Author | Chatmeter TeamDate Posted | May 29, 2024

Multi-Location SEO: A 9 Step Guide (With Examples)

For businesses with multiple locations, getting found online is both important and extremely challenging. With dozens or hundreds of locations to manage, maintaining a strong web presence requires optimizing your business’s online listings and presence across a large number of sites and directories.

But get it right, and the rewards are immense. Optimizing for multi-location SEO can drive more customers through your doors at every single one of your business locations.

In this guide, we’ll walk through a proven step-by-step process to boost your rankings in localized searches on Google, Bing, and other search engines. By implementing these multi-location SEO best practices, you’ll increase visibility when prospective customers search for businesses like yours “near me.”

Whether you have 5 locations or 500, a comprehensive multi-location SEO strategy is key to driving more foot traffic and online orders at all of your businesses. Let’s dive into the tactics that make it possible.

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1. Create Your Website(s)

The first step in optimizing for multi-location SEO is to determine the right website setup for your business’s specific needs. The best approach for your company depends on your available resources and how much autonomy and flexibility each location needs. You have two main options:

Independent Domain for Each Location

With this approach, each of your business locations gets its own completely separate website on a unique domain (e.g.,,

This provides the most separation and opportunity for customization, as each site can have its own design, structure, and content tailored specifically to that location and its customer base. However, maintaining so many individual domains is labor-intensive and can get expensive if you’re hiring developers for each site.

Subdomain or Subfolder of Main Domain

Alternatively, you can host location-specific content on subdomains (e.g., or subfolders (e.g., of your primary domain.

This option is more cost-effective, easier to manage, and means each location page benefits from the authority signals and backlinks pointing to the main company domain. For most businesses, structuring your website into subdomains or subfolders strikes the right balance of efficiency and customization.

However, the downside is that you have less flexibility to fully customize each location’s web presence. You’ll need to rely more on templates and consistent design/structure across locations.

2. Make Sure Your Website is Fast and Secure

Fast, secure websites build trust with customers and search engines alike. They’re fundamental for ranking well in search results across all your business locations.

Your website is often the first place potential customers encounter your business. That’s why it’s absolutely critical to ensure every page or site loads quickly and provides a secure, trustworthy experience. A slow, insecure website will severely hamper local rankings and deter potential customers.

Website Speed

Nobody likes waiting for a slow website to load, especially when searching on the go for local businesses. But beyond user experience, site speed is also a significant factor in how search engines like Google rank pages in search results.

Google prioritizes fast-loading websites. Slow load times increase bounce rates, which indicates to Google that your site isn’t relevant to the keywords people were searching for. In other words, the slower your website loads, the more likely you are to rank lower in local search results.

Developers can make several technical optimizations to your website to maximize site speed:

  • Enable browser caching
  • Minify code (HTML, CSS, JavaScript)
  • Compress images and other media files
  • Use a content delivery network (CDN)
  • Analyze and fix render-blocking resources
  • Implement lazy loading for offscreen images/content

The bottom line is that fast load times, ideally under 2-3 seconds, are essential for pleasing customers and search engines alike.

Website Security

You have a responsibility to protect your customers’ data and privacy, and your website plays a critical role. An insecure website is a liability that can enable data breaches and directly harm your customers.

Building trust and stability through robust website security is crucial, especially if your sites transmit sensitive customer information like payment details, contact info, or location data. 

From an SEO perspective, Google gives preference to secure sites in search results, even though website security isn’t officially considered a ranking factor. Sites that use HTTP rather than the secure HTTPS protocol with encryption get penalized and ranked lower compared to secure alternatives.

Modern web security best practices include:

  • Using HTTPS protocol with SSL/TLS encryption
  • Keeping software updated and patched
  • Implementing a web application firewall (WAF)
  • Conducting regular security audits and testing

A fast, secure website is simply table stakes for modern businesses. Get these fundamentals right, and you’ll be able to compete effectively for local search visibility.

