SEO Advice: Make a web page for each store location

If your company has a bunch of store locations, please don’t hide that information behind a search form or a POST. If you want your store pages to be found, it’s best to have a unique, easily crawlable url for each store. Ideally, you would also create an HTML sitemap that points to the web pages for your stores (and each web page should have a unique url). If you have a relatively small number of stores, you could have a single page that links to all your stores. If you have a lot of stores, you could have a web page for each (say) state that links to all stores in that state.

Here’s a concrete example. I’m a big fan of Pinkberry because I love frozen yogurt: both the delicious treat and the new version of Android. :) But Pinkberry’s store locator page only offers a search form. Pinkberry has a url for each store (for example, here’s their page for a San Jose location). But because Pinkberry doesn’t provide an HTML sitemap on their store locator page, it’s harder for search engines to discover those pages exist. And in fact for the query [pinkberry san jose], Google does find the specific page, but it doesn’t rank as highly as it might; some other search engines don’t return that web page at all.

I was able to find a list of store locations on Pinkberry’s site, but it’s a lot harder to find than it should be. My advice to Pinkberry would be to add a sentence to their store locator page that says “Or see the full list of all Pinkberry store locations.” That would be helpful not only for regular users but also for search engines.

This was one concrete example, but lots of large companies mess this up. If you have a lot of store or franchise locations, consider it a best practice to 1) make a web page for each store that lists the store’s address, phone number, business hours, etc. and 2) make an HTML sitemap to point to those pages with regular HTML links, not a search form or POST requests.

By the way, Google does provide Google Places (formerly Google Local Business Center) where you can tell Google directly about your business, as do other search engines. But that doesn’t change the fact that you should provide a web page for each store–that lets anyone on the web find your store locations more easily.

P.S. If I were doing a full SEO site review on Pinkberry, I’d mention that they have a slight duplicate content issue, because they have a two different urls for their San Jose location. That’s not a huge deal, but employing the rel=canonical tag would allow Pinkberry to select a single, nicer url instead of search engines trying to pick between two identical pages.

106 Responses to SEO Advice: Make a web page for each store location (Leave a comment)

  1. This is the advice I’ve tried so hard to give franchises I work with, but they frequently will not listen. The “find a location” tools do not allow for static page creation. So I wrote software to grab the data and build HTML pages – big, big improvement especially in local placement.

    I can say that with real world experience that this is great advice, Matt.

  2. This is one of the best posts I’ve read from you in a long time. It’s perfect because I was just trying to figure out some problems I was having help in my national organization show office locations for members. No site map, doh! The example here makes a perfect template to look at. Thanks! And, woohoo to PinkBerry, my favorite afternoon office snack.

  3. Great advice! And while people are at it rebuilding their store locators. Why not include RDFa and/or microformats on the pages per location? Let us build a better web and google will be even better able to appoint the data from the store locator pages to your google places page!

  4. matthew russell

    this also helps users find individual store address and opening hours, often quite difficult particularly with larger companies

  5. I really missed that frozen yogurt shop. Damn me!!

    Anyway, you should send them an email telling you provided a personalized SEO tip for free. It doesn’t happen all day that the big G man do that, does it :D?

  6. What about for someone who has hundreds or thousands of locations nationwide like subway or starbucks. I can see a lot of cases where the location pages would match or exceed the amount of content on the rest of the website.

  7. On a vaguely related issue to store address pages etc.

    Some years ago I worked for a large retailer, and one day when bored and trawling through files on the network (ahem!), found an excel file of all our retail store locations, but more importantly, with a description of their location (opposite bank X, next to major chain store Y, etc).

    Most of us refer to our environment not by physical addresses (78 high street), but by relationships to recognisable landmarks – such as proximity to a commonly recognised store or bank.

    That excel sheet was instantly dumped onto our call centre intranet and the customers quite evidently loved getting directions to their local store that were more “human” than a simple mechanical address.

    I think it would be great if more websites with store/office addresses for people to physically visit them would also offer something more human than simply a blob of address data.

  8. Thank you for mentioning the importance of HTML Sitemaps. Many people feel just because they have an XML sitemap fed to Google, Yahoo and others that a text sitemap isn’t necessary.
    Now I can reference this post when I get in heated bar arguments about such topics.

