Enterprise local SEO: how big brands compete on a local level
55% of consumers choose to shop local rather than with large chains simply because they “love supporting local businesses.”
Enterprises vs. SMB’s: this is the unsung story about enterprise and multi-location businesses that no one is talking about; enterprises are losing ground against the boutiques, mom-and-pops and local retailers as more and more customers hop on the “Buy Local” bandwagon.
“94% of people think that buying from small businesses is important”
While supporting small businesses (SMBs) has become a mainstream trend, It can be hard for the national chains, big-box retailers, and regional superstars not to take the little guys for granted. Often, they have to spend so much time worrying about the other big brand competitors that they don’t have the time or resources to dedicate to the hundreds of different SMB’s that are taking a healthy chunk of customers right out from under them.
However, it’s more than just media attention and a new trend that has contributed to the success of SMBs against enterprises – it’s the way customers search for and find businesses. 89% of people are using local search once a week when they need to find nearby businesses and 58% are using it daily.
Local Search Evens the Playing Field for SMBs
Local search has opened new doors for SMB’s, evening the playing field and giving them more opportunities to compete. The customers using local search don’t necessarily care who the biggest store is or which one has the absolute lowest price. Instead, they are looking for a store that has what they want, is convenient to get to and provides a great experience.
For example, when a customer searches on Google for a nearby shoe store, they are presented with a list of nearby options. On that list, one is a Footlocker store which has 3.0 stars, 225 reviews and is 3 minutes away, another is Jill’s shoe boutique with 4.8 stars, 115 reviews and is only 5 minutes away, and the third is a Macy’s with 4.3 stars, 100 reviews, but is 15 minutes away. Which store do you think the customer is going to pick?
No matter what they decide, local search is giving small businesses the opportunity to earn just as much visibility as big box stores and a better shot at stealing business away from them.
What is Enterprise Local SEO?
Enterprise local SEO is all about optimizing a business’ multiple locations for the local level. The idea is that while an enterprise may have locations that span across an entire state, region or even the world, each of their locations is focused on competing in their own local market against the competitors – big or small – who are most relevant to them.
Take a national retailer like Macy’s for example. In Kansas City, their biggest competitors may be other enterprise retailers like Old Navy and JCPenny, but in San Diego, their biggest threat may be 3 or 4 boutique clothing stores all within a quick drive of each other. The goal is to determine who their most relevant competitors are in each market and use enterprise reputation management software to beat them in the local search results.
How to Develop an Enterprise Local SEO Strategy
Building a successful local SEO strategy for enterprises is all about improving your locations online presence in order to rank better in the local search results. For enterprises looking to compete on a local level, this means treating each of your locations as its own entity and optimizing each location to compete and win against its local competitors.
Optimize each of your locations to stand out in the local search results:
1. Identify Competitors
90% of customers refuse to drive further than 15 minutes to make a normal purchase. That means, on average, each of your top competitors is going to be those within a 15-minute driving radius of your location. Knowing who your competitors are in each market is the powerful knowledge that can help you make location-by-location decisions and improvements to be more competitive and win more customers.
You can search your relevant local search keywords in each market, one-by-one to find your top local competitors (those with the best reviews and highest rankings) or you can enlist a service like Chatmeter to help you automatically identify your top 5 local competitors in each market.
2. Clean up Local Listings
44% of customers have felt that outdated or inaccurate business listings have ruined their shopping experience or kept them from visiting a business. Local listings consist of all the information search engines and directories have on businesses and are what customers see in the search results. Mainly the business name, address, and phone number (NAP), but this also includes information like a website, store hours, business category, etc..
Given the fact that listing data accounts for 45% of how Google ranks businesses in the local search results, it is crucial to have accurate and consistent listing information all across the web. Here are 4 strategies for cleaning up your local listings.
3. Manage Reviews and Media
Not only do reviews account for another 13% of how Google decides to rank businesses (making reviews one of the most influential factors in local search), but 98% of Americans read them in 2017 in order to help decide what business to visit. It’s important to monitor and manage all of your reviews on a location-by-location basis so that you can better understand how each location is performing and where you need to make improvements.
Using tools like sentiment analysis allows you to identify trends, better understand what your customers are saying, and improve the customer experience.
In addition to managing all of your reviews, it is also crucial to have a close eye on all of the photos and videos posted at your locations or tagging your locations. This allows you to do 2 things, keep an eye out for inappropriate or potentially damaging content, as well as find great images and videos of your customers interacting with your brand that you could later reuse and repost.
4. Engage with Customers
Finally, it is important to engage with your customers wherever and whenever you can. Customers and search engines are looking to see if your locations are active and engaging online. This means that each of your locations should be responding to customer posts and comments on social media, as well as all of the reviews that customers leave.
Responding to customers on social and search sites show search engines and customer that you are listening to what your customers have to say and willing to make improvements or changes. Google has even confirmed that responding to reviews will increase your locations position in the local search results.
The Big Data Problem:
With all of these steps to take and all of the data to manage on a local level, It can be quite overwhelming and nearly impossible for an enterprise to build a local SEO strategy on their own. Picture this frequent scenario that many of our clients once encountered:
An enterprise with hundreds of locations across the nation wants to develop a strategy to compete on a local level, but in order to do so, they need to manage all of their listings, monitor all of their reviews and engage with all of their customers. All on a local level through each individual location.
Even for a company with only 200 locations that would be nearly impossible without the right tool. Let’s say they are only monitoring their data on the top 5 search and review sites for all of their locations. That means 1,000 different business listings to clean up and maintain, and 1,000 different places where they will have to go to daily to engage with customers and monitor new reviews.
Big data doesn’t have to be a big problem. A tool like Chatmeter can help enterprises make sense of all their local data to make intelligent business decisions.