Back in the day, to raise your company’s local profile, marketers rolled out ‘Local Area Marketing’ tactics, which included things like local print advertising, flyer drops and holding local events. Now, with search engines becoming such a prominent contributor to a consumer’s purchasing decision, for our clients with physical locations, LAM now has a ‘D’ in it: Local Area Digital Marketing (LADM). We’ve put together our top tips on how to ensure your physical store has a prominent online presence in search. We’ve also included some live LADM examples from our client The Emporium Barber to help explain each recommendation.
Google My Business is a free service that helps customers find you online via Google Search. In other words, it gives you prominent (and free!) real estate in Google search. It’s therefore a ‘must have’ for companies, particular those with a physical presence… Plus, it’s so easy to set one up.
To set up your account:
- Go to Google My Business
- Sign in using your Google logins, or create a new account if you don’t current have a Google account
- Add your local phone number to your listing
- Add your business address that’s exactly the same as what’s listed on your website
- List your opening times/days
- Choose the most relevant categories for your business. Categories let customers know what kind of business you have, so it’s very important to get this right
- Upload a high-quality profile image
- Upload as many quality photos as possible. Remember: your online presence should reflect your physical offline presence. The more enticing the images, the more engaged consumers will be
- Once completed, you will then be sent a verification code (generally via mail). Enter this number in your account, and voila – you will soon have a Google My Business listing
- Once published, encourage your customers to add reviews to your listing. Reviews have a direct impact on local search rankings, so focus on acquiring these as much as possible.
2. Localise your Contact Us page
Add as much location information you can to your Contact Us page. This should include your full address (make sure this is exactly the same as what’s listed in Google My Business), as well as adding a Google Map to the page.
3. Create dedicated location pages
If you have multiple locations, create a ‘locations’ landing page, and even dedicated pages for each store / shop / location. An important component of a locations page is to add Google Maps. To do this, visit Google Maps and search for your location. Once you find it, click on: share, and then embed. Copy and paste this code on to your site. Use the ‘customise’ option to get the size right for your web page. Make sure you also include location information in the URL, page title, headings, page image alt tags and meta description. See an example below:
- Page URL: http://www.theemporiumbarber.com.au/pages/bondi-barber
- Page Title: Bondi Beach Barber – Barber Shop | The Emporium Barber
- Page Heading: Bondi Beach Barber
- Meta Description: Book online now to experience The Emporium Barber at Bondi Beach. We put a modern twist on the traditional services offered at a barber shop. Open 7 days per week!
5. Create local Search Ads
Google AdWords provides geographic location targeting functionality. Meaning, you can select areas in a particular location where you’d like your ads to appear. For The Emporium Barber Bondi store, given there are literally hundreds of barbers across Sydney, targeting the entire population isn’t an effective strategy, as conversion rates will be low. Instead, we narrowed the campaign to only target those searching for barbers who are located in the eastern part of Sydney (plus the CBD).
You can also link your Google My Business account with AdWords, and set up what’s called ‘location extensions’. Location extensions show your business address, phone number and other information (e.g. opening hours and ratings) about your location.
6. Local link building
Try and build as many quality in-bound links as possible from local authoritative business. This includes local directories, as well as local businesses whom you hold positive relationships with.
5. Create ‘local’ blog content
Include location information in your blog content. For example, if your store or office is located in a tourist area, create a blog about the top 5 most interesting places to visit in your area. Include your business in those top places of course!
6. Submit to search engines
If you haven’t already, set up Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster accounts. Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster are free services that help you monitor and maintain your site’s presence in search results. One service these platforms offer is web page submissions. Essentially, submitting new content can speed up the time it takes for search engines to crawl the content. The quicker the content gets crawled, the faster the content will appear in search. So, once you’ve created the accounts, submit all your new location pages and content to Google and Bing.
Words by Angela Hampton, Digital Marketing Director, The Wired Agency.