As a multi-location brand, local search is part of your digital marketing strategy that you can’t ignore.
While many consumers may be able to recognize your brand from your logo or tagline, that won’t matter if you don’t show up in the local pack section of search results when they’re looking for the products or services you offer.
When it comes to your marketing, it’s time to start “thinking local” regardless of the number of locations your brand has.
Why Your Brand Should Utilize Local Search
Local search marketing (often referred to as local SEO) helps provide the foundation of a successful, scalable digital presence for your brand.
In recent years, Google has made a clear switch to focusing on local SEO. So, how does this affect your brand?
To sum it up, it means that you need to have location pages that are optimized for what you sell or the services you offer. And you can’t pick and choose which locations you want to focus on. It’s vital that you have location pages for every location!
If your multi-location brand has never focused on local search before, here are some optimization tips to help you get started:
1. Claim Local Listings and Check NAPU Consistency
One of the first places to start is claiming all of your local listings, including Google My Business (GMB), Yelp and Facebook, to name a few.
Next, be sure that all of your brand’s information is consistent across listings. Information includes, but isn’t limited to, the business name, address, phone number and website URL (NAPU).
Even one small discrepancy across listings can hurt your local search presence. Plus, your online consumers may be confused if your information isn’t consistent.
Keep in mind that your local search listings require ongoing maintenance to make sure everything is accurate. You can’t “set it and forget it” if you want to stay ahead of your competition.
2. Encourage Online Reviews
Believe it or not, online reviews can be a key factor in helping your local search ranking.
While you should encourage online reviews, it’s important to note that you should never buy reviews or offer gifts or money in return for reviews. Learn about the best and worst ways to gain reviews here.
Instead, here are a few suggestions on how to gather reviews:
- Have a review page on your website
- Ask for a review at the end of the transaction
- Collect email addresses or phone numbers and send a request for a review after the transaction.
However, not only do reviews help your local search presence, but it influences online consumers as well! Sixty-eight percent of consumers, to be exact.
3. Consider Voice Search
With the rise of smartphones and smart speakers, voice searches have increased drastically. Consumers are always on the go and they need answers quickly.
And if you want to attract consumers that are nearby searching for your products or services via voice search, then you need to start the optimization process.
It’s important to note that to appear in search results, the search engine needs to think your business is a good match for the query.
Here are three things that help Google determine if you are the best option:
- Prominence – How well-known your business is (number of reviews, inbound links, number of listings, etc.).
- Distance – How close you are to where the searcher is searching.
- Relevance – How relevant your business is to the search (this is really where voice search comes into play). You need to provide search engines with information about your business, so they know your business is relevant to certain voice search terms.
If you’d like to learn more about these three factors, check out this blog.
4. Update Your Store Hours
Typically, your store hours won’t fluctuate week by week. However, it’s still important to keep your hours updated across all online listings, including your website, too!
Google My Business allows you to enter special hours for holidays so searchers will know your hours of operation may be different than normal.
Recently, Google added secondary hours for GMB listings. For example, if you own a restaurant and your dining room closes before your drive-thru, the secondary hours allow you to list hours for both options. Watch the video below to learn how to add secondary hours to your GMB listing:
The more accurate your hours are, the more it will help your local search ranking.
It’s time to take your brand marketing strategy back to the basics. Local search is the baseline for your marketing strategy.
As consumers continue to search with a local focus, you can’t ignore the opportunities this type of marketing will provide your brand.
Remember to claim your local listings, have consistent business information, focus on reviews and utilize voice search.
Lastly, local search is not a “one and done” strategy. Local search marketing is ongoing, so don’t let it fall to the wayside!
If you need help managing your local search presence for your multi-location brand or franchise network, our dedicated Brand Team is ready to help.
We’re here to create localized and scalable marketing solutions for your brand. With our strategy, support and services in place, we can guide your brand toward success!
Request a demo today to start your journey with RevLocal.