How can You Rank for Local, if You’re a National Brand without Local Stores?
Good luck. There are few alternatives to building physical stores. When a user types in a qualifying term like “pants Toledo”, he or she is probably looking for a Toledo clothing store that sells pants. Often the user is located within 1.5 miles of the store at that time. In many cases, it’s becoming the norm for national chains, that solely sell online, to fall below the local listings of brands with stores.
How do you get around the local problem if you’re a national chain without physical stores? Some panelists suggested building local pages on your website, while others suggested empowering affiliates to drive traffic for local, long-tailed keywords. Local landing pages are required and must have phone tracking, pricing, transparency, an adoption plan, and ensured alignment with the national PPC campaign.
Balihoo.com, which offers a free download of going local ideas, suggested starting with 4 – 5 affiliates and empowering them with incentives in local markets. My Web Writers also published a post on going local back in 2012.
For those businesses that do have physical stores, Scott Nickels of Home Depot shared a story of a map pin to a local store that ended up in the wrong place. Traffic kept flowing to a residential home before the resident finally called to complain about the headlights in her back yard. Store managers have to be aware of the postcard process required for validation of the physical addresses and Maps needs to better hone in on the locales.
Home Depot’s word for 2013 is “local.” Nickels suggests creating one page per store and localizing social, too. He somberly shook his head when an attendee asked, “Do you mean if I have 53 stores, I have to optimize 53 Facebook pages?”
“Yes, yes you do,” he replied.
2013 #SMX West Insights
There are already so many, insightful, #SMX West 2013 recaps floating around the web from various attendees, but here are a few more insights as well as a list of the recaps.
- Put Java Script and CSS in external script.
- Don’t use disavow if possible. Don’t tell Google you have a problem unless you have a PhD in understanding linking. You don’t want to accidentally remove links that are actually working for you.
- Submit articles to Reddit.
- Canonicals- make sure all products are given credit.
- PR can build legitimate page links.
- Shopping cart pages should be optimized with what the latest coupon codes are. Remember to 301 redirect expired coupons.
- Experiment with Google Plus to get juice for search-ability.
- Don’t blog just to blog. Consider putting monies toward PR opportunities.
- Schematag.org – a plugin for WordPress
- Enrich your Google Places ranking.
Take-aways from other SMX West sessions are as follows:
- Authorship and identity will matter more over time. False identities will be found. Do authorities and brands have rank? Individuals have their own brands and should use authorship to maintain them. Big brands are still struggling with this, which makes it a good time for small companies to utilize Authorship.
- “Links still have many good years ahead of them.” ~Matt Cutts
- Social interaction helps to determine SERP’s.
- Mobile is going to surprise a lot of people. It’s a critical factor. Isolate mobile in Analytics. There’s a web page test tool that @AnneCushing likes to use to watch a video of how long it takes to load a client’s page. It helps clients to see the importance of improving site speed- http://www.webpagetest.org/.
- “SEO is no longer about tactics, but more about strategy.”
- “Keep the company focused on metrics that matter to the company and not ranking reports.”
- Duane Forrester says the most important SEO factor for next year is “usability. It’s more important than h-tags.”
- Ann Cushing said to “focus less on keywords and more on landing pages.”
- Matt Cutts reiterated that the “global view is the same as in other years. Give the user what they want.” Annotate your web pages with ‘about of’ markup for Chrome users. You can also disavow at a domain level.
- Rae Hoffman encouraged SEO’s to “Let go of how easy it used to be.”
- Greg Bowser said, “Embrace the big data.”
Looking for additional #SMX 2013 Recaps and Insights? Read these excellent posts:
What ideas do you have for national brands that want to rank for local search terms? Is there a #SMX 2013 blog post that I missed that you like?