Local SEO for e-commerce, is it really necessary?5 min read

Since the implementation of Pigeon, Big G’s search algorithm has made the management of local SEO much easier, especially on the editorial side. All those businesses that previously had to struggle with semantics to get the top geolocalised position have now had to work on redefining their business. However, this does not seem to have affected e-commerce, which hardly ever use localisation for SEO purposes. Is this a misguided and established practice or a logical behaviour? MBK Fincom investigates.

Designing and implementing a targeted and effective online marketing approach is a must for any business that chooses to work online (and for those that do both online and offline). It is impossible to do well without a good product and a good interface/platform; all of this does not matter if customers and search engines ignore us. We have already explained how important it is, especially for e-commerce, to do a good Search Engine Optimisation. A few words should be reserved for Local SEO.

While it is true that, by definition, e-commerce is ‘everywhere‘ as it is based on shipping goods, there are those who believe that this kind of approach to SEO is also useful for online sales.
When and how true is this?

MBK Fincom wanted to investigate this subject, and then compare it with the analytics of the ProduceShop platform to get a “first-hand” conclusion.

What is Local SEO

Basically, it is the integration of normal SEO practices with an eye on the geolocation of the brand that wants to get the upper hand against its colleagues on the SERP.

After integrating Pigeon into its algorithm, Google made the system detect the position from which the query came; the result is that it immediately shows the results geographically close to it. In this way, the user does not have to think about the location of the search (‘pet shop in Milan‘) but, with fewer keywords, will already have the results closest to them at the top.

Optimising your SEO from a localized perspective, therefore, means ensuring that one’s content, meta and everything else involved in improving the ranking on Google is geared towards geographical accuracy.

A first step, for example, is the creation of a good GoogleMyBusiness tab; not only it must be complete and exhaustive, but it is always better to respect the NAP (name-address-phone) hierarchy, to gain points in the eyes of Big G. Furthermore, on the copy side, geolocalised keywords should certainly be included; they also should contain the right number of references, both in the paragraph and titles and in the meta.

Why it is important to take care of it

If the objective of a company is to reach as many customers as possible on the web, starting with those who are close to us, it is certainly a good starting point. In terms of convenience, as far as the business transaction/operation itself is concerned, and in terms of building loyalty and creating a community.

If we then think of all those businesses and industries that work on concepts such as immediacy, readiness, proximity, necessity (e.g. tourism, catering, retail), we understand, how important it is to be always “on the ball” and ready near the users to fulfil their needs.

Even those who generally only work online, and think that their services are aimed at a broader, non-localised audience, should think again. A large proportion of users tend to choose an agency/business that is physical closer as it provides a matter of familiarity, and readiness to act in case of immediate problems or needs. This is an instinctive need; nevertheless, as all marketers know, these need to be taken into account.

E-commerce, an exception to the rule

To address this issue, it is necessary to divide this type of business into two macro-categories: e-commerce with a physical shop and those without.

In the first case, it is simply a matter of deciding what percentage of users we want to direct to our physical shop, and what percentage we want to keep online. There is no single criterion for choosing one or the other solution. As a general rule, however, it is enough to remember that about 80% of local searches come from mobile, and almost 30% of desktop searches, usually lead to a conversion, in terms of sales. This is very important, especially if you have not yet fully optimised your sales/shipping/delivery process, and your physical location remains your primary source of revenue.

If we are talking about pure e-commerce, which does not have a physical shop, the question takes on different nuances.
If you don’t have a physical location, you certainly can’t focus on the MyBusiness profile (which could even be counterproductive, especially in the case of stores in several countries). The geolocation of keywords should also be limited or at least redesigned ad hoc for each country individually.

If what we are aiming for is not physical visits to the shop, the benefits that many people experience are different:

  • increased web traffic
  • long-term business growth
  • creation of greater authority
  • outperforming competitors (both localised and non-localised)

Other types of approach

We asked Gabriele, SEO Specialist at ProduceShop, for an explanation of how e-commerce can respond to this type of approach.

“Beyond the classic SEO best practices that we have already implement, one thing that helps us “stand out” in the different markets is the localisation work we do, both of the content and of the technical system.

By working on the peculiarities of the target markets, we can tailor the user experience with dedicated marketing. Whether we are talking about copywriting, blogging or Advertising, the crucial point is not to stop at the classic definition of Local SEO but use hybrid methods which, in the digital world, are the ones that always give the best results.

In conclusion

We are certainly not talking about a priority in terms of digital marketing for e-commerce, but an implementation that would certainly be worth trying.

Focusing a portion of one’s resources on Local SEO could, in the long run, be that imperceptible puff that moves the needle from a very good business to a great business.

  • Corporate PR
  • IT and Marketing Depts of ProduceShop (https://mbkfincom.com/)
  • Learndigital.withgoogle.com
  • Analytics.google.com
  • Semrush.com
  • Digital4Biz
  • Shopify
  • HawkSem
  • WebFX
  • Search Engine Journal
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