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I am looking for ideas on best practices when a business has multiple locations.

A basic to me has always been a unique NAP. With regards to the website, in the past I have seen great results with each location being a sub-domain. Having a separate location page is another way to go. Is there any general consensus on one way or the other being better?

If a business has 2 stores in one city, would it be a big deal to resolve all citations and GMB listings to the homepage of the website? Bad idea?

I appreciate any feedback!
 

Phil Rozek

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@Michael S. Doran, definitely go with the subpage, rather than the subdomain. This is anecdotal, but I've had a couple of clients who had subpages for specific locations, and just weren't ranking for anything. After we moved to subpages and did all the other optimization you'd expect and hope for, we started getting a good body count. The issue is Google seems to treat subdomains as different domains. So when in doubt I'd always go with the subpage.

As for the landing page URL, I'd do exactly what you described. Usually works out much better than the alternatives (in my experience), especially if the homepage has some content on each location / service area / catchment area, with links to the "location" pages. Speaking of which, it's still worth having a page for each location, because they can rank organically. The only question is whether you also use them as GMB landing pages (which I generally avoid doing).
 
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@Phil Rozek so to review your recommendation, have the 2nd location citations and GMB all set to the home page URL and have the home page list the 2nd location with an internal link to the specific location page. Correct?

In the past I had tested building citations with the URL of the 2nd location page and the results were mediocre.
 

Phil Rozek

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@Michael S. Doran, correct:

1. Both sets of listings (GMB + citations) point to the homepage URL.
2. You still create "location" pages on the site, using subpages and not subdomains.
3. The homepage has a section about each location (or service area), with a link to each "location" page.
 
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