You dream big when it comes to your business. Maybe you’ve talked to a marketing agency recently or attended a digital marketing webinar. You’ve got big goals, digitally speaking, but not a lot of budget to do it with. But you know this SEO thing is here to stay. It’s important to set goals for your digital marketing. But many local businesses are making some detrimental local SEO mistakes in retail because they’re thinking big instead of implementing local SEO strategies first to build a firm foundation on which to grow. Because of it, they often find themselves running in place. And it feels like SEO doesn’t work. You can end up wasting significant money. But by avoiding these 4 local SEO mistakes in retail, you can step over this pitfall to dominate locally and grow from there. Watch out for these huge mistakes that too many local retail stores make.
1. Poorly Planned Target Radius
You have a store in a great central location. Trucks are outside to deliver anywhere from downtown to two counties over in any direction. You bring in customers from all over the region when you advertise on the local news. So it seems like regional advertising is the best way to increase foot traffic into your store as you’re building your search engine optimization and digital marketing strategies. Why limit yourself?
But here’s what happens in reality.
How a Poorly Planned Target Radius Impacts Your Showroom
Businesses who target too broadly to quickly, end up in one of the following scenarios:
Spreading the budget thin. When you have a limited budget or a huge market area, budgeting is problematic. If you’re trying to compete in a very tough competitive market, you need a bigger budget than a 1-store town in the middle of Alabama. But to the same end, you could be a store that delivers 100 miles in any direction. And you want to appear locally to all of those potential places. Your budget is going to go very quickly or be very inefficient for such a wide radius. We’ve talked with a lot of retailers in both of these scenarios. Truthfully if a furniture retailer is targeting local SEO, they’re in one of these two buckets. We’ll talk later in this section about how to allocate your budget wisely.
Spreading touch points thin. It’s Advertising 101. In order for a brand to build up brand equity with any one person or in the community, that person needs to repeatedly see that brand. Ideally, they should see it in multiple locations over a short period. A single ad, view or visit rarely makes a sale. It’s a combination of ads, emails, search appearances and more. If your radius isn’t planned well and your budget (see above) isn’t allocated efficiently, you’ll have a longshot to reach and engage a potential buyer. Remember, it takes more than 8 touchpoints to create a connection with a customer.
Market creeping. So, as a business, you know that you can’t completely avoid stepping on the toes of competitors. In fact, you live for it. Are we right? But targeting too broadly without dominating locally means you’re spending ad dollars where someone else already has a foothold. Those ad dollars are a complete loss because right now you can’t invest enough to knock that competitor off their pedestal.
In summary, local businesses with a poorly defined radius run out of money fast with little to show for it. Don’t make this one of four local SEO mistakes in retail. Here’s how to avoid it.
What’s Your Optimal Target Radius?
Your optimal radius is the market you can reasonably saturate. That means that you can acquire a significant portion of market share in that radius.
Most customers in that radius encounter your brand in some form daily or at least weekly. Shoppers drive by. They hear people talking. Maybe they see ads online. You come up in their local searches. One of your Facebook posts gets shared by a friend. They see a flyer in a bank for your design workshop. These repeated and consistent encounters build trust, interest, and eventually loyalty. When they need furniture, you’re top of mind.
Once you can truly say you’ve done this in a local area, you’re ready to branch out, expanding your radius incrementally. But just how do you do that?
How to Dominate Your Target Radius
This entire article is about dominating in your target radius so please standby. We’re going to deliver specific and actionable local SEO tips you can apply now to begin getting results within your defined radius.
But for starters, remember to use the AdWords and Social Media ad radius tool. Only send ads to people in your target area. Reinforce these ads with retargeting ads. These are ads that people see after they visit your website, social media page, or otherwise interact with you. Again, you’ll have the option to only show these to visitors from your local area. Now, that’s how to make your ad dollars go further so that locals see the ads more often.
But it gets even better as we begin to create local content for your website targeting your defined radius, which leads us to our next in the series local SEO mistakes in retail.
2. Not Creating Local Content
In line with the fact that many local businesses target too broadly too quickly, many make the mistake of creating no local content at all. The only thing that is local about their website is the address in their footer and their contact page. The rest is all about national furniture brands.
This is problematic because it doesn’t optimize your local presence.
You see, every search in Google is a local search. Google gives local businesses preferential treatment in their local area. It assumes that a person who searches for furniture wants to find a local company that can deliver it. If local companies like yours aren’t creating local SEO content to show that you’re local, then Google has to default to national or international brands. Even worse, it will refer your closest competitor who is optimizing for a local market close to yours.
When you create locally-focused content, you appear in more local searches and local customers see you more often. Don’t make these local SEO mistakes in retail. Here’s how to make more local-focused content.
How to Create More Local Content
Let’s get started by creating more local content for your website and social media.
Build on what you already have.
