SEO for local stores with national ecommerce websites
November 2, 2015
Why sell to just one city when you can sell to the whole country? Foot traffic is still a great way to offer services and sell products, but many local stores have gotten into the national market and want national results without hurting their local search rank.
Does optimizing for my local store negatively impact my national search rank?
No, but it is important to have dedicated pages for your local stores. If you have multiple stores, include a location finder with a page dedicated to each location. Share as much information that is relevant to this specific location, like it’s hours, local coupons, contact info and directions. Additionally, don’t neglect your product or service on these local pages. Andy’s Pizza Place, is inline with likely search terms, but if your name it Andy’s Place, emphasis Pizza in the local pages in addition to the physical location.
Should I include my in store inventory online?
Ideally, users would have the ability to identify the physical store location where a product is available in addition to online purchasing options. You don’t want to hurt local sales at the expense of online sales. Provide the buyer with the best information and let them choose how they prefer to purchase. A product you offer may potentially be available on 100+ online stores, but buying options in your local market are certainly more limited. “Available for pickup today”, can be a compelling marketing tool that gives you a heads-up on the Amazons of the ecommerce marketplace.
My location is in the metro area but outside of the city proper
Google does include distance in it’s ranking factors, but they also allow you to designate your service area in Google+. Using a fake address, changing the location of the pin in Google maps, or using a PO Box, will result in a penalty. You can add another legitimate address within the city, where you meet clients or conduct business, even though it isn’t your headquarters.
Here are a few tips for your local page:
- Add a few direction from local land marks or populated areas
- Add geo tagged photos of you store location
- Remove address and Google+ from product pages and focus on a single local landing page (per location)
- Get quality links from authoritative local domains to your local landing page
Do reviews help national or local SEO?
You want to encourage reviews for your store location and your ecommerce products. Positive reviews should be encouraged on any user generated review site, i.e., Yelp, Yahoo, Zagat, etc., but keep in mind that, although these reviews may impact your search rank, they will not be visible in good search results, these are now exclusively Google+ reviews. Encourage real reviews from real customers. Google will filter spammy reviews and could potential penalize you for fake reviews.
Implementing the proper schema makeup on your products pages allow search engines to identify the product name, description and rating, and can then pull that data into search engine results.
My local rank dropped after a Penguin update
After the Penguin 2.0, many local businesses with low quality links from directors were penalized. Make sure your links and directory listing are coming from industry relevant sources.
You should identify and delete the low quality and irrelevant links and focus on sites that are related to your business and sites which see user generated reviews and content.
Organically ranking locally is much different than ranking nationally, but your efforts for both depended on quality, unique content onsite and real user generated content offsite. Massive unrelated links and fake reviews that used to work now cause penalties.