As marketers, we all know that SEO is a must, but how much effort are you currently putting into your local SEO strategy? Regardless, based on research conducted in our 2020 Localized Marketing Benchmark Report, there’s likely room for improvement. 

Our research found that the majority of search queries are now local or have local intent. As local search becomes more intelligent and personalized, a comprehensive localized marketing strategy is key to effectively leveraging each consumer interaction while maximizing a brand’s full reach through each and every location. Local SEO is a big component of localized marketing.

Throughout this blog, you’ll learn what steps your multi-location business should take to strengthen its local SEO strategy. From claiming local pages to managing your online ratings and reviews, there’s a lot to consider.  We all know that many multi-location businesses are struggling due to the current pandemic, making it critical for businesses to appear in local search results. With 91 percent of consumers using search to find information locally, a local SEO strategy is more important now than ever before. 

Claim local pages

The first step in improving your local SEO strategy is ensuring that all of your local search and social pages are claimed. Data from our State of the Market report found that Google My Business (GMB), Facebook, and Yelp are the top three search and social platforms based on the number of local business pages claimed. As a multi-location business, claiming local pages on all of the top platforms is a must. Once claimed, ensure that the information on the local pages is up to date, including business hours, contact information, and an address. 

If your business isn’t managing its local pages, the information provided might not be correct and could confuse consumers. On the other hand, if all of your local pages are claimed and accurate, it will help boost your local SEO. For instance, if Google recognizes your local listing as legitimate, it then has the potential to appear in the sidebar search space of a relevant Google search. With information changing often due to the current pandemic, accurate listing information will not only impact your local SEO, but it will also help consumers avoid confusion during this already difficult time. 

It can seem like a daunting task to claim all of your local pages and manage them if your business has 100s or 1,000s of locations – but that’s where SOCi comes in! Through SOCi Listings, businesses can take control of their local page presence across the top social and review sites — increasing overall brand visibility and preference across these powerful platforms. If your multi-location business is active and has the correct information on all of its local pages, your local SEO will improve. 

Grow your online mentions

Although the information that appears on each business’s local page (GMB page) continues to be a dominant and trusted source, other content such as social chatter and conversations are becoming influential factors. This is where online mentions come in. Online mentions can come in a variety of forms, whether it’s having your business called out in a blog post or social media, or when a website features your product or service. The more online mentions your multi-location business receives, the more likely Google will view your business location’s local page as trustworthy, therefore improving organic ranking. 

If you’re just getting started with a local SEO strategy, it can be challenging to get online mentions. In the beginning, co-marketing opportunities are a great way to get online mentions and boost brand visibility. You can create a partnership with a brand that has a similar audience to your target audience and mention each other in blog posts and social media content. 

Once your multi-location business has more brand visibility, you might begin to receive online mentions organically, without having to reach out to other brands. This is when you know your business is crushing it!

Manage online ratings and reviews 

Rating and reviews also influence local SEO rankings. Data from our previously mentioned State of the Market report found that out of the top local search ranking factors, six out of eight elements are based on your business’s reviews. The management of your business’s local reputation is more than just a tool for customer care – it’s now a critical component of any business’s overall localized digital brand presence. 

If you don’t already have a strategy in place for managing and responding to the reviews your multi-location business receives, it’s time to create one. Data found that more than half of customers have passed up a business due to its low star-ratings. In addition, eighty-seven percent of customers express a willingness to change a negative review, depending on how the business responds. Responding to unfavorable reviews is a must. If your business is currently experiencing some downtime, now is the perfect opportunity to start responding to any unanswered reviews your business may have. 

SOCi’s Care component of the platform can give your team the power to assess what users are saying about your business and respond promptly. It allows you to quickly filter your reviews by their source, sentiment, and even by specific keywords. By setting up and establishing rules, you can quickly assign review responses to particular locations or individuals within your organization to ensure every question, comment, or review gets a timely response. 

Utilize Google Insights 

As mentioned, GMB is one of the top three platforms for multi-location businesses to utilize in a strong localized digital presence. Google Insights can help you analyze how your multi-location business is performing on the search platform. It will provide you with metrics that allow you to see where there’s room for improvement in your local SEO strategy. 

Google Insights allows you to look at: 

  • Search views
  • Actions taken
  • Reviews received
  • Map views
  • Options for advertising on Google

Once you’re able to see how your multi-location business is performing on Google Insights, you can make optimizations to your entire local SEO strategy across all major platforms. For instance, if you are not receiving a lot of search views, it may indicate an issue with the information in your local listings. If your multi-location business is not receiving the quarterly average of 3.7 reviews per-location, it may be worth re-visiting your reputation management strategy as reviews play a major role in ranking, as mentioned previously

Now that you have the tools needed to build a thriving local SEO strategy for your multi-location business, it’s time to implement them! A local SEO strategy can propel your business to the top of organic search results. To help your business bounce back from COVID-19, appearing in relevant search results is key.  Get started improving your local SEO strategy today, and learn how SOCi can help you make the process seamless! Send us an email at help@meetsoci.com to get more information.

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