Brands. They have so many advantages. Multiple locations, huge budgets, inventory. You name it. But as it was written and retold so many times before…David can slay Goliath. Small businesses can beat big brands with local SEO warfare.
Big brands and franchises in the Kansas City area should dominate local search listings due to regional exposure and brand recognition. However, many retail enterprises struggle with data management and profile listings management.
Solutions lie in improved data management; accurate, current profile listings; responsively designed pages for every location; fast loading websites; good click-through rates; superior meta descriptions and structured data markup. Plus a few other things we’ll cover below.
Let’s get into a little more detail:
Make sure that you have a Responsive website: Each brick-and-mortar location should have its own page, optimized with city and state in the <title> of the page. Within the page, include the phone number and physical address. This is also the place to include store hours, events, product and service categories, and other details specific to the location, like free wi-fi, etc. This is what constitutes your NAP. But more important that all of that is to make sure you have a responsive website that isn’t hurting itself with web design flaws.
Don’t skimp on hosting: A website’s page load time continues to be a ranking factor for search engines, and some are saying it is even more critical for users searching from a mobile device. In general, a quicker load time of pages is directly aligned with good user experience — so this is something big brands should have the foresight and resources to pull off.
Make sure the on-page data is 100% accurate: The click-through rate (CTR) from search results is another local ranking factor to consider. A good meta description can help here, but franchise brands should also consider the benefits of structured data markup or schema.
Citations, Citations, Citations: They matter, the big ones like Yelp! and Yellow Pages of course, but so do secondary and tertiary (small, niche) listings. Services like Bright Local can help you make this monotonous task easier, although it will take time (as all good things should).
Host an event: Assuming you have a website with a blog (if not, here’s an affordable solution), events help you transform your website into a hub of local activity and engaging content. It’s a lot of legwork, but in our opinion, events are the biggest bang for your buck.
Below are just a few of the many local SEO benefits of hosting an event:
- Build your community email list through a registration form on your website, ask participants to use social media to mention the event for prizes (share on Facebook, tweet with an approved #, share photos with your product on Instagram, etc). These social mentions matter!
- Incorporate your favorite cause, which distributes your website to its network and may even generate a .org or .edu link (always juicy).
- Invite local bloggers, journalists and webmasters to attend – more chance of online coverage, links, traffic, etc.
- Publish event photography and even video on your site and share on social media and via email, gives you a reason for new content.
- Post your event link on local community calendars, another “in” to tough websites you wouldn’t get mentioned on otherwise.
- Add event content to your Google+ Page to signal relevance and do something with this albatross of a social platform.
- Request Google, Yelp and Facebook reviews afterwards. *Important* Facebook reviews aren’t currently aggregated, but the other two are. Reviews are very, very important for local search rankings. Learn to embrace them!
If you really want to beat big brands with local SEO, it also requires that you have a good overall domain and some fresh content as well. You might want to understand the benefits of outsourcing some or all of your digital marketing as well. You know, content marketing, good outreach for link acquisition, solid social shares fairly consistently, etc. Need help with that part or with other lead generation solutions? Contact us today and we’ll get you started!