Multilocal SEO for bricks-and-clicks retailers

Written by
Andrew Flynn
Published on
1/3/2024
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Are you optimising your website’s local search engine visibility, ensuring it appears when potential customers search for goods and services near your stores?

Bricks-and-clicks retailers should always focus their online strategy on eCommerce. That’s why the investment in digital was made in the first place, right?

With that said, it's easy to overlook the secondary role that a website can play. When optimised correctly, it can also be used to enhance the search engine visibility of the stores that a business has.

This tactic is called multilocal SEO, and this article will discuss the key techniques that form a successful multilocal SEO strategy.

We will cover:

  • Local keyword research
  • Localised landing pages
  • Local link building
  • Local and niche directories
  • Google Business Listing optimisation

Local keyword research

As is the case with any SEO campaign, it is crucial to first identify which searches will generate relevant traffic to your website. Without a well-defined keyword list to anchor your SEO campaign, your optimisation efforts will lack clear direction.

Let's consider the scenario of a retail florist, a business that is likely to sell products online but is also keen to attract in-person visits from potential customers. In our example, the fictional florist operates shops in four Greater Manchester towns: Chorlton, Wythenshawe, Middleton, and Altrincham.

Using a keyword research tool

Using a keyword research tool, they can identify searches conducted in their target locations.

Keyword research tools provide insights into the average number of searches a particular keyword receives over a specific period and generate relevant keyword suggestions based on a user's input.

By testing localised searches they can begin to understand:

  • How potential customers are searching for their products and services in their target areas (Keyword). This may differ from town to town, or city to city.
  • How often those searches are performed on average each month (Volume).
  • The current top-ranking websites for those searches (Competitors).
In this example we can see the results for ‘florist Altrincham’ taken from Semrush’s Keyword Magic Tool.

The result of this task would be a concise list of relevant searches covering each target location:

  • ‘florist altrincham’, 210 searches per month
  • ‘Flower shop altrincham’ 90 searches per month

  • florist chorlton’, 210 searches per month
  • ‘Flower shop chorlton’ 140 searches per month

  • Middleton florist’ 110 searches per month
  • ‘Flower shop middleton’ 30 searches per month

  • florist wythenshawe’, 90 searches per month
  • ‘Flower shop wythenshawe’ 20 searches per month

​Creating localised landing pages

With the keywords nailed down, it’s now time to optimise the website for them. 

Localised landing pages are hyper-targeted web pages designed to cater specifically to a local audience.

These pages serve as digital gateways connecting online shoppers to the physical stores of bricks-and-clicks retailers. They allow businesses to serve highly optimised, locally targeted content to the search engine, increasing their chances of ranking for local searches.

Therefore, the next step for our florist is to create separate landing pages for each location. This could be achieved by creating a ‘Locations’ section of the website, from which each localised landing page is a child:

  • www.example-florist.co.uk/locations/
  • www.example-florist.co.uk/locations/florist-altrincham
  • www.example-florist.co.uk/locations/florist-chorlton
  • www.example-florist.co.uk/locations/florist-middleton
  • www.example-florist.co.uk/locations/florist-wythenshawe

Components of a localised landing page

Localised landing pages typically include the following components:

  • A captivating heading that grabs attention and communicates local relevance.
  • Essential business information, such as the address, opening times, parking details, and other crucial offline interaction details.
  • Images depicting the location to set expectations and familiarise potential customers with the surroundings.
  • Informative content, such as a description of the location, details on local events, community involvement, or how the business addresses specific local needs.
  • Interactive elements like maps, clickable phone numbers, or other features that encourage users to engage with the page.
  • Social proof highlighting the business's active participation in the local community.
  • Call to action guiding users to visit the store, purchase, or take another relevant action.

As an illustration of effective multi-local SEO, consider Interflora, which serves as a global intermediary between consumers and local florists. Explore their Wythenshawe landing page to observe how they successfully implement this strategy.

Optimising the local landing page for Google

To give these pages the best possible chance of ranking in Google, they need to be well-optimised for the keywords that were identified.