    Thanks,
    Mike
    The Toughest, Baddest Nerd You Will Ever Meet

  9. It’s amazing that so many large brick & mortar brands don’t do this. I see this all the time with agency clients and prospects, even at the Fortune 500 level.

  10. Chris Boggs

    Thanks Matt this is great. do you think this applies to financial services intitutions with branches or agencies as well? what happens when you get into the thousands of units – too much? use multiple maybe regionalized HTML sitemaps? thanks again!

  11. I think this is great local search advice! I’ve also long advised companies with multiple locations to create individual “profile” pages for each store location.

    Some of the store locator software/services out there does the worst job of all at making chain stores easily available for spidering.

    Another piece of related advice: when customizing your Google Place page profile, use each individual store’s location page as the URL, instead of the main site URL. As a consumer, there’s nothing worse than clicking on the website and then having to hunt around to find the individual store’s page.

  12. wow Matt. Good piece again- very specific !

    It would be good to have a dedicated page and some details information about that location that helps people find it. So as Google suggests, make it better for the users, and it’ll be good for us :)

    Thinking about starting a Yogurt company…I might get some free advice too.

  13. “make a web page for each store that lists the store’s address, phone number…” and don’t forget to mark-up those details with an hCard microformat!

  14. Great post, thanks. When you use specific websites as part of your advice it really helps.

    A little off-topic, but I particularly like the anchor text you’ve used when linking to “other” (Bing) “search engines” (Yahoo). No sense giving Bing a link with strong anchor text, eh?

  15. Pinkberry is probably going to get hit with emails & calls from SEOs offering to fix this, but they have to appreciate this outstanding, free advice from Matt. Outstanding and free usually do not go together, but many should take heed to these 2 basic suggestions from Matt: 1) make a web page for each store that lists the store’s address, phone number, business hours, etc. and 2) make an HTML sitemap to point to those pages with regular HTML links, not a search form or POST requests.

  16. erminio ottone

    Does google degrade PR when a site have a super lame autostarting music?

  17. Pranav Shah

    Matt,
    Great article. I was looking for something like this. You saved me a lot of effort. I have a few questions:

    1. Is there a way for me to put the listings for my clients instead of them doing all the work?
    2. Is it possible such that I get an overview of all my clients and the clients see data only related to them.
    3. Is there a service such that I can enter the data in at one site and it will be submitted to Google, Bing and Yahoo.

    Thanks,
    Pranav

  18. So is the lesson here to create individual store pages or leave a lookup feature so Matt Cutts gives you some nice juicy links from his blog? ;)

    Nice post Matt, thanks as always!

  19. Glad to see you write about this subject.

    I’m assuming this would apply for law firms that have multiple city locations as well? In respect to duplicate content, what is the best way to structure the content describing the areas of practice pages for each location, i.e. workers compensation, car accident, etc.? If a firm has offices in 6 cities in the same state, rewriting the content 6 times and making sure each version is unique from the other 5 is pretty difficult.

  20. Thanks for the tip Matt.
    What about miltilanguage sites, should we set up severall sites in diferent domains or sitename/en sitename/fr is enough?

  21. I’m glad and surprised that you published this information. For much time, I have felt that attempting such a multi-site architecture would be duplicate content in itself, but the benefits to local search not just on google would be huge. As greywolf suggested there are probably limits where it would be simply ridiculous to have a separate domain for every location. In cases of a very large, well established chain such as subway, I think it may be detrimental by allowing multiple sites for locations. It would dilute the quality of the brand because maintaining the same quality of sites would be impossible. Since there’s multiple locations in the same city anyway, it would create an internal mess between franchise owners. Google wouldn’t be the problem here, it would simply be their size.

  22. Matt,
    it’s funny that you posted this today, as i have a very similar issue that is stumping me.

    i work with a company that is an umbrella brand for a group of small companies each offering a specific service. My thought in the beginning was to structure the URL’s as such:
    http://umbrella.com/service

    each page of service would be a designed for the smaller company that offers that specific service.
    I found out the URL’s were now going to be structured as
    http://service.umbrella.com

    I wonder (in the interest of building value for my client the Umbrella brand) if the second URL structure would be less beneficial, or even hurt the value of my client’s site.
    Let me know if you have any thoughts

    Great post, it got us all here in the office talking.

