Local SEO is a branch of search engine optimization that focuses on optimizing a website, so it pops up in local search results. It’s of particular importance for brick-and-mortar stores in specific towns, cities, and states as it helps people searching online to find information about businesses, (literally) driving them closer to making a purchase.
How exactly? Well, if you’re on a road trip in a new city and are looking for Burger King, you’ll probably Google it, and a list of nearby Burger Kings will pop up on your search engine results pages (SERPs). This is essentially how eCommerce local SEO works. So, as you can see, Local SEO is a vital component of internet marketing.
What a patty is to a burger, SEO is to digital marketing and eCommerce stores. It is a multi-step process that entails optimizing your website to rank well on SERPs. This means using specific keywords (words and phrases) that users type into search engines within your website’s content so that when search engines crawl your website, they identify these words and categorize your website as one of importance because it contains answers to users’ queries.
If you want to know how to improve local SEO, you should start with the basics.
Ensure your eCommerce site and landing pages have meaningful and valuable content with relevant keywords to increase its SERP ranking.
Should you already have an eCommerce site, you may still need to do some tweaks on existing keywords to make them area-specific. For example, “bookstore in Second Avenue, New York” is better than “bookstore in New York.”
Pages with minimal backlinks, low social shares, low word counts, and organic search traffic searches should be updated. Identifying pages that need a face-lift saves time as it decreases the need to spend developing content while still improving eCommerce local SEO.
Here are some local SEO step-by-step guidelines to help you optimize your eCommerce business for search queries made by your nearby target audience.
Currently, you may find your business doesn’t show up for relevant searches in your area. A Google My Business profile improves website visibility in Google search results and Maps. These Local SEO results are based on relevance, distance, and prominence, and when combined, helps Google find the best match for user searchers.
Depending on these factors, a business further than yours may rank higher, as Google’s algorithms determine its relevance to searches. This is why it’s important to fill out your details as precisely as possible. For example, always link your website URL, list your hours accurately and respond to reviews to rank higher.
For fairness, it is impossible to request or pay for a better ranking on Google. You can’t just rely on updating your profile to improve your online standings. It has to form part of a comprehensive local SEO strategy that leverages the power of other directories.
A common local SEO strategy is to list your eCommerce business in strategic online directories. Unfortunately, most users bypass antiquated directories and go directly to Google. The direct benefits of being on a particular directory may not be many; however, they do increase SEO, especially if your store comes up through a directory result.
Directories also increase business credibility. Bing Places, Apple Maps, Yelp, and Trip Advisor still retain some clout. Not every directory is a perfect fit for every business, and choosing an ill-fitting one can damage local eCommerce SEO. The directories you choose should be relevant to your business rather than appear like a desperate attempt at online visibility. So, use with discretion and intent.
Google weighs heavily on backlinks, citations, and mentions because it demonstrates domain authority. Mentions in online news outlets, magazines, and press releases help build website credibility. When many sights link to the same webpage, search engines deduce they are worth listing on SERPs.
However, there are strict regulations to avoid unfair manipulation of a website’s ranking. Therefore, the best way to go about a local SEO strategy that garners links is to work on building business networks and relationships, so others mention you in their content.
Guest blogging and developing press kits to send to local news outlets are great ways to improve backlinks. Having your citations (name, phone number, and address) listed in relevant sites also increases your presence on Google in the same way that backlinks do.
Reviews build search engine credibility and increase target audience trust, which is incredibly beneficial for eCommerce local SEO. In fact, 72% of customers say they won’t buy a product before reading a review. The best way to get reviews on your Google local page or online store is to simply ask for them. Review requests can be integrated into customer emails or in-app once customers have made a purchase.
Customers are more likely to leave a review if this function is integrated into your buyer experience. WordPress has many review plugins offering this type of functionality. And, of course, reviews also provide constructive criticism for business improvement. They’re an opportunity to engage directly with customers and even create content around issues raised by customers, further boosting local SEO.
Keep locality in mind when devising your content marketing plan. If you’re focusing on local SEO for eCommerce, your content should also be locally orientated. Think about what queries customers in your specific area might rely on search engines to answer and create content based on those topics. If there are newsworthy or specific events related to your business, then try to develop content related to this. And, don’t forget to make it SEO-friendly.
If you have multiple local locations, you should build separate landing pages and Google My Business Listings for each one. Since Google My Business listings are designed to help businesses rank in map results, creating a listing for each location makes sense.
Logistically, it’s best to use a centralized Google account and let the managers of each location handle their listing. Creating unique blog post content orientated around each location and generating backlinks to specific location landing pages will improve local SEO for eCommerce.
If you own multiple businesses that are not part of the same franchise, then it’s better to set up different accounts. This increases privacy between the two and minimizes the possibility of updating incorrect details.
Local SEO for eCommerce helps drive traffic to brick-and-mortar stores through online leads. There are general best practices with SEO, but there isn’t a cut-and-paste solution for every business. Incremental adjustments can be just as successful as a total website facelift. What’s more, slow and steady wins the race. While implementing a robust local SEO eCommerce strategy takes time, the results are long-lasting.
At Comrade Digital Marketing, our local SEO specialists can help you improve your local SEO strategy. As a full-service eCommerce digital agency, we’ll optimize your website to outperform your local competition. Find out more about eCommerce local SEO.
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