Let's dig into a hot topic for businesses with multiple locations. Franchises and multi-unit businesses have struggled to choose between having one website with a page for each location and having separate websites for each location. It’s tough to say if there is a right or wrong answer that will work for everyone. However, at SpaceCraft, we agree with Matt Cutts (Head of Webspam at Google) that having location specific websites is best in most scenarios.
"Make a web page for each store location. If you want your store pages to be found, it’s best to have a unique, easily crawlable url for each store” - Matt Cutts
Cutts even goes so far to say that neglecting to give your franchisee or local dealer their own website positions your business at a severe disadvantage against the competition.
Giving each location its own website provides the opportunity for each location to tell their own story. With SpaceCraft, each location can have their own blog and integrate their unique social feeds. They can add events and promote specials. And they’ll be set up to work better with local SEO and SEM efforts.
Opponents to this approach might bring up the following points. First, they could say giving franchisees their own websites is too hard to manage. Fortunately, SpaceCraft offers controls to limit the access franchisee owners have to making updates and publishing their websites. And second, they could say having duplicate content on the corporate and franchisee websites will hurt their SEO. Matt Cutts would recommend employing the rel=canonical tag to allow the selection of a single URL for search engines so that having duplicate content is not an issue. The SpaceCraft platform provides the ability to easily set rel=canonical tags.
At SpaceCraft, we have helped many franchises and multi-unit businesses get set up with location specific websites. And we have seen them get better search results. While that’s just one of the benefits, we strongly feel location websites are the way to go!