Techniques include:

  • Including the target keyword in the <h1> heading.
  • Including several <h2> subheadings, with at least one containing the target keyword.
  • Including the target keyword in the URL.
  • Including the target keyword in the ALT text of the images used, providing the ALT text still accurately describes the image.
  • Including the target keyword once every 100 words of rich, descriptive text.
  • Including the target keyword in the landing page’s meta title and meta description.
  • Using Google’s Local Business structured data.
  • Internally linking to the landing page from other pages, such as blogs, and other landing pages.
local link building for multilocal seo

Building localised backlinks

Local link building is an SEO strategy that focuses on acquiring backlinks from websites within a specific geographic area. These backlinks contribute to a website's authority and can positively impact its search engine rankings.

Google is sophisticated enough to understand the context of links and their relevance to local searches.

Google's algorithms consider various factors to determine the context and local relevance of links, and this information can impact the rankings of a website in local search results.

Link building is a difficult practice and requires a solid network, plenty of patience and consistent effort. Here are the main local link-building techniques.

Local directory listings

Submitting the business to local directories is a fundamental part of local link building. These directories, such as Google My Business, Yelp, and local chambers of commerce, provide opportunities to include a business's website link, as well as citations covering the business's name, address, and phone number.

Consistent and accurate citations across various platforms help establish trust with search engines and improve local SEO.

Local news websites

Building relationships with local news websites and blogs can lead to opportunities for guest posts, interviews, or mentions. Contributing valuable content to local publications can result in authoritative backlinks.

Community partnerships and sponsorships

Partnering with local organisations, charities, or events and sponsoring them often includes acknowledgement on their websites with a backlink to the sponsoring business. This not only supports the community but also builds valuable local links.

Local reviews and testimonials

Encouraging satisfied customers to leave reviews on local review platforms, as well as on the business's website, can contribute to local link-building. Positive reviews can attract attention from other local businesses, leading to potential partnerships and link opportunities.

Local influencers and bloggers

Engaging with local influencers or bloggers who have an audience in the business's target location can result in natural backlinks. This may involve collaborations, interviews, or content contributions.

Local events and sponsorships

Hosting or sponsoring local events provides opportunities to be mentioned on event websites or local news outlets, earning valuable local backlinks.

Don’t forget your Google Business listings

Google tends to prioritise its local map listings over organic search results. To optimise your visibility, it's essential to enhance your presence on Google Business.

If you haven’t yet already done so, you should create an individual Google Business listing for each location that you operate. This is where you will manage all of the information that is used to populate your presence on Google Maps.

Business Name

Ensure that your business name is accurate, consistent, and reflects your actual business name. The best practice is to avoid keyword stuffing or adding unnecessary information, but it is acceptable to include the target area as a differentiator:

  • “Example Florist - Altrincham”
  • “Example Florst  - Chorlton”
  • “Example Florist - Middleton”
  • “Example Florist - Wythenshawe”

Business Information

Provide accurate and up-to-date information about your stores’ addresses, opening hours and contact details. Consistency across all online platforms is key. Any discrepancies may affect trust and visibility.

Business Description

Craft a compelling and concise business description that highlights key aspects of each location. Incorporate relevant keywords naturally, focusing on what sets your business apart. Communicate your products, services, and unique selling propositions.

Categorisation

Choose the most relevant category for your business. Google uses these categories to understand the nature of your business and display it in relevant local search results. Be specific and choose categories that best represent your offerings.

Google Posts

Utilise Google Posts to share timely information, such as special offers, promotions, and upcoming events. These posts appear in your business listing and can attract attention, encouraging potential customers to engage and visit your store.

Photos and Media

Visual content is powerful. Upload high-quality images that showcase each location; your storefront, team, and any other relevant visuals. Ensure that images accurately represent your business, and regularly update them to keep your listing fresh and engaging.

Reviews

Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews on your Google Business listing. Respond to reviews promptly, whether they are positive or negative. Engaging with customers demonstrates your commitment to customer satisfaction and can positively impact your local search ranking.

Final thoughts

Whether you perceive the decline of UK high streets as a reality or not, it is crucial for retailers with physical stores to proactively enhance the visibility of their locations.

The techniques mentioned above can help you make substantial strides in achieving this goal. 

However, if you would prefer expert guidance, our consultation on digital marketing for eCommerce could prove highly beneficial. Feel free to reach out to discuss your specific needs and strategies for optimising your online and offline presence.

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