Making Local Content Work for Retailers
Customers expect businesses to answer their questions and meet their demands in one easy-to-find, easy-to-navigate-to location. They want to know what a store carries, where the store is located, and if they can easily buy a product online instead. Increasingly, especially since the advent of Covid-19, they also want to know if they have access to services like curbside pickup or what safety provisions a business provides. This is why, now more than ever, marketers need to leverage local content strategies to our advantage.
A few years ago, all local landing pages really needed to have was a store’s name, address, phone number, and hours. Today, if you’re an omnichannel retailer or service provider, your goal in local content should go beyond informing the customer. It’s time to update our strategic mindsets to center on conversion.
In late 2017, the local pack began to grow in appearance among search results. No longer were stores appearing for just their business names but also for unbranded queries. Fast forward to today, and more than 40% of search results contain a local pack element. This means that a big-box retailer can show up locally for not only their brand name but also the products they carry. If a query like “treadmills” can suddenly yield a localized result in the SERPs, we as marketers should be looking to give our customers a localized path to convert. Here are a few key strategies to keep in mind.
Link to your products
Think of your local pages as your new internal-linking best friend. These pages are a gold mine to add a network of links to whatever products you’re trying to promote at this time. Whether it be single product pages or collection pages containing all of your related items, it’s important to showcase them on your local pages.
Best practice would be to refresh this about once a quarter, and select seasonally relevant pages to link out to. Dedicate a “Featured Collections” section of your local pages to highlight the products your business cares about most during this time. This can also be personalized for seasonality, so if you sell golf products in Florida while other locations are buying winter coats, make sure your internal linking strategy reflects that. This is great for not only your customer’s on-page experience, but also for Google to easily find and crawl a great network of important pages.
Once you set your links on your pages, make sure to add UTM codes. This will allow you to track participation and gauge which pages see the highest clicks and conversions. Data is always your friend, so make sure you’re setting yourself up for success. It’ll get easier over time to determine what products see the highest success from a local perspective. Are the products you’re listing available for in-store pickup? Can these be ordered and shipped to store? Those may be the products that generate the most success.
Highlight your in-store services
Does your location offer Buy Online, Pickup In Store? Do you offer curbside pickup? Will you place orders over the phone? Do you offer a drop-off repair service? Can you book appointments online? A well-optimized landing page will answer all of these questions and more.
Create custom landing pages for your services and link them into your local landing pages for a seamless customer experience. Make it easy for customers to get all of the information they need to better shop your store. Create a dedicated “This Store Offers” section on your website and list out all of the links with a clean description of what you provide to your customers.
Adding these services can help from an SEO perspective as well. Interest for terms like “Buy online pickup in store” and “curbside pickup” has grown more than 50% in interest compared to 2019 (Google, Google Trends). Making sure you’re highlighting these on your pages can help boost your overall appearance for these popular queries.
Customize your content blocks
The generic copy block describing your location in five sentences or less just isn’t good enough anymore. Develop content strategies that highly personalize the description to the location. Integrate the weather, local sports teams and events, landmarks, and relevant area attributes that help keep your copy fresh.
Within these details, make sure you list popular brands and products that you want to be known for. Highlight new launches, promotions, and product segments that make your store special. If you have the exclusive men’s footwear product in limited quantities that other stores don’t carry yet, own that. Highlight what it is that makes you unique in your copy blocks, and refresh it regularly. The more up to date you keep your content, the more search engines will recognize your stellar local strategies.
Keeping these content strategies fresh and up to date is an important part of maintaining your local SEO presence, but it isn’t always easy. Take advantage of partnerships and tools that can help you stay on top of your local page updates. The world is ready for a seamless omnichannel experience — make sure you’re ready to provide it.
Kaci Cramer is a Strategic Account Manager at Brandify.