National restrictions in place due to Covid-19 have lent a new emphasis to shopping locally, and supporting businesses close to your community as much as possible through difficult times.
National restrictions in place due to Covid-19 have lent a new emphasis to shopping locally, and supporting businesses close to your community as much as possible through difficult times. Many businesses have quickly adapted to the new normal, keeping their customers engaged either by looking to new commerce solutions or revolutionizing social output and engagement to maintain relationships.
As restrictions are eased, businesses will be keen to transfer those relationships back to their brick & mortar stores, or other traditional storefronts. So, how can they make the most of their expanded digital presence when the focus returns to offline shopping?
Local search & digital engagement
A key aspect of digital that is often overlooked is local visibility; that is, how well your business shows in search results or listings for your local area. For many, this can be an extremely effective source of quick positioning wins and dedicated users who have a more intimate connection to your business than those purely shopping online. But, how can you make sure you are capturing local interest, and boosting your local organic search position?
Whilst there are a range of online and offline tools that businesses can look at to promote themselves within the local search space, several key things can be done to expand and optimise your organic results:
- Optimise your business listings with Google My Business - Google My Business is a free service that ensures correct local business information appears in search results, as well as in Google Maps and more! By ensuring that this information is present and correct, and that you have full control over the preview of your business that users can find online, you can ensure that potential local customers are viewing and interacting with the best possible version of your business - rather than an automated listing that does not carry complete or correct information! Providing high quality photography for your Google My Business listing, as well as contact methods and descriptions will also help to boost your business appearance in local searches.
- Locally relevant content - A key method of ensuring that your business website performs well for local search results is to focus on unique content for that location, from blog posts to “About Us” information and contact details or photographs for your locations. This approach will maximise the relevance of your website for location-based keywords, and so improve performance for location searches. By also providing localised offers or specialist information and events, you can link your locally relevant content across multiple channels and provide extra value for local users who then visit your business.
- Support organic optimisations - Whilst organic optimisation is a key for long term local search success, you can also help to boost your initial local profile through supportive paid campaigns - as well as by using social visibility and offline resources to draw attention to your business. By using location-specific targeting, and bidding on keywords based around local search, these paid campaigns can match your organic activity to further drive visibility.
The goal for local search optimisation is simple; Be in the best possible position for the most relevant local search terms, increasing your visibility and giving you a solid SEO basis for wider search visibility - as well as a great, local customer base! By prompting more users to utilise local search terms that you are dominating, you also reduce broader competition and and reliance on more general terms that might not suit your business.