The holiday season is just around the corner and with it, will come a rise in the number of local searches for branded products and services by shoppers. Smart businesses are already making plans to rank top of SERPs for their products and services this season using Local SEO. Are you?
With approximately 46% of searches on Google being of local intent, Local SEO strategies become necessary to capture potential customers who will be searching for your products and services this season. If your business isn’t optimized for local search, you could be missing out on a great opportunity to generate leads, boost conversions, and improve online sales and foot traffic to your business this holiday season.
In this article, you will discover what local SEO is, why local SEO is important, and finally, 5 top local SEO tips to rank higher this holiday shopping season, but first, let’s start with the basics.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) refers to the process of optimizing your website or web presence to increase your local business’ visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs) to potential customers in a specific location.
Essential to small businesses that operate on a regional level, Local SEO utilizes various techniques and tactics to improve your business’ position on local search rankings when local keywords relating to your products/services are searched for by users. These searches take place on search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, local business directories, review sites like Yelp,Foursquare, Angie’s List etc. and social media platforms.
Some Important Local SEO Statistics
- 76% of potential customers who conduct a local mobile search will visit a business within 24 hours. (ThinkWithGoogle)
- 72% of consumers who did a local search visited a store within five miles of their location (WordStream)
- 200% increase in mobile searches for “open” + “now” + “near me”. (Think With Google)
- Over 50% of ‘near me’ searches result in a physical store visit (Mediapost)
- 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results. (HubSpot)
- 97% searches online are done so in order to find a local business (Hubspot)
Why Local SEO is Important This Holiday Shopping Season
- Builds Brand Credibility and Trust
As shoppers will rely on the internet to find information about businesses this holiday season, much attention will be given to brands that rank high in the search results. Your local SEO is an effective way to boost your brand’s SERP rank, and high SERP rank generates trust.
Also, with 88% of consumers trusting online reviews as much as personal recommendations, your brands’ credibility can be further boosted by the reviews your happy customers leave on your business’ listings on Google, other business directories and review sites. All these work together to positively influence shoppers decisions about your brand.
- Helps to Generate Quality Leads
Your local SEO helps you promote your products and services to local customers at the exact time they’re searching for your products and services online this holiday season.
This helps you generate quality leads from these searches by people who are already looking to purchase your products and services.
- Improves Online Sales And In-Store Traffic
According to Search Engine Land, 78% of local mobile searches lead to a purchase in-store or online. This implies that your Local SEO doesn’t only help you increase your online sales but also convince people within your location to visit your business to make their purchases.
Top 5 Local SEO Tips to Rank Higher This Holiday Shopping Season
- Claim and Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
Google is undoubtedly the most popular search engine. With this in mind, it is vital that you claim and optimize your free Google My Business listing. This is a key ranking factor. It ensures your visibility on Google search engine and Google Maps for free when shoppers search for your business using relevant local keywords.
Also, Only 44% of local businesses have claimed their Google My Business listing (LSA Insider, 2016). This reveals that only a few businesses are utilising GMB and claiming yours will give you an edge over your competitors this holiday season.
In order to utilize your Google My Business listing, it is very important that you include your NAP (Name, Address and Phone Number) information which is very vital. Also, it is imperative that you add other details such as; your business hours, holiday hours, website, customer reviews, business logo, product/service categories with high-quality images etc.
Ensure your NAP information is available, accurate and consistent across all digital platforms; including your social media handles and other local business directories you use. This will help unify your online identity plus build trust.
2. Create Optimized Profiles on Business Listings and Directories Online
Google considers relevance and website reputation as key ranking factors. By creating local listings you signal to Google that your business is well-reputed and trustworthy. Complement your Google My Business listing by claiming and completing your profiles on popular listing sites and business directories like Yelp, Manta, MerchantCircle, Angie’s List, Facebook, Foursquare, Whitepages, Citysearch etc. These sites focus on businesses within a specific niche, location, or category.
Ensure that you include your NAP information and other relevant information about your business on these listing, including your customer reviews. Your presence on these sites will help amplify your visibility in search engine results.
- Optimize Your On-Page Content With Local Content and Holiday Centric Keywords
97% of online searches are done in order to find a local business (Hubspot). Therefore, although titles and descriptions do not directly affect search engine rankings, they affect click-through rates.
This holiday season, people will be searching for things like holiday specific items“on sale” + “near me”, holiday deals“near me” and holiday hours. With this in mind, it is important to tweak and optimize your local pages to not just contain these holiday-centric long-tail keywords and local content but also offer value to the shopper.
This will compel shoppers to click-through when you appear on search results. Use Google’s Keyword Planner to filter your keyword searches based on your business and location, so you get an idea of the popular search terms for your region. Afterwards, use these keywords on your site’s Meta content, copy and URLs. Do not ignore social media. Reports show that over 2.1 billion people use Facebook daily. You can include these optimized keywords in your social media posts.
Also, it is important to optimize your landing pages to look appealing to shoppers who will click through to your website this festive season. Keep it simple by updating and optimizing your site with high quality holiday images and visuals that communicate your products and services to your customers as your written content does.
4. Leverage on Customer Reviews
According to Moz, customer reviews are one of the important ranking factors for local SEO. Also, a survey by Bright Local, reveals that 88% of local consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. This proves the importance of online reviews for the success of your Local SEO strategy this holiday season.
Shoppers will be checking out reviews to make purchase decisions for products/services and also make reservations during this time of the year. Boost your brand’s trust, search engine results ranking, click-through rates and conversions by asking happy customers to leave positive reviews about your brand online and also endeavour to respond to such reviews.
Beside leaving reviews about your brand on Google, Yelp and other popular business directories, ask your customers to also leave their reviews on industry-specific review websites like HomeAdvisor, TripAdvisor, The Knot, Rover etc.
These review sites also contain backlinks to your website which helps to drive traffic to your website and improve your online authority. Also, it is important to make plans for handling complaints that could result in negative reviews this holiday season. Display a phone number in your store or on your website for customers who are not satisfied to leave their complaints and respond to these complaints accordingly.
5. Optimize Your Website To Be Mobile Responsive.
Up to 70% of web traffic happens on a mobile device (CIODive, 2018). Also, 89% of people are likely to recommend a brand after a positive brand experience on Mobile (Google, 2017).
This drives home the need to optimize your website to be mobile friendly to avoid losing out on potential customers when they click through from SERPs to your website this season. To achieve this, review your website to ensure it loads quickly and offers a seamless experience to customers.
Start your Local SEO now with the above local SEO tips in mind to stand out and stay ahead of the competition. Leverage on the unique opportunity the holiday season presents to attract shoppers to your online and offline store using Local SEO this holiday shopping season.
Amos Onwukwe is an AWAI trained Business and Ecommerce Copywriter who also covers Tech and Social Media. When not writing, he’s thinking of writing or making music. He’s been featured in Huffington Post, Dumb Little Man, Ecommerce Nation, eCommerce Insights, Understanding Ecommerce, Result First, Floship, GrowMap, Self Growth, among others.