  23. Yep. Totally agree.

    Reason #1233902073 why brand marketers should not manage search, they don’t care about providing microtargeted, relevant content to their users.

    But that is only step one of being locally relevant.

  24. Martijn and Andy, good point about RDFa, hCard, and rich snippets. Folks can read more here: http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/topic.py?hl=en&topic=21997 to start.

    Chris Boggs and graywolf: I would definitely do this with financial institutions too. If you’re going to list every single ATM, I could imagine collecting that so that all the ATMs in one city were on one page (instead of a separate web page for each ATM). graywolf, for something like Subway or Starbucks, you might go country > state > city and have all Subways in one city on one page, but in general this is great content and I wouldn’t hesitate to put it up on a website.

    Darren, I actually held back a bit. When I visit MSFT’s local business center in Chrome it says

    This browser is not supported. We recommend using Internet Explorer (version 6.0 or higher) or Firefox (version 2.0 or higher). To download Internet Explorer, click the link below.

    Download Internet Explorer

    I thought about saying something snarky in the blog post, but then I reconsidered. :)

    erminio ottone, sites with superlame starting music don’t get lowered PR from Google, but I’ll bet that such sites are much less likely to get linked to. :)

  25. Dude, Yogurtland. Enjoy more than three flavors. Plus, you can then do a post about how horrible their site is in Flash.

  26. Thanks for the advice Matt. Implementing this for local businesses should result in a major boost for local search rankings which is what most small businesses need.

  27. So if the store has multiple locations in one area.. you recommend making one URL /stores/brainerd-minnesota.html and creating a second page for the second location in the city & canonicalizing the second?

    I was actually thinking like graywolf, You have McD’s and Starbucks, sometimes bigger cities have 10+ in one city.

    @David, that is what the canonical tag is for. Better to really offer content that serves a purpose and is unique rather than rewrite something to look unique just for the sake of “being there.”

    I would probably give the Internet Marketing Guy/SEO Consultant at Pinkberrys a raise after this post! Trust me, if this is all Matt Cutts finds wrong with your site then I think you are head and shoulders above the rest =)

  28. Hi Matt,

    I could not resist posting my remark about the Indian Grocery Locator (diggsamachar.com/grocery/grocery.htm)

    I must admin I am a fan of Indian foods and spices. My friends in US tell me that your shirt and skin gives out curry smells.

    The thing that I did was created a sitemap for all the major search results and also a site map for grocery locator in each state. This helped a lot. But I got more convinced after reading you.

  29. Such a simple concept many website developers have still yet to grasp. Great post Matt…. and also, good comment @Martijn Beijk – but good luck getting a lot of developers to understand microformats if they don’t yet understand using non-dynamic (un-crawlable) pages for store locations.

  30. don

    great post….quick question

    at what point does this raise the duplicate content issue, meaning 1000+ pages of content with the only variable being an address could easily be replicated in a non franchise biz model online..is there a point of diminishing return that you care to share…

    THANKS!

  31. Bob

    Worth mentioning for those rushing to add their businesses to Bing and Yahoo – both companies STILL only do local listings for the USA..!

  32. It seems an interesting and easy to implement idea. However, a firm with many locations in the world or even with different languages within the same country like in Canada, you need to think about how do you maintain those sites, etc…

  33. EGOL

    A lot of people who have multiple locations will decide that they need separate DOMAINS for each shop. For example, they will register twenty domains like ScrantonAutoGlass.com and AltoonaAutoGlass.com … and fill them with cookie cutter pages with only the city name changing.

  34. I’m a fan of Penguin Froyo, but will have to try Pinkberry next time we’re in town… :)

    Asides from that, thanks for the post, informative as always…

  35. Matt,

    Wouldn’t you also suggest each location page utilizes microformats to clearly convey their location not only for some actual search improvement but for the increased chance of rich snippets within their Google results listing?

  36. Uzi

    What if there is a travel website and they book hotels or air tickets online. They have to make a page for each city of the world?

