If you’re marketing big brands with hundreds or thousands of locations, are you certain you’re getting model-appropriate local SEO information from your favorite industry sources?
Is your enterprise checking off not just technical basics, but hyperlocalized research to strengthen its entrance into new markets?
When I’m thumbing through industry tips and tactics, I’m better able to identify when a recommended practice is stemming from an SMB mindset and falling short of enterprise realities, or is truly applicable to all business models. My goal for this post is to offer:
Examples of commonly encountered advice that isn’t really best for big brands An Enterprise Local SEO Checklist to help you shape strategy for present campaigns, or ready your agency to pursue relationships with bigger dream clients A state-to-enterprise wireframe for initial hyperlocal marketing research Not everything you read is for enterprises
Whether a brand is small, like a single location, family-owned retail shop, or a large, multi-location brands, they can benefit from video marketing and a knowledgeble SEO marketer.
Before they even get down to the nitty gritty of building citations, enterprises have to solve for:
Standardizing data across hundreds or thousands of locations Franchise relationships that can muddy who controls which data and assets Designating staff to actually manage data and execute initiatives, and building bridges between teams that must work in concert to meet goals Scaling everything from listings management, to site architecture, to content dev Dealing with a hierarchy of reports of bad data from the retail location level up to corporate
Not-for-enterprises #1: Link all your local business listings to your homepage
This is sometimes offered as a suggestion to boost local rankings, because website home pages typically have more authority than location landing pages do. But in the enterprise scenario, sending a consumer from a listing for his chosen location, to a homepage, and then expecting him to fool around with a menu or a store locator widget to finally reach a landing page for the location he’s already designated that he wanted is not respecting his user experience. It’s wasting his time. I consider this an unnecessary risk of conversions.
Simultaneously, failure to fully utilize location landing pages means that very little can be done to customize the website experience for each community and customer. Directly-linked-to landing pages can provide instant, persuasive proofs of local-ness, in the form of real local reviews, news about local sponsorships and events, special offers, regional product highlights, imagery and so much more that no corporate homepage can ever provide. Consider these statistics:
“According to a new study, when both brand and location-specific pages exist, 85% of all consumer engagement takes place on the local pages (e.g., Facebook Local Pages, local landing pages). A minority of impressions and engagement (15%) happen on national or brand pages.” – Local Search Association
In the large, multi-location scenario, it just isn’t putting the customer first to swap out a hoped-for ranking increase for a considerate, well-planned user experience.
Not-for-enterprises #2: Local business listings are a one-and-done deal
I find this advice particularly concerning. I don’t consider it true even for SMBs, and at the enterprise level, it’s simply false. It’s my guess that this suggestion stems from imagining a single local business. They create their Google My Business listing and build out perhaps 20–50 structured citations with good data. What could go wrong?
For starters, they may have forgotten that their business name was different 10 years ago. Oh, and they did move across town 5 years ago. And this old data is sitting somewhere in a major aggregator like Acxiom, and somehow due to the infamous vagaries of data flow, it ends up on Bing, and a Bing user gets confused and reports to Google that the new address is wrong on the GMB listing … and so on and so on. Between data flow and crowdsourced editing, a set-and-forget approach to local business listings is trouble waiting to happen.
Now multiply this by 1,000 business locations. And throw in that the enterprise opened two new stores yesterday and closed one. And that they just acquired a new chain and have to rebrand all its assets. And there seems to be something the matter with the phone number on 25 listings, because they’re getting agitated complaints at corporate. And they received 500 reviews last week on Google alone that have to be managed, and it seems one of their competitors is leaving them negative reviews.
Not only do listings have to be built, they have to be monitored for data degradation, and managed for inevitable business events, responsiveness to consumers, and spam. It’s hard enough for SMBs to pull all of this off, but enterprises ignore this at their peril!
Not-for-enterprises #3: Just do X
Every time a new local search feature or best practice emerges, you’ll find publications saying “just do X” to implement. What I’ve learned from enterprises is that there is no “just” about it.
Case in point: in 2017, Google rolled out Google Posts, and as Joel Headley of healthcare practice growth platform PatientPop explained to me in a recent interview, his company had to quickly develop a solution that would enable thousands of customers to utilize this influential feature across hundreds of thousands of listings. PatientPop managed implementation in an astonishingly short time, but typically, at the enterprise level, each new rollout requires countless steps up and down the ladder. These could include achieving recognition of the new opportunity, approval to pursue it, designation of teams to work on it, possible acquisition of new assets to accomplish goals, implementation at scale, and the groundwork of tracking outcomes so that they can be reported to prove/disprove ROI from the effort.
Checklist for enterprise local SEO preparedness
If you’re on the marketing team for an enterprise, or you run an agency and want to begin working with these larger, rewarding clients, you’ll be striving to put a checkmark in every box on the following checklist:
☑ Definition of success
We’ve determined which actions = success for our brand, whether this is increases for in-store traffic, sales, phone calls, bookings, or some other metric. When we see growth in these KPIs, it will affirm for us that our efforts are creating real success.
☑ Designation of roles
We’ve defined who will be responsible for all tasks relating to the local search marketing of our business. We’ve equipped these team members with all necessary permissions, granted access to key documentation, have organized workflows, and have created an environment for documentation of work.
☑ Canonical data
We’ve created a spreadsheet, approved and agreed upon by all major departments, that lists the standardized name, address, phone number, website URL, and hours of operation for each location of the company. Any variant information has been resolved into a single, agreed-upon data set for each location. This sheet has been shared with all stakeholders managing our local business listings, marketing, website and social outreach.
☑ Website optimization
Our keyword research findings are reflected in the tags and text of our website, including image optimization. Complete contact information for each of our locations is easily accessible on the site and is accurate. We’ve implemented proper markup, such as Schema or JSON-LD, to ensure that our data is as clear as possible to search engines.
☑ Website quality
Our website is easy to navigate and provides a good, usable experience for desktop, mobile and tablet users. We understand that the omni-channel search environment includes ambient search in cars, in homes, via voice. Our website doesn’t rely on technologies that exclude search engines or consumers. We’re putting our customer first.
Read more: tracking.feedpress.it