Local SEO: Growing the Corner Store
Optimizing Google+ Local pages can pay big dividends for retailers that want to increase visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs), according to a new aggregate case study from my firm SIM Partners. Furthermore, the ubiquity of Google for local searches is growing according to a report from MDG Advertising. Consider the following:
- 59 percent of consumers use Google every month to find a reputable local business; and
- 50 percent of all mobile searches are conducted in hopes of finding local results, and 61 percent of those searches result in a purchase.
SIM Partners worked with 315 U.S. businesses to employ optimization tactics in an effort to improve local SERP visibility. Collectively, the businesses aimed to improve visibility for searches focused on 4,000 city/keyword combinations.
Prior to optimization, these businesses ranked in the top seven positions for only 26 percent of their keyword combinations. Only 8 percent of combinations ranked in the top two positions.
Following enhancements to the companies’ Google+ profiles, the businesses increased the instances in which they ranked in the top seven local positions by 179 percent, in the top two positions by 399 percent, and in the third through fifth positions by 97 percent. Combinations for which the businesses didn't rank in any of the top seven positions decreased by 62 percent.
The following road map can help guide retailers seeking similar improvements in local search ranking performance:
1. Get rid of the doppelgangers; identify and remove duplicate company listings. Duplicate listings essentially pit a business against itself, especially if one of the listings contains incorrect information. A company's search rankings suffer when reviews, click history, third-party citations, etc., are split between two listings.
2. Move past generic business descriptions; craft custom copy for each store location. Rather than a lengthy explanation of services, facilities, products, etc., focus on keywords that set your business apart from your competitors in each target market. Google no longer limits the number of characters a location could use, but remember to keep these descriptions short and brief.