More threads by Travis Van Slooten

Jul 18, 2012
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I might be working with a potential client that has two business locations - one in each neighboring city. Right now he has one website for each location - and one Google Plus local page for each location.

He was ranking really well until about a month ago and now he's nowhere to be found. He's wondering if maybe the sudden drop off is the result of him maintaining 2 websites. He's wondering if it makes more sense to have one website and then maybe have a separate landing page for each of the 2 cities (or at least reference the 2 locations on the home page and refer to the 2 locations throughout his website).

When I looked at his websites, they are very similar. He's made a so-so attempt at making each site unique but they are literally copies of each other and things are just rewritten or some elements are moved around. And on one website he does refer to both

I've never worked with businesses with multiple physical locations. What is the best approach - one website with references to the multiple locations - or separate websites for each location? My gut tells me the former. If I'm right, do you think this guy will see improvements in his rankings by dumping one of the websites?

Travis Van Slooten
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Thanks for bringing up a great topic Travis! This is a question that comes up a lot in local search.

Yes I def think the best strategy is one strong main site.

So often SMBs and even consultants think "divide and conquer" is the best strategy,
but with Google local I think "United we Stand" is by far a better way to go.

John Mueller from Google recently addressed this topic a couple times at the Google Webmaster forum. Here are a couple posts from Search Engine Journal that reference his comments.

One Site Vs. Multiple Sites For Locations? Google Says One Site "One of the most common questions I get is, should I build a web site for each location I have a presence in?"

Google: Build One Site Not Many "Google's John Mueller responded to a question in Google Webmaster Help with familiar advice. Build one great site, as opposed to building many smaller sites."

If you look at how some of the big chains and franchises do it that typically rank pretty high in local, most have a main site with location pages. Roter Rooter comes to mind but there are many other examples too.

What do you guys think???
Crafted this response so I could push this out to Twitter in case it helps others. Didn't realize it was in the PRIVATE forum.

Since it's a great general topic with no client info, can I move to public Travis???
Yes, please move this to the public side. I went private because initially I was going to give some specific client details pertaining to this issue but then I decided to keep it more generic.


Travis Van Slooten

P.S. Thanks for your input and the references to the other sources on this topic! I think I agree with "master" website is definitely the way to go.

Crafted this response so I could push this out to Twitter in case it helps others. Didn't realize it was in the PRIVATE forum.

Since it's a great general topic with no client info, can I move to public Travis???
Cool, thanks Travis, now others who may have questions on this can learn from our convo. :)
Hey Travis,

I am going to have to be really brief I'm sorry. I set up a unique inner page on the same website so domain/london, domain/manchester.

It has always worked for me and you can end up with a double listing on page one, which never hurts. ( the inner page as stated above and the organic home page listing)

Added to that you will avoid duplication of content if both sites are similar.

Hope that helps!

Hi Travis,

First of all I would like to Thank Linda and Travis :) to bring this post in public which is more helpful to other followers too.

Travis I had worked with my clients who carries multiple locations for their business. But I has always suggested them to carry single website rather then making different websites for each location.

As Gio Greenard suggested to carry different landing pages as per the location, it is really helpful and workable. You can work with the same website and get rank for the business in both the locations.

This not only helps in getting value but also the results.


Pankaj Kumar
Well it seems like the consensus is definitely to have one website - which is what I was leaning towards so it's great to get confirmation. I'm sure you can have success with multiple sites but that just seems like a lot of extra work and headache. Plus, I would think multiple sites would send a disjointed marketing message. Imagine this conversation...

Potential customer asks, "What is your business website?"

Business owner replies, "Well it depends on what location you're referring to. We have 4 different websites. Can I ask you what location you'd be interested in learning about?"

Customer: "What locations do you have?"

Business owner: "Well we have A, B, C, and D."

And on and on the conversation goes....vs...

Customer: "What's your business website?"

Business: "Our website is ''"

You tell me which marketing message is more coherent, simple, and easy to convey?

Travis Van Slooten

I?d like to add my voice to the chorus here: definitely go with ONE website.


1. All the reasons you mentioned.

2. Simpler; fewer ?online children? to take care of, and fewer headaches.

3. Better UX and easier navigation. If for whatever reason you have to say ?check out our location in [city]? people will get confused if they click a link and end up on an unfamiliar site.

4. All your locations can benefit from any hard-earned links you?ve got if they?re on the same domain.

5. You?re not precluding yourself from having both organic AND local search results show up in Google for the same query. I think Gio alluded to this. Presumably if you?re creating a separate domain for each location you?re using the homepage as the landing page for your Google+Local listing. If you do that, Google won?t give you an organic placement on the same SERP if your Google+Local listing shows up in the local results. On the other hand, if you use as the landing page for your Google+Local listing, Google may very well give you an organic placement on the same SERP (assuming that?s your goal and you?ve put in the elbow grease, of course).

The only thing I?d suggest NOT doing is filling up the name of your subpage with a bunch of keywords. Unless you?re just trying to get found for one specific service/search term, I suggest going with rather than or some nonsense like that. There?s no way Google will whack you later on for any sort of over-optimization, and it?s better not to send visitors to some alphabet-soup URL.
I thoroughly agree with Phil. It is ever harder to get terrific game changing links, but if you do manage to do so, get them into the main site and the different location pags will both benefit.

If you do get those game changing links, if they go to one of the sites they won't go to the other.

I'd go with one site.

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