Now that retailers are on the tail end of the back-to-school rush – the second busiest shopping period behind the upcoming winter holidays – the question is: How well is your business prepared to dominate local search results for your products and services this year?
Mobile local search comparison shopping is all the rage for on-the-go shoppers, yet PricewaterhouseCoopers’ research shows that 88 percent of U.S. consumers still research products from their PCs before buying. It’s critical that retailers appear prominently in the search engine results for these high consumer searches, when searchers are in the frame of mind to make a decision.
With savvy best practice local search optimization, your brand can appear not once or twice, but three times in prime real estate – on the first page of local search results. The impact of this additional visibility, in a season where holiday sales are expected by 86 percent of retailers to increase, can be substantial.
You can’t afford not to be there, but how can you appear in three prime positions? Here’s how…
There are three distinct areas of real estate on a search engine results page (SERP):
- Paid listings
- Organic listings
Placement in each of these areas reinforces your brand messaging to searchers and literally pushes your competition out of the way, as you dominate more of the visible space on the SERP.
Holiday shopping search results are intensely competitive. Appearing across paid and organic search listings, as well as maps, gives you more chances to convert and dominate. This combination approach enables you to appear in front of searchers at various points in their purchasing decision, solidifying your product as their brand of choice.
Consumers who aren’t yet sure what they plan to buy often look to both paid and organic search results for discovery. Comparison shoppers may use the information from maps or organic listings to weigh their options as well. Those motivated to buy and searching from a mobile device may already be in the neighborhood, ready to buy and looking to maps listings for directions.
Is your brand visible in all three areas?
Each strategy requires different tactics, processes and reporting metrics to ensure the highest search engine placement and ROI.
- Identify the KPIs (key performance indicators) that matter for local search engine marketing. Marketers have an overwhelming amount of data at their disposal, but which metrics and KPIs make the greatest difference in your optimizations? Your rankings across the major search engines, local search rankings, citation consistency, and link activity analytics are all part of a smarter local search strategy. Check out the 7 Local Search KPIs you should be tracking and monitoring. With these KPIs in hand, marketers can implement a process to quickly track local search and paid search performance in order to better measure effectiveness, optimize, and inform future campaigns.
- Optimize map listings for top ranking and accurate information. Consumers typically access local businesses most relevant to their immediate needs from map listings. On Google, your map listing can contain your store hours, physical address, phone number, and more. Ensuring the optimization and accuracy of these important listings provides a better customer experience and helps you rank for relevant searches. It’s not just about Google, though; accurate business information is critical across all local data aggregators and search engines.
- Optimize organic listings with best practice SEO. This holiday season, create a more compelling shopping experience for users and boost your placement in organic search results by getting right with SEO best practices. Implementing local SEO can bring your brand to the top for non-branded competitive terms.
Bring it all together with comprehensive reporting to identify opportunities, quickly spot inaccuracies, and inform your decisions across types of optimizations. Reporting across local, organic, and paid can bring clarity to such a new realm of online marketing.
Having just one position in the SERPs may garner you some customers, but having all three covered is exponentially better. Increase your brand presence for motivated shoppers and gain more of the coveted and competitive front-page real estate by optimizing for paid, organic and maps listing.
Karisa Macias has extensive expertise in local search, digital marketing, and technology.
Originally posted at Localsearchinsider.org