Recently, Adam Dardine, Senior Digital Manager and local SEO savant here at NordicClick, had the pleasure of contributing a chapter to Search Engine Journal’s latest eBook, A Guide to Local SEO. I sat down with Adam to pick his brain about his chapter, “A Guide to Local SEO for Enterprises.”

Download SEJ’s A Guide to Local SEO here.

Tell us about the chapter you contributed to SEJ’s A Guide to Local SEO.

I wrote chapter 9, and I wrote it with large enterprises in mind. A lot of great local SEO content exists, but most of it is aimed at smaller organizations. For businesses with hundreds of store locations, sheer volume makes local SEO overwhelming – which means it’s often forgotten or ignored.

Let’s use the new Google Q&A feature as an example. Say you have 100 locations, each with three questions per month, and it takes roughly five minutes to craft each response. That adds up to 25 hours a month of work – and that’s a conservative estimate that only accounts for one small component of local SEO.

The good news is a well-defined plan not only overcomes the obstacles listed above but also produces a successful and scalable local SEO strategy.

For large organizations, local SEO success starts with building out a process and assigning roles and responsibilities to make sure local SEO gets the attention it deserves.

What would you tell a new business getting started in local SEO?

Start with Google My Business, ensuring:

  1. You have a GMB listing created, and
  2. It’s completely filled out and optimized.

Make sure you have a profile image of the store, your store hours are correct, and you’re using the right business category. Once those baseline items are in place, develop a process so you’re ready to respond to reviews – the good, the bad, and the ugly – in a timely manner.

What’s a common mistake you see businesses make?

Failing to maintain consistency across local listings – which hurts the business as a whole in local. Google spots discrepancies, so inconsistent information across listings often results in a traffic drop.

In your chapter, you share both baseline tips that every business needs to be doing, and then you share a handful of next level local SEO tips. What are the best businesses doing to perform well in local?

It feels a little obvious, but customer service is actually one of the most important things you can focus on for local search. Your business model, your brand reputation, how you train your staff to interact with customers – these are all reflected in your local profiles, most apparently in your customer reviews. Smart businesses focus on providing a positive and consistent brand experience across all locations. If you run a good business and treat your customers right, your local SEO will improve.

If you run a good business and treat your customers right, your local SEO will improve.

What’s something businesses could be taking advantage of to boost their local SEO?

More businesses could be using a local link-building strategy to drive traffic to store locator pages in individual cities. Get connected in your community and sponsor events in the area, like 5Ks and outdoor concerts. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to optimize and differentiate individual store locator pages on your website. Local schema markup, updating title tags to be specific to that location, and creating unique location-specific content on those pages – these things do matter to local SEO.

A strong online presence doesn’t happen in a vacuum. In what ways can businesses integrate their digital marketing practices with local SEO?

Considering how competitive the race for real estate in search is getting, we’ve seen a lot of success for our clients by tying our paid strategy in with our local search strategy. For example, you can use radius targeting in PPC to deliver location-specific ad messages to people while they’re searching for you when they’re close by. Plus, by maximizing your share of the SERP with your local GMB listing, a paid search ad, and a link or two in the regular organic results, you’re increasing your chances of getting that user to pick you over a competitor.

Another cool opportunity would be creating blog content geared toward specific areas. For example, you could write a blog post about the top five lakes for sailing in Minnesota, and then tell people about your new line of boat shoes. Local SEO establishes your brand’s footprint in many different cities, and your content marketing strategy can help solidify that footprint.

Local SEO establishes your brand’s footprint in many different cities, and your content marketing strategy can help solidify that footprint.

What’s something you wish more businesses realized when it comes to local SEO?

Businesses often think regular SEO is enough to cover their bases for local SEO. I think a lot of that comes from a major lack of awareness on why local SEO matters and what it affects. As I mentioned in the eBook, a recent study by Stone Temple indicates that 63% of searches today take place on mobile devices. Simply being there when your customers are looking for you and providing accurate information while they’re on the go has never been more important. A proactive local SEO strategy is your ticket to success.

To read the full chapter, hop over to Search Engine Journal and download your own copy of SEJ’s A Guide to Local SEO. (Be sure to check out chapter 9!)

Interested in fine-tuning your own local SEO strategy? Check out our Local SEO capabilities to see how NordicClick can help.