What local SEO updates should your brand make throughout the year
A great local SEO strategy that drives sales and new customers take more than an annual refresh. Brands must stay continuously agile and up-to-date with all the current trends and best practices. Throughout the year, search engine algorithms get updated, online business directories add new features, and your own brand goes through its own changes.
Don’t let your growth strategies go stale. Instead, sustain an ongoing local SEO optimization process for your business location listings, online reviews, review responses, and unbranded keywords throughout the year. By never calling your optimization “done”, you can make a lasting impact on your brand’s online presence, visibility, and overall revenue.
Here are a few key insights to keep in mind when building a lasting and ongoing local SEO strategy:
Never Forget to Update Your Business Listings
What’s more frustrating than arriving at a business with listings promising it’s open, only to see locked doors and dark lights? Consumers expect listings to be accurate and up-to-date at all times. This includes holidays, unexpected closures, or summer hours.
After all, they’re making the effort to choose and purchase your products or services. As updating hours on business listings only takes a few clicks, the least you could do is ensure your hours are always accurate. So, it shouldn’t be surprising that trust in a brand drops severely if this happens even once to a consumer.
Brands should also focus on more than just updating business hours on their listings. On Google Business Profile (GBP), other areas need regular updates as well, even if they don’t seem as essential — or shift as often — as hours. make updates to their listings any time there is something to change. Some common reasons for brands to update their listings include things like ensuring addresses are consistent, updating GBP attributes, correcting inaccurate suggested edits, or adding new photos.
Here are some of the most common areas of a business listing that brands should update regularly:
If your business has different hours based on the season, holiday, or any other reason, make sure to reflect those changes in your listings. Whether your business is cutting hours, extending hours, or temporarily closing, keep customers informed of the change.
Here is how to set special hours on Google Business Profile (GBP):
- Sign in to Google Business Profile.
- If you have multiple locations, open the location you’d like to update.
- Click Info > Special hours.
Tip: To find this section, you must set regular hours first.
- To set the hours for an upcoming holiday, click Confirm hours.
- To choose a different date, click Add new date.
- Enter the opening and closing times for that day.
- If the location is closed all day, select Closed.
- If you’re open 24 hours, click Opens at > 24 hours.
- If you close after midnight, set the hours to extend the next day.
- To add another row of hours, click Add hours.
- After all special hours are set, click Apply.
Whether they need to ensure their burger craving will be quenched or have a severe food allergy, most people want to know their food options before choosing a restaurant. This makes adding comprehensive, up-to-date menus vital to a great online listing. Also, don’t forget to make regular updates that reflect any seasonal or other menu changes. Go beyond just making those changes to the website by updating the menus on GBP, Yelp, Facebook, and any other online channel where your customers may be searching for you.
Did you know businesses with more than 100 images on their Google Business Profile profile get 960% more search views than the average business? Regularly adding photos to your GBP, Yelp, Facebook, and other listings are a great way to increase engagement. Because anyone can add photos to your listings, consistently adding new photos from the business can help protect your brand image.
Google Posts are amazing tools for keeping customers intrigued, informed, and updated about anything going on at your business locations. Google Posts are designed for businesses to share announces like:
- What’s New
- Upcoming Events
- Exclusive Offers
- Popular Products
- Health Updates
- Seasonal Sales
Honestly, anything from exciting events to important announcements are perfect for Google Posts. They’re great not only for keeping consumers updated and informed about your business. They also increase the engagement and visibility of your listings while driving people towards your store.
Google Q&A is often a huge missed opportunity for businesses. Questions can be asked and answered by anyone online. which is why it’s important for businesses to monitor and participate in these discussions. Google Q&A is a great place for businesses to address any recent business changes and prevent the spread of misinformation.
Should I Update Their Review Management Strategy?
Brands should evaluate the effectiveness of their review management strategy on a yearly basis. Are reviews being responded to in a timely manner? Do they have the right resources allocated to review management? Is it time to update the review response templates? These are all questions brands should be asking.
Brands should always be aiming to respond to reviews within 24 hours. That said, a brand’s ability to hit these goals may change throughout the course of the year. Retail brands, for example, may earn twice as many reviews during the holiday shopping season than they do during the summer. With so much else going on as well during this time of year, keeping up with online reviews can be hard. However, that doesn’t make a fast and effective review response strategy any less essential.
By planning for these expected influxes in reviews, brands can better prepare their teams to respond in a timely matter. Some brands even choose to enlist the help of a white-glove review response service like Chatmeter’s ChatExec team to support their response efforts during the busy season. It’s an incredible way to take this critical task off your plate so you can focus on, well, everything else!
Review Response Templates
We LOVE using review response templates! By creating a wide variety of customizable options in advance, it’s easy to reply to every customer review with authenticity and personalization. Review response templates are a great way to respond to keep up with a large volume of reviews in far less time.
Additionally, creating review response templates streamlines your review process while protecting your brand’s voice — a tough task for large, multi-location chains. For example, your organization’s brand manager can approve 50 customizable templates that match your enterprise-wide brand tone. From there, other team members can pick the appropriate response and customize as needed.
However, as your brand changes over time, remember to give your templates a refresh as well.
Should I Update My Local Branded and Unbranded Keywords?
Your local branded and unbranded keywords, as well as your other online content, should evolve as your business does, and that means ongoing optimization. Whether it’s a seasonal change, a product update, new location, or something else, make sure your content accurately reflects these updates across all of your online channels. Again, nobody likes going to a business only to find out what’s advertising online isn’t what they’re actually going to get.
Over 80% of impressions on local listings come from unbranded keyword searches. Needless to say, neglecting to optimize unbranded keywords is a huge mistake. Unbranded keyword trends can change as often as seasons change — another reason to never really stop updating your online listings.
For example, keywords like “swimsuits near me” may appear more in the summer while “jackets for skiing” will likely emerge during winter. That’s why optimizing for different unbranded keywords throughout the year can help your brand reach the right customers at the right time.
Don’t forget to update your social media team about all of your local SEO changes. Is it time to update your hashtags? Are you promoting retired products or menu items? As 54% of internet users turn to social media to research a product, aligning your social media strategy with your local SEO efforts will only strengthen your local brand visibility strategy.
Your brand’s local pages should serve as the single source of truth for each of your business locations. Every location-specific or brand-wide change that your brand makes should always be reflected here. All of the changes mentioned above, like business hours, photos, keywords, and more, should all be reflected on your local pages. Local pages are a great way to ensure customers always have access to accurate information about the location closest to them.
Sound like a lot? It is! With so much going on, it’s tough to stay on top of every change your organization makes, no matter how large or small. Still, as more brands enact these local SEO strategies, it’s becoming more essential than ever to keep up. Otherwise, your competition will.
Don’t know where to start? We can help! Top brands worldwide turn to Chatmeter to monitor, update, and protect their online listings with incredible accuracy — and that’s just the beginning of how we can propel your brand’s lasting success.Book a Chatmeter Demo