It’s around this time that we resolve to do things just a little bit better than the year before. By mid-January, most of these resolutions have fallen to the wayside as they are too hard to consistently do.
Often, the smartest resolutions aren’t those major changes, but small tweaks, replacing bad habits with good and introducing new ways of thinking about our routines.
Once the holiday rush is over and sites are no longer on lockdown, its time to focus on the little things adjustments, but together can produce measurable local SEO gains. Here’s how to get started:
1. Adapt Your SEO Strategy for Voice Search
Earlier this year, we learned that an estimated 50 billion voice searches take place on personal assistants like Alexa, Google, Siri, and Cortana each month, accounting for about 10% of global search volume.
This doesn’t require a reinvention of the way you do SEO, but small adjustments can help you capitalize on the voice search opportunity. For starters, consider the intent behind voice searches. Mobile voice searches are three times more likely to have local intent and are typically long-tail queries in more natural language. SEW’s Rebecca Sentance shared a great piece on adapting to voice search here to get you started.
2. Shift Budget to Mobile
Brands still spend an inordinate portion of their budget on print. Considering that many retailers are now seeing 70% or more of their traffic coming from mobile, your individual locations will benefit from a greater investment in mobile.
Optimize your mobile pages for search and UX, use a mobile store finder, and keep mobile intent in mind as you’re naming pages and creating content.
3. Focus on Local Link Building
Links are still largely the currency of the web; your network tells Google how relevant you are in your local community and helps you rank on local queries. You don’t need to chase big media mentions or spend a ton on PR to see success in local link building.
Instead, look for opportunities to connect with other stores, service clubs, sports teams and non-competitive entities in your area through co-promotion, sponsorships, etc.
4. Get Your Local Listings in Order
They’re already out there–your locations are listed in hundreds or thousands of local directories, networks and aggregators. Where that information is outdated or incorrect, user experience and rankings suffer.
Automate the process of cleaning, optimizing and distributing your local listings data to ensure your listings are complete and accurate across major search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo, and across the local search ecosystem as a whole. Here’s how.
5. Prioritize Your Store Locator
How likely is it that a local consumer on the go is just going to realize your brand is the one they want, navigate to your national website, find your store locator, and seek out the location nearest them? The way many brands use store locators is a missed opportunity. Instead, optimize your store locator for higher search rankings on relevant queries, and for greater local visibility for each location. That way consumers get the information they need after just 1 click.
6. Personalize Your Ads for Local Searchers
Personalized retargeting, location extensions, and local landing pages with hyperlocal content are all great tools for boosting your local ad conversions.
Start with the foundation of location and build out from there with other signals like demographics, time of visit, query and referring channel to drive localized content that connects with searchers in the moments that matter.
7. Make UGC a Part of Your Content Mix
Eighty-seven percent of consumers say that content can have an impact on their purchasing decisions, but 43% are turned off by a hard sell. The answer? User generated content (UGC), which also provides social validation and instills trust.
When searchers have an immediate need, they don’t have the patience to sift through generic content; they want relevant, local recommendations from people they can trust. Integrating local UGC on your local landing pages is a quick win.
8. Define Your Local Search KPIs & Get Right with Reporting
Which metrics actually matter? Accurate tracking and reporting is critical, and you need to be able to take action on your insights. We shared a piece on defining your local search KPIs that you can use to lay the groundwork.
Once you’re measuring what matters, comprehensive reporting closes the loop from search to sale, helping you turn that business intelligence into optimizations that further drive revenue.
Local SEO doesn’t have to be complicated, even for multi-location brands with hundreds or thousands of locations. Brand-wide, you still have the opportunity to connect at a hyperlocal level.
Make that local connection and engagement the driving force behind your 2017 SEO strategy, seeking efficiencies and ways to simplify as you focus on driving sales to your stores or other forms of local engagement.