30-second summary:

  • 60% of consumers have been shopping online increasingly often since COVID-19.
  • Making your local SEO strategy a top priority for small retailers and those with multiple locations.
  • Shoppers are browsing increasingly commonly and making increasingly purchases, although they are smaller in value.
  • Local retailers should focus on creating in-store experiences online and pick up.
  • Understanding your local regulars and optimizing at the hyper-local level is key.
  • Jim Yu, Founder and CEO of BrightEdge highlights five unconfined ways your merchantry can use local SEO to dominate search and translate it into sales this holiday season.

A shorter than usual shopping season, last-mile shipping uncertainty, and ongoing health and safety concerns are just a few of the factors driving wild shifts in consumer policies in the lead-up to holiday season 2020. Given how wide-reaching and long-lasting the coronavirus pandemic is proving to be, we couldn’t possibly have predicted or envisioned the circumstances we now find ourselves in. Local businesses once pushed near the brink may find this shopping season increasingly competitive than usual, making your local SEO strategy a top priority.

This holiday season increasingly than ever, marketers need to alimony a hand firmly on the pulse of their market and opportunities. Activating as much relevant, real-time consumer data as possible is going to be key.

1. Offer payment options, COVID precautions, and other key conversion information front and center

We know what the important issues are for shoppers this season:

Consumers are browsing, researching, and shopping wideness online channels. They are increasingly value-conscious than surpassing and are looking for reassurance that their privacy and data are protected when making purchases online.

Get superiority of commonly asked questions by updating your website, social profiles, local listings, and landing pages with answers. These are critically important optimizations—so much so that Google, Yelp, and other listings platforms are highlighting this information for consumers on merchantry profiles. If consumers can’t find what they’re looking for on your listing, they’ll simply move on to the next.

2. Really get to know your regulars this holiday season

Planning campaigns based on historic data simply won’t cut it this year. Agile marketers and smart automation will come together to power the messaging and experiences it takes to convert in upended markets.

Nielsen released consumer profiles late in October based on research and surveys undertaken in variegated periods throughout the COVID pandemic. It’s untellable to predict just who you’ll find at your door (or in your online shopping cart) this holiday season, but expect to see each of these consumer types in the mix:

local search this holiday season - consumer expectations

You can see the very variegated motivations and types of shopping happening this year. Those who’ve escaped a uncontrived impact from COVID may be compensating for luxuries they’ve forgone this year—trips that were canceled, or large purchases put on hold due to the initial uncertainty. At the other end of the spectrum, you see consumers who are unauthentic both financially and physically, having less money to spend and moreover constrained by lockdown measures.

Understanding both your macro market and micro opportunities, at the individual web visitor level, is key to capitalizing on your opportunities to convert this holiday season.

3. Feed browsing policies with upper quality, engaging content that complements holiday season search

In our recent research, BrightEdge mentioned that 60% of consumers have been shopping online increasingly often since COVID-19. It’s a policies that 73% of those plans to protract without the pandemic. Shoppers are browsing increasingly commonly and making increasingly purchases, although they are smaller in value.

Feed browser policies with engaging, quality content to rule holiday season with SEO

This holiday season, it’s hair-trigger that the content on offer is personalized and engaging; that it is an well-judged reflection of their needs, intent, interests, and policies in the moment. Activate your search insights with dynamic content optimizations to alimony in step with waffly consumer behaviors.

Think like your COVID-weary customer—what is giftable this year? As Nielsen points out in their recent vendible on the consumer types retailers can expect this year, “From a necessity that can no longer fit the budget, to a product that has been harder to get in stores this year, the definition of a ‘gift’ will squint very variegated this year.” Help shoppers understand how your product/service delivers comfort, entertainment, security, or is otherwise a necessity for that special someone in their life.

  • Use all of the tools misogynist to expand and add interest to your search results.
  • Upload new photos and videos often.
  • Use Google Posts to highlight promotions, in-store and virtual events, products and services, etc.
  • Make sure your on-page SEO is on point and that pages have proper schema markup.
  • Work closely with your paid search team to ensure your organic and paid strategies complement, not cannibalize, one another.
  • Keep it interesting and get increasingly traction wideness channels by switching up your content types.

4. Focus on creating experiences

Consumers have been spending significantly increasingly time watching and reading the news, participating in hobbies, and engaging with TV, movies, and games at home. They are hungry for experiences to fill at least some of the void left by sealed restaurants, shuttered concert venues, canceled events, and the inability to travel.

Even outside of the influence of the pandemic, the consumer wits was expected to surpass product and price as the key trademark differentiator. Regardless of how much thought or planning you put into it, customers are having an wits with your business. It’s a worthwhile place to focus your efforts on the eve of this holiday shopping season.

July 2020 survey insights from YouGov show that consumers have been engaging with product demonstrations, pop-up shops, and installations. Some of these experiences translate naturally online—product sit-in videos, for example. Events you used to hold in-store could work as Facebook Lives or omnichannel promotions.

Focus on creating smooth omnichannel experiences to rule holiday season with SEO

Give traditionally local shoppers ways to engage, such as QR codes in the window to momentum them to an online wits when in-store shopping is not possible (perhaps preferable for them).

Whatever the format and channel, think well-nigh the wits you are curating for your audience. How do you show them you are invested in their satisfaction and happiness? How do you facilitate their moving from one piece of content or waterworks to the next? How do you capture and alimony their interest?

Think of your consumer interactions not as touchpoints but within the context of their overall shopping journey. Grow My Store is a tool from Google that assesses any retail site, whether for an online or a physical store and brings when recommendations to help modernize the consumer experience.

5. Highlight your local relevance

Recent Yahoo! Small Merchantry Research found that the vast majority of shoppers (75% of those surveyed) want to shop at and support small businesses. Flipside survey, this one by Alignable, found that 32% of respondents said they would be spending increasingly money at locally owned businesses in Q4 2020.

How do you make your local relevance well-spoken to shoppers and the search engines you rely on to get you in front of them?

  • Make sure all locations are claimed, verified, and optimized.
  • Localize your content. Engage audiences with on-location photos and video. Refer to local landmarks, get involved in local events and organizations, and build links from within the local community.
  • Do local keyword research and optimize your listings, landing pages, and website.
  • Make well-spoken the fulfillment options you offer local customers: BOPIS, curbside pickup, and contactless delivery.
  • Make the most of your local reviews with tropical monitoring, rapid response, and highlighting positive reviews wideness other channels.

Use Google’s Local Opportunity Finder to quickly assess your local presence and get tips and hints for optimizing your GMB.

If you want to alimony nearby shoppers off Amazon and yonder from major box stores this year, focus on meeting customers where they’re looking for products and services like yours: in local search. Alimony them reading and browsing out of entertainment, not in an effort to find information that should be readily available. Proactively throne off concerns well-nigh payment methods, COVID precautions, special hours, and increasingly by keeping your site and local listings up to date.

This promises to be an unusual shopping season for many. Local essential is for small retailers and local SEO for multiple locations is vital for enterprises and Now that you can’t count on previous experience, it’s hair-trigger to tap into your search insights.

Customers are telling you what it’s going to take to win their business. Are you listening?

Jim Yu is the founder and CEO of BrightEdge, the leading enterprise SEO and content performance platform.