By Victoria Greene for Edwardsturm.com.
Rather than targeting a broad audience, local SEO is about chiseling down and honing in your reach to target a specific group of people living in a certain area. It’s all about making the most of the existing relationships, communities, and consumer ties.
In this short guide, I will show you how you can make local SEO work for you and your ecommerce business.
Be Mobile-Optimized & Capitalize on ‘Near Me’ Searches
Mobile shopping is the future of ecommerce. The general consensus says the more mobile-friendly your store is, the more sales you will get.
But, the rise in buyers using their mobile over desktop, doesn’t just signify that consumers are using their mobiles for more commercial actions. It shows us very clearly that customers are buying when they’re already out and about.
Google reported an incredible hike of the key search term ‘near me’ in recent years, showing that customers are specifically looking for local sellers. When it comes to commercial search terms, winning the ‘near me’ battle could bring you a ton of relevant traffic.
- Publish locally relevant content (not spammy stuff — real in-depth city guides).
- Own & organize your Google Maps listings.
- Get locally relevant links from local resource pages and newspapers.
- Register for some high quality local directories.
Think about how your delivery and online/offline experience caters to local searchers.
Have you heard of Research Online Purchase Offline (ROPO)? This is where customers research their intended purchase online – or in many cases on their mobile device while shopping – and then buy the product offline in store. They may also make the most of ‘click and collect’ — a great hybrid local/ecommerce model. Even if you haven’t got a physical local presence or a store, consider partnering with parcel pick up locations in the local area.
Do Your (Keyword) Research
To fully make the most of local SEO, you need to ensure that all of your content is pointing to your target areas. This includes auditing your:
- Title tags.
- Meta descriptions.
- Image alt tags + EXIF data.
- Blog content.
- Page footers.
- Social media profiles.
Start with some local keyword research. Using tools such as KeywordTool.io and Übersuggest you can find the core seed words to use — then it’s up to you to mix those up with some local knowledge keywords. You may need to grab a map and delve into some community forums to do this properly. Do you know the name of the most famous town celebrity? What parts of town do locals like to hang out in?
This process is of siphoning off your keywords is called long-tail keyword research, and when correctly implemented, it can help your online store dominate its competition.
TOP TIP: Always remember to find natural local keywords. Simply stuffing in unnecessary mentions of the residing town may actually do your SEO more harm than good. Think about where using local keywords comes most naturally — it’s probably going to be on blog and category pages.
Use Content for Quality Local Links
A great way to up your SEO in a general sense is to regularly update your site with quality long-form content. This could be in the form of a video, a podcast, or more commonly, a blog. To fully utilize your local audience, you will want to put out regular long-form content that is both high quality and specific to your locality.
You will also want to create content that has an element of ‘giving back’ in-built into it so that you can leverage it for great local links.
Some ideas of great local ecommerce content:
- A roundup of local celebrities who have a connection with your niche
- A roundup/guide of local events
- Local maps — bonus points for gathering some quirky data together
- Guides to local areas of interest
- Guides to local businesses or organizations
- Round up of local bloggers
- You can even jazz up a ‘stockist page’ to make it seem more like a community.
long-tail keyword research is a key of succeeding locally — you want to always be thinking about how you can get the local people and press behind your store. Creating some great local content doesn’t have to cost the Earth and it’s the perfect way to leverage content for awesome local links and shares.
A great tool to use when researching your long-form content is long-tail keyword research, a site that allows you to see what questions people are asking about your chosen topic. Here, you can scan the questions, and if you have the answer, this could be a great title for your next blog post. These blogs pull in more local traffic, but are also valuable to your potential customers running a ‘glocal’ empire
By targeting the right local SEO keywords, you have the potential to run an ecommerce empire. Don’t just focus on one store at a time — you can approach SEO and marketing from a franchise angle and open up in multiple locations at once. You may find that your one store also needs to straddle a few different areas — which isn’t a problem as long as you keep yourself sufficiently organized with local landing pages and listings.
Locality can also be central to your brand — right down to its domain name and logo. In today’s increasingly globalized world, leaning on an existing place can help give your brand heritage and legitimacy. By singing the praises of a local area, product, or culture, you can launch your brand to an army of advocates.
It’s a strategy that works across different niches and areas. Here are just a few example of ‘localized’ stores currently on sale on Exchange:
Show off Your Reviews
The more relevant citations your online store is pulling in, the better for your SEO. You’ll need to make it as easy as possible for your customers to review your products and services so that you can start to pick up positive local brand mentions.
- Encourage your loyal customers to be vocal with their feedback by giving them exclusive deals, discounts, and free shipping with their next order. Actively seek feedback, and make it part of your sales cycle.
- When you have a good batch of reviews to be proud of, show them off on your product pages. Use schema markup to display review data on search result pages to increase click-through rates.
- Get profiled on local community and review sites and make sure you thank local customers for their feedback.
Whether you have a physical store and want to increase footfall, run an online-only store, or are a business entrepreneur with fingers in lots of pies — local SEO is a great skillset to have and nurture. Get involved in the community to make the most of it!