Holiday shopping this season promises to be one of the most unusual in recent memory. Businesses can no longer expect door crashers and overnight lineups this year; nearly half of US adults surveyed by Salesforce in May said they are more interested in online shopping for the 2020 holidays than last year. In fact, 71% of adults plan to do more than half of their online shopping in digital channels this year. Knowing this is the case, how can enterprise local brands make the best use of digital channels to maximize local revenue this year?
Don’t Miss These Local SEO Opportunities
The demand for accurate, relevant local business data has exploded as routine trips to the store, mall, or doctor’s office have become more complex due to COVID. In our recent analysis of search data across 203,600 brand locations, we found that local search traffic for the first six months of the pandemic was up 89% in retail, 195% in financial services, and 169% for sit-down restaurants.
Clicks from mobile to request driving directions to a location were up across the board—188% for business services brands, 106% for quick-service restaurants, and 262% for hotels, for example.
Increase your visibility in local search and deliver the information local consumers crave:
Update your location page SEO elements. You may need to edit your location page title tags, meta description tags, and header H1 tags to align with consumer intent. See how local keywords are trending now by industry for inspiration as to what you may want to communicate to customers at this time.
Prioritize your local reviews management strategy. Ideally, you will have the capacity to respond to every single customer review within 24 hours. Sound like an impossible ask? This guide will help you get started.
Optimize for long-tail keywords and unbranded searches. An estimated 85% or more of all search queries are long-tail queries with three or more words. Long-tail keywords are typically less competitive and demonstrate greater purchase intent, while unbranded searches help you win over consumers who’ve not yet settled on a brand and are open to considering their options.
Don’t forget about Yelp. Sure, it’s perhaps best known as a popular site for restaurant reviews but consumers have left over 214 million reviews spanning every industry on the platform. There are only slightly more restaurant reviews than those for home and local services, shopping, beauty and fitness, and healthcare services. See tips for managing your Yelp presence here.
Industry-Specific Tips for Optimizing Digital Channels
Focusing on your e-commerce experience is key this year. Customers are looking to not only buy online but have items shipped to their homes, but for the ability to order online and pick up in-store or curbside to avoid in-person contact.
From desktop and mobile alike, that experience should be as seamless and intuitive as possible. Consumers are overwhelmed with decision fatigue as choices that were previously unconscious and routine are now mentally taxing. As Psychology Today explains, “Our rational minds are clouded by emotion, and our intuition is clouded by fear. Our central nervous system is giving us perpetual danger cues, and our internal analyzer is confused by incomplete, absent, and conflicting data.”
This year, it’s more important than ever that the experience you offer shoppers in digital channels leads them effortlessly from one step to the next. Here are a few ways brands in different industries can achieve the exceptional local experiences consumers need this holiday season.
Dental Clinics, Urgent Care, and other Healthcare Organizations
Add virtual care and appointment links. Add an “Online care” attribute, which helps patients easily find your local listing on Google. Use links for virtual care and appointments to direct patients to the local page for their closest location. Note: This is available in the US and displays on mobile only.
Add insurance information. If you see a “Check insurance info” link in your GMB dashboard, you have the ability to add an insurance information page listing the health insurance providers accepted by your practice. Google automatically includes this link if they identify insurance availability through its third-party provider. Note: This is available for select merchants in the US only.
List the services available at your hospital or clinic. If you don’t already have a services list provided by a third party, you can add these to your local listings from a list of suggested services. If the type of service isn’t listed, you can add your own custom services, like “grief counseling,” “house calls,” or “diagnostic services.”
Restaurants & Quick-Service
Offer customers ways to stay distant while enjoying your food. Get creative and give your customers more choice via social distancing-friendly options like cloud/ghost kitchens, pop-up restaurant nights, meal kits, and at-home cooking events. Find ways to promote these unique services locally in this recent blog post.
Use GMB attributes to differentiate your locations from competitors. GMB Attributes highlight important information commonly sought out in your local listings and will vary based on the primary category you selected. Some are universal, such as Black-owned, Women-Led, wheelchair accessible, or types of payment accepted. Others like dine-in or takeout are only offered to restaurant and quick-service brands to help customers see at a glance whether your locations offer what they need. Learn more here.
Add FoodMenus structured data to GMB via API. FoodMenus data ensures that customers have accurate, up-to-date menu information via Google local search. It’s a type of schema markup that enables Google (and potentially others) to pull accurate menu data to display to users.
Banking, Insurance, Mortgage & Other Finance Brands
Avoid listing filtering and cannibalization. If your listings serving the same geographic area are too similar, your brand can end up competing against its own properties and agents. Learn how to differentiate your locations and services in Best Practices to Avoid GMB Listing Filtering for Financial Services Brands.
Use GMB attributes to provide important information to inform consumer decision-making. The attributes available to different types of financial services brands may include drive-thru ATM or online appointment links, for example. Learn how to use them here, then download the free Optimizing GMB Listings for Financial Services Brands guide for more.
Get Ready for an Online Local Shopping Season in 2020
Now is the time to get the teams, tools, and tactics in place to win local customers across your digital channels this holiday season. Don’t miss these helpful resources as you strategize for the upcoming shopping rush:
- Join us in an upcoming webinar and see what our local marketing experts have planned next
- Browse our full library of COVID-19 Local Marketing Resources for enterprise brands
- Get a 100% free Custom Local Search Audit to find out where you stand and discover your most lucrative local opportunities ahead of the holiday season