With an estimated +45% of searches on Google having local intent, local search and local digital marketing more broadly should be a critical consideration for any business with physical outlets. Often overlooked as a tactic given the nuanced and sometimes dull requirements to win, successful local search and digital initiatives can drive huge volumes of traffic, calls, driving directions and ultimately customers. The data is all there, and the unanimous adoption of smartphones by Australians has been a huge catalyst for the rise in local as search engines tailor results based on users’ explicit and implicit location signals. A quick look at the analytics and the growth of “near me” searches on Google trends clearly illustrates this trajectory.
The most successful local digital marketing campaigns combine paid search and localised digital media, SEO, customer experience and listing optimisation across third-party platforms. So, what’s required to win?
Google provides three ways to surface your business results in front of prospective customers when they’re researching local products and services. Advanced local search campaigns combine all three; specifically;
- Google Ads
- Google My Business
Winning in SEO for local search requires a joint focus from marketing, web development and operations teams on an area of the website that is usually overlooked; the humble store locator. Typically thought of as a functional area of the website to house contact data and opening hours, the store locator forms one of the key pillars of best in class local search and can be a core pillar of a digital consumer experience. The other pillar being Google My Business (more on that shortly). The fundamentals of optimising a store locator are to;
- Develop a structure where each location has the contact details housed on an individual page /URL. The objective is to ensure each page can be discovered and indexed by search engines.
- Target relevant brand, category and location keywords on each page.
- Include useful adjacent information beyond the address, telephone number and opening hours. Think the types of FAQ’s users would call about e.g.: core services, brands stocked, disabled access, parking, WIFI, payment types, drive-thru availability etc. This will help to answer many common questions from potential customers and to create the “canonical” page for the location online.
- Make sure there is a defined process to keep the key details up to date (address, telephone number and opening hours). This requirement has been further heightened by the impact of COVID-19 with store hours and closures needing to be updated in real-time to provide the best experience.
- Include high-quality images of the location. This makes it easier for users to find the location and can provide nice secondary benefits within image and visual search.
Spending time on developing a store locator that works for human and robot visitors can deliver huge upsides for businesses. Improving the U/X, content and visibility of store locator pages is one tactic that has helped brands attract millions of incremental organic search visits in categories like QSR, automotive services and retail.
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If SEO-Google Marketing leaves you scratching your head, you’re not alone—it’s an extremely complex and layered strategy that can take many years and hours to get it right and has countless moving parts. Our team of web experts will manage your website and social media alongside reviews and Google marketing. It’s a lot, but we’re the team that does it all, so you can focus on your business. Our Unique #1 Location-Based Top4 Marketing Platform integrates and works hand-in-hand with Google, Google Maps, and Social Media Platforms to improve and strengthen your business’ online presence.
Top4 Marketing is a full-service, digital agency based in Australia and Indonesia that helps companies achieve success with digital marketing services. We are website marketing experts and one of our specialities is search engine optimisation (SEO) – helping clients gain visibility, leads, customers and supporters through search discoverability and getting to the 1st page of Google.
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Google Ads is the easiest entry point for a brand into local as it’s pure pay-to-play, and Google has a suite of ad formats and extensions specifically designed to drive localised marketing outcomes. These formats allow advertisers to promote their physical location and pay for high intent interactions like driving directions, phone calls and site visits. Google’s local inventory ads allow more sophisticated advertisers to tap into the hugely effective shopping format and promote products that are physically available in individual stores. Additionally, improvements in measurement by Google can now provide advertisers with an estimate of store visits attributed to Google ads activity – a strong signal of instore purchase intent. Advanced omnichannel and bricks and mortar businesses typically run an always-on local layer as part of larger paid search programmes.
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As a business, of course, your goal is to attract new customers and keep them. Whether you’re looking to bring in new website visitors, grow online sales, get your phones ringing, increase brand awareness or keep customers coming back for more, Google Ads can help.
Our Google Ads management team has 14 years of experience in Google Ads and PPC Advertising. We’ve got the experience when it comes to getting you the best conversion rates. To find out more how our Google Ads management services can help, contact us today!