3. Make Sure Your Website is Mobile Responsive

Having a website that renders and functions perfectly on mobile devices is a must for multi-location businesses because a lot of your site traffic will come from local searches like “fast food near me.” These types of searches are often performed on the go — on mobile devices while out and about rather than on a laptop or desktop computer.

Research found that, as of March 2024, almost 60% of all web traffic comes through mobile phones. So, if your website doesn’t work for those users, you lose more than half your potential site visitors.

Modern consumers rely heavily on mobile when searching for local businesses, reading reviews, getting directions, and more. If your website feels clunky, cluttered, or difficult to navigate on a small mobile screen, visitors will quickly bounce elsewhere.

But building a stellar mobile experience goes beyond just avoiding formatting issues like tiny text or columns and content flowing off the sides of the screen. You’ll want to ensure your mobile pages:

  • Load quickly (under 3 seconds if possible)
  • Allow easy reading without excessive pinching/zooming
  • Space out tap targets like buttons and menus appropriately
  • Prioritize the most locally relevant info “above the fold”
  • Work seamlessly across all major mobile browsers and devices

It’s also a good practice to verify your mobile responsiveness using Google’s Lighthouse tool. This tests your website against four categories:

  • Performance
  • Accessibility
  • Web best practices
  • SEO

You can run individual tests for the desktop and mobile versions of your site to help you identify areas to better optimize your site for mobile. With mobile search prioritized as much as (or even more than) desktop in today’s local search landscape, having an optimized, responsive mobile experience for each location is critical, not optional. Don’t let a poor mobile site hamper your visibility.

4. Build Strong Local Pages for Each Location

One of the most powerful assets for multi-location businesses is location-specific pages on your website(s) — often called local pages, location pages, or local landing pages.

Local pages are sections of your website dedicated to providing information about a specific business location or service area. The content on that page is relevant to that particular place or business location.

For example, a local locksmith would have localized pages for each of the different areas it serves containing details like:

  • The location-specific address, opening hours, and contact info
  • Staff bio details for that site
  • Promotions or special offers only running at that location
  • Reviews and ratings from customers of that particular location

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Having local landing pages for each business location allows you to share all the relevant details about each location in one place rather than forcing users to search for it on your homepage. This provides a much better user experience for your potential customers.

From an SEO perspective, localized pages help the ranking algorithms used by search engines identify the most relevant results to surface for local searches. Optimized content packed with geographic keywords and location-specific details around reviews, pricing, inventory, etc., shows that your business is relevant in your local area, so be sure to weave in location-specific keywords like neighborhood names, streets, and zip codes.

For large, multi-location businesses, it can be challenging to stay on top of all the pages for your different locations. A platform like Chatmeter’s Local Pages streamlines the process of creating, optimizing, and maintaining a localized web presence across all your locations. You can generate multiple local pages at once to quickly establish your local search presence. 

5. Optimize Your Google Business Profile

While building out top-notch location pages on your website is crucial, you also need to ensure that your business listings on third-party platforms like Google Business Profile are fully optimized.

Google’s Maps and local search results heavily prioritize businesses with complete, up-to-date Google Business Profiles. Having an optimized listing increases your visibility, lends credibility, and drives more engagement. But a sparse or neglected listing could cause your business to miss out on showing up in locally-relevant searches.

Some key optimizations for your Google Business Profile include:

  • Ensuring your business name, address, and phone number are accurate and consistent (matching your website)
  • Selecting all applicable categories and business attributes
  • Writing a compelling business description with geographic keywords
  • Setting your service areas and pinning your location on Google Maps
  • Enabling messaging to easily connect with customers
  • Responding to all reviews (more on this later)

High-quality photographs are another essential element of your Google Business Profile. According to ReviewTrackers, photos are the #1 factor consumers look at when deciding whether to visit a local business. 

Professional, high-res photos that accurately depict your location’s interior and exterior can elevate your listing’s credibility and appeal tremendously. Blurry, poorly lit amateur shots have the opposite effect of deterring potential customers. Google even allows short video uploads of up to 30 seconds, which enable you to get creative and highlight your location’s ambiance, products, and overall vibe in an immersive way.

