Consumers expect to find all of the answers they’re looking for online, including information on your brand’s nearest store locations. When consumers are searching for your brand, chances are they are not visiting your website. In today’s world there is an array of channels in which customers can find your brand’s location information online, shifting a once linear path-to-purchase into a fragmented journey.
For the next three weeks, we are going to take you down this tumultuous path to purchase, highlighting every obstacle a brand should focus on to convert online searchers to in-store purchasers.The first of these obstacles is bad data and a lack of off-site local pages. When your brand optimizes Data Quality and Local SEO, you will guide omnichannel customers down the path-to-purchase right into one of your offline locations.
Consumers are constantly searching online for products/services they are ready to buy– only to be disappointed with their local search experience. While the challenge of maintaining data quality across all locations is not easy for enterprise level brands, it is necessary to convert online traffic into foot traffic. Below are some steps multi-location brands need to take to ensure their data quality is helping consumers down the path-to-purchase:
Improve Data Quality- If the data on your store locations is inconsistent, missing, duplicated, or inaccurate it becomes "bad data," and will skew searchers away from your locations. Using a tool to monitor all of your locations on one dashboard will allow your brand to gain instant insight into your location listings at the national and local level.
Claim Across The Big Six- When your brand learns how to claim locations online across The Big Six, not only are you ensuring the information being sent to the world is correct but you will be able to monitor your online reviews as well. A great online review may lead more consumers down your path-to-purchase, but that review won't exist if your haven’t claimed your online listing or profile.
Optimize Locations with More Helpful Information - When a brand is optimizing changes in location data by cleansing and claiming, it can provide more information on claimed listings besides the name, address, and phone number of your locations. Optimize your brand’s claimed listings with location specific promotions and events to engage with more searchers.
Data quality is a key component to gaining more visibility on the search engine results page, but to fully maximize your location listings your brand needs to also adopt a way to get found everywhere: a local SEO strategy.
The fact is that 70% of mobile searches lead to action within the hour. And if searchers encounter digital properties with unclaimed data, the action they will take is to purchase from another brand. That’s where a Local SEO strategy comes in. This issue should be seen as an opportunity for national brands to leverage data on key digital properties past its website. In general, these three assets of local SEO are local pages, locators, and on-page factors:
Local pages- Often times, searchers will encounter duplicate Local Pages with outdated information, off-brand imagery and incorrect location information. With all the confusion, customers get lost, literally. But by letting your brand’s information slip through the cracks, you have just given your searcher a reason to purchase from your competitor’s nearest location. Don’t let this become your brand’s reality: convert a searcher online into a customer in-store by bringing about relevant content and correct location per location. This can be said both website local pages, as well as Google My Business, Yelp and Facebook location pages.
Locator- Brands’ locators and websites get a higher page rank when made with the mobile customer experience in mind. This may seem like a feat when doing local SEO, but the best way to get credibility is by anticipating consumer needs. Specific areas to work on include developing quality architecture, usability, content, and design. By working hard to enhance the searcher’s experience, you get love from search engines as well.
On-Page Ranking Factors- To specifically anticipate customer needs, your web properties should be enriched with the right backend information. From title tags, meta descriptions headlines and permalinks, to strong body content (with hyper-relevant keywords) and a schema.org markup, these on-page elements are the biggest piece in the Local Search puzzle. And they are especially important since Google’s newest Local update aimed at more accurately targeting location parameters, Pigeon. As smartphones continue to change search behavior, brands need to boost and optimize these on-page factors to continue to get found by mobile searchers who are the focal point of proximity with this new algorithm.
The fact of the matter is that in digital marketing, it will never be “easy” for a national brand to become locally relevant. The path to purchase is fragmented for omnichannel consumers, who can easily get lost along the way. But for marketers, data quality and local search optimization can work hand in hand to clean up the path to purchase. By studying, understanding and anticipating consumer needs and channeling them through the Big Six, your marketing efforts will serve as the guiding light for consumers. Using current, usable and accurate information for customers will help help rank higher on your key digital assets. With Brandify, you can benchmark all these efforts at scale to help your brand develop the customer loyalty it deserves.