With all the affection we have for the online world, we sometimes forget that physical customers do, in fact, still exist.
To increase online sales in your e-commerce, I bet you invest:
- Money and effort in SEO
- Doing online marketing
And you may even update your blog regularly.
But what if you also want to keep attracting customers to your physical store?
In that case, what you need is to work on the local SEO of your e-commerce.
Want to know what this local SEO thing is and how you can implement it on your website? This post will give you all the details.
Off we go!
👉 Local SEO: Definition and examples
Local SEO means optimizing a website so it appears in the search results for a specific geographical area.
For example, if you google “library in London”, this is what you get:
These results are only displayed when we tell Google that we’re looking for a library in a specific city, which leads us straight to the local SEO question.
If you have a closer look, when you do this search, you get two types of results:
- Google My Business cards (a tool for shops and businesses that I’ll tell you more about below).
- Websites for libraries that have been optimized for searches in the London area.
With local SEO, you’ll attract potential customers looking for a business like yours in the local area.
👉 7 keys to implement local SEO into your online store
Now that you have a clearer picture of local SEO, let’s go over a few ways to put it into practice in your e-commerce.
✅ 1. Create a Google My Business profile
This is the first thing you have to do if you want your physical store to come up in local searches on Google.
Google My Business is a free tool that allows you to link your business to a specific location.
By accessing Google My Business, you’re creating a business card for your physical store with your contact details, including your:
- Phone number
- Opening hours
You can use any Gmail account to create it.
These cards are shown when users do a search in a specific area.
For example, if you search for “cellphone stores in London”, this is what comes up:
It shows you the contact details and the location of each shop on the map so you know which one’s closer.
You know the best thing about it?
These cards show up before the standard search results, so your physical store gets much more visibility.
✅ 2. Get reviews for your business
Once you’ve created a Google My Business account, it’s time to get reviews from your customers.
Reviews are one of the things users pay the most attention to when making a purchase through both offline and online channels.
I’m sure you also pay attention to them when you’re looking for a restaurant or hotel outside your city, or when you’re buying something online. ;)
Google My Business cards include a spot where your clients can rate the quality of your service or products.
The better your rating is, the higher up your business card will be displayed in local searches, so it’s important to get as many (positive) reviews as possible.
✅ 3. Optimize your website for geolocated keywords
Keywords shouldn’t be overlooked when talking about SEO. In this case, you need to focus on location-based keywords to enhance your website’s local SEO.
We’re referring to those keywords in which the search item is followed by a specific geographic location.
For example, “Photo studio in London” is a geolocated search.
When doing keyword research, you should use a specialized tool offering you the monthly search volume for each keyword.
You can use:
- Semrush (it has a free version, although it’s somewhat limited.)
- Ubersuggest (completely free)
- Google Keyword Planner (free if you’re running a Google Ads campaigns).
If you don’t know which keywords you should analyze, you can follow this formula:
Product/product category + location
Try different options to find out which keywords have the most searches. You can also test variations including terms like “buy” at the start of the sentence.
Once you’ve found the most suitable location-based keywords for your e-commerce, try to figure out the best keyword possible for each of your pages:
- Main sector: for example, “sports store London”. You should try to rank this with your homepage.
- Product categories: “cycling shorts London”. In this case, you should do it with your category page.
You may find this a bit too complex if you’re not a SEO expert. Not to fear – here are a few awesome tutorials. ;)
- [SEO mega guide for online shops] Learn how to boost your e-commerce positioning with this tutorial
- What keywords are and how to use them so that Google sends you loads of traffic
- [SEO writing tutorial] Get more visits by writing posts optimized for Google
✅ 4. Insert a map on your website
Google needs to know the exact location of your physical store if you want it to pop up in local searches.
That’s why, apart from creating your Google My Business card and working on local keywords, you should include a map on your website.
The Google spiders track the map data and allow the search engine to locate you in location-based searches with much more accuracy (and if it’s a Google Maps map, even better).
People usually include it on the contact page of their e-commerce shop website.
✅ 5. Register with local directories
Are you familiar with the concept of “business directories”?
They are websites containing information about the businesses in a certain area.
The Yellow Pages is one of the best-known directories, but there are others that specialize in different sectors.
Similar to Google My Business, these directories allow you to create a card with your company’s contact details and a link to your site.
So, how is this useful to your e-commerce local SEO strategy?
It’s useful in two ways:
- The external links leading to your website help improve your positioning.
- If, on top of that, these links come from a geolocated page (for example, if you sign up to a shoe shop directory in London), Google will take you into account when someone looks for a business like yours in your city.
However, not all directories are the same.
If you want them to be useful, the directories must be of a high enough quality to have Google’s approval (you can use Mozbar’s SEO plugin to determine the quality of a certain directory).
On another note, try to make sure the business information in the directories is the same as it appears on your website.
Minimally, these details should be exactly identical:
- Phone number
For example, if your website shows a mobile phone number, don’t provide a landline phone number for a directory.
Google values coherence quite positively.
✅ 6. Mentions in the press
Appearing on local media websites is another effective way to get high-quality links and to help Google associate you with a specific geographical area.
To achieve this, you have two options:
- Advertising (usually in the shape of featured ads or advertorials so the link to your website appears in the text).
- Have your business published in a news story.
Does the second option strike your as difficult? The truth is, it’s not so tough.
The key is to offer the media content that might be of interest to their readers.
You can take advantage of an upcoming event in your city to send out a related press release.
For example, let’s suppose you run a sports shoe shop and your city is holding a marathon. What you could do is write a guide on how to choose the most suitable running shoes for a long-distance race.
You don’t have to talk about your products because the goal isn’t to sell in this case.
The goal is to offer the audience of this media company content that’s actually interesting to them.
In exchange, you can ask them to cite you as the source and include a link to your site in the digital version of the story.
✅ 7. Guest posts with local blogs and magazines
In case you’re struggling to get an organic space in the media and don’t want to pay for advertising, here’s another good alternative.
Guest posts – articles you write for another person or company’s blog.
This way, whoever publishes the post can offer some novel content to their followers while you get more visibility and a link to your website in exchange.
You can suggest this type of collaboration to different local online magazines and blogs in your area.
Mind you, the target website must be related to your business area. If you run a jewelry shop, it wouldn’t make much sense to publish something in a personal training magazine.
Here’s another example so you see it more clearly:
If you own a teashop, you could contact food-related media or a local leisure blog and suggest creating a guide about the best teashops in the city.
👉 Ready to start working on your e-commerce shop’s local SEO?
Now you should have a clearer picture of what local positioning is, so it’s time to implement it into your online store.
If you follow these tips, you’ll have your physical shop putting up the same numbers as your online shop in no time! 😉