Rankings in local results are a critical consideration for businesses. This is especially true given the great commercial intent and physical proximity of local searchers.
Yet how accurately can your brand measure rankings for locations within neighborhoods?
We recently played host to Local Search Summit: Spring Into Local event in San Diego. There, I was honored to be part of a fantastic panel. We gathered to share our insight on injecting neighborhood and landmark data into business listing descriptions. These occur across aggregators, search engines and local landing pages. This integration of hyperlocal modified content delivers the more localized, relevant experience local searchers crave. And to that end, you get rewarded with search engine visibility.
Our expert local search panel consisted of:
- Douglas Cohen, Manager, Digital Marketing & SEO at ADT
- Rich Mastriani, Director of SEO at Wyndham Hotels & Resorts
- Steve Wiideman, Search Marketing Strategist at Wiideman Consulting Group
- Tyler Ludwig, Director of Product & Product Strategy at Rio SEO
Hyperlocalization is an immersive experience, the panel agreed. To clarify, imagery can be used to personalize the experience and make the user feel they’re actually taking part in an experience created for them. Embedding local elements via maps, content, and more also helps to build this optimized local experience.
Let’s see how this works:
Bringing Hyperlocal Content Into Local Search Strategy for Brands
Localized content speaks directly to local users. Examples include the inclusion of neighborhoods and local marketing copy for each location’s landing page. Brands can also use immersive, locally relevant images in banners and backgrounds. These aid visitors in really placing themselves in the experience. This is a great tactic for at-location services like restaurants, shops, gyms, etc. Most importantly, it also helps marketers avoid overwhelming searchers with written information that isn’t consistent with their intent.
“If you can push a really compelling image that’s made for the audience you’re pushing it to, you’re going to get a lot more social sharing,” Steve Wiideman said.
In fact, storefront images taken outside your business with GPS metadata adds another bit of schema for search engines to take into account.
Using Hyperlocal Content to Drive Conversions
Hyperlocal content such as geo-identification, filtering and more brands in a brand’s location finder can help create a better user experience. It can also drive conversions. For example, businesses can convert more users with location pins on interactive maps, cities nearby the initial search location, and even photographs of locations. These are just a few examples.
A quick win can include embedding relevant videos on local landing pages helps drive higher rankings and greater online customer engagement. ADT, for example, incorporates video and testimonials into their website. They also match testimonials to visitor locations at the county or state level, depending on the location. This is important for multi-location businesses that may handle much of their marketing strategy at the national level, but still want locally relevant content.
Run tests on this enhanced personalized media to see which earns the greatest user activity and gains in conversion.
Optimizing for Google’s Latest Search Updates
Google’s search updates have affected how brands optimize for local search. The Google Carousel moving to the Map 3-Pack, for example, impacted the travel industry, as they are now displaying lower on the page. Google’s booking widget directly competes with hotel native site conversions, yet local traffic to hotel landing pages jumped 11% after the Map pack update.
According to the panel, you want to be A or B in the map pack and rank first for your city in local search. To that end, focus on getting this saturation. Steve Wiideman recommended that brands challenge their team to improve every month in one of three core areas: visibility, content and reviews. If you’re managing these three things every month, he said, Google will notice and you’ll see measurable results.
Get Out of Your Own Box
Now, brands have more options than simply their native site for increasing their hyperlocal footprint. A few of the ideas our panel suggested included:
- Optimizing Yelp local listings with hyperlocal content;
- Managing Facebook local pages for each location using the ‘parent-child’ capabilities;
- Ensuring Name, Address, Phone # (NAP) is correct across all search engines, data aggregators, and online directories is key to being present in front of consumers no matter the device.
For example, last August, Rich Mastriani said, Wyndham began to roll out their new SEO strategy by pushing out to 4 major aggregators and all available GPS systems for a broader, more consistent approach.
Key Hyperlocal Content Takeaways
So, how can you begin making the meaningful hyperlocal optimizations today that will mobile-proof your business for tomorrow, driving conversions and higher local search rankings?
- Monitor your local results. It’s become increasingly important, given how easy it is for people to post content about your business to Google My Business.
- Integrate hyperlocal elements as part of the user experience.
- Implement A/B testing or pilot campaigns to see what works.
- Remember that conversions are the key to long-term SEO benefits and improved ranking.
- Finally, optimize online directory listings beyond search engines such as Yelp and Facebook.