Search has become ubiquitous; it’s how people learn, discover the world around them, and find the best answers to their needs. “Near me” searches have doubled in the past year, and now, 50% of all searches have local intent. As increasingly time-constrained consumers are overwhelmed with options and information, it’s more important than ever that local solutions are optimized to not only be searchable, but to stand out and make a connection in those moments that matter.
This week, we teamed up with a few local search experts and shared the ways we’re using personalized content to achieve rapid results for multi-location brands, as part of Digital Marketing Depot’s “Personalized Local Content: Frightful or Insightful?” webinar. The webinar featured our VP of Operations & Product, Cynthia Sener; Mary Bowling, co-founder of Ignitor Digital; and Brandon Fleming, SEO/SEM Marketing Manager at Protection 1/ADT.
Each speaker shared their insights on the future of local, alongside actionable tactics local marketers can implement today to better connect with consumers in search of local solutions for their immediate needs. Here are the highlights.
Local Content Makes the Connection for Searchers & Search Engines
Localized content is critical for ranking, but also for connecting with consumers, Bowling said. What information is most useful for consumers in a particular area? She encouraged marketers to think about the different types of information consumers tend to seek out about a business.
They want facts — your open hours, address, directions to your store, for example. But they also want to know what other people think about your business. They want to know what the ambiance, atmosphere and experience are like in each of your locations. They also want to be able to recognize your locations and know if your people are experienced and trustworthy.
These are all things you should be telling searchers and the search engines, Bowling said. If Google knows the answer to these questions, it will give them to searchers — and you want those answers to be yours.
Google has higher expectations for large brands, Bowling reminded audience members. “Google keeps raising the bar on content quality, and we have to keep working to try to keep up with this.” Enterprises do have some advantages in ranking, including a greater number of links, professional developers and a larger budget.
But if your store locator is lacking, it’s all for nothing, she said. Features like a drill-down map are great for searchers, but how are search engines supposed to understand the content? Text links for locations are important, and your store locator should have:
- Schema markup
- Optimized local content
- A logical hierarchy and structure
- Accurate information
- Sufficient internal linking for user navigation and crawlability
Giving your individual locations a workable local marketing solution allows them to focus their efforts on helping you create localized content, Bowling said. It allows brands to put forward a cohesive, recognizable presence across the board, with highly optimized and engaging web presences for each location.
Personalized Content Localizes the National Brand
Protection 1/ ADT uses content personalization to reduce friction, remain relevant and drive growth. They want to provide convenience, but understand the importance of enabling customers to feel safe, as well. One of their greatest challenges is one that many national brands face: it’s difficult to create a hyper-local experience across thousands of locations, but it’s not impossible, Brandon Fleming said.
Consumers might assume that national brands are too big, too centralized and too out of reach to provide a great local experience.
The truth is, Fleming said, that national brands across the country are very reachable, with the ability to provide service wherever a person happens to live. Their tens of thousands of employees in hundreds of local markets have local in-depth local knowledge supported by the stability and support of a national brand.
Understanding these complex ways in which national brands are viewed allows large brands like ADT to create messaging and local content that speaks to the unique needs of markets across the country. Consumers want the convenience of personalization; features like ‘Remember Me’ logins, personalized customer service content and social media content that matters are nonintrusive ways of making the user experience better.
Local reviews, a local telephone number, local inventory and other local content relevant to your business all help visitors to your various location pages feel that they’re having a meaningful experience with a local business. This holds true even when you have thousands of locations across the country, Fleming said.
Localization = Meaningful Personalization
Ultimately, what national brands need to do is shorten the journey to each consumer’s solution. The shift to mobile has meant that those people searching for near-me, local solutions to their needs are more often than not expressing an immediate need.
If your business doesn’t answer that need right away, Cynthia Sener said, you’re losing customers. In fact, Google says 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing and 40% visit a competitor’s site instead.
It’s essential that brands are optimizing for local as we head into the holiday season with “supershoppers” on a quest for the best. According to Google, 65% of smartphone shoppers turn to mobile search for ideas about what to buy before heading into stores.
Location is of the most critical aspects of meaningful personalization, Sener said. Further, 62% of adults under 34 are willing to share their location get more relevant content. Location gives context to a search; it allows brands to engage at the local level. And how do you do that?
- enable you to quickly and easily publish highly relevant pages for each location,
- ensure rankings that get your locations found in search,
- and create interactions that convert searches to customers.
Engaging local users at the local level means you’re going to get a very genuine, positive feedback with user reviews, comments and review integration.
Second, multi-location brands also need to incorporate local-specific content. You can do this by:
- Showcasing local attractions and nearby information for travelers on local pages.
- Highlighting additional services that your company offers.
- Incorporating hyper-local events and social media to engage visitors.
- Adding in-store inventory and products to drive conversions.
Finally, properly optimized local data has a great impact on rankings. Sener shared a case study in which specialty pet retailer Petco saw a 42% lift in search volume with optimized store locators.
Watch the full webinar below, including the excellent Q&A session near the end of the broadcast. Then contact Rio SEO to book your 1 on 1 Demo, to see what the Suite Approach to Local can do for your brand.
View the slides