My brick and mortar business serves three distinct geographical areas and I want to do my web makeover the best way to optimize it for appearing in the top of the local search results for each area- what is the best strategy:
A) areaA.mysite.com, areaB.mysite.com for each area
B) mysite.com/areaA/, mysite.com/areaB/ for each area
C) three separate domains? mysiteareaA.com mystireareaB.com etc.
D) just one domain that uses all three areas as keywords in the title, text, etc. or
I'll try to give you a break down of each. The short and quick answer is, it really all depends. Here are my thoughts:
A) This will take a long time to rank as each subdomain is considered a separate site. Folders would be better here.
B) This would be the quickest way to rank and add relevant content to your site. It just depends, does your site already rank?
C) This is a good play, but you should use AreaAKeyword.com, AreaBKeyword.com, etc...that would give you the benefit of location specific and keyword. This will take a while to rank as well as each site will be new. From an SEO stand-point these domains would be strong.
D)I'm not sure I understand this one. Are you talking about using widget.com/Area-Widgets/? That would be a good play as well.
Overall, I think you just need to figure out how much time and effort you want to put into this. Link building and overall optimization is easier for just one site. And again, it really depends on your business.
Make sure you also consider just how likely you are to get into the 10 pack for your closest metropolitan area (let alone, the top of it) for each of your particular locations--regardless of which strategy you use. I mean are your physical addresses near enough to the center of your city to have a reasonable expectation of decent ranking? Do your locations use local phone numbers? Are you planning to go through the process of getting each location matriculated through the important local databases and research what other sites may be helping your competitors rank near the top of the 10 pack?
Certainly, the questions you ask are good ones (I'd stay away from option A) but I've seen options B) and C) work work--instead of option D), I'd lean more towards creating pages that are devoted to individual stores and get those pages listed) but there will be more to it than just how you set your site up.
OK, I appreciate the help. It sounds like the best bet is to use my main site with folders for each specific area. I will submit each site/areaname/ URL to the appropriate local listings directories etc.
It sounds like it might also be beneficial to develop separate sites for each area with a URL of businesstypelocationname.com and promote them as well? If each site has unique and worthwhile content will it help me to potentially secure to spots in the top ten for my keywords even if the phone number and address of the two different sites are the same? Is this a legitimate (whitehat) way of increasing presence? What about linking from these back to the main site?