dsteiner

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Hi everyone,

I'm confused as to what the RIGHT way to structure a multi-location legal site is.



Originally, I was taught to use silos like this:


examplelawyer.com/miami/
examplelawyer.com/miami/car-<wbr>accidents
examplelawyer.com/miami/<wbr>wrongful-death

This adds up to a lot of repetitive content, especially if you have a bunch of locations.



In the local map for each location, I would use the location page (IE: examplelawyer.com/miami/) to treat this page as it's own homepage.


Humbly, I think I'm doing it wrong, and I'd really like to know the proper way to this.


One of our competitors has a very unique structure:


They use their homepage URL for each map location, and have all location landing pages pointing to their main practice areas (they don't have practice area content under each city.)

My best guess is that Google is smarter than I thought, and I should probably follow the restaraunt method (one menu/list of services, and as many individual location pages as needed.)




I'm happy to provide the actual URL's if someone would like to take a closer look.

If you'll teach me, I'll happily teach others via an article! :)

If there's already an article out there, I apologize. I tried searching, but couldn't find exactly what I was looking for.








 
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Hi dsteiner,

No worries, sometimes it's hard to find the right information out there. There's a lot of amazing people sharing knowledge in this community, but it's still sometimes hard to find what you're looking for if you haven't seen it before. I guess that's where it pays to actually belong to the community, instead of just reading it's output.

My favorite piece on this topic is actually from Phil Rozek. In particular, his suggestion to have service pages, and have city landing pages, but not to multiply those two categories against each other sounds wise to me. There's rarely justification for attempting to target 50 different keywords at once with a local client. That kind of campaign only has a chance if it's got some serious investment behind it, since each page needs to have a lot of unique, compelling content to function as a part of your funnel. Don't make it unless you could justify sending paid traffic to it when you're done.

Of course, if you can invest the time and energy for each location actually generating that content, then the method you're describing would work. You'll definitely need individual landing pages for each location to link to from their GMB.
 

dsteiner

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Hi dsteiner,

No worries, sometimes it's hard to find the right information out there. There's a lot of amazing people sharing knowledge in this community, but it's still sometimes hard to find what you're looking for if you haven't seen it before. I guess that's where it pays to actually belong to the community, instead of just reading it's output.

My favorite piece on this topic is actually from Phil Rozek. In particular, his suggestion to have service pages, and have city landing pages, but not to multiply those two categories against each other sounds wise to me. There's rarely justification for attempting to target 50 different keywords at once with a local client. That kind of campaign only has a chance if it's got some serious investment behind it, since each page needs to have a lot of unique, compelling content to function as a part of your funnel. Don't make it unless you could justify sending paid traffic to it when you're done.

Of course, if you can invest the time and energy for each location actually generating that content, then the method you're describing would work. You'll definitely need individual landing pages for each location to link to from their GMB.


Good stuff, James! We actually had Phil perform an audit for my client, and he was very helpful. If you're interested, I found one particular law firm that is breaking all the rules, and still crushing us.

I'd love to write an article on some concrete data, but it seems everyone has a different idea of what's best for multi-location SEO.

I do, however, implicitly agree with your "if you wouldn't send paid traffic to your landing page, then don't use it" statement.

Thanks for taking the time to reply.
 

Eric Rohrback

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I've played around with both ways (silos and single location page) you mentioned. I've seen success with both, but there are downsides to each.

With the silo structure, you won't have duplicate content because you will need to write unique content for every page. The obvious downside to that is more time/money spent on content.

The alternative of putting everything under a single location page could also work. The biggest thing you need to remember about that is to put a table of contents next to or near each section header. Putting everything under one page will create a massive page, so making sure users have a easy time navigating is important.

It basically comes down to what kind of investment you want to put behind the project. Franchises will do the silo structure, because the parent company won't allow access to the top level. Franchisees want to create a unique "site" for their business, but the parent company wants some control. That's how they can get around that.

Retail will typically see the one page landing page for each location. Some do more with silos, but for the most part it's the single location landing page.

In your case for Lawyers, you could do it either way. All depends on the overall strategy for the company. If the locations are across the country, then it might make sense to silo. People would want to know different information that's specific to their area/city. If the offices are a town away, then it might make sense to create location landing pages and link to a single landing page for each practice area.

Think about the internal linking structure, what will be most helpful to customers, how you intend to build links to those pages, and what resources you have to manage each type.
 
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Law and multi-location businesses in general aren't really where I hang my hat, but it's always interesting to see different approaches out in the wild. SEO's an interesting thing though, no one ever does everything right, and you don't need to to win. You can mess up in a lot of areas, and still hang first as long as you're doing other pieces well. Google's gotten world's better, but there's still a lot of ways to game the system too. Personally, I'm a pretty big believer that spam and attempts at cheating the system are going to be wildly more challenging to pull off five years down the road, but for now, there's still plenty of gray hat techniques out there helping people take the lead. Either way, I'm with you. Data tells the real story, though it takes pretty large data sets to come up with results you can rely on. I think ultimately the onsite structure Phil laid out is the way to go, your main difference maker is going to be offsite authority signals more than your onsite structure anyway.
 

dsteiner

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I've played around with both ways (silos and single location page) you mentioned. I've seen success with both, but there are downsides to each.

With the silo structure, you won't have duplicate content because you will need to write unique content for every page. The obvious downside to that is more time/money spent on content.

The alternative of putting everything under a single location page could also work. The biggest thing you need to remember about that is to put a table of contents next to or near each section header. Putting everything under one page will create a massive page, so making sure users have a easy time navigating is important.

It basically comes down to what kind of investment you want to put behind the project. Franchises will do the silo structure, because the parent company won't allow access to the top level. Franchisees want to create a unique "site" for their business, but the parent company wants some control. That's how they can get around that.

Retail will typically see the one page landing page for each location. Some do more with silos, but for the most part it's the single location landing page.

In your case for Lawyers, you could do it either way. All depends on the overall strategy for the company. If the locations are across the country, then it might make sense to silo. People would want to know different information that's specific to their area/city. If the offices are a town away, then it might make sense to create location landing pages and link to a single landing page for each practice area.

Think about the internal linking structure, what will be most helpful to customers, how you intend to build links to those pages, and what resources you have to manage each type.


That's a great way of explaining it, with the franchise example. I always explained it as the chain restaurant method. The menu stays the same, but the locations keep expanding.

Law and multi-location businesses in general aren't really where I hang my hat, but it's always interesting to see different approaches out in the wild. SEO's an interesting thing though, no one ever does everything right, and you don't need to to win. You can mess up in a lot of areas, and still hang first as long as you're doing other pieces well. Google's gotten world's better, but there's still a lot of ways to game the system too. Personally, I'm a pretty big believer that spam and attempts at cheating the system are going to be wildly more challenging to pull off five years down the road, but for now, there's still plenty of gray hat techniques out there helping people take the lead. Either way, I'm with you. Data tells the real story, though it takes pretty large data sets to come up with results you can rely on. I think ultimately the onsite structure Phil laid out is the way to go, your main difference maker is going to be offsite authority signals more than your onsite structure anyway.

That's probably a good thing, my friend. Lawyers often have absurd expectations and want to take shortcuts. I agree with you implicitly on the spam. I firmly believe that digital PR, great content, and social are the keys to the future.

Thank you both for responding. I'll likely quote you both in an article about this.
 
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