While many people might consider WordPress a no-brainer as their choice of content management system (SMS) for use in building a website, if you are going down this same route, you can really boost your site’s ecommerce smarts by adding WooCommerce to the mix.
WooCommerce is a plugin with which you can customise your WordPress-powered online store. The flexibility of WooCommerce can prove a particular godsend when you are looking to reach out specially to an audience based close to where your business has physical premises.
When you engage in this kind of promotion by doing what you can to boost your website’s visibility on SERPs (search engine results pages), the practice is known as local SEO. Here are some detailed pointers on how to excel at local SEO for a WooCommerce-driven website.
Pin down the fundamentals of good SEO
You might be eager to perfect the local SEO profile of your online store if it offers items that you need to get into the hands of customers relatively quickly — like perishable food or such seasonal products as Christmas tree baubles and Easter eggs.
Ultimately, though, regardless of exactly why you are striving to ace local SEO, your website needs to provide genuine value to its visitors. To this end, the site should offer a good supply of meaningful content with appropriate keywords.
Essentially, it is crucial that you get the basics of SEO right before you start shifting your attention specifically to the local side of the equation. Your website should therefore be responsive in design, quick to load and easy to navigate.
Add or claim your Google Business Profile
Search Engine Journal explains: “If you’ve previously used certain Google tools to complement your business (Google+, for example), or your business has been operating for a while, chances are your business is already listed on Google Business Profiles.”
If your firm does have a Google Business Profile, this should appear at the top of the results when you do a Google search for your company. The profile will also be on Google Maps — with the business name, location, website URL and other details cited in each case.
Hit the following link to bring up a Google Business Profile Help document explaining how you can claim your Google Business Profile or, if it doesn’t already exist, create one.
Once you have control of your listing, you should add as much accurate information as possible to it — and make a habit of responding to reviews there.
Consider getting your business into some other online directories, too
The WooCommerce website observes: “It used to be beneficial to list your business in every single directory you could find. But Google’s algorithm has changed to focus more on other ranking factors.”
Nonetheless, there might remain a fair few online directories that are relevant to your industry and would be worthwhile places for you to get your company listed. Here are just some high-profile examples of the directories you could consider:
Wherever you do secure listings, you should make all of the included information about your business is accurate. The onus is on you to keep it that way, too — such as by editing these details if they are rendered outdated by changes to the business itself.
Get your local webpages indexed by search engines
Even if you cover a relatively limited geographic area, you might have set up webpages for specific towns or cities. A business operating throughout North East England could have one page for Newcastle, another for Teesside, one for County Durham, and so on.
In this scenario, it would be crucial that each page is listed in response to relevant search queries. In short, you need to get your webpages indexed — and, as Search Engine Journal states, this “starts by ensuring you have a clean XML sitemap and robots.txt file.”
The site suggests that you adjust settings for these by using the Yoast plugin for WooCommerce, as doing so would save you having to manually adjust the files or touch their code.
Post content of local relevance
It is a truism among experienced SEO specialists that posting a steady stream of fresh content to websites helps to keep them flying high in Google search rankings.
This content can be in the form of whole new webpages and blog posts or tweaks to existing pieces. For example, if you a run a roofing firm that has started offering solar panels, you could mention this on a new or edited webpage or add a blog post looking at the new service.
However, when pivoting your focus to local SEO in particular, you need to incorporate local references. This can include inserting apt keywords, like ‘solar panels in Newcastle’. Keywords can be scattered throughout articles as well as added as tags to videos.
It would also be helpful for you to post long-form case studies — whether in text, video or even just audio form — showing how your firm has helped specific customers locally.
Invite customers to review their experiences with you
A long list of positive reviews attached to your company’s online listings will bode well for your SEO. Even if you get the occasional negative review online, you could offer to make amends for the disgruntled customer and hopefully encourage them to switch their review to a higher rating.
Whatever you do, though, never pay for reviews. The search engines will inevitability find out at some point that you have done this, and penalise you for it. You would also be risking attracting bad publicity and long struggling to shake off the resultant damage to your company’s reputation.
One good idea would be to install the Customer Reviews for WooCommerce plugin so that any customer who makes a purchase from your WooCommerce-powered store can be subsequently sent an automated, personalised email encouraging them to post a review on the website.
Pursue a local focus with links you generate
Again, link building is already known as a tried-and-trusted method of strengthening SEO. However, as part of your effort to bolster your local SEO, you should aim to collect backlinks from websites heavily associated with your company’s geographic area of coverage.
You could garner these backlinks through various means — including writing guest posts for local bloggers, sponsoring local charities and getting your business featured in city- or county-specific online directories.
Meanwhile, for boosting your website’s internal links, you could utilise Internal Link Juicer, which would let you configure keywords for use in the anchor text of links generated automatically by this WooCommerce plugin.
You shouldn’t neglect paying attention to existing links, either — especially since some of them could have broken without you realising. Another WooCommerce plugin — Broken Link Checker — can be used for uncovering such links, which you might be able to replace with links of a more local slant.
Make use of ‘rich snippets’
The term ‘rich snippets’ refers to packets of information that can come from your website but be integrated seamlessly into Google search results. Consequently, Google users can get a valuable insight into the content of your website before actually clicking through to it.
The ‘rich’ reference derives from the fact that the snippet includes many more details than you would likely expect to see in a standard listing on a Google SERP.
For example, if your business is a nightclub, a number of rich snippets from its website could each advertise upcoming events set to be held at the venue. Meanwhile, rich snippets from a retail store could each focus on a specific product and specify its price and availability.
To give your website structured data, a kind of markup that Google can use for rich snippets, why not use the Yoast Local SEO plugin or an alternative WooCommerce add-on, such as Schema Pro or All In One Schema Rich Snippets?
Keep a close eye on how your local SEO is faring
SEO shouldn’t be treated as a one-off job. That’s because, once you have established a prominent online presence for your brand, you need to keep working hard to preserve this advantage. Alas, that’s much easier said than done.
One particular problem when it comes to local SEO is that, in your bid to target customers from various locations, you could have built up a massive amount of online content — including landing pages, blog posts and directory listings, with each individual piece having its own local spin.
Monitoring how all of these pieces compare from an SEO perspective can be tricky. However, you can ease the job by implementing the MonsterInsights plugin, which would bake Google Analytics data directly into your WordPress dashboard, putting various local SEO insights all in one place.
For an extra helping hand in achieving the best SEO for your WooCommerce-based online store, you could take advantage of our WooCommerce SEO consulting expertise. To learn more about how we could ease your e-commerce firm’s efforts to tap into the local market, please ring +44 (0)20 3411 4789 or email [email protected].