3 Ways to Optimize Local Search Strategy to Remain Competitive in 2020
Successful retailers know that retail is all about customer experience, whether online or in brick-and-mortar stores. Before consumers begin their buying journey, they first want to know what to expect before they engage. For example, it's typical for modern-day customers to read brand reviews, look at company Facebook pages, and browse photos on Google and Yelp to better understand and evaluate a brand and/or the brand experience ahead of shopping. Below are three tips to optimize a brand’s local marketing efforts to remain at the forefront of the competition in 2020 and beyond.
Enhance Local Pages and Google My Business Profiles
To entice shoppers, multilocation and enterprise brands need accurate and consistent local listings to build search engine trust and online visibility. It's vital that local brand managers, owners and franchisees optimize local listing and landing page copy with engaging and informative local content in addition to compelling interior and product/service photos.
Additionally, brands should leverage Google My Business (GMB) product posts to increase a location’s business listing visibility in both desktop and mobile search results. By adding product posts, brands can better inform Google about the products and services it offers, enabling the search engine to see the relevance between the brand and local nonbranded queries. When creating product posts in-house, it’s important to utilize all fields available. To further streamline marketing efforts, local franchise owners should consider creating the copy and imagery for these posts so each location can quickly upload the information to their GMB profile. Furthermore, franchise owners might consider drafting and compiling a collection of posts that local managers can upload throughout the year for various promotions and holidays.
Deploy Local Review Management
Another crucial area of focus for enterprise retailers is local review management. This year will bring an influx of shoppers looking to share their feedback both internally and publicly. Google, Facebook, Yelp and other review sites can be seen as an asset if managed properly. And if left alone, these sites could turn into a liability for brands. While negative Facebook and Yelp reviews can only impact a brand’s online reputation, Google reviews are factored into the search engine’s local ranking algorithm which can affect where brands show up, if at all, in search results.
With that being said, managing a brand's online reputation across several different channels isn't an easy task. For instance, review email notifications from GMB are only available to brands with less than 100 locations. Therefore, it's critical for franchisees and large enterprises to implement technology that will automatically monitor, manage and alert local brand managers when a review, either positive or negative, has been posted.
Repurpose, Repurpose and Repurpose
Finally, avoid starting over with every new campaign by repurposing content that has previously been created. For example, visual assets promoting longstanding products and services can be updated instead of redone, and blog posts about in-store or community events can be republished so the links to each piece remain. However, remember to update the publish date and event schema so Google will recognize the information as current and timely.
Implementing smart local marketing systems, tools and processes will benefit local brands year-round. Help local owners and managers get more mileage out of their content and reduce the manual labor of setting up campaigns by investing in local marketing technology and tools built for the specific needs of enterprise and multilocation brands.
Krystal Taing is a listings management product specialist at Rio SEO, the leader in automated local and mobile search software for enterprises.