Multi-location sites are becoming more popular every day. As some businesses wish to branch out to different locations, such as colleges and universities, having a unique web presence for each location is essential. Here are some ways to make each location search engine optimization-friendly.
Subdomains for Each Location
Let’s say that site has 2 locations, one in Northern Toronto and one in Southern Toronto. For the purposes of separation, having subdomains for a site like “northern-toronto.somesite.com” or “school-of-arts.somecollege.com” allows for a separation and helps enable the capacity for cross-linking. A link like “http://www.somewebsite.com/career/?section=Accounting_Payroll_Administrator” on the other hand looks cumbersome and needs updating.
Focus on each locations’ area of concentration
If the location focuses on arts, don’t write about “science and technology” unless an arts-related page is referencing a line from a “science and technology” sub-site. For example, a business school should focus on business and not history, for example.
Make the content relevant
Nobody likes reading the same content over and over again, especially when it doesn’t make sense for a specific location. For that matter, neither does Google. If you do a subdomain like “waterfront.somesite.com” write about topics relevant to Waterfront.
Linking is important as Google values another website’s input on how great your site is, versus your own site’s input about itself. This especially applies when the anchor tag has SEO friendly text. One example would be “Tires in Toronto” with a link to a page that talks about places where to find tires in toronto.
Inbound and Outbound Links
Linking, linking, linking. Google loves it when there is a mix of inbound and outbound links. It values a website that doesn’t only reference itself in as many places as possible, but also gives credit to other websites and micro-sites.
Which leads us to internal linking.
Here, where ever you can reference a subdomain of a different topic or city, do so even though it now counts as internal links. Source: Google Webmaster blog.
Plenty of Pages
Content to this day is still king. While the minimum number of pages is arbitrary, one thing is clear: a 5 page website “won’t do.”
Having SEO-friendly URLs are crucial. You want the SEO friendly term to be placed on the URL.
Here are some SEO friendly URLs with keywords that might be used in a Cars directory, example:
- Accounting & Payroll Administrator Course: accounting-payroll-administrator.yourwebsite.com
- Early Childhood Assistant Program: early-childhood-assistant.yourwebsite.com
- Law Clerk Diploma Program: law-clerk-diploma.yourwebsite.com/used-cars
- Paralegal Diploma Program: paralegal-diploma.yourwebsite.com
- Technology School Courses: technology-school-courses.yourwebsite.com
- E-Commerce Web Designer Program: ecommerce-web-designer.yourwebsite.com
- Dental Assistant Course: dental-assistant-program.yourwebsite.com
The following was taken from “6 Tips on How to SEO a Directory:”
Strong SEO Foundations should ideally be placed on any site, let alone an online directory, when starting out. Here are what needs to be done to start out.
Google and Bing Webmaster Tools
Webmaster tools not only provide insights on how clean and searchable your website is, but it also tells the search engines that “this site is ready for indexing.” There you would also submit your XML sitemap.
XML, HTML sitemaps and Robots File
An XML sitemap is very important for indexing. Essentially “robot food,” it allows Google and Bing to reference a point where to index as many pages as possible, especially ones that you don’t necessarily want shown on the home page.
An HTML sitemap is important from an overall navigation point of view, allowing one to navigate through all pages on a site. If there are already many pages to index, try creating separate pages of 100 page links each.
The Robots file is important in that it tells search engines to either not index pages within a directory or to specifically index pages, and for which users. Since it’s generally the first page that is checked, create one.
Places for Meta Tagging Insertion
This should be obvious. Proper title and meta tags cannot be inserted without places to insert them.
Try to make your site as link-friendly as possible. This especially applies to pages where you want people to navigate to.
It’s not proven, but it’s believed that anything that can connect to Google helps with Google indexing. There are paid Analytics tools out there, but Google Analytics is free! So, add it.
When you “ping” your site to various sources including Google, it tells them to automatically re-index your site based on your updated sitemap.