For several decades, the narrative has been that small local businesses have been crushed by the boots of large corporations. However, the Internet has in some ways leveled the playing field, enabling independent small businesses to push back against this story. On-the-ground initiatives like Small Business Saturdays, shop local, and the 100-mile concept are bringing many Main Street stores back to their former glory.
As the arbiter of all things search, Google is right there in connecting motivated consumers with businesses in their immediate area. The search giant is using technology to listen intently to local consumers; to understand their needs and bring back the best solutions to answer them.
This increased focus on community commerce is undoubtedly positive for residents and small business owners. It does make it more difficult for enterprise brands like yours to gain visibility in these hyperlocal areas. With so many locations across different regions, how can your larger franchise compete at the local level?
Maintain and Monitor Accurate Listings Across All Locations
Businesses of all sizes must keep their listings up to date so consumers can easily find them in local online searches. You cannot afford to send customers to a closed store due to the wrong hours being posted, or worse—to send them directly to a competitor out of frustration with your online experience.
But with so many locations to monitor, marketers for enterprise brands can easily lose track of this crucial maintenance. When your brand opens a new location or moves from one area to another, these listings must be updated immediately. Ongoing local listings management ensures that you avoid errors, duplicate listings and misinformation on an ongoing basis. Doing so will help you win Google’s trust in your data’s accuracy, maintain your brand’s local visibility, and generate more foot traffic.
With your local listings complete and correct, you can focus on making the additional optimizations that are going to move the needle in competitive markets. Local consumers with immediate needs explore different websites to make their decision. They want all of the information they need to choose a store and get there to be visible right in the SERPs, on your local listings. In fact, just one in every 60 consumers who views the Local Pack will actually click through to a website. Learn more about optimizing your listings here.
Increase Your Focus on Local SEO and Marketing
While search engines are used to find information, products, and services from all over the world, a large number of these searches are local. For on-the-go mobile consumers, the responses need to serve their immediate needs more often than not.
According to a recent Google Consumer Insights report, there has been a 900% increase in “near me” searches with immediate intent over the past two years (ie.: restaurants open near me today, car repair shops with appointments tomorrow). Leverage this trend by improving your enterprise brand’s local SEO strategy, which includes more than simply monitoring local listings. Some of these best practices include:
- Developing location-specific content for your website, landing pages, and social media
- Implementing proper structured data (schema) markups and keywords for localized pages and content
- Linking to and being linked by authoritative local sources
- Investing in local PR opportunities and targeted local online marketing
- Increasing local business reviews across a variety of digital platforms
By focusing on these local SEO strategies, you can improve your enterprise brand’s local visibility while building consumer trust in every unique region.
Manage Reputation and Reviews at Every Level
One advantage small local businesses have over enterprise brands is the consumer loyalty and trust people feel when they believe they have a personal connection. Customers prefer to know the names, faces, and backgrounds of the entrepreneurs within their communities and feel comfortable buying their goods and services.
This inherent trust plays a role in a business’s success, but so does its online reputation. Ultimately, consumers using search to find products or services turn to online reviews to reassure them that they are making the right choice. Without a steady stream of positive reviews, even long-standing local businesses struggle to compete in their area, failing to bring in new customers.
Maintaining a good reputation is even more critical for enterprise brands Of course, the best way to maintain a great reputation is to consistently provide the best service. However, you must monitor customer reviews at every location. This means you must gather, read, and respond to reviews across multiple platforms for various regions. For multi-location businesses, centralizing this data is critical. You need to be able to see local reviews and ratings at the brand level, but still have the ability to engage organizational stakeholders in your stores, service areas, or franchises. Activating your review strategy that integrates with your Local Pages and disseminates customer feedback across the organization, is key.
Read more about crafting a smarter, more effective local reviews strategy here.
Engage With Local Communities
It is crucial for enterprise brands to increase your local online presence, and community engagement is a great opportunity to do so. This could mean hosting or sponsoring a local fundraising event, participating in philanthropy or partnering with local schools and organizations. All of these activities will help increase local engagement both in the real world and online, build community trust and appreciation, and can generate links back to your Local Pages.
Main Street is making a comeback. For multi-location brands, this is a great opportunity to expand your footprint and increase visibility at the local level. Keep your enterprise brand’s local information up to date, invest in local SEO, prioritize listings and reputation management, and get involved in your local communities.
Want to see where you stand? Take advantage of a free local search audit for enterprise businesses. Discover your most lucrative opportunities to engage searchers and drive foot traffic across all of your locations today.