    And what would they write? I think they would just have addresses plus few generic lines i.e. BOOK HOTEL IN New York. BOOK HOTEL IN London etc…

    Isn’t it spammy to create tens of thousands of pages with almost identical stuff and just changing few lines & city names etc?

  37. Hi Matt,

    Are you trying to get some free Yoghurt for the next time you will visit PinkBerry???

    Thank for the post it is always great as usual….

    Guillaume

  38. Matt,

    This time i would repeat again the sub-domains thing. I was moving around sites which are shopping sites selling in a country in its different states and also are present abroad. What if the same scenario in such a way like ca.abc.com, fl.abc.com, ny.abc.com. How google will treat each sub-domain.
    Although i am practicing directory based navigation in getmore.dk for each of the places we sell our products. But noticing these things and future plans of spreading services to other countries, i felt to ask this question for my upcoming stores.

  39. sorry dude, my browser didn’t worked while closing the link.

  40. What would you advise for the naming of the URL? And for the title and description? “company.com/city-state” as the URL with the address in the page title and/or description? Or “company.com/street-address” as the URL with the neighborhood or local strip mall or whatever within the description?

  41. Chris

    Fantastic to see some real world examples of where stuff is sub-optimal and what to do to correct it.

    Cheers.

  42. Hey Matt, I was wondering if you could help people with a bit of direction when they have multiple location pages to create, would you consider general location information as a genuine attempt to add content to a page, for example a car hire location in London could carry a bit of location history?

  43. Thanks for the insightful article Matt.

  44. Is it OK for a physical address to have more than one Google Places listing? Say I’m a cell phone dealer. Can have a Sprint Cell Phone Dealer listing and then a At&T Cell Phone Dealer listing? Is this the best way to do this? Thanks!

  45. So glad you wrote this post, because we’ve been wrestling with this issue recently. Our platform – Empowerkit (http://empowerkit.com) – is for franchisors to enable their franchisees to have their own customizable websites, which they can manage the content on to steadily improve their SEO at the local level. We’ve planned all along to have the network of franchisee sites set up as sub-domains off the franchisor’s corporate site, per client (i.e. sanjose.pinkberry.com, austin.pinkberry.com, etc.). But then we found a competitor touting the benefits of setting up all franchisee sites as independent domains, such as the comment EGOL left:

    “A lot of people who have multiple locations will decide that they need separate DOMAINS for each shop. For example, they will register twenty domains like ScrantonAutoGlass.com and AltoonaAutoGlass.com … and fill them with cookie cutter pages with only the city name changing.”

    Just for clarification, the consensus here is that this would be a bad approach (independent domains for all locations) for a franchise system (again, established franchises have hundreds or even thousands of franchisee locations, and smaller emerging franchises are usually always pushing for unit growth), compared to setting up the network of franchisee sites as sub-domains or directories…correct?

    Thanks!

  46. Just some simple looks at a website can uncover a lot of little issues that can help bring in much more traffic to these locations. It is often hard to explain this to business owners when trying to offer SEO services. Even after offering low cost solutions. They even seem to be more skeptical.

  47. Larry

    Great article, this is exactly the info I was looking for. The insight and comments of others is equally informative!

    I decided to explore the Pinkberrry site and did notice that Pinkberry does have a site map with all the stores http://www.pinkberry.com/storelocations.html as well as individual Store HTML pages http://www.pinkberry.com/frozen-yogurt-store/us/ca/burbank/75/burbank-collection.html.

    However, I could only get to the site map by hitting “LOCATE” with out any data entered in the search or when it couldn’t find my location. That could definitley be more intuitive.

    Did a quick google search for “frozen yogurt burbank” and their store came up on the first results page. Perhaps making that site map their main store locator page would help all of their locations to get the same kind of results.

  48. Matt,

    Fantastic post! We deal with a number of large e-commerce sites to which we make these recommendations, yet they are hesitant to proceed. I mean it is something that is a no-brainer and frankly would assist in providing better results for folks who utilize geo-appended searches and are looking for relevant, regionalized content. Thanks for the level of detail with this post. Great commentary from the folks that have left comments as well.

