Studies show that 78% of local mobile searches result in an offline purchase! Local search engine optimization is one of the most effective methods for converting more customers and earning more money.
Ranking higher on local SERPs helps businesses succeed
Every day people are conducting local searches to find things nearby. Having strong local search rankings will get your business in front of customers who are ready to make a purchase. They could be looking for a place to eat, a store to buy a new pair of shoes, or an auto shop where they can get their oil changed. Whatever it is they need, consumers know all they need to do is search the internet and they will have multiple options to choose from within a few miles of where they happen to be.
Local search isn’t just a growing trend, it is commonplace among today’s consumers. If you aren’t ranking on page one of the local search results, someone else is, and you better believe they are winning the business you could have. With 50% of mobile users visiting stores within one day of performing a local search, having a local SEO strategy to increase your local search rankings will immediately lead to more business.
National Chain Brands vs. Small Businesses
When it comes to local search, small and local businesses naturally have a leg up on multi-location and national chain brands. Having multiple locations across the country, or even across a single state can be challenging hurdle to overcome when attempting to optimize for local search.
Many large brands (or agencies working with multiple small businesses) find it difficult to optimize each individual location for their own local search results. Additionally, some brands may have successfully optimized for organic search results, but have yet to consider optimizing on a local level. Whether you’re completely new to local search or looking for additional strategies to improve your local rankings, here are 5 of the most important steps to take to improve your Local SEO strategy.
Top 5 Local SEO Tips for Ranking Higher in Local Search Results
1. Consistency of Store Contact Info (NAP)
The most important step you can take to produce greater local SEO performance (ranking higher) across all of your business locations is to ensure consistent name, address, and phone information, or NAP, across all the major local search directories.
Start by auditing your current citations for incorrect or inaccurate NAP listings. Next, verify your business listings with the top directories like: Google My Business, Yelp, Bing Places & Yellow Pages. Finally, start building your citations in the directories that are relevant to your industry and locally relevant to each location.
Without consistent NAP information, search engines won’t trust you and therefore your business will rank poorly in the local search results. However, more importantly, customers won’t trust you; 37% of customers will not even consider a business if they have inconsistent listing information.
Finding and creating consistent NAP information across the web can be a monumental task in and of it own, especially for large businesses with multiple locations. However, tools like Chatmeter’s “Local Listing Management” can automatically identify inaccuracies and duplicated information across a full range of directory services, as well as help your business publish consistent information to new directories. Listing management tools like this make it easy to ensure that every location performs at the highest possible level.
2. Unique Store Pages that are Responsive (Mobile Optimized)
As a business with multiple locations, it is important that you create individual location pages for each store that are linked to your company's main website. Creating a specific webpage for each store is like creating a micro-site containing locally optimized content for each of your locations. While you are creating these location pages, don’t forget to make them responsive...Google ranks businesses higher when they have mobile optimized pages.
Each of your location pages should contain geo-specific content like NAP, contact information, and driving directions. In addition, your location pages can also include information like store specific testimonials, unique “about us” pages, and any local promotions or deals. Creating location-specific pages gives you the ability to outrank your competition and provide more relevant information to local customers leading to faster conversions and sales. REI is a great example for optimized store location pages.
3. Review Performance: Quantity, Quality, and Response Rate per Location
The latest industry report holds reviews signals responsible for over 13% of how search engines rank businesses, which is double what it was in 2016. Review performance is equally important to both search engines, review sites, and your customers. Reviews influence your local search rankings and consumers opinions in the same way; they instill trust (or distrust) which leads to higher rankings and more customers. When managing your reviews, it is critical that all location managers and your company as a whole are working to increase review quantity, quality, and response rate per location.
Google and other local search sites know how important reviews are to the consumer decision making process. That is why they take into account your review quantity, ratings and response rates from all over the internet when determining how prominent your business location is. Businesses with higher review quantities, a higher average rating and more responses show search engines they are trusted businesses that actively engage with their consumers and thus are rewarded with higher local search rankings.
4. Unique Content (Store Images, Videos, & 3rd Party Content)
One of the best way to maximize your SEO is through unique content. This could be new brand photos or user generated content, but the most effective and fastest way to climb the search rankings is by providing Google and Bing with content that the search engines have never seen before. Provide customers (especially the happy ones) with a place outside of Google, Yelp, etc. such as a widget on your website, to leave reviews and comments. Check out Chatmeter’s Review Builder tool that will generate new reviews and stream them directly onto your website through widgets!
88% of shoppers seek out visual content such as photos and videos prior to making a purchase. Having unique visual content linked to your listings on sites like Google My Business, Facebook and Yelp offers a new dimension to the searching experience that reviews alone can’t obtain; they offer the closest examples of what the real life experience will be like if they visit your business.
Finally, you can give potential customers an accurate representation of your brand is through third-party content or user generated content (UGC). This includes reviews, social media posts, customer testimonials, social mentions, and other content that are all means which consumers use to develop an interpretation of your brand. 80% of people surveyed believe that UGC influences their purchase decisions and indicates brand quality.
5. Your Social Media Performance vs. Competitors
While Google says they don’t use social signals directly for ranking, they have also made it clear that there is a strong correlation between the increase in social shares and increased rankings. Primarily, social channels help your business by raising awareness and creating buzz surrounding your business; having high quality social content is what leads people to share posts, as well as link to and visit websites. Using social to create conversations online gets customers talking about your business and increases popularity and authority in the local community which leads to higher local search rankings.
For large brands with multiple locations, trying to optimize each individual store for their own local search results can be an overwhelming task. Attempting to clean up store listings and manage all of the reviews and media coming in all around the web is impossible for multi-location businesses to manage without the right tools. Schedule a FREE demo with Chatmeter and see how our complete Local SEO and Reputation management platform can equip you with everything you need to reach the top of the local search rankings.