Local SEO Tips for Brick-and-Mortar Stores Looking to Build their Online Presence - 1Digital® Agency
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Online shopping continues to grow year on year as more and more people becomes acquainted with and accustomed to shopping online for everything, including their groceries. Because of these, many brick-and-mortar stores face quite a unique challenge.

However, while e-commerce giants offer convenience and seemingly endless product selections at a click, physical stores provide a tangible shopping experience and the ability to connect with customers on a personal level. But with so many consumers turning to online searches to find what they need, how can brick-and-mortar stores compete?

Here’s where local SEO comes in as an essential tool and strategy that practically every business should begin to apply.

 

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO, or Local Search Engine Optimization, is the art of optimizing your online presence to be seen by potential customers searching for businesses in your local area. Think of it like putting up a giant signposts and billboards on the high-speed highway that is the internet that will point people scrolling through their phones towards your website, and (eventually) into your store.

By implementing a targeted local SEO strategy, you can turn the tables on e-commerce giants. Local SEO increases your online visibility within your local community, attracting new customers and driving more foot traffic through your doors.

Friends shopping in second hand market

The Five Pillars of Local SEO:

Building a strong local SEO presence requires a multi-pronged approach. Here are five key pillars to focus on, transforming your online presence into a magnet for local customers:

1. Google My Business (GMB) Optimization:

Think of your GMB listing as your digital storefront on the busiest street corner in town. Claiming and verifying your listing is crucial for appearing in local search results and on Google Maps, ensuring potential customers can find you easily.

Once verified, treat your profile like a well-maintained shop window to entice passersby. Optimize it with the following:

  • Accurate Information: Consider NAP (Name, Address, Phone number) your business’s online fingerprint. Ensure it’s accurate and consistent across all platforms, from your GMB listing to your website and social media profiles. Inconsistencies confuse search engines and hinder your local SEO efforts.
  • Engaging Photos: High-quality photos are worth a thousand words, especially in the digital age. Showcase your store’s inviting atmosphere, highlight your products from the best angles, and introduce your friendly team. Remember, people connect with visuals, so put your best foot forward!
  • Positive Customer Reviews: Reviews are the modern word-of-mouth marketing. Encourage satisfied customers to leave glowing reviews on your GMB profile. Not only do positive reviews build trust and credibility, but they can also incentivize others to choose your business.
  • Engage on Social Media: Link your social media profiles to your GMB listing and utilize the “Posts” feature to your advantage. Share updates, promotions, and exciting events to keep your local audience engaged and informed. GMB Posts are a fantastic way to showcase your brand personality and connect with potential customers on a deeper level.

2. Local Keyword Targeting:

Local keywords are the secret language that bridges the gap between online searches and your brick-and-mortar store. At one point or another, you’ve probably come across someone asking for directions – local keywords are like saying “the best bakery in [your city]” or “[your service] near me.”

Optimizing your website content and meta descriptions with relevant local keywords helps search engines understand you cater to a local audience, increasing your chances of appearing in local search results.

Here’s how to get started:

  • Research Local Keywords: Free tools like Google Keyword Planner are your treasure map to local keyword discovery. Use them to unearth local keywords with high search volume and low competition – these are the golden nuggets you want to target.
  • Incorporate Keywords Naturally: Keyword stuffing is a surefire way to get penalized by search engines, and it’s a terrible customer experience. Instead, integrate local keywords seamlessly into your website content, headings, product descriptions, and blog posts. Think of them as signposts within your website, guiding local searchers towards your business.

Illustrated real estate searching on laptop

3. Building Local Citations:

Local citations are like digital breadcrumbs leading customers straight to your doorstep. They’re online mentions of your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) across various directories and websites.

The more consistent citations you have, the stronger your local SEO signal becomes to search engines.

Here’s how to build a network of citations that will have local customers knocking on your virtual door:

  • Claim Listings on Local Directories: Free directory listings exist on platforms like Yelp, Yellow Pages, and industry-specific directories relevant to your business. Search for these platforms and claim your listings, ensuring your NAP information is accurate and up-to-date.
  • Get Listed on Online Maps: Imagine being invisible on a map – not ideal! Ensure your business appears on Google Maps and other mapping platforms like Apple Maps and Waze. These platforms are crucial for wayfinding, so claim your listings and provide clear directions to your store.
  • Partner with Local Websites: Look for opportunities to collaborate with local news websites, chambers of commerce listings, or community event websites. Getting listed on these platforms exposes your business to a highly targeted local audience and strengthens your local SEO foundation.

4. Website Optimization:

A well-optimized website is like a well-lit store with clear signage – it makes finding what you need effortless. Conduct a local SEO audit to identify areas for improvement, focusing on the following:

  • Internal Linking Structure: Imagine your website’s pages as interconnected rooms. A strong internal linking structure ensures search engines and users can navigate your website seamlessly. Create links between relevant pages, ensuring local content and location pages are easily accessible.
  • On-Page Optimization: This refers to optimizing individual website elements for local search. Use relevant local keywords in your website’s URL, title tags, headers, meta descriptions, and throughout your content, but remember, prioritize readability for human users as well.
  • Location Pages: Local businesses often serve specific geographical areas. Cater to this by creating dedicated location pages if you have multiple branches. Include NAP information for each branch, along with unique content highlighting services or products specific to that location.
  • Mobile-Friendly Website: In today’s mobile-first world, a website that’s not optimized for smartphones and tablets is a missed opportunity. Ensure your website displays flawlessly across all devices, allowing local customers to find you with ease, no matter where they’re searching from.

Young woman organizing live shop

5. Content Marketing: Establish Yourself as a Local Authority

Content marketing allows you to showcase your expertise, build trust with your local audience, and demonstrate your value proposition.

  • Create and Publish Locally Relevant Content: Become a go-to resource for your local community by publishing informative blog posts, articles, or videos that address local needs and interests. Think “best [your service] near [your city]” or “[helpful tip] for [your industry] in [your city]”.
  • Prioritize Local Backlinks: Backlinks are essentially votes of confidence from other websites. The more high-quality, local backlinks you have pointing to your website, the stronger your local SEO signal becomes. Partner with local bloggers, influencers, or community websites to earn valuable backlinks and establish your local authority.

By implementing these five pillars of local SEO, you’ll transform your online presence into a spotlight attracting local customers and propelling your brick-and-mortar store towards success in the digital age.

 

Turn those Clicks into Customers with Local SEO

The digital landscape offers a wealth of opportunities for brick-and-mortar stores to thrive. By implementing a strategic local SEO strategy, you can increase your online visibility, attract new customers, and drive foot traffic through your doors.

The time for stalling and hesitating ends today. Don’t get left behind – take control of your online presence and watch your local business flourish.

If you’re not exactly sure how to get started, we offer a comprehensive suite of local SEO packages designed to meet the unique needs of your business. If you need a partner to help put your store back on the map, we’re more than eager to help.

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SEO SEO Optimization
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Francis Concepcion

Francis Concepcion is an SEO Content Producer at 1Digital Agency and enjoys writing content for businesses that are part of the arts, graphic design, interior design, retail and fashion industries. When he's not working, he's either voraciously consuming all sorts of literature, film, video games and animation, or he's deconstructing their various plots and storytelling techniques in order to improve his craft and further weave and develop his own fictions.

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