  49. I was also going to ask about the duplicate content issue, but don beat me to it. :)

    On the Pinkberry pages that I compared, few had little more different content from other pages than the address and phone number. With very little other content on the page, is Google really going to give this a lot of weight?

  50. Matt, thanks for the great SEO tip. I think this is fantastic advice for doing well in the 3, 7 and 10 pack local results. I have come across such discussion on more than one occasion and it’s certainly nice to have a more concrete answer/post to refer to in the future. There are certainly those that will game this, but my bet is that your local algo, if not now, soon will be able to better recognize intent/attempts to do so. Have a great weekend.

  51. I will consider this tip when i will start designing websites :)

  52. Hi guys,

    This is some good information Matt. I guess big stores don’t have a clue about making a url for each store location and I personally would have never thought that they should have more then one. Thanks for sharing.

    Kind regards,
    Sam
    X

  53. Matt,
    Thank you thank you thank you.
    I have been recommending this to one of my clients who does have multiple locations but he hasn’t been giving my proposal my attention mainly because of the costs.

    I am going to email him this link hopefully he will take your advise, for sake of his own business, and also keeps me busy a bit.

    Thanks again
    Al

  54. Matt, what’s best: own subdomain, a “/” or micros site?

  55. Matt,

    Thanks for taking this topic beyond a short video into a full blog post – I’ve been advocating this methodology to clients for a few years, regardless of client size. It’s great to see you advocating best practices in such clear, specific ways.

  56. I’ve been trying to optimise My Places but most clients have only one actual location, and the ones that do not want to show their premises (because they go out to clients, landscapers) are not happy because their listing keeps on being at the very bottom of their home suburb (if at all) and no other locations at all. There is a lack of information on Google Help on how to get found for where you service, not just where you happen to live.

  57. Alish

    Matt

    That was an excellent suggestion.

    However it draws me to another question which is very important for me and may be for another companies of different types as well.

    I have a web design company having the head office in Dallas, TX. Let’s assume the name of my company & brand is ABC-XYZ 000 Web Design INC We are though operating in 10 major cities, though we do not have any offices in other 10 cities, however we have people from our team going there for meetings. So we now built 10 different websites for each if the city. We also have plans of setting up offices in each city slowly and gradually.

    Let’s assume that our company’s website addres is abc-xyz000.com

    SO should our main company’s website have a link to each of the website for individual city specifying it as a store in a certain city? Like http://www.abc-xyz000.com linking to let’s say miamiwebdesign000.com ?? considering the fact that it won’t be a web page linking to that particular store, infact a seperate domain/website ?

    I have one more question which is not actually related to this post. But I wanted to ask your suggestion on that anyways:

    As I stated above we have 10 domains targeting each city for our web design business and they are keyword generic domain names. To build and promote our brand and identify we have used the same design structure on all of our websites, however each site has a unique content written. Can that prove to be a negative point/aspect in the eyes of the search engines?

    I always doubt if it will have an effect, but always wanted to ask this as I never found an answer to this researching online & I would really appreciate if you can put some thoughts on this.

    I hope you can take our some time to answer my 2 questions I mentioned above.

    Please note that none of the domain names I specified are owned by me. I used them as an example.

  58. Al

    Maybe you should change your cravings to Yogen Fruz who have a “view all stores” page which lists by country and state. Very Google searchable (is that a word?). http://www.yogenfruz.com/storelocator/

  59. Daniel S

    I bet it’s so intimidating having Matt SEO audit your site.
    Does Disallow: /matt cutts work?

    LOL,
    Daniel

  60. Kendra

    Matt does this apply only to actual brick and mortar stores? I’m seeing an awful lot of basic doorway sites appearing in the last month or two in the SERPS that just use spammy domain names that are offshoots of the same parent. It almost seems like you are condoning that behavior here.

    IE, if I sell in canada should I have a canadian page etc? If I sell 5 different major brands should I have a website for each one like a lot of companies seem to be doing right now?

  61. I employ the canonical tags. I was hoping you could explain if it is not a penalty to deep link to the sub page for each city in Google Places. I know at one time it would get you suspended from Maps altogether for using different domains. I prefer creating a separate domain for each location for each city. Is that acceptable?

