If you’ve read my past columns, you know that I tend to concentrate on specific issues we’ve faced on a daily basis or solutions to specific local search problems.
The attendees of this year’s Local Search Super Therapy panel at SMX Advanced brought some amazing questions, but throughout the conference, I kept hearing variations on the same question:
When we were prepping for the panel, I joked with our esteemed moderator, Search Engine Land Editor-In-Chief Matt McGee, that we should answer every question with, “It depends.” But for this question, the answer is actually pretty simple. If you have a single website for a business with multiple locations, you’ve got to use local content silos.
We’ve been using local content silos for years, and as Google has tweaked the local algorithm, they’ve only become more powerful. After last summer’s Pigeon Update (which occurred last Christmas for those of you in Canada, the UK, and Australia), which put more emphasis on “traditional web ranking factors,” local content silos have been working like a charm.
For single-location businesses, local SEO is a much simpler task. Every page of the website can include local signals for the city where the business is located, and it’s incredibly easy to prove local relevance.
When you move to a multi-location model, things get a bit trickier. After the panel at SMX Advanced, I spoke to a marketer who works with a business that has over 1,000 locations on a single website. Obviously, it’s much more difficult to prove local relevancy once you start adding more locations into the mix.
Most SEOs are familiar with the pyramid model of internal linking, where the home page sits at the top, and each lower level of the pyramid branches out into more detailed pages related to the levels above.
With local content silos, you have to change your thought process and create “silos” of local information on the site. While your major product pages should all be internally linked, your local silos are mostly isolated — so each silo only internally links within its own silo.
Think of it as a multi-circle Venn diagram where there aren’t really that many intersections. From the main content areas of your site, you’ll link out to your content silos — one for each city. Within each silo, you’ll have product- or service-specific information; in the diagram above, those are the blue city circles.
Off-site signals are incredibly important to the local content silo process. The Google My Business listing for each location should point to the location page for each silo.
You’ll also need to create local blog content for each silo, and make sure that the main pages of the silo link to its local blog posts. If you need help coming up with local blog content ideas, check out the article I wrote back in March.
It’s also incredibly important to earn some links from other local businesses in each city. Make sure that you’re pointing those juicy local links at the corresponding local silo for maximum effectiveness.
Instead of creating a single boring location page for each location, you’ll now have a robust silo of unique local information about each city that your business serves.
Each silo will be optimized to push out local signals for each individual city, and with additional localized blog content and local links all associated with each silo, your local relevancy signals will be stronger than ever before.
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