Local Search: What Retailers should keep an Eye on

local search

More and more people are using their mobile phones shopping assitents. No wonder the digital helpers are always there and open up not only the knowledge of the world from every place in the world, but also explore the surrounding environment. This is done by local search.

Google discovered in 2015 that the searches which related to the user’s direct environment had doubled. Since Google is still the most used search engine, especially in the German-speaking world, also from smartphones, it is extremely important for retailers to be found here as well.

Local search on mobile

This is, of course, first of all related to the classic and mobile search engine optimisation (SEO), but Google offers even more possibilities to be found well.

The goal for the retailer in a local search must be to get the first three search results. These positions get the most attention since they are prominently listed directly under the environmental map. The search on the desktop shows three of the large providers with direct links to the websites and access to the route planner.

This is a challenge if you have only one branch. If your own stores compete for these coveted places it becomes doublyeven more difficult.

The same search for a supermarket nearby, from the same location, looks different on the smartphone. There are the same supermarkets in slightly changed order. Here a direct link for a call is provided not to access the route planning. This may be fine for a restaurant for table reservations but at a supermarket?

A finger tip on one of the search results leads to a comprehensive presence of the company. Here the user reaches the navigation to the store.

On both mobile screens it becomes clear how important the evaluations are for search results. But this is a topic for another article. We stay with the local search.

Tips for getting better results

As soon as a user performs a “near me” search, Google evaluates the distance between user and store higher than a “neutral” search. There is a lot of discussion among experts about what marketing can do exactly in order to influence this and to what extent this is possible at all. However, there are a few simple tips that are useful for local searchability, especially for multi-store retailers:

  • Ensure that the company name, address and telephone number are prominently displayed on their website.
  • Ideally, you have a separate page for each store. If not, all the sites on your website must appear. These pages must be mobile optimised, a no-brainer.
  • Use structured data for your company data with Google. Google has described it here in detail.
  • Use Google My Business, if possible with a separate entry for each branch. Please make sure that data in Google My Business are the same as on your website.
  • Make sure you get as many positive reviews as possible on Google. Of course, good ratings on other platforms are also important, but those on Google influence your ranking in the search results directly and decisively.

With increasing use of smartphones, especially on the road, it becomes more and more important for retailers to be found. Even if users spend up to 80 percent of their time on smartphones in apps, the local search is and remains a browser-based application. And anyone who is not visible here also gives away the opportunity to welcome visitors in their stores. This is especially important for retailers who do not have an own native app.

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