  62. @Jennifer, I believe that’s what the service areas feature is supposed to address: http://www.google.com/support/places/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=177103

  63. Alish

    Matt

    I would really appreciate if you can put some thoughts on my previous post.

    Thanks

  64. Thank you, Matt. I have been trying to convince a small, local bank client of mine to do exactly this for almost two years now. Hopefully, now that I have advice from you – I can convince them to pull the trigger and let me do this for them.

    Thanks, again!

  65. sudip banerjee

    I have a question for Matt, if i have a dynamic website having thousand of products and i want to optimize the site for all of my products. So, should the follow the same procedure as you have mentioned about enlisting the store i.e making pages (unique url) for each of my products and enlisting all of my urls in sitemap.
    Is it necessary to submit the sitemap in google webmaster tool for faster result

  66. Matt,
    A question regarding multiple location if you don’t mind me asking here…

    One of my clients has multiple locations but their legal department wants the exact same content on the about us, disclaimer, and a few other changes. Is that OK? I am a bit concerned about about duplicated content.

    If you get a chance and address this either here on one a video I (and many other webmasters) would be very grateful.

    Thank you

  67. Great advice and it’s so simple from an SEO point of view! From the perspective of a visitor, I hate going onto a companies site and not being able to find a simple list of stores, addressse, opening times etc.

  68. Thanks for this article. However, I have a quick question :

    If, for my company, I offer e-commerce services in 300 cities in United States. Should I create 300 crawlable index pages for each city, even if the content is really similar ?

    Or should I focus on 4 or 5 big cities and apply “no-index” for the others ?

  69. Thank you for the tip. I work in a real estate office and built a page for each location as soon as I read your post. Much appreciated.

  70. I think adding a Google Map, and store picture in addition to address, phone and email really helps. It’s good to show people that you have a physical location. It adds credibility and trust to your website.

    This is good. I can forward it to my clients to stress the importance of separate pages for each store location. Most choose to put it all on one page, which is fine as a list but then each store on the list should link to its respective page.

  71. Even if you don’t care about search engines (which is a great mistake), and don’t care about your regular users 9which kills your business), at least respect your single items (products, stores, etc) and allocate a page to them and write a few sentences about them. Do you believe in your items? So, why don’t you do this? I’m talking to some very large corporations.

    I’m amazed how neglectfully they pass on this very important fact. It’s not some new discovery, but Matt had to tell about it because it’s so important and still many overlook the significance of this point.

    Anyway, thanks for reminding and heads-up once again Matt!

  72. Matt, this is huge. Thank you! We are just now moving from one office to 4 spread across 3 states and I’ve been tasked with how to set this up and promote each office location. I advocated the separate url for each store/office approach and this provides some validity to my strategy. U Da MAN!

  73. Matt – like so many have offered here, well done. Simple and concise yet very powerful information at the same time. I discovered the same a few years back – that putting dealer or franchise locations behind a ZIP CODE FORM FIELD prevented the search engines from jumping through this hoop to find these local stores.

    As you said, creating a single html page with listings to these stores helped almost instantly. Franchise or dealer-based businesses that care about helping their channel partners succeed, should pay special attention to this. Building content around each location is especially helpful for long-tail search terms and location-based searches, too.

    Well done, Matt.

  74. Thanks for the articles, that reminds me for my next project for a cake shop. Since they only have 3 stores, it doesn’t need the fancy search locator. But putting a google map is a nice idea! Thank you so much!

    nb:
    I am always wondering, when you do a search result on local businesses, I always find that in a very competitive businesses, some businesses are listed on the map that is significantly far from their location. Do you they buy this from adwords? If not how?

  75. Ok, so then this same principle can be employed across other sections of a site then – great. In regards to the html sitemap, would a XML sitemap not be sufficient for a large number of search engines?

    A HTML sitemap is more beneficial for visitors than search engines is it not?

  76. Should you also create multiple local listings or would this be considered spam?

  77. Love the idea of separate web pages for store locations. I hate when I’m trying to locate the closest store of a business and the website has no way to find it. And no listing of local addresses. An annoyance that will cost the my business and no doubt other customers. I’m not talking about Pinkberry…I’ve had this problem with other companies and their websites. Sometimes stores and restaurants have different hours or sales or slightly different menus and this could be noted on the individual web pages.

