While the online era has definitely impacted the way consumers interact with brands, it may be surprising to know consumers still visit physical stores and establishments.

In fact, while many studies highlight the growth of online shopping, a report by LSA Insider shows that 90% of purchases still occur at physical locations.

While consumers definitely use digital resources or their instantaneous mobile devices to research and compare products or prices, many still make the effort to travel to their nearest store to pay for their goods. Furthermore, Forrester even confirms that mobile devices will be responsible for $1.4 trillion in local sales for brands in the United States by 2021. So how can brands make sure they win local consumers? With a local SEO strategy, of course!

For brands with physical brick and mortar locations, the merging of online mediums to achieve offline realities is imperative. While earlier statistics highlight the level of in-store purchases, brands cannot simply ignore the place digital has on increasing awareness, engagement and revenue. While having an online presence is not a new concept, many still struggle to understand the impact of search engine optimisation from a local perspective.

Google, as the world’s most popular search engine, has a significant influence on what consumers are able to find. With the help of highly complex algorithms, Google interprets a user’s search query to determine intent and considers a number of factors before ranking web pages accordingly. One factor that has a substantial amount of influence on search rankings is “relevance”. In fact, consumers demand relevance, with location specific information being one of the most relevant pieces of material available to help inform decisions. Therefore, to help Google identify relevance and provide consumers with location specific information that is appropriate to them, implementing local SEO services is required.

What is local SEO?

Put simply, local SEO or local search engine optimisation helps consumers find local businesses in their area through online search results. Similar to regular search engine optimisation, local SEO involves a range of technical seo techniques to optimise your online presence so that Google will favour your page over competitors in order to win local consumers.

You may have noticed that when you search for a specific store, a map will appear with your closest locations. For example, if you type in “McDonald’s”, Google will identify your location and show your nearest McDonald’s restaurants with you typing in the location yourself. Meanwhile, some consumers may not already have a specific store in mind, rather searching for “restaurants near me”. Similarly, Google will identify the location and collate a list of results for nearby restaurants. Consumers may even decide to search with their location, typing in queries such as “Restaurants in Sydney”, for example. Successful seo optimisation and implementation of a local SEO strategy will ensure that your business is ranked highly for various searches, winning local business directly as they want it. Think of the implication this may have for users on their mobiles, trying to promptly find somewhere to eat.

In fact, according to Search Engine Land, approximately 20% of local mobile searches result in a sale before the close of business. If your brand’s webpage and owned online marketing materials are not effectively optimised, the brand is missing out on a great opportunity to connect with consumers when it matters most. Google, themselves, even state that just under 50% of all searches on their platform are directly pursuing local information. Therefore, providing relevance and optimising online resources to meet the need of your consumers is imperative. So, what are the ways we can effectively implement local SEO into your existing digital marketing services?

Technical tips for local SEO

As a well respected digital marketing and advertising agency with extensive experience in search engine optimisation, we have compiled a few techniques that are highly beneficial for local SEO purposes. While there is a multitude of ways to optimise your website, our Sydney based SEO agency recognises that Google My Business listings, location specific pages or page content and mobile friendly websites all play a crucial role in increasing rankings on Google to capture local consumers.

Google My Business

Since it’s initial release in 2014, Google My Business listings have helped play a fundamental role in increasing brand visibility on the SERP’s (Search Engine Results Pages). In fact, a 2017 report by SEO experts, Moz, identified that Google My Business is an important ranking factor and helps Google to verify businesses. These listings include business name, address, phone number, opening hours, reviews, product information and knowledge graphs designed to give consumers a snapshot of the most relevant information to help inform decisions.

While the information included in Google My Business listings is highly useful for deciding consumers, 56% of local business have not claimed their local listings on Google, according to LSA Insider, despite it being very easy to do so. These listings can help increase online visibility, increase enquiries and persuade foot traffic into physical locations.

Location Specific Pages and Content

Including location specific pages on your website can be a beneficial way to help ensure your brand maintains a strong online presence for a particular area. In fact, according to research by LSA Insider, when both brand and location specific web pages are incorporated on a website, 85% of all consumer engagement takes place on the specific local page.

Think about it, as previously mentioned, consumers are primarily interested in what is most relevant to them. If your business has multiple physical locations, each with altering opening hours, phone numbers and addresses, it makes sense for this information to be easily accessible.

Mobile Friendly Websites

According to Search Engine Land, mobile friendly web pages are one of the multiple factors considered by Google’s ranking algorithm. In fact, the reason is completely logical. Statistics show that more people use their mobile device to search for products in comparison to desktop websites, and as previously mentioned mobile devices influence a great portion of localised in-store sales. Therefore, with more consumers using such devices to search online, Google rewards the brands who make this journey easier. It is also important to remember that consumers may be using their mobile devices to locate stores in close proximity to their current positioning. Search Engine Land identifies that individuals are 5x more likely to leave a website that isn’t mobile friendly, therefore failing to provide an easy to use, mobile-friendly site may result in consumers going to the competition instead.

It is no doubt that digital marketing and advertising services have made a significant impact for many brands in today’s society. In fact, the challenge many brands face is the seamless integration of online and offline activities. Statistics highlight that while many consumers use online mediums for research purposes, the majority will still travel to a physical location to purchase the goods or services. Therefore, it is important to implement a local SEO strategy to cement your brand’s online presence and drive in-store wins.

RGC Digital Marketing is a full-service digital marketing agency, offering a wide range of SEO services in Sydney in both local and national locations to help clients reach their local consumers. We place great emphasis on including technical search engine optimisation techniques into our digital marketing and advertising services to increase organic rankings on search engines to facilitate awareness and visibility. To find out more about SEO and our other online marketing services, please do not hesitate to contact Richard on 1300 770 985 or email richard@rgcadvertising.com.au