I spoke recently at an event and many brands thought they were ranking in the top three, as opposed to ranking third organically, when there is potential for that organic ranking to effectively be displaced by ten places listings above them.
The importance of organic listings has been notably cannibalised and Google Places now means that big brands and small pop ups find themselves competing on a more “new user-friendly” landscape, aimed to provide diversity at the very least.
So lets imagine I’m the owner of an ecommerce website, I’ve done my location research based on geographical searches and I’m about to embark on opening the businesses first store in London.
I know that without a consistent revenue stream coming from our ecommerce platform the business won’t be sustainable, but achieving rankings for the high volume, competitive phrases can be a time consuming process.
This is where local rankings and localised SEO strategy come into play. Instead of preying on high volume key phrases which will have less chance of success, adding a geographical suffix makes the term instantly less competitive.
We must also remember that with the growing popularity of intelligent assistants like Siri, and with future improvements coming in the next update to IOS, we can expect voice searches to increase massively, integrating search into a real world environment.
This means that search queries will be less constrained as speech is often far less structured.
But where is this search activity taking place? While PC users spend approximately 20% of their online time in social networks, mobile users spend 30% of their daily mobile time, engrossed in social media therefore it can be predicted that mobile search and apps will house more and more of our queries.
The tides might be about to change, but with the average Google+ user spending around six and a half minutes on the platform throughout the whole month of March 2013, as opposed to the six hours 44 minutes spent on Facebook, we might be forgiven for thinking that Facebook & Twitter have provided a one stop shop for all our day to day activities, taking the top spots across the gamut of social services offered.
With these quick tips you can ensure your store hits the ground running, attracting both in store and online purchases from a variety of diverse streams with great traffic potential.
Seven key ways to ensure success with localised SEO
Use the new store directories to take your spot above the big brands in the organic listings:
- Setup Google Places.
- Setup Yahoo Local.
- List your business on the large local portals; i.e. Foursquare.
- List your business on smaller, local directories; i.e. All in London.
Setup Google+ for your business and furnish it with interior shop images as these can be viewed when using Street View, adding great value to new audiences, engaging videos and relevant topical posts that support your brand identity.
Below is a fantastic example from AllSaints, allowing customers to explore its Spitalfields store via the web whilst stating the Twitter handle and hashtag for social media amplification.
A multi-network presence
Create a multi-network presence by building your businesses profiles on as many social networks as possible including LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, Flickr and Medium and ensure your address and contact details are filled out on Facebook & Twitter!
This won’t directly affect your rankings but it could increase CTR by as much as 15%, especially if you’re using authorship markup showing your Google+ profile, so make your listing stand out.
Around two years ago Matt Cutts recommended that any store location on your site should have a dedicated page,raise perceived trust with shop, product and any other supporting images, videos, directions and any other resources that might prove useful.
For example, take a quote from the store manager maybe on their personal product picks.
Example: Hotel Chocolat. A customer walked into a Hotel Chocolat Store to ask for the specific Store Manager to ask why the product seen on the store page was her favourite, after an explanation, she then bought that product in the store (for herself) and subsequently two more online for her family (gifting).
This is a perfect multichannel (or is that now omni-channel!) case study showing how you can really add value to previously untapped sections of your website.
Think about customer behaviour
Where are they? Are they searching from home or are they using their mobiles? If they’re on the move, are they going to use speech recognition to search? If so is it worth adopting a far more diverse, set of long-tailed search queries, as your keyword focus?
If your customer is lucky enough to find you in the listings, will they be put off by a badly designed mobile site? 57% of users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile website.
Think about the future, with Geo-Fencing on the horizon and Fused Location Provider being announced at Google I/Os 2013, its time to start thinking about what kind of content you could offer to your target audience the moment they step in your shop and how you want to ensure you retain that customer when they leave.