  78. So if im selling a product line locally it makes sense to make individual pages for all cities in my state/province in order for local searches to find those pages? Just making sure I’m following you here.

    Great post, keep the insights coming :)

  79. Hi Matt,
    What if you don’t have any stores, but still want to target a bunch of locations for search engine results. My goal here is to have people searching for the same service in many different locations (ie: xyz canada, xyz usa, etc) find me instead of my competitors, but I want to provide each of them with the same product info. So should I be worried about having too much duplicate content? And will re-wording the content even make a difference?

    For instance, we currently offer our service in 30 countries and have started to create a location specific page for each country (we’ve only got 2 up right now) in order to target those long tail keywords and draw in international customers. We’ve had enormous success with the 2 that are up already but I noticed that they are very similar (and realize it’s hard to write the same thing 30 different ways) so I am worried that we will get penalized.

    Essentially my question is, Are location specific landing pages a good idea?

    Thanks

  80. How does the different pages for each unique location lend itself to reviews within google maps? Or am I combining two different worlds?

  81. Good ideas. Hopefully more than one search result under that website domain will not show up at the same time.

  82. Using Google Maps can have a very good advantage over competitors as well so that customers can find your businees locally. Add into the mix different web pages for all your products and store locations then your company website will be onto a winner.

  83. I’m just wondering if adding the Google maps location on each web page for the individual location would make any difference. Matt, you mentioned adding hours, location, phone number on each web page. But would adding a Google maps add any value to the search engines itself?

  84. Hi Matt,

    I would love to hear your take on the vacation rental industry and having multiple sites with the same theme. According to a recent video you produced, you clearly stated you should have one site on a particular theme and not multiple sites on one theme…..are there exceptions?

    I wrote a great article on it here…http://www.vacation-rentals.com/blog/category/Vacation-Rentals-Marketplace.aspx

    It’s worth the read and it will help so many people with the same question as me if we had an answer.

  85. Hi Matt,
    My question is: Do we have to use different domains for each language?. For example .net for english, spanish and french users and net.br for Portuguesse users. It’s like the stores, each store one domain. Do you think if I use http://www.mydomain.net.br/english and http://www.mydomain.net.br/spanish is worst than use just portuguesse in the net.br and all others languages in the .net domain? (my site has content from Brasil)

    Other question: I have many domains mycity.net.br of all the city of my region, will be this better than use one domain like mycity.net.br/cityofmyregion1, mycity.net.br/cityofmyregion2, etc… one domain per city or use slash for each city;??

    Thank you for all your videos and posts, they are my SEO biblie.

  86. I would like to comment on Sam’s post. I agree with the quote that you posted from Matt Cutts that it is better to concentrate on a single website with a specific theme. Here is why:

    1. Many SEO freelancers will promote the creation of several microsites that will be directed to your primary website which will create valuable backlinks to the primary site and help it rank high on Google, Yahoo and Bing. The problem with this theory is for this method to work, the microsites would have to also rank well for you to receive any benefit. So if you can get several microsites to rank well enough to add backlink value to your primary website, then why not just use the same SEO techniques and concentrate all of your time and energy on getting your primary site ranked? I usually will coach my clients to concentrate on the primary website and dedicate 100% of their time to getting the primary site ranked and gaining a lot of traffic to the site before moving on to the promotion of a new website.

    2. The exception to the above rule would apply to name reputation methods that are designed to erase negative online comments by adding positive information and links; or big companies with a lot of money to acquire and promote multiple websites.

    I hope this helps.

  87. Harmit Kamboe

    Hi Matt,

    For the vast number of Small and Medium Enterprises, why does Google not take the verified listings (uploaded or from Yellow Pages etc) and end up:

    1. Creating the individual store pages and

    2. Link them to the official we site where such a web site exists (and “view” it as if it is the page is on the official site and give it appropriate weightage)

    Later on if users wish to claim and edit these pages allow them to do so. Some may wish to take them down and replace them with individual store pages they build in the course of time.

    Thanks

  88. I appreciate what Google has done to TRY and be fair to everyone, but it is being abused. I have competitors cranking out webpages with phoney addresses for every City in a state, or every neighborhood in a city.

