By Bill Connard / VP of Local Search Solutions

Retailers with multiple physical locations face unique challenges in local search. Chief among them is the fact that managing local SEO for stores requires an ever-increasing knowledge base and skill set.

As map listings, reviews and ratings, discussions and user-generated content have converged with your own SEO efforts in impacting your local search rankings, it’s become crystal clear that manual, time and labor intensive SEO management methods have outlived their utility.

Marketers have a responsibility to their brand or client to ensure the greatest performance at the lowest possible cost – to generate the best ROI. While SEO practitioners have historically struggled to prove this value, the volume and depth of the data now at our fingertips makes the value of local SEO both measurable and defensible.

Local SEO Best Practices
The key to capitalizing on this local search opportunity lies in automating the processes that have historically sucked up valuable time and resources. Cost-per-click in local search is an important metric that indicates the actual cost of each visitor to your website via this channel and feeds into other metrics like cost per acquisition.

Automating these six local SEO processes delivers more relevant traffic and increased sales, at a lower CPC:

1. Local Landing Page Creation and Optimization

The ability to auto-build and optimize local landing pages for each location without running the IT gauntlet is critical for local search marketers. If your customers can’t find a store location using street address, IP address, neighborhood, city or zip code data, you have your work cut out for you. Successful local marketers have already moved far beyond automated location finding to displaying dynamic ad offerings and integrating with loyalty programs.

2. Integrated Mobile, Tablet, and Responsive Page Creation and Optimization

Similarly, a fully integrated mobile and tablet store and location finder is necessary to provide the type of user experience that earns clicks and drives sales. Automating the process of creating and optimizing multi-device pages allows for the addition of tools designed to convert mobile searchers.

3. Local SEO Best Practices and Schema Markup

It’s insane to think the targeting and adjustment of local keyword terms – and responding to algorithm updates across dozens or hundreds of local landing pages – can still be managed in Excel. Automating the process of updating store location and local landing pages, with best practices applied across all properties, helps increase local search presence on major search engines and rids your company of unnecessarily time consuming optimizations.

4. Listing Input and Management

Reduce the team time spent on providing bulk business feeds while increasing optimization and consistency by automating your listing management and input to search engines, data aggregators and social networks. Again, minimizing labor and negating the need for IT involvement makes the process of local business listing optimization more effective and less costly.

5. IYP and Directory Management

Keeping your listings with Internet Yellow Pages (IYPs), directories and social networks is an important part of your local link building efforts, helping to increase organic search rankings. However, keeping these thousands of listings optimized and current can be incredibly time consuming.  Ensure consistency, reduce the legwork and improve optimization across the board by automating this process.

6. Map Listings Management

Improve local map rankings for multiple locations by automating listings optimization for all locations on Google+, Yahoo Local and Bing Maps. Ensure accurate and consistent physical location and contact information by using one point of contact for managing map listings.

Automating Local Search = Real, Measurable Business Benefits

Automating processes that have historically proven time consuming and therefore costly can help you dramatically reduce your CPC and cost per acquisition, while improving relevance and increasing your Web presence.

In fact, focusing on the six factors listed above has helped marketers using Rio SEO software in the department store, automotive parts, retail fashion and sporting goods industries increase their search and in-store traffic, while reducing labor and costs. Our Local SEO Best Practices Deliver Major Cost-Per-Click Reductions case study sheds light on significant cost savings for retailers.

Radio Shack, for example, saw a 30 percent increase in average order value in a four-month period through local SEO automation. The retailer’s data revealed that up to 60 percent of local store locator clicks resulted in physical store visits.  In turn, 85 percent of those visitors made a purchase.

A group of department stores we tracked realized substantial savings through local SEO automation, reducing CPCs from 60 cents to just 7 cents. In addition, they were able to capture valuable local click event analytics data on the number of clicks to coupons, maps and phone number, enabling them to further optimize the user experience.

Long term, relevant search traffic, increased foot traffic in stores, coupon redemptions and, of course, higher sales volume and average order value, all point to a highly successful local search strategy. Local SEO automation drives measurable improvements in ROI for multi-location businesses.

Download Local SEO Best Practices Deliver Major Cost-Per-Click Reductions for more insights, or contact us now to schedule a live demo of Rio SEO’s local search software.