Local SEO | November 20, 2019

Help Shoppers Find Your Store with Local SEO

Nearly 46% of all Google searches are seeking local information and as the most rewarding time of the year for retailers’ approaches, it’s time to capture them.

Never has the saying ‘a world of information at our fingertips’ ever been truer. Gone are the days where we find local information by typing in your address, town or even city. Now, if you’re looking for restaurants, bars, or shops, Google can use your exact location to find those closest to you. And with 84% of searches analysed as “discovery” it more than makes sense to be ready to appear for these searches.

Why local SEO?

Anyone with good search engine optimisation and domain authority can rank for a search query like ‘how to create a Christmas wreath’, but when the query has purchase intent behind it, it is likely to become ‘wreath making classes near me’ or ‘wreath making classes in [location]’, for example.

For these types of search queries, which typically include a location or ‘near me’ – which isn’t necessary using Google Maps or if Google knows your location – search engines understand that what the searcher wants is business suggestions based on location, and so that’s precisely what they offer up.

This difference in behaviour and result is precisely why local SEO is important and worth investing in alongside standard SEO.

Local SEO statistics:

  • Google receives over 70,000 searches per second on any given day – Internet Live Stats

  • Now 46% of searches have local intent – Google Rep on Twitter

  • The average business is found in 157 direct searches each month, and 852 discovery searches. This totals an average of 1,009 searches per month – Bright Local Study

  • 72% of consumers that did a local search visited a store within 5 miles – HubSpot Marketing Statistics
  • 88% of local business searches on a mobile device either call or visit the business within 24hrs – Nectafy
  • 78% of location-based mobile searches result in an offline purchase – SEO Tribunal
  • “near me” or “close by” type searches grew by more than 900% over two years – Chat Meter

If you’re not set up to capture local searches, you’re missing a trick.

How to ensure you’re in the game…

Organically, there are three ways to compete.

#1 Set up a Google My Business listing

It’s Google’s solution to giving business owners the freedom to manage how their business appears on Google Search and Maps.

Google My Business (GMB) is a free business profile that gives owners the tools to update their information, business imagery, respond to reviews, and keep customers up to date amongst other things. To Google, it’s a verification tool, helping you to meet their (Google’s) needs for a coveted sidebar space in Google local search.

Liberty’s Google My Business listing

#2 Make some quick fix website updates

Local SEO can be improved with basic search engine optimisation to website landing pages.

  1. Ensure the address listed on your website matches your Google My Business listing.
  2. Optimise urls, title tags, headers, meta descriptions and content for local keywords.
  3. Consider adding location pages to your website with all of the information available on your GMB listing.
  4. Write about relevant local news to attract a local audience
  5. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly (not such a “quick fix”, sorry!)

#3 Engage with online directories

NAP consistency is key to quality local SEO, so anytime you list your name, address, and phone number (with its area code!) keep them identical across the board. Yelp, Yell.com, and Thomson Local are good directories to start with.

Improving your local ranking on Google

Tick off these extra tips and tricks to help increase your business’s local ranking on Google and enhance your presence in Search and Maps.

  • Enter complete data

Google favours the most relevant results for each search and businesses with complete and accurate information are easier to pair with relevant searches.

  • Verify your location(s)

For the best opportunity to appear across Google’s products, especially since ‘distance’ is a ranking signal Google uses to determine local ranking.

  • Keep your hours accurate

Give searchers (and Google) confidence that when a consumer travels to your location it will be open. Maintain these including special hours for holidays and events for a greater thumbs up from Google.

  • Respond to reviews

Show how your value customer feedback by interacting with comments and reviews. High-quality, positive reviews will encourage more visits, but equally a positive outcome to a negative review will show your customers (and Google!) you care.

  • Add photos

Not as important as the other ranking factors here, but photos help to tell the story of your business and sell-in your establishment before they visit.

Otherwise, consider local campaigns

Local campaigns are an advertising tool in Google Ads to promote your store(s) across Google properties unavailable to you organically. They include the Google Search Network, Google Display Network, Google Maps and YouTube, and they’re fairly easy to set up.

To create a local campaign, you will need to define the location(s) you would like to promote then simply add a few lines of text, a bid, some assets and the rest is optimised to help your users find you because Google’s machine learning technology will automatically optimise bids, ad placements and asset combinations on your behalf.

Keep an eye on…

Some local SEO features we have spotted in BETA that will definitely be worth taking advantage of if they’re available to you, are;

  1. Google Store Visits, and
  2. Local Product Feeds

If visits to your physical locations – like hotels, auto dealerships, restaurants, and retail stores – are important to your business, you can use conversion tracking to help you see how your ad clicks and viewable impressions influence store visits.

Store Visits in Google Analytics helps you analyse how your site activities influence visits to your brick and mortar stores and see that data within GA.

Local product feeds allow you to promote products and services available at your physical locations. Giving consumers the ability to explore a curated selection of the products your store carries in a visual, catalog-like experience.

We talk about this in more detail here.

The evidence.

We have had great success delivering local SEO work for a number of clients. Read more about the challenges we faced with Pizza Express to deliver a highly successful organic local project.

Overwhelmed? Want to see how we can help?

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