As a practitioner in the multi-location space, Market Loyal knows the intricacies of working with businesses like Associations and Franchise Systems that have unique needs compared to Enterprise or single location SMB's. In this post by Jason Decker over at Bright Local, he shares with you how to get started with a multi-location client the right way.
Congratulations! You just landed a new multi-location / franchise client. Onboarding a new client is always an exciting yet very busy and challenging time. Here are 10 steps to get started with a multi-location client. (If you don’t have a multi-location client, keep reading because most of these steps will work for any Local SEO client.)
1: Ask for Login Credentials – This can be a difficult step because it can sometimes take your clients a while to find their various login information. Since this can be a barrier for you to move forward with the project, you should try and do this step first.
- Google Analytics Login or credentials for any and all Analytics Software platforms.
- Google Search Console Login (if setup). NOTE: this may be the same login as Google Analytics.
- Logins for all Local Business Listings
- Google My Business
- Bing Places for Business
- Any others
2: Website Health Check – You will want look into the health of the website and make sure there are no major issues. Here are a few places to start:
- Ensure the website is mobile friendly:https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/
- Look into the speed of the website. Test a few pages here:https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
- Look into Google Search Console. If this has not been set up, set it up then look into the great features.
- Review any messages you may have.
- Double check no manual penalties have occurred.
- Look at your crawl errors and fix any 404 error pages or other issues.
- Double check to make sure Robots.txt and Sitemaps are properly working.
- Dig around and look for anything else out of the ordinary.
- Download as much relevant data as you find.
3: Master List Spreadsheet – Ask your client for a master list spreadsheet with a list of all locations’ Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP), URL, hours of operation, services and any other relevant information about each location. This is a great place to start and ensure all locations are being marketed. You may be surprised how often locations are missed. If your client does not have a master list, you can download one from Google My Business.
4: Cross Reference – Once you are confident you have a solid master list of all locations, you are going to want to cross reference. If your client has a “Location Finder” type tool on their website (which they should), you should cross check every single location for accuracy. It’s a long process, especially for a large number of locations, but it’s essential to make sure you have a solid list. You will likely find some discrepancies that you will need to confirm with the client before you begin your marketing efforts.
5: Review Location Pages –Every location should have their own local landing page with important information such as Name, Address. Each location should have high-quality, unique content written about the location, the area, nearby landmarks, directions and other notables about this location. Optimization for these pages will occur later, for now we just want to ensure the page structure is capable of what is needed and if it’s not, this will need to be addressed immediately with the client.
6: Review Any Old Reporting Metrics – Be sure to review any old metrics you can get from your client or find through Analytics platforms.
- Review Google Analytics statistics such as Organic and Referral Traffic, Landing Pages and More.
- Make note of any past keyword lists, rankings, etc.
- Create a record on the past so you will be able to truly show the value to your client down the road.
7: Broad Keyword Research – Before you run initial ranking numbers, create a very general and broad list of every relevant keyword for each location. You will significantly trim this list down over time, but for now it’s important to get a broad view of how your client is doing for a variety of keyword themes. You will also use this broad keyword list to get a basic understanding of the locations that are doing the best and worst.
8: Gather Current Baseline Data – Manually or using your favorite Local SEO Tools:
- Use your broad keyword research and run ranking data for each location.
- Run a citation audit for each location.
- Analyze each location’s Google My Business page and look for glaring errors or major issues.
9: Create a Baseline Report – Gather all the most important findings and put them in a report for your client.
Point out any major technical issues found.
- Inform the client of any issues with landing pages or lack thereof.
- Show any traffic trends over time.
- Show ranking data. Highlight examples of keywords doing well and keywords that are not.
- Give analysis on the current citation situation and what is missing.
- Create a project plan for your client showing your action items and when you expect to deliver them.
10: Get Started – What are you waiting for? You know the good, the bad and where the challenges lie. Get started and good luck!