Are you hosting events in your store? Are you supporting local teams or businesses? If you support a local soccer team, nonprofit, or act locally, then post it. Create more website content around it, including videos, pictures, blog posts, social media posts. Be sure to mention, tag, or name files with the location, which should be within your target radius.
Mention location in your content.
When creating a blog or video content, mention your location in the content. Give that location context like, “10 minutes from downtown” because of how Google shows 5-10 mile radius results for searches.
Create a location page.
A location page is a page on your website created to rank high in local searches. It includes things like:
- Business hours
- Directions (car, public transit, bike from different directions)
- Interactive map
- Upcoming events
- Photos of storefront, employees, customers
- Link to your online reviews
- Links to social media sites
Once you dominate in your local area and decide to expand out, you’ll create new location pages for each new location.
Build local content around local things.
You have the advantage of really knowing your local area and mentioning local things really makes the point that you’re active in the community and truly invested locally. Consider creating content that ties back to your brand but focuses on local:
- News (stick with positive news stories)
- Community events (parades, celebrations, concerts, etc.)
This kind of local content makes your website appear in places that local customers don’t expect it. It stands out and is memorable.
Build your online reputation.
Customers trust online reviews and the majority of people read them before deciding to do business. The more reviews you can obtain and the higher you can keep your star level, the more foot traffic you’ll see coming into your store.
Automate the review process by sending out emails to customers right after you deliver their furniture. Most people will give you good reviews when you ask nicely for feedback. But remember never to ask for good reviews. It will backfire.
Integrate these local reviews into your website and know that these reviews will also show up in searches giving you greater presence.
What you do on your website is important. But the kinds of local content you create off-site matter too, which leads to the next one of the big local SEO mistakes in retail today.
3. Neglecting Local Citations Maintenance
In the good old days, the Yellow Pages was the directory that everyone went to in order to find out your phone number or address. Now, this information may be in dozens or hundreds of locations all over the Internet and it gets updated constantly.
People use this information to find you. Google uses this information to know that you’re really a local business. If these citations are inconsistent or missing, it can hurt your reputation. People call the wrong number. Your store name is spelled wrong. They confuse you with another company with a similar name. This destroys trust.
Despite how important these are, too many local businesses either add this information to online directories and then never look at it again. Or they fail to ensure that they are present in important directories like Better Business Bureau, Chamber of Commerce, furniture organizations, review sites. What can you possibly do to avoid this mistake?
Monitoring Local Citations
- Make sure citation are 100% consistent. Your business name, address, phone and website should be written the same way across sites.
- Fill out your profiles. Many of these sites allow business descriptions, directions, categories, etc. Completely fill out this information and make sure it stays consistent.
- Watch for new citations. Websites change hands or pull information from various sources to populate their directories. Even if you did not create the citation, you need to know that it exists so you can ensure accuracy.
- Get automated. You’ll find tools that can both create citations and monitor them to ensure accuracy and presence.
- Submit revisions. If something isn’t right, request that it be corrected.
There’s one place, in particular, that’s so important that forgetting it would be one of the biggest local SEO mistakes in retail ever, yet many businesses to forget it. That’s Google My Business (GMB).
4. Neglecting Your Google My Business Page
Too many businesses see much of the Internet as out of their control. They think what people say about them, whether people leave reviews, or how their presence online takes shape is an unknown.
But the truth is that you have incredible control over your online reputation and presence. And when you focus on a clearly-defined local radius you can greatly influence what people see and learn about you. And since Google is the largest search engine in the world, focusing here is the best place to start.
Did you know that 56% of local businesses haven’t claimed their GMB page? That’s tragic considering how much GMB supports your efforts to dominate locally.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Google My Business Page
- Fill your profile out completely and make sure everything is accurate.
- Add keywords to your description but avoid sounding like you’re keyword stuffing.
- Be specific about your category. You’ll be limited on your main category. But you can expand on it. If you sell mid-century vintage furniture or only sell bunk beds, embrace it to get the right local foot traffic into your store.
- Embed your profile into your website.
- As previously mentioned, get more reviews.
- Address every review professionally. Be careful not to make excuses. Instead, focus on solutions and make responses sound thoughtful and appreciative even if the customer seems way out of line.
- Keep GMB up-to-date. If hours change or you’re going on vacation, this is the first place you should update that.
- Use the GMB messages feature to respond directly to customers promptly. Failing to respond to a GMB message is more likely to result in a bad review because they’re obviously a GMB user.
- Add photos and encourage customers to add them as well.
Local SEO Mistakes in Retail You Don’t Have to Make
With just a little knowledge about local SEO, you don’t have to make local SEO mistakes in retail like these. Define your true local radius to dominate locally. Create more local content. Pay attention to business citations off your site. And handle your GMB page with care. Want to learn more about how you can increase local market share by optimizing locally? Contact us to find out how we can help your furniture store develop and implement an effective local SEO marketing strategy.