Google My Business
Google My Business (GMB) is Google’s platform for housing business listings and is the primary source of business listing data in Google Ads, Search and Maps. While historically buggy in design, spending time on getting the data in GMB verified, up-to-date and optimised can yield significant benefits. The fundamentals of GMB are to;
- Submit and verify all locations through a single account.
- Make sure the listing data is correct and up to date. This may sound like table stakes, but we typically see inaccuracies on 65% of individual listings – which leads to poor customer experiences and lost sales.
- Have a workflow in place to monitor reviews and respond to negative (and positive) customer feedback. Google business listings can accumulate 1000s of customer reviews. These reviews can be highly influential on potential customers with an estimated +90% of consumers reading local reviews. Leaving negative reviews to fester without a response can hurt a brands perception – and sales. For many of our large multi-location clients, we’ve implemented automated solutions to track reviews and notify customer service teams, facilitating quick and easy replies to consumer reviews as a hallmark of a brand showing they care about the individual.
- Upload high quality branded store and product images. Getting this right can unlock huge volumes of organic image impressions within Google search and maps results. As an example, we’ve helped a QSR customer grow their image impressions from 200,000 per month to over 15 million. Beyond unlocking a huge volume of organic impressions, this has helped to significantly improve the brand experience by bumping problematic user-generated images out of the maps and search results.
The benefits of implementing a thoughtful approach in GMB can be significant and can deliver huge volumes of inbound traffic, phone calls and messages, access to real time customer feedback and sentiment topics and improved visibility in Google search and Maps. Google Maps is sometimes overlooked as a search engine but we’re typically seeing 40-60% searches for businesses take place within maps.
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Your GMB listing is the first thing a potential customer sees when they search on Google. Don’t get lost in the pack. Command attention, get noticed and compel people to choose your business from search results with our expert help.
Get Your Listing Noticed
We’ll optimise your Business Profile with the best categories, attributes, custom description, precise map pin location, and more. From the major details to the finer points, our team has you covered.
Leverage Features For Better Positioning
Strategically manage all GMB features to build a strong profile that gives you a competitive edge, and makes your business more prominent in search results. Consistently using all available features increases business owner and user engagement, which positively affects rankings.
Connect With Your Customers
Show customers that you’re listening, that you care, and create positive relationships by having our team respond to reviews and questions for you. We’ll help you stay on top of your reputation and work with you to turn negative reviews into a positive for your brand.
Apart from the Google ecosystem, there are other important platforms to tackle to ensure a brand’s location will be surfaced when potential customers are researching;
With Apple iOS capturing +50% share of mobile devices in Australia, Apple Maps are a platform that can’t be overlooked. With a slightly different optimisation approach to Google, the objective is still the same. At the bare minimum, upload and maintain business listing details so they’re correct.
Most marketers would think of Facebook and Instagram as a social media platform. However, it’s also a significant local search engine. With an estimated 600 million users visiting business pages on the platform daily there is a strong case to upload and maintain location details on Facebook and monitor and respond to client feedback. Again, the workflow differs from both Apple and Google, but the overarching objective is the same – be there, with the correct details, when users are searching for local businesses. Create a digital experience that is seamless for consumers. Beyond the basic organic coverage, Facebook also has a powerful suite of paid advertising tools that can drive instore sales and measure the attributed footfall from campaigns.
Apart from these platforms, Australians also rely on location results in Bing and Tomtom and map results powered by them. The complexity (and importance) of distributing and managing listings across multiple platforms has seen the evolution of specialist listing management and automation vendors. These vendors will typically validate, enrich and distribute location listings via semi real-time API. The benefit of these solutions is two-fold; the first is a significant reduction in head hours devoted to listing maintenance, the second is increased visibility across the key local platforms.
In conclusion, winning in local isn’t easy but it is worthwhile pursuing to make sure your business shows up in the literal last mile of the customer journey.
To find out how we can help you with your Website + Marketing, using our unique location marketing platform called Top4, get in touch today www.top4marketing.com.au
Looking to build customer loyalty through social media? Don’t forget to add your business to Top4.com.au
List your business, create your own digital store to sell goods and services, and share posts on social media. Promote your business on Google instantly! Should you need help with local digital marketing then view our new Google Marketing Platform and services Top4 Marketing
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