Why local search should be part of your ecommerce strategy

As local marketing becomes more important, it’s time to focus on local search strategy in order to beat your competition.

David Whatley, Founder & Managing Director of MiShop.local delivered an interesting presentation at BrightonSEO on the difference between global and local marketing and how a physical presence can help local search.

Defining local search

local search

Local search is simply when people search for “product” or “service” + “location.”

It should include the following elements:

  • Consistent NAP (name, address, phone number)
  • Consistent Categories
  • Rich content (business description, photos, logo, videos, keywords)
  • Customer reviews
  • Links to location specific web-pages

Along with a listing in Google My Business and other local listing sites for an increased effectiveness.

Local search is a bridge between the high street and your website and it offers an opportunity for local retailers to to outperform their competitors with a web-only presence and drive more traffic to their site.

What do people search for locally?

People usually search for:

  • Opening time
  • Directions
  • A number to call
  • Store information
  • A website

It is important to understand the local customer journey and optimise the store pages to promote both the store and the website.

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Store pages may be a customer’s first impression for a business, and that’s why they should be:

  • Informative
  • Inviting
  • Inspiring

Common issues with local landing pages

Many local landing pages are not as helpful as they should be, lacking:

  • Basic store information
  • Calls-to-action (CTAs)
  • Click-t0-call
  • Clear link to ecommerce services

This is slowing down the purchase journey for customers, whether it occurs through the store, or online.

Although visitors are primarily looking for local information to visit a store, this doesn’t mean that they may not turn out into online customers when learning about your ecommerce services.

How to create a good local store page

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Schuh has created a useful local store page, including:

  • Location-specific landing page
  • Location-specific stock check
  • Location-specific content in schema
  • Clear store page naming
  • NAP in microformat and consistent with local listings
  • Opening times
  • Suggestion of adding Click to Collect (for relevant stores)

Schuh is known for its focus on mobile, which led to an increase of sales, and the details above help a consumer understand in a matter of seconds whether the visit was useful, or not.

By the time a user decides to visit a local store page, you can’t afford to miss the opportunity to provide the necessary information, while it is also suggests showcasing the ecommerce side of your business.

For example, Debenhams’ ecommerce site has a store finder, but local search results don’t point to it, and there is also no store page to link to.

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Is your store page mobile friendly?

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The increasing use of smartphones makes mobile optimisation even more important for a local business, as this may determine whether a customer will consider buying from the specific business, provided that all the details are available.

It’s a combination of good local content and UX that every store page should consider, helping customers find information as easy as possible.

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Using an address for local search

There are four types of business address (retail, concessions, offices/depot, service area business), with the first two being more important for customers, as these are the ones they will probably use to search for your business.

A retail address should be listed with unique NAP, offering the necessary information for the local store and anything that a customer may search for.

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Concession brands must be listed with their own unique NAPs and even though it may be more time consuming, it will also be more effective for customers looking for specific details for each one of them.

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Takeaways

  • Local search is the bridge between the high street and your website, or else, a bridge between bricks and clicks.
  • Your physical address may be strategically used in online search to increase traffic and sales (although you may also use local search without a physical address).
  • Your NAP details must be listed consistently and link to the store page to make the process easier for customers.
  • Local search may focus on guiding customers to the local information they are searching for, but you may still raise awareness of your ecommerce services.
  • Don’t forget to optimise your store pages for local and mobile

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