  89. @Harmit – It sounds like you’re describing Google Places: http://www.google.com/places

    Google generates “Place Pages” on Google Maps, and business owners can claim their listings.

  90. I am trying to add rich snippet to the website, can I use review/location/org all in one snippet? and add google plca as well?

    thanx for helping me out :)
    have a nice day
    Frank

  91. Excellent article! When designing for a large chain, this is standard practice!

  92. Matt, I have a client that has over 600 locations nationwide and has place pages on their site for each one. We essentially had this exact kind of structure in place, albeit with the path to it beginning with a link to the directory structure starting at the Site Map and not the home page.

    The May Day update wiped us out. I could put a link to the directory structure on the home page. But a click to that link goes to my “states” page (thats one click), then a click on a state link on the states page (thats 2 clicks) goes to all of the locations in each state. I can then go to each individual location in that state (that’s 3 clicks).

    I could put all 600 locations on a page 1 click away from the home page – but will Google index 600+ links on the same page for each location? It’s also a very messy page to look at that would only exist for Search Engines – searchers just type in a zip code – search engine bots can’t type.

    How should I get my 600+ locations 2 clicks away from the home page and avoid the “May Day” hit.

  93. I own an internet based Texas apartment locator company. We serve all four major Texas metro markets and we have offices in each. My site starts off emphasizing Texas Apartments for rent then branches off to individual cities served then to individual areas in each city then to actual apartments in each area of town. It’s seems to be doing fine, but my competitors advertise as Houston or Dallas apartment finders primarily then branch off from there, which doesn’t make much sense to me, but obviously does to Google because they rank well. Any suggestions? I think my site’s Christmas tree structure is pretty clear cut.

  94. Now, I am wondering if this plan will work if you want to optimize your site for multiple cities even if you don’t actually have a store in each location?

  95. Matt D

    Hey Matt,

    I work at a company that is a is a broker but deals with transportation and when people search for our service they include locations in their searches but since we are a broker we are only located in one location but service very large areas. Would we be allowed to have a website dedicated to many different locations or would we have to be physically located there for that to be okay?

  96. In my market the business holding the A spot simply had a friend provide him with his address near the town center. Then he spammed it with links from forums. I love google maps but it is so abused. Searching for a service in my home town where my PC is located, google provides a company from 45 miles away.

  97. A great idea – could this idea help with promotion of any website? ie setting up lots of city specific versions of your own website… all linking back to the main website?

  98. As I stated above we have 10 domains targeting each city for our web design business and they are keyword generic domain names. To build and promote our brand and identify we have used the same design structure on all of our websites, however each site has a unique content written. Can that prove to be a negative point/aspect in the eyes of the search engines?

  99. That could end up being thousands of pages. I’m glad I don’t have this problem. We only have one location.

  100. Matt, thanks for this post it does clear up some questions I was trying to find answers to. The one thing that is still not clear to me is how this affects the ‘duplicate content’ issue.

    If I have a site for one city that is targeted at “plumber city A” and I create a second site for City B that i want to target at “plumber City B”, how much of the content do I have to change?

    Expand this to 10 or 20 sites for say independently owned franchises and it becomes fairly tough to have unique content and still keep the branding message intact.

  101. Great post Matt!
    One of the most highly over looked pieces of web design is a sitemap. I would think that every web designer would create this for their clients as just a normal task but 9 out of 10 sites I work on never have a sitemap. Love the post..thanks!

  102. liz

    Thanks Matt for going over the subject and providing some light and information. I agree that sitemaps are overlooked and are invaluable tools for a website.

    Thank you for sharing Liz.

  103. That could end up being thousands of pages. I’m glad I don’t have this problem. We only have one location.

  104. We’ve recently installed location pages, on our website, it’s a lot of hard work, but it’s well worth the effort.

  105. Larry

    Thanks for another great read.

    What if a company has one location but licensed in many states? Can we create a page for each state? Insurance for example.

    Or, what if a company is located in Dallas but offers services in Austin, Houston and some smaller cities/towns? Can a page be created for each?

    Thank you,
    Larry

  106. Lots of great info here…..google maps are better now but still far from perfect.

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