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With Google giving preferential treatment to listings with a complete, polished profile, it’s worth investing time and resources into perfecting your listings across all your business locations.

6. Get Your Business Locations Added on Other Directories

While optimizing your Google Business Profile is crucial, you can’t stop there. To maximize local visibility, you need to ensure your business locations are accurately listed across other prominent directories, apps, and platforms where consumers search for local businesses.

This includes major sites like Yelp, Facebook, Apple Maps, and Bing, as well as more niche local directories for your specific industry or geography. Getting listed and verified on these platforms further builds your online authority.

As you add your local listings to each directory, make sure your core business name, address, and phone number (NAP) data is completely consistent and accurate everywhere it appears online.

Search engines like Google or Bing use NAP consistency as a major factor in their local ranking algorithms. Conflicting or inaccurate NAP listings make your business appear less trustworthy and reputable and can negatively impact local rankings.

For multi-location businesses, manually tracking down and updating NAP details across a vast number of listings can be very time-consuming as you open new locations. A solution like Chatmeter makes it easier to manage directory listings at scale.

Chatmeter has API partnerships with leading search engines, maps, and online directories. This means that when you update your local pages, any changes are automatically pushed to your local directory listings rather than needing to update them manually.

The Chatmeter platform also scans the web to identify duplicate or conflicting NAP instances so you can quickly correct them. This level of automated consistency gives you a crucial edge in local search.

7. Optimize Your Website and Directory Listings With Local Keywords

Now that you have your location pages built out and business listings claimed across directories, it’s time to optimize that content with locally-relevant keywords. Targeted keyword usage helps search engines better understand and surface your pages for geographically-specific searches.

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Local Keyword Strategy 

Think about the types of searches your target customers would conduct to find businesses like yours in their area. You can use dedicated SEO tools like Moz or Ahrefs to identify suitable keywords. They will likely include:

  • Geographic modifiers like city/state names, neighborhoods, zip codes, etc. (e.g., “plumbers in Brooklyn,” “gyms near 10012”)
  • Vicinity/radius terms like “near me” (e.g., “dessert places near me,” “24 hour pharmacies near my location”)
  • Local points of interest (e.g., “bars by central park,” “auto repair by O’Hare airport”)

Once you’ve identified relevant keywords to target, thoughtfully integrate them into content on your site or directory listings. For example:

  • Page titles and meta descriptions
  • Header text and body copy
  • Image alt text
  • Business name/description fields in listings
  • Review responses

But avoid overstuffing pages with an unnatural density of local keywords. This is known as keyword stuffing, which can actually have a negative impact on your listings’ search performance. Instead, use terms judiciously and focus on providing a great user experience first.

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Using Geographic Schema Markup 

You can also implement structured data markups like geographic schema to further indicate relevance for local searches. This code allows search engines to better parse and prioritize:

  • NAP and additional location details
  • Service areas and regions you operate in
  • Location-specific pricing and inventory

While markup won’t singlehandedly boost rankings, it helps search engines better understand your business locations so your locations show up in more local searches.

8. Build External Links With Other Local Groups

While on-page optimization is crucial, multi-location businesses also need to prioritize external link building as part of a well-rounded local SEO strategy. From Google’s perspective, the more links you have to your website from other reputable local sites, the more relevance and authority your business has in that geographic area.

Put simply, if you have links to your business from other local companies, your site will likely show up more prominently for searches for “XYZ near me” and other local search queries. And for potential consumers, it gives them another way to discover your business.

