Winning in your local market is key for business owners with multiple branches; whether that be within the country or internationally. Local SEO expert Claire Carlile explains that “over 50% of online traffic [is] being generated by mobile phone, with nearly a third of mobile searches made being related to location”. This reinforces how important it is to invest in your local SEO and improve your local visibility.
When you have multiple locations across the country dominating the local SERPs (search engine results page), you are first in mind for local customers. Multiply this by 100+ locations and you have national domination, which is why having a well-thought-out local strategy is an essential part of your national/global SEO strategy.
- You have over 200 tea shops across the United Kingdom or internationally.
- You rank well for “keyword + country” or “keyword + city”, probably for keywords like ‘tea shop in the UK’ or ‘tea shop in London’.
- However, when it comes to other locations across the country, you have very little visibility, and your competitors perform better.
You might be winning at country and/or city searches but are missing out on the towns and districts. While a city is larger it is still important to remember your business belongs to the community. For someone living in Bromley or Camden, it is easier to reach shops within their local area rather than searching more widely in London; by not targeting more local areas you could be missing out on potential customers.
The success of your local efforts will be affected if you’re being outranked or beaten by smaller local shops in the local borough and county. Especially if you are new to the market.
This is where multi-store businesses are losing opportunities. Yes, they probably have a national brand and great online authority, but they’re being picked apart because they are either underutilising their brand or simply don’t care.
Locational data is a big ranking factor in organic SERP, especially for very short local keyword terms. For example Pizza, Cinema, Ice-Cream, Tea Shops, Restaurant. Search engines like Google often consider your historical locational data to determine organic SERPs for such key terms.
Here are 7 tips to improve your visibility to not just winning nationally but to extend your strategies to local markets where the majority of your customers are.
1. Have a Google Business Profile Page
Google Business Profile, formerly Google My Business, is arguably the most important local SEO effort you should invest time into. For most local keyword searches the Google Business Profile listing often comes top of the Organic SERPs, as well as allowing you to appear in Google Maps and an additional place to share content and your products or services.
It is free to create a Google Business Profile account and create individual profiles for each of your stores. Ensure you optimise each listing for reviews, images and business news. List the branch’s direct contact information for that branch rather than the headquarters. Make sure each listings content is unique and use the store URL if it has one. For example, https://www.abc.com/london/ if the store is in London. Do not use https://www.abc.com/ for all your stores.
2. Create Individual Landing Pages for Each Location
Google Business Profile listing is NOT the only organic SERP for local searchers. There are usually between 4-12 other web listings you can attempt to rank for on Google.
Many businesses do not utilise the opportunity to gain multiple SERP rankings hence, losing numerous other opportunities for online sales/deliveries.
By creating landing pages for each location you can target specific location keywords and improve your organic local rankings.
- Nationwide/International – https://www.abc.com/
- City – https://www.abc.com/london/
- Borough/Town – https://www.abc.com/london/ealing
Ensure each page has unique content to avoid duplication (From store images, contact, delivery information, Google Map Location, etc)
- Optimise and ensure the title tags and content are unique for each page. For example;
Nationwide/International – https://www.abc.com/
Title Tag: ABC: The Tastiest Pizza Brand in the United Kingdom
Title Tag: Order ABC Tasty Pizza in London
Individual Store – https://www.abc.com/london/ealing
Title Tag: Order ABC Tasty Pizza in Ealing, London
This will allow you to have both your Google Business Profile and web pages rank in organic searches. With locational data, potential customers in Ealing or London, and many other smaller municipalities within the city can see localised pages that are well optimised for their area.
This helps you boost both walk-ins and online conversions. Presently, such space is dominated by marketplaces like Deliveroo, UberEats and JustEat; and directories like Yelp, Yell, and Business Forums.
Nothing stops your brand from changing the narrative. Search engines will most likely give you priority because of your brand too!
Problem solved! You can now rank for;
- Keyword + Country, Keyword + City, and Keyword + municipalities.
- With Google’s locational data, you can also rank for individual local searches like “pizza”, for example.
