Changes in site architecture and Search Engine Algorithms had a decimating effect on our client’s rankings for its over 600 store locations.
Search Engines can’t fill out a store locator box. Google-bot can’t type a zip code. So even though users can easily use these kind of interfaces to find their nearest store location, a search engine can not do that.
As a result, a directory of store locations had to be developed as a path that Search Engines can use to find the store pages. This was effective until one day in May. The directory structure could only be accessed from one link on the site, deep in the site map page. When the Google May Day update hit, the directory structure had all of the store locations 4 clicks away from the home page. Ever since the May Day update you really need to try to have your content within 2 clicks of your Home Page.