75% of consumers use a company’s website in their decision-making process, and 87% will consider your local listings. How can you reduce friction for searchers across hundreds or thousands of locations, increasing local visibility and conversions from click to brick? With the following SEO tool tips for multi-location marketers.
In a recent webinar with Tyler Ludwig, Director of Enterprise Solutions at Rio SEO, and Colin Seymour, Director of Business Development at Rio SEO, participants learned how to do just that. Tyler and Colin explored how technology is dictating the consumer journey, what essentials are needed for a broad local presence, how to add consumer utility on your site (and why it matters), and more.
They also had a look at what’s next for multi-location brands as far as the management of their online reviews, increasingly robust location profiles, and deep analytics. Want to learn more? Check out the highlights here and you can watch the full webinar video below.
How Local Consumers are Using Technology to Meet Their Needs
Local consumers overwhelmingly use online search on their mobile device to search for products and services in their local area. They’re using maps and local apps, reading reviews and engaging on social, and asking questions of their voice-enabled devices. Today, 33% of all mobile searches are related to location, and 76% of people who search on their smartphones for something nearby visit a business within a day.=
Technology is evolving rapidly to better meet the needs of these consumers. Check-ins, search history, and even offline payment transactions are now routinely used to customize search results and web content for searchers. Google understands the context of a searcher’s location even if they aren’t explicitly saying “near me” while searching, because they use location data from mobile devices.
Whether you have brick-and-mortar locations, a service area business, or some other structure in which you’re trying to compete in multiple regions, you need to appear in search when and where consumers are looking for businesses like yours. It’s up to you to ensure that search engines and directories understand your location information, so they can gauge your relevance to each consumer’s query and bring back the type of information the searcher needs to get to your location.
Search engines gather local listings information in a number of ways.
Clean, accurate and up-to-date listings are a key element of both consumer experience and search engine visibility. If your listings contain the wrong store hours, a customer might arrive to find your location closed. If the map pin is incorrect, they could be given directions to somewhere other than your location. These are frustrating experiences that certainly aren’t a good representation of your brand and can result in not only a lost customer, but a bad review.
There are other ways inadequate location data can hinder your local performance, though, and you may not even realize that some of this is occurring. If your location data is outdated or incorrect, Google learns not to trust the quality of your listings. Their mission is to bring back the best answer for searchers, so you need to manage your listings proactively to ensure that you are the best answer.
Local listings inaccuracies are common, given how many different data sources search engines like Google are using to gather information about your business including:
- Direct management
- User updates and suggestions
- Third-party systems that validate data, such as aggregators
- Customer reviews
Multi-location brands have the additional challenge of scale; you need to manage listings for hundreds or thousands of locations, whereas local competitors may only need to be looking after their one location. Enterprises need a robust tool to manage all locations’ data within a single dashboard. Without it, your locations may achieve the rankings needed to drive business—in fact, they may not appear at all.
Online reviews management is an increasingly important part of local visibility.
Reviews are so critically important now that 72% of consumers will not take action until they’ve read what others think about their dealings with your business. Google features reviews prominently on your business listings and also considers the volume and sentiment of your reviews in its local rankings.
Consumers want to see recent reviews; in fact, 85% of consumers disregard local reviews more than three months old. They also take into consideration how well you listen to and engage customers, as well. According to BrightLocal, 89% of consumers read businesses’ responses to reviews. Multi-location brands need to be in position to monitor and respond as quickly as possible, across the enterprise.
In short, without a technology-driven online reviews management strategy, your brand cannot possibly reap the full benefits inherent to reviews (whether positive or negative). Brands need a single dashboard with alerts and response assignments, the ability to respond from within the dashboard, real-time listening, and competitive benchmarking—and this all needs to be provided in real-time, as well. Consumers and search engines simply won’t accept anything less.
Brand needs for local reporting, content creation, non-branded search optimization and more are unique.
Tyler and Colin discussed the unique needs of multi-location brands at the local level, as well as the optimizations and tools they need to drive traffic from online to offline across markets. From creating hyperlocal content to ensuring that local SEO best practices are applied for each local page, to reporting that activates local data across the brand, brands are facing great challenges. However, those with the technology and strategy in place to get it right are outperforming the competition by far.
For example, Four Seasons Resorts was able to drive 84% more phone calls from local search and increase its spa bookings by 30%, simply by improving its local listings accuracy and SEO. You can read more about that here. Or, read this case study to see how a national beverage brand managed to increase its #1 rankings in local search to 75% of its 3,500 markets.
Local marketing for multi-location brands is complex, challenging, and driven by a massive volume of data that must be cleaned, formatted, and activated to drive business results. Is your brand making the most of your local opportunities? Watch the rest of the webinar now, and take advantage of a Free Local Audit to see how well your brand is meeting local customers’ needs in the moments that matter