3. Create Individual Pages for Each Product/Service
Now you’ve created pages capable of ranking in all cities your stores are located in; it’s time to rank for the products in these locations too. This can be a bit confusing at first, especially if you’re new to SEO.
You can create a page where customers can filter products based on which locations it’s available in. Imagine you sell 15 different types of pizzas, but the toppings differ according to each location.
Below shows two examples on how you can do this with Sicilian Pizza as the product;
Location + Product
London + Sicilian Pizza
Page URL: abc.com/london/sicilian-pizza
Page Title: Order Tasty Sicilian Pizza in London
You can also do this for more specific locations:
Individual Location + Product
Camden London + Sicilian Pizza
Page URL: abc.com/london/camden/sicilian-pizza
Page Title: Order Tasty Sicilian Pizza in Camden, London
Imagine doing this for all the products you have across all locations! You’ll have won the Local SEO listing ahead of your competitors. To improve accessibility and navigation, create a filter or search feature below the menu on all the pages that allow customers to navigate these pages easily.
It is important to share each individual product on your Google Business Profile page, ensuring the correct location product is shared to the relevant profile.
- The scenario described above might cause a lot of duplicate content issues, content(images, text etc) on each page must be unique to its location.
- This might not be necessary if you have an e-commerce store that is connected to all branches.
4. Update your Google Business Profile Listing Frequently
Google Business Profile listings allow you to share a wide range of business information including your opening hours, phone number and business address. It is important to keep this information up to date as potential customers will use this information to determine when best to reach out or visit if a physical store. By creating individual profiles for each of your locations means each profile will have a different address and phone number, allowing you to target each individual location area.
Google Business Profile also allows you to share a range of content and links to specific pages on your site. This includes snippets of articles, latest news, offers or events happening. This keeps potential and existing customers informed of business news and provides a further platform to new content and information. You can also post your products or services to the profile which includes the product name, description, price and a link to the product page to purchase. This showcases and highlights your products before potential customers visit your site.
There is an option to add FAQs to your profile, this is a valuable resource which provides a platform for you to answer common questions to save visitors time trying to find the answers on your website or contact you. The FAQ section is a community discussion platform, and allows anyone to ask and answer a question. It is important you answer all questions to ensure the answer is factually correct.
5. Localised Content
Creating localised content strengthens brand awareness within your shops local area. By adding internal links from the location landing pages to this content reinforces your local ties. It provides an opportunity to share relevant content on the Google Business Profile page and sharing with local news outlets increases local links and community recognition. Ensure the content is relevant and appropriate to the local audience, and your business will appear more trustworthy within the community.
Localised content is extremely important if you have shops internationally. Create content in the native language or make it easy for the content to be translated will improve the clarity of your message and ensure it is understood by your target audience.
6. Manage Reviews
Reviews are one of the easiest ways to improve business branding, customer retention, and general word-of-mouth marketing.
I will trust what my friends and colleagues say about your business rather than what you say it is. Reviews are effective, and managing them is as important as any marketing tactic.
Here are some things you can do to manage reviews;
Make it easier for customers to leave reviews and encourage them to do so.
- Send a link to your Google Business Profile page and other review sites and ask for reviews as part of your email marketing campaign. This is effective after a customer must have used your product or services.
- You can convert your profile link to a QR Code and print it on important customer-facing materials. On a restaurant table, your office door, menu plan, etc.
- Respond to reviews and resolve any negative reviews publicly so the review does not seem ignored.
7. Measure Success with the Right Data
The biggest question to convince your management that local SEO is worth the investment is through showing results.
The burning question will be; “What metrics should you use to determine success?” Many local SEO efforts are known to overlap with brand marketing, making it difficult to explicitly measure direct metrics. We can however make the right correlations as follows:
- Track Organic traffic on all the local pages you might have created. You should exclude brand name queries on Search Console to give you the true data for each location.
- You can use UTM tag to track clicks from the URL on each Google Business Profile listing
- Percentage Increase in daily Walk-ins from each store location.
- Google Business Profile page Impression & Reviews for each location
Business directories and marketplaces are the biggest gainers in many local business spaces. But nobody says the local SERPs are for them alone. You can start setting the pace and be a game-changer in your respective industries.