If you are marketing a big brand with thousands or even just hundreds of locations, it can be difficult to ensure that you are getting appropriate local information from your favorite sources that are still appropriate for your model. Are you certain that you’re not just focusing on the technical basics but are also making sure your hyper-localized research gets enough attention? Focusing on the research will help in strengthening your enterprise’s entrance into new markets. Nowadays, it is really important to identify which practices hit your business model needs right on point and which ones are falling short of your enterprise’s realities.
Not Everything is For Enterprises
When your brand is a relatively small brand, with only one location, maybe owned by the family, it can easily be managed by one person. The local SEO can efficiently be dealt with singlehandedly for this type of businesses, with just a few easy tools and some free education. However, large enterprises with multiple locations, with complex organizational structures and so on are quite different. Enterprises have to deal with many complicated things first, including standardization of data throughout all locations, franchise relationships, staff designation for data management between many different teams, scaling of listings, site architecture and content development, dealing with hierarchy of reports about many types of data from different retail locations up to the corporate level and many other stuff.
How can you deal with local SEO amidst all of these?
- Do not link all local listings to your homepage
Some experts may suggest linking all your local listings to your homepage to boost local rankings, but this is will actually work against the consumer’s user experience. Of course, linking to your home page means local rankings boost since home pages usually have higher authority than local pages. However, doing so will lead the customer to the menu, a store locator widget perhaps and everything else that’s bound to be troublesome for your user. You will definitely be risking your conversions if you do this type of linking. At the same time, if you won’t fully utilize your local landing pages, you cannot really properly customize your customers’ experience.When you directly link to landing pages, you will be presenting proof of being local, with local reviews, news, special offers, regional product highlights and so on. It’s important to strike the right balance in utilizing your local pages and your landing pages to take your user experience several steps further
- Do Not Consider Local Business Listings as a One-Time Deal
If you are dealing with a single business, maybe it can’t be helped. You can think that several structured citations mean it’s a done deal. However, there can be many problems that can develop from this. Your address can change, you could have moved several times in the past 10 years. If a user gets confused by the misinformation, reports to Google that your GMB address is incorrect, it’s trouble brewing alright. That’s just for a single business. Imagine that issue happening simultaneously in thousands of locations! That’s just what might happen to an enterprise if you consider your listings as a one-time deal. For enterprises, you can close and open new locations on a daily basis. Failure to update your local business listings religiously can only bring harm to your business. It’s not just the address either – there are the phone number and many other details too. Wrong information from these can earn you complaints and bad reviews and it’ll be difficult to handle even if yours is a huge enterprise.
- Don’t Just Do What Everyone Else Seem to be Doing
It is common practice for business owners to follow suit to what everyone else is doing when a new locals search feature of best practice comes up. However, there’s no ‘just’ about this, especially if you are dealing with an enterprise. When it comes to new features or new trends in local search, you have to approach every step with caution. You need to think of your 1000 locations, which would all be affected by a single move you make. Hence, there’s no such thing as ‘just do it’ or ‘just follow what they’re doing’ with an enterprise.
How To Know if Your Enterprise is Prepared For Local SEO
If you are working with an enterprise, you probably have a marketing team you need to work with. You need to make sure you achieve all of the following things:
- Definition of success
You’d have to determine which actions mean success for your brand. Success can mean different things to many different brands and businesses. Identify which KPIs you want to see increases on and work on it.
- Role Designation
Before you work towards the success of your local SEO campaign for your enterprise, you need to designate who does which tasks. Each team member will have to be equipped depending on his or her role in the local SEO campaign.
- Canonical data
You need to create a spreadsheet that is approved by all relevant departments. This spreadsheet should list the name, address, phone number, hours, and other data for each business location. This data should definitely be updated at all times.
- Optimized Website
The website should be fully optimized, including image optimization. Contact information for all of the locations should be available on the main website and must be updated and accurate at all times. The data should also be clear so that it can be easily displayed by the search engines.
- Quality Website
Your website should be of high quality, easy to navigate, loads pretty quickly and overall provide excellent user experience whether accessed on desktop or mobile.
These are just the basic things you have to prepare when you begin to tackle the local SEO for an enterprise. Along the way, there are many other things you’d have to accomplish for the brand homepage as well as each local listing. Your team will have to work hard and make sure that all data is accurate. One key point to remember is that when it comes to local SEO, your customers should come first. The rest will follow.