What you will learn in this post:
- What are unbranded customer searches and why are they so prominent?
- How your enterprise brand can compete with hyperlocal mom & pop business listings
- Effective strategies to improve local rankings for non-branded local search queries
As people search for local products and services, brand loyalty yields to the tyranny of the urgent. Consumers want the quickest, closest solution that suits their needs. This trend helps to explain why unbranded searches are growing in prominence, especially for mobile search.
Unbranded or non-branded keywords refer to search terms related to general goods, services, or industries not attached to a specific brand name. For instance, a user looking for a new place to eat might search for “Italian restaurants” or “best food near me” as opposed to a branded search like “Tony’s Diner” or “Olive Garden.” Naturally, branded and unbranded customer searches deliver different results, so different local SEO strategies must be employed to optimize for both types of search query.
To compete with hyperlocal businesses that rank highly in local searches, multi-location businesses like yours must optimize their online presence for non-branded searches. Doing so can help your brand increase its search engine visibility, attract new customers who convey high intent in their queries, and begin building consumer trust which can evolve into future brand loyalty.
A number of local SEO factors play into your brand’s local unbranded search potential. Here are some tools and methods to help your multi-location brand maximize its unbranded customer searches and keep up with the hyperlocal market.
Local Landing Pages
Your business spans across regions. This means your brand’s online presence must do the same. Creating local landing pages allows you to quickly and easily reach each one of your local markets online. These landing pages help search engines like Google rank your brand higher in local searches and help foster user interactions that convert searches into customers. Your local landing pages also serve as a platform for you to employ advanced SEO techniques such as Google My Business integration and proper schema markups.
Create Relevant Local Content
If you want your multi-location brand to compete in each of your local markets, you need to create relevant localized content that appeals to your local audiences. Blog posts, images, videos, event promotions, and review integration all fall under this category. Your localized content might feature nearby attractions, highlight services you offer than your competitors do not, or promote location-specific events held at individual stores.
Your content should also aim to solve the need a given non-branded search query might present. Doing all of this will help stir community interest and involvement both online and in person. And the more engagement you have with your local content, the better your brand will rank in local unbranded searches.
Localize the Structure and Content of your Pages
Maintaining high-quality outward-facing localized content is crucial for attracting new customers and increasing engagement. However, the underlying structure of your website, content, and local landing pages must also be optimized for local search optimization. This includes incorporating relevant and localized unbranded keywords in your content and meta-data, using a locator tool, and implementing the right schema markups and structured data for local landing pages. Doing so will help Google identify and trust your brand’s online presence and help boost its ranking in local non-branded searches.
Optimize Link Development
Another way to signal your brand’s local authority to Google is by acquiring more local backlinks. These are links to your website, content, or local landing pages from trusted local sources. To get started, audit your backlink profile with a reputable tool, such as Moz’s Open Site Explorer or SEMRush’s Backlink Checker. These tools will help you determine your domain authority and also cue you into poor, broken, or spammy backlinks. Then, look for opportunities to gather more backlinks by engaging with your local communities and maintaining your sites’ breadcrumb navigation and internal links.
Read here for more on backlink optimization.
Claim and Manage your Business Listings
To appear prominently in local unbranded search queries, your multi-location brand must keep all of its local listings up to date. At the very least, your business name, address, phone number, and hours of operation must be accurate. With Google My Business, you can further optimize your local listings by integrating them with Maps, local reviews, ratings, images, and much more. Google My Business listings also allow you to designate one category for your business which operates as an unbranded keyword, so be sure to pick this category wisely.
Of course, managing multiple listings can be challenging in and of itself. On top of that, your various locations might be suited for slightly different and specific unbranded keywords. Without a dedicated localized SEO provider, staying ahead of your hyperlocal competition is an uphill battle.
Start with a Local Audit
Rio SEO’s free local audit will help you determine your unbranded and branded search success in each of your local markets with key insights into your local listings, rankings, and reviews.