Date Published: 7-Jul-2014 | By: Shane K Morgan
Are you confused whether to have a single website or multiple websites for your multiple business locations? Well, almost every multi-location business is confronted with this question. Many business owners (unaware of the fact) still go for multiple websites because this is what their website designing and SEO providers tell them to do.
Before we judge this, let us first see some benefits of having a single domain
No brand confusion
Having multiple domains creates brand confusion. Having a single website for your multiple business locations will help the user to select the store of his choice. If you have multiple websites with different URLs for each location, then it becomes difficult for the user to remember and connect to your website.
Maintaining multiple websites is both time taking and resource consuming. You have to invest on all the websites for hosting, content, site development, maintenance, etc. If you have 10 stores or franchise at 10 locations that means you have to buy 10 websites, which is obviously expensive.
No duplicate content issue
Having multiple domains, you tend to use same content on all websites. Search engines could consider this as duplicate content and may penalize websites for such practices. To avoid getting penalized, you need to create unique, fresh and engaging content for each of your websites – it requires a lot of time, effort and of course money.
Website maintenance becomes easy
Maintaining a single website is much easier than maintaining multiple websites. Having multiple websites will not end by just owning them, you have to maintain them properly by publishing timely content, that is unique for multiple sites.
More focused SEO efforts
Earning credibility and getting ranked on the top slots of SERPs for all your websites is not that easy. You have to focus and invest your time and resources on all the domains. Instead if you focus on a single domain, results will be quick and the impact on your business will be good.
Makes it easy for the algorithms
According to John Mueller, webmaster trends analyst at Google, focusing on a single website makes it easier for algorithms to understand the site and rank it. If a business has multiple sites for multiple locations, it not only is difficult for the users, but also for the search engine algorithms to understand.
In addition, let us see what Google, one of the major search engines, is saying about this.
Google’s head of search spam, Matt Cutts, advises to make one webpage for each store location. He says,
- If you have a relatively small number of stores – go for a single page that links all your stores
- If you have a lot of stores – have a single page for each state/city that links to all the stores in that location
- Make one web page for each store or franchise location – list the store addresses, phone number, business hours, etc.
- Make an HTML sitemap to point to those pages with regular HTML links
Having multiple websites takes a lot of effort, time and money to maintain and search engines also do not encourage this. Be cautious if your website designing company or SEO Service Provider is recommending you to opt for multiple websites for different business locations. It is not a good idea because for them more websites means more work and of course more money, but, it will hurt your rankings as well as your pocket.