Local SEO Tips for Pet Retailers to Tackle Right Meow
1. Improve the quality of your local citations.
What are local citations? Citations are references to the name of your business and your address and they are important in generating accurate search engine results for queries related to your business. These citations should always match the information already on your website. This gives a good indicator to Google, and other directories, that your business is legitimate and trustworthy (and open).
Why do local citations matter?
Let’s say a customer, Claudia, has run out of grain-free dog food for Tucker, her beloved Shih Tzu, on a Saturday evening. Claudia usually purchases this specialty dog food from a nearby retailer, but the retailer closes at 2 p.m. on Saturdays. Now what? Buy a mass market dog food brand from a big-box retailer? No way! Tucker deserves better. Claudia is willing to drive to another retailer who has the particular brand of dog food that Tucker enjoys.
Claudia pulls out an iPhone to conduct a Google search for “pet supply store near me.” Claudia locates your store in the results! Unfortunately, this is what she sees.
Having a clear picture of your storefront and your hours helps customers identify whether or not your facility is open to the public (and when). Missing information could cause users to skip your listing in the search engine results pages; here are some common issues with local listings:
- conflicting address information,
- missing store hours, and
- no easy way to locate a phone number.
Improving the quality of your local citations ensures that potential customers have access to the information they need in the moment when they need it.
2. Use Google My Business.
Have you recently checked your Google My Business profile? It’s a good idea to verify the information on your business listings, especially your Google My Business page, at least once per year.
Have you verified your local business yet on Google? Google provides instructions for verifying your business information. Typically, this will be done over the phone or through the mail and it can take anywhere from 5 minutes to two weeks. If you don’t have a profile, you will need to create a business account, which is fairly simple; support is always there if you have questions.
Having trouble optimizing or verifying your profile? We provide tips for dealing with common issues related to Google My Business in a blog post.
3. Ensure your website is mobile friendly.
Capturing customers, like Claudia, seeking information at home or on the road using a smartphone makes a strong case for having a mobile-friendly website. Websites that aren’t mobile friendly are websites that aren’t user friendly on smartphones. Often, these websites are difficult to use and make it hard for smartphone users to quickly locate the address and phone number of your business. On top is a screenshot of a pet supply retailer that does not have a mobile friendly website. On the bottom is a screenshot of a pet supply retailer with a mobile friendly website. Both screenshots were taken with an iPhone 6.
Website that is not mobile friendly
Website that is mobile friendly
Not sure if your website is mobile friendly?
Use Google’s mobile-friendly test or the newest mobile-friendly test. If Google says that your website is mobile friendly, that’s great news! However, that’s not the end of the road. Google provides a series of “Next steps” if there are elements of your website that could be improved for mobile usability.
For the retailer shot above, here are the results from Google’s test of the retailer on the left who does not receive the mobile friendly designation. Note that many suggestions Google has for improving this website’s mobile usability.
Getting your local SEO house in order could open the door for all sorts of positive correlation in your sales and visits. These simple steps can help customers find you and although they might mean a little extra work, they can have lasting results.