Last Minute Local SEO: 2 Ways to Steal the Holiday Season from Competitors
November 24, 2014 | Contributed by: Manish Patel
For marketers, holiday season prep started weeks ago. With Black Friday just around the corner, customers will march into retail locations to bag the best deals of the year. As the chaos takes over, remember to focus on key digital capabilities under your control: local pages and local advertising. Bring cheer to local customers while stealing the holiday season from competitors using these strategies:
1. Local Pages & Store Hours
Your customized SEO local pages should be a one-stop resource for customers. Power these pages to the fullest with as much relevant information as possible. Content should be mobile-friendly, with clearly visible holiday hours, links and deals. When people search for “holiday hours”, “holiday sales”, etc. be sure to label the content accordingly to pick up on these terms. Consider adding some of these terms to your title tags or meta description to give your pages a better chance of ranking over the competition and drawing a click.
Since local pages are fully customizable from top to bottom, they are your best bet for sharing store hours. Beyond local pages, your level of control starts to diminish. Even if you are managing your listings on Google My Business, Google essentially won’t support the concept of seasonal hours. Because your store hours listed on Google won’t reflect holiday variances, updating stores hours on your local pages before the competition does is crucial.
On the technical side, get your brand visibility by utilizing a schema.org markup wherever applicable with your seasonal hours and events. Mark up the hours as you normally would, but add parameters for the holiday dates that the hours are “valid from” and “valid through”. This is the quickest way to get your brand visible before the holidays. And, this will ensure that customers are getting the most consistent and accurate information before they reach your nearest store location.
With local page customization, retailers like Radio Shack have hit the nail on the head. Radio Shack’s local page information is branded, up to date and catered to the season. They include weekly ads relevant to respective brick-and-mortar locations, as well as a live indicator of store hours. In comparison, Best Buy is missing crucial elements on its locator and local pages, from mobile responsiveness to advertising and an updated indication of store hours.
Take note of what this means from the customer perspective. Upon a quick mobile search (samples below) on a busy shopping weekend, tech-obsessed customers expect consistent and updated information across the board. Without such information, Best Buy runs the risk of losing a customer to the nearest Radio Shack.
2. Local Advertising & Events
‘Tis the season to give out bargains and for retail holiday shopping, customers will be hunting for and comparing them. Get your customers attention by geo-targeting your advertising offers. Dynamic display tactics which embed the nearest store increase your chances of grabbing customer attention within your location’s proximity. If you are pushing last-minute promotions via social media and review sites, make sure your campaigns are narrowly targeted and contextual, showing shoppers you understand and anticipate their needs during the retail rush.
Consider the large-scale traffic this sort of personalization can translate to on social and review sites. When hyperlocal shoppers are satisfied with your last-minute offers, they might voice it online, in turn getting more customers to purchase at your brick and mortar locations. To get the process started on networks like Facebook and Foursquare, you can add timely “events,” “tips” and “check-in specials.”
Events signal urgency for consumers to act last minute, and help retail staff know when to be ready for a surge of visitors. Tips and check-in specials on Foursquare can also be used to highlight extended store hours or sales events. These tactics are underutilized by brands during this season, and should be taken into account to boost your brand’s competitive edge.
We can see that household names like Walmart and Target are battling for the love of last-minute consumers in store as this season kicks into full gear. Each respective brand is taking distinct measures to power in-store apps with geo-targeting and geo-fencing. And both of these brands are likely to be monetized in-app through advertising. As the battle between these brands intensifies during the holidays, we as marketers should pay attention to how these end-of-year tactics will influence consumer behavior at a hyperlocal scale.
Customers are in the midst of decking the halls and their homes with your products this holiday season. At this stage, the best last-minute way your brand can stay on a customers’ nice lists is to take advantage of your most valuable digital assets. From local pages and store hours, to advertising and events, your brand needs to first get found to bridge the gap between an online search and a merry customer experience in store.