Digital Retail & Technology

Top 3 ways retailers can win at local search

June 29, 2021

This article is provided by Reshift Media, a Canadian-based digital marketing and development organization specializing in retail businesses.

Buying local has become an increasingly important consideration amongst consumers, particularly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, recent reports find that 97% of consumers decided to buy locally as a way to support the Canadian economy.

For local retailers, this means optimizing their search strategy is as important as ever, especially since 86% of consumers rely on internet searches to find a local business.

There are multiple ways to optimize your digital presence for local search, with some techniques taking a bit longer to see results than others. In this post, we will explore three immediate ways you can get your business online search-ready to help convert searchers to customers.

1. Optimize Your Google My Business Listing

Google My Business (GMB) is a tool that you can use to promote your business on Google Search and Google Maps. It acts as a “one-stop-shop” for key pieces of information about your business that current and potential customers are looking for, such as hours of operation, contact information, and directions. This can be an extremely beneficial resource for local retailers, especially since 49% of businesses receive over 1,000 average search reviews of their GMB listing every month, while 33% receive the same on Google Maps.

The key to ensuring your business sees these positive results through GMB is to keep your information as up-to-date as possible. Have your hours changed recently? Maybe you are offering a new service that you didn’t a year ago, or there is an important event coming up that you want your customers to know about. The posting options on GMB are endless, and it is these important details that are essential, especially since it’s a highly visible opportunity to communicate directly with your local customers.

If you are not already set up on GMB or you need a refresher, check out this resource that explains everything you need to know your listing.

2. Utilize the Q&A Feature on Google Maps

Google sits at the top of the  most-visited digital media property in Canada, so why not take advantage of all of its features, including its incredibly popular Maps?

Question & Answers is a feature that often goes unnoticed on Google Maps and Search. However, it shouldn’t be because 86% of people will look up the location of a business on Google Maps. You can find this Q&A feature when you conduct a local search; sitting below the business information, you will find business-specific questions and answers, and these are either posted by the public or by the business owner.

There are several ways this feature can help your local search strategy, but one of the most important factors is that it saves consumers time. 4 out of 5 consumers use search engines to find local information, and by including this Q&A feature for your business, you are saving time that consumers would’ve spent searching the web for.

If you notice that you are being asked the same questions by customers, this might be a good place to include some answers. This Q&A feature allows you, the business owner, to write your most frequently asked questions and then answer them using quality information — just make sure you are log into your Google My Business account first!

An important tip to remember is that anyone can answer questions that consumers ask. This is why it is important to stay on top of what is being asked so that you can provide the most factual information. You are also able to upvote certain questions so they remain at the top, which is a good idea for questions and answers that you think prospective customers should know about your business.

3. Optimize Your Website for Mobile and Voice Search

Between 2019 and 2020, mobile use has jumped dramatically, totalling over four hours a day. With this number predicted to increase every year, businesses need to ensure they are search-optimized ready for mobile users, especially when 92.59% of mobile searches are conducted on Google worldwide.

But why are mobile searches important for your local business?They lead to increased engagement. 78% of location-based mobile searches will lead to an offline purchase, while 76% of users who search for something nearby using their mobile device will visit a business within 24 hours.

With such high conversion rates, it is imperative that your website functions correctly on mobile devices because 61% of mobile searchers will contact a local business if they have a mobile-friendly site.

A common tactic among those who search using a mobile device is the use of voice search. Voice assistants such as Siri on iPhone, Google Now on Android devices, or Alexa on Amazon have searching capabilities that can often replace users typing search queries for themselves. There are 3.25 billion people worldwide who currently use voice-activated search and assistants, and reports show that half of all searches this year are voice-based.

Optimizing your website for voice search is an important way to cater to this large audience, and you can do this in several ways:  

  • Include specific location identifiers on your site, which will help it appear when someone searches for retailers nearby.
  • Since voice searches tend to be more conversational, include headlines on your site that start with “How” or “What” and write content that answers searchers’ questions.
  • Optimize speakable schema markup, which tells voice search technologies what information they should output to the user.

As more consumers turn to local search, it is important now more than ever to meet the needs of your customers. Optimizing your search strategy with simple tweaks can help ensure this and lead to even greater success for your business.

About Reshift Media

Reshift Media is a long-time partner of the Retail Council of Canada. The company is a Toronto-based digital marketing and development organization that provides leading-edge social media, search and website/mobile development services to retailers around the world. Please visit www.reshiftmedia.com to learn more.

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