Bruno Berthezene, country manager at Solocal Group UK, shares his 5 key tips for implementing a highly effective local SEO strategy for brands with multiple locations, which have generated excellent results for leading brands such as Kérastase and Tag Heuer.
1. Use a structured store locator platform with store microsites
It can often be difficult for consumers to find the local outlet of the brand they’re looking for when searching online. To make sure consumers are able to find their desired brand in the results page for any local search they’re doing, it is essential that brands use a store locator platform.
With an arborescent structure, from international and national pages to regional and local pages and finally store microsites, this platform further helps to enhance SEO, as Google shows preference towards websites that have a clear and easy-to-understand structure, meaning that this framework provides a proven means of bolstering their search ranking.
2. Make sure pages are optimised for mobile and tablet
With a majority of searches now coming from mobile and 50% of mobile and 34% of tablet users visiting a store within a day of their local search, it’s essential that sites are optimised for both these platforms. A recent Kantar study revealed that 69% of UK adults become frustrated by brand sites that aren’t mobile-ready, highlighting just how important optimised sites are for creating a seamless customer journey.
This was recognised by Google last month, who updated their algorithm to expand its use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal, making it more important than ever that brands optimise their sites across all platforms.
3. Include Geolocation tools
Mobile and tablet-friendly platforms should include geolocators that enable customers to use location settings to find their nearest outlet. With “near me” searches surging 34 times since 2011 and almost doubling since last year, the ability to engage with consumers when they’re on the go presents a huge opportunity for brands. Through using a “locate me” tool, brands are able to be visible in results for searches made by in-location shoppers on their smartphones or tablets, and provide them with relevant information about nearby outlets, products or services.
4. Provide local product and service inventory information
Store microsites can also be used to display a product or service inventory. A recent Internet Retailing study revealed that 74% of customers would like to see whether an item they’re searching for can be bought locally, highlighting how this service is valued by customers, whilst driving qualified footfall to the outlets. Product information can then also be integrated with click and collect or click and reserve offerings, further prompting the customer to make the journey from online to in store.
From an SEO standpoint, search engines and their shopping section such as Google Shopping prefer pages that are rich with content. Having a product inventory or a list of services offered at each outlet helps to provide this, and also allows the brand to appear in results for local product or service searches such as “luxury watches Birmingham” or “red dress near me”.
5. Provide fresh commercial content
Incentives to engage, such as discount vouchers or offers, can be easily integrated into store microsites, and are excellent call-to-actions for driving footfall to stores.
In terms of SEO, search engines value fresh content, promotions, and other types of commercial content, which serve as another means of increasing search position. SEO rankings can then be enhanced further by ensuring local content, including discounts and offers, are visible on Google My Business and Google+.
Local search strategies are key tool brands must use to retain a competitive edge. Through using the right platforms and tools when implementing a local SEO strategy, brands can expect to see an increase in web traffic, footfall and sales. In addition, the above techniques have proven to enhance the customer experience, resulting in improved customer loyalty and retention.