Local search engine optimization can sometimes feel like an uphill battle, especially among businesses with numerous competitors in the area. To say that SEO is complex is a bit of an understatement, especially when the business begins growing in size. However, SEO is for any business size, and working through an effective local SEO strategy is something every company should invest in.
Local SEO is a marketing strategy with the ultimate goal of helping businesses gain visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs), be that Google, Bing, etc. Any company with a physical location or base of operations within a city and state benefits from local SEO. While this sounds simple in theory, many businesses struggle with SEO regardless of how large or successful they might seem.
Let’s explore why and some ways that companies can improve their local SEO strategies.
The Challenges of Local SEO for Businesses
Large enterprises enjoy more significant benefits than small businesses, such as larger budgets, wider employee pool, etc. Their size can serve as a detriment, though, when it comes to performing proper local SEO strategies. Here are five stumbling blocks that can serve as a detriment to organizations or companies of any size.
1. Mismanaged Marketing Dollars
When you think of budgets, it can often feel like the person with the most money will get the best ad placement, marketing experts, etc. But when it comes to clever and effective SEO strategies, you need just as much brain as you do brawn–in this case, money. If the larger enterprise runs a franchise with individual locations, they all need their own smaller-scale strategies targeting their specific areas.
Spending on SEO at an individual level is more critical than some industries give it credit for, as it boosts things on a smaller scale. However, smaller scale boosts involve more than just sending an email to franchise managers; it will take a more significant team effort than throwing money at the problem.
2. Communication Issues
Briefly mentioned in the previous point, communication with branches of the company – if there’s more than one location – is paramount when undertaking a local SEO campaign. It takes real people working together to accomplish a heavy task since local SEO marketing takes more than just money and keywords slapped on a webpage.
Executives can’t just pass the responsibility onto the managers at individual locations and hope they do it. Making things more cohesive and effective should reflect the company as a whole. Organic local SEO isn’t going to happen overnight and requires collaboration.
3. Too Many Hands on Deck
Having numerous employees in a larger enterprise is good, to a point. However, when senior managers are all involved in the same project, too many decision-makers can bring the process to a standstill when no one can agree on who does what. In addition, some may feel they’re “too senior” to do tasks involved with local SEO at a smaller level, while newer employees may feel like they need to walk on eggshells.
If nothing is approved, nothing gets done. Local SEO won’t be effective if the plan isn’t cohesive, and that’s where the next point comes in.
4. Who Does the Work
There’s something called the Bystander Effect that happens when too many decision-makers agree that something needs to be done but won’t volunteer to do it. In larger companies, this issue can also bring marketing efforts to a halt.
Actions that can reduce this issue include managing things at the executive or enterprise level, even when it comes to small but important decisions or updates to things like the Google Business Profiles. It won’t necessarily speed up decision-making processes, but things will be cohesive with everything happening in one place.
5. Executing the Plan
If an enterprise has hundreds of locations, these problems only increase. If you’re responding to reviews at individual locations, taking 5 minutes for 200 locations can rack up over a hundred hours of work. This isn’t a job that can go to just one person.
Enterprises must practice clearly defining who is tackling these tasks while keeping meticulous records of what gets done, with both the where and how. Documentation and tracking are critical, having desired results as the start point and a set budget in place.
Tips That Can Help Local SEO Marketing
The problems laid out above do have solutions! They may have been touched on within the short paragraphs, but having more defined explanations can help clarify it. So here are the top five ways your business can bolster your local SEO practices.
1. Websites for Individual Locations
Every location must have its own website, and every site should have the bare minimum of:
- Title tags: The store locator page on every site should be specifically tailored to the location of that particular store. The city and state are crucial.
- Clickable mobile aspects: Things like mobile numbers and other indexed search engine elements should be present and easily accessible.
- Schema markups: Store locator pages need local Schema markups.
2. Google My Business Profile Management
Google Business Profiles are incredibly important for effective local SEO, and Google will even tell you as much! Therefore, managing Google Business Profiles and optimizing everything down to every franchise location is critical.
Monitoring your GBP and ensuring an accurate and relevant content stream will help grow your locations organically.
3. Link Building
Link building is a long-standing foundation for creating effective SEO strategies, but it isn’t something we call easy. Ignoring link building is not something companies should do, even if you believe it won’t have a significant impact. This endeavor isn’t scaleable, but that doesn’t make it any less critical.
We aren’t getting into how to link build here, as that’s its own article for another time, but there are plenty of searchable resources for learning.
4. Citation Management
SEO experts understand the importance of citation management. Specific tools available can help with pushing citations, cleaning up your duplicate data, correcting out-of-date or incorrect data, and defending your franchise’s online reputation.
Citation management is more straightforward than link building because the available tools make this endeavor scaleable across locations.
5. Google Reviews
Reviews are critical to consumer decisions; the more positive reviews you have, the better. Unfortunately, many customers simply forget to leave reviews unless an experience or product negatively impacts them. Soliciting positive reviews from your clients or customers will help boost your positive reputation!
Gaining those positive or negative reviews is only the first half since you should also respond to them. Responding to reviews, good or bad, is one way to show customers that your company is responsive to their needs.
A clear look at your company’s structure and identifying weaknesses and strengths can help create a positive workflow and goal. Creating effective local SEO isn’t easy, but it’s possible with the right tools and communication.
Once your teams are assigned and know the desired results for the part they have in local SEO, keep close track of progress and cohesive communication. With the roadblocks apparent and the solutions at the forefront of your teams’ minds, organic SEO growth is an excellent long-term strategy within your reach.
Outsourcing is an option to help with local SEO when you think your employees’ resources are better used elsewhere. For excellent organic SEO expertise, feel free to reach out to the experts at Optimize4Success!