Some smart ways to acquire local links include:

  • Local business directories and associations. Get listed on local business directories run by your city, county, or regional chambers of commerce, as well as neighborhood/downtown associations. These .gov, .edu, and .org site links carry high authority.
  • Local community sites and blogs. Look for opportunities to earn links from local news outlets, community blogs, college/university sites, and other location-based sites by having your business mentioned in an article or listed on a local resources page.
  • Local sponsorships and affiliations. Sponsor local sports teams, nonprofits, charities, events, and conferences, and you’ll likely earn a link back from their website as well as media mentions, which can create more linking opportunities.
  • User-generated local reviews and mentions. While you can’t directly create them, citations and links from local customers dropping your business name and location details in reviews, forums, community sites, and social media are valuable for local link equity.

The key is ensuring these links are topically relevant to your business and the cities/neighborhoods you operate in. They need to firmly show that you have strong connections in your local area to help search engines understand the areas you operate in.

While local link-building is an ongoing effort, high-quality local links can significantly boost your company’s presence in local search results. They signal you are a legitimate, entrenched part of your community’s business landscape, which helps build trust in your organization.

However, don’t be tempted to buy links to your site. These can actually harm your reputation and search engine rankings. Instead, make sure your links come from reputable, trusted local sources for the best results

9. Develop a Review Management Strategy

Online reviews are incredibly influential in consumers’ decision-making processes when choosing whether or not to visit a local business. A steady stream of reviews also provides fresh content that search engines can use as an indicator of relevance and authority. So, it’s essential your business has a strategy in place to generate and respond to new reviews.

Generate Positive Reviews

Customer reviews can make or break local businesses. Research shows that 63% of consumers would lose trust in a business if it had mostly negative reviews online, making it harder to get new customers through the door.

In contrast, receiving lots of positive reviews can help boost traffic (web and foot) to your business. They show you’re an active business that’s focused on providing a great experience for its customers. This boosts the chances that people will see your listing on Google Maps, Yelp, or other directories, and then visit your site.

While the number of reviews you receive and the average star rating don’t seem to directly impact search rankings, they can make it more likely users will click through from sites like Google or Facebook to your website. 

However, you can’t simply buy reviews or offer excessive incentives, as this violates platform policies. Instead, prioritize generating authentic feedback by:

  • Making it easy for customers to leave reviews (email follow-ups, on-site kiosks)
  • Responding quickly to all reviews, both positive and negative
  • Offering excellent service and creating delightful customer experiences
  • Promoting your best reviews on social media

Respond to Reviews

While generating new positive reviews is important, it’s equally critical that you have a process to respond to all of these new reviews, both positive and negative.

For positive reviews, sincerely thank the customer and reiterate what they loved about your business/location.

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For negative reviews, respond in a professional, sympathetic manner aimed at resolving the issue and bringing the unhappy customer back. If you’re not sure how to respond, we’ve put together a list of templated review responses your brand can use right now.

Boost Your Multi-Location SEO With Chatmeter

Implementing an effective multi-location SEO strategy across all of the areas covered — location pages, listings, reviews, link building, and more — requires considerable effort and resources. That’s where an all-in-one multi-location intelligence platform like Chatmeter can be a game-changer.

Chatmeter helps multi-location businesses maximize their local search presence at scale with features like:

  • Update listings everywhere, all at once. Our direct integrations with listing sites, including Google, Facebook, Yelp, and Apple Maps, help you to push out updates to all of your locations’ listings simultaneously from a single dashboard.
  • Stay on top of reviews with AI-powered responses. Chatmeter’s natural language processing models automatically analyze and suggest response text for any new Google or Facebook reviews, helping you maintain an active presence. You can also get alerted to specific keywords to quickly address issues.
  • Easily create high-ranking local pages. Rapidly generate local pages for each of your business locations. These get automatically populated with SEO-optimized location data, maps, reviews, images, and more to maximize findability.

Chatmeter is the force multiplier you need to achieve local search mastery at scale. They’ll handle much of the heavy lifting while you retain strategic control. 

Want to see how Chatmeter’s multi-location marketing solution works in action? Check out our interactive walkthrough to get a first-hand look at the platform with no signup required. Or, if you’re ready to take the next step, book a personalized consultation with a Chatmeter local SEO specialist to get started.

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