Site structure for network of locations


Jan 27, 2019
Hi there!

I am looking for some industry expert weigh-in on best practices to how to best approach the business scenario described below.
Tim runs a business, Tim's business has between 15 and 30 individual locations in large cities across the United States. Unfortunately, the approach to each individual location's digital marketing has been inconsistent.
Which of these three approaches would best build the best foundation for the business in local and national rankings from an SEO standpoint and why?

Margaret Ornsby

Local Search Expert
Jul 22, 2013
Hi @searchcityusa

The transition to any structure is going to be the killer here.

All things being equal, my preference is for a subfolder structure if budget is in any way an issue.
This makes it super clear to search engines and site visitors that happen to look at the URL, the relationships of the entities.

If the city locations are not clear identities on their own (eg Los Angeles is California), then you can use a domain/state/city URL structure (good of lots of locations in a single state) OR domain/city-state URL structure (good if cities are scattered around).

Having the location pages all at the same level means you can silo content relevant for that location easily. It also makes the structured data layout more logical to work with and frankly, easier IMHO.

This is also a really good thread to read through for further input into your question.
Do Exact Match Domains Still Work? | Local Search Forum


Local Search Expert
Sep 12, 2012
Definitely avoid different sites, I also tend to do subfolders. Subdomains would be interesting though and could possibly provide more value. They may more easily avoid a doorway page hit since you'll be building multiple location pages. That is neither confirmed nor tested to my knowledge though.

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