For local companies, the holidays can be an exciting time of year. A time to drum up new business, promote exclusive sales, and really engage with their customers. With all of the hustle and bustle, it’s easy to forget to stay engaged and in communication with both loyal and prospective shoppers. To gear up and help make this season merry and bright, I’ve put together some quick and simple local SEO tips to get you in front of your audience and get the register singing.
Local SEO Tips for the Holidays
1. Let Them Know You’re Open
Posting your holiday hours are crucial. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. They’re looking for a last-minute gift or are beyond excited about your big offer. They’ve found your hours online, hopped in the car, wallet in hand, only to discover your business is closed. Bah Humbug! Don’t count on them to come back anytime soon.
Or maybe you’ve extended your hours to drive more business, but you failed to update your online profiles. While the minutes tick by, your customers are busy shopping elsewhere. You know, that business that’s open until 10 pm – and updated their Google My Business page.
Get ahead of your competition. Plan your holiday hours and update your local listings. Consider the following:
- Google My Business
- Your social media accounts
- Any directories that generally drive traffic to your business
And, while you’re at it, make sure your Name, Address, and Phone Number are accurate. Google’s a big fan of location accuracy – and so are your customers.
2. Optimize Your Local Pages for Holiday Mobile Search
With smartphones being the go-to device for most shoppers, optimizing your local pages for mobile search is crucial. In fact, a study by Uberall found the following:
- 69 percent of smartphone owners use their devices to help them shop
- Of that group, 82 percent had done “near me” searches (92 percent for Millennials)
That data doesn’t lie. With so many shoppers using unbranded terms such as “near me” and “on sale,” enhancing your content can help you boost sales and gain new customers.
For instance, consider Black Friday sales. Your target audience is likely to search for terms, such as “Black Friday sales near me” or “(product) on sale Black Friday.” If you plan on generating a big sale, these terms are essential for your website.
Take a look at how a search for “Black Friday sales near me” generated a list of stores that indicated they had Black Friday deals.
You’ll want to follow the same method of other holiday sales you have, such as Christmas, Cyber Monday, etc.
3. Keep Up with Your Reviews
Did you know, according to BIA/Kelsey, 97% of people read reviews for local businesses? However, far too often, companies forget about getting reviews online or staying engaged with the ones they receive. Hey, it’s easy to do. Unfortunately, your customers – and Google – aren’t as understanding.
Consider what your potential customers will see if they did a quick search of your business online or searched for a product or service you offer. What would they see? A handful of barely 2, 3, or 4-star reviews with little to no engagement? Chances are if you’re not giving or getting the attention your business deserves, your would-be customers will go to your competitor. You know, that company with tons of 5-star reviews and posts thanking their customers for being so, well, you know, AWESOME!
If you don’t have a review strategy in place, work on creating one today. Determine how to get your current, HAPPY customers to leave you stellar reviews on Google My Business, Facebook, Yelp, and any other listing your audience uses to find local businesses. And be sure to respond to reviews quickly – and professionally. Keep in mind, if you do receive a negative review, don’t air your dirty laundry online. Respond like a pro. If the review isn’t legit – as in they aren’t a customer, you can always report it to Google for further action.
4. Automate Your Social
Get ahead of the season. It’s going to be hectic for you – fingers crossed. Especially as we inch closer to the holidays. Last-minute purchases. Extended seasonal hours. You’ve got tons to do. So make it easy on yourself when you can.
With all of that great, engaging holiday content you’re creating – and I know you are – consider using a social scheduling tool to get your content published when you need it. If you aren’t currently using one, there are several options available.
However, the most significant benefit of scheduling your post, besides saving you time, is getting your products or services out in front of your audience consistently. Doing so increases the chances of them finding you and making a purchase. With so many people on social media, it just makes sense.
Create posts that highlight your sales, products, store hours, and more. Also, consider other engaging posts like polls and contests. Creating hashtag campaigns where your customers take photos of your product and share them online expands your reach – and gets you free posts. Win-Win!
5. Ask and Answer Questions
Shoppers have questions. Especially those who aren’t familiar with your product or want to make sure they’re making the right purchase. Beat them to the punch. Go to Google My Business, Facebook, and any other platform you use to communicate with your audience and start asking questions and providing answers.
If you’ve been in the biz for a while, consider starting with Frequently Asked Questions on Google My Business and social media during the holidays. As you go, you may discover some more, which would be beneficial. For instance, maybe you want to make sure your customers know you will be open on Christmas Eve until 11:00 pm. You can ask, “Are you open on Christmas Eve?” Once you do so, you can answer with, “Yes, we are open on 12/24 from 9:00 am to 11:00 pm. But we are closed on Christmas.”
To ask a question on GMB, simply type your business name in search, find your listing, and select “Ask a Question”. From there, you can ask a question and provide a follow-up answer to keep your audience informed.
If you’ve never done this before, create a quick list of questions. Then visit your Google My Business page and create one Q&A. Get your hands dirty. Once you’re comfortable, expand. The goal is to keep your customers as informed as possible.
Get In The Holiday Spirit Today!
Now that you have an idea of how to use your listings and social media to promote your business during the holidays to attract more local business, it’s time to get organized. Time is of the essence. Begin with making sure your hours and business information are updated and then go from there. Start generating some engaging content and drive some positive reviews. You’ll find that the work you put into your local SEO during the holidays will pay off.
If you have questions along the way, we’re happy to help. Drop us a comment below or follow us on social media to ask some questions.