Everyone is aware of Search Engine Optimization and how important it is to get a business noticed online. But one thing standard SEO practices often fail to account for is ranking in local or regional searches.
It's not usually an issue for omnipresent businesses with shops in most major towns and cities. They’re usually large enough to appear in any relevant search query, regardless of location.
But smaller businesses with just a handful of stores often don’t stand much chance of ranking in broad searches. That’s where local search optimization comes in. It’s an underused technique that many businesses overlook.
“30% of Google searches are for local information” - HubSpot via Google
You’ll often hear the terms local search and local SEO used interchangeably, but they’re part of the same overall concept.
‘Local search’ describes search engine queries that include a specific location. For example, someone might google shops which sell a particular product in their own town or local area. Websites can be optimized specifically to rank higher in these location-specific searches.
Local search mainly serves a purpose for smaller businesses, specifically those with a local or regional presence. They stand a much better chance of ranking among larger competition if they optimize themselves for searches that include their local town or city.
Take these three examples:
‘Cycling gear in Berlin’
‘Cycling gear in Kreuzberg’
The first is a very broad search term that will be dominated by larger businesses from across the country, maybe even internationally. The second is an example of a search that includes a location-specific query, while the third includes an even narrower location-specific query.
The third search term is highly specific. Consequently, smaller businesses stand a much better chance of increasing their ranking if they include keywords related to this location.
But businesses can also use geofencing to their advantage in local search optimization too. Before we explain how, check out the video below to see how geofencing is set up in Talon.One:
There are a few different ways you can use geofencing and geofenced promotions to complement a website that’s being optimized for local search:
1. Geofenced promotions in specific locations
You can set up separate geofences around each of your shops and then activate a series of unique promotions inside each one.
A relevant promotion would be some sort of ‘local buyer discount’ that offers customers 10% off products if they buy from within the local geofence. As long as these discounts are promoted/integrated into your business’s local-search-optimized pages, they should help increase customer visits.
2. Customized notifications
You can also set up custom notifications to encourage local customers to head to your/their local store.
You could send customized notifications to any customer that enters your business’s website via one of the local-search-optimized pages and is currently inside the relevant geofence.
The notification could offer them a 15% discount or some sort of special reward if they go in-store to complete their purchase.
3. Extra loyalty rewards inside geofence
You can also offer increased loyalty incentives to all loyalty program members inside a specific geofence. For example, every time a customer makes a purchase within the geofence, or they complete an order with a delivery address inside the geofence, they get an additional loyalty point bonus of 50%.
This would help draw traffic onto your website from local searches, and also increase your business’s search ranking in relation to other local competitors.
The promotion examples above each make use of geofencing to encourage local customers to shop with a business.
Because geofencing is not used to directly influence SEO rankings, creativity is key when it comes to making geofence-related promotions that will aid a business's local search relevance.
The key is to incorporate these local promotions into the pages that potential customers will land on when making local searches.
If location-specific promotions are referenced and linked on the local-search-targeted pages, they can be used to draw local customers down the sales funnel when they arrive on a website.
Once customers are aware of a relevant business in their local area, they can choose to shop online or in-store. Promotions help sweeten the deal even further.
Many businesses overlook geofencing as a promotional tool because they think it’s time-consuming and difficult to set up. But geofenced promotions can be set up in no time by individuals with very little technical experience.
If you’d like to find out more about geofencing and a whole host of other promotion techniques, check out some of the content in our Content Library.
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