A new report from Localogy and GPO Group looks at a meaningful but often overlooked component of the local search ecosystem. Location-less local businesses.
While this term sounds like an oxymoron, it’s anything but. These are the companies that operate within a specific geographic area but do not have a physical business location in that zone. Or at least not one that the public can visit.
We all know these businesses. These are the HVAC repair pros who work out of their vans. Or the real estate agents who pull “open house” signs out of the trunks of their luxury cars. More likely than not, the HQ operation of these businesses is a laptop on the dining room table.
Now let’s add a modern twist. How about dark stores and ghost kitchens? Just a few years ago, these delivery-only operations didn’t exist. Now they serve very specific local areas with at-home food or grocery delivery. But they do not have locations that are open to the public. Only to delivery drivers.
The report, “Local Search for Location-less Businesses” examines how this growing category of location-based businesses can use localized content to overcome the algorithmic bias in favor of brick and mortar businesses in location-specific search results.
High Stakes in Local Search
The stakes for getting this right are high. As we all know, and as the above graphic demonstrated, local search has much higher purchase intent than searches that are not location-specific.
And more than half of Google searches include a local intent. And 58 percent of consumers find brands via unbranded search queries. So not having a strong local presence, including using tools like local pages, is to risk missing out,” according to the report’s executive summary.
“If anything, local search is most critical for these local but location-less businesses. This report explains why. And it also offers some ideas on how location-less businesses can create a strong local digital presence with unique localized content.”
One of the report’s key recommendations is using local pages (aka local landing pages) to help ensure that location-less businesses aren’t given second-class treatment in local search. After all, these businesses are as legitimately local as the corner diner. They just don’t operate businesses where having a physical location makes sense.
“For those businesses that operate virtually or semi-virtually, localized content serves as a key part of a strategy to ensure that those businesses are not excluded from any local search results that should feature them,” the report notes.
Dos and Don’ts for Local Pages
The report concludes with some best practices for creating localized content. As well as some tactics to avoid.
For example, “Don’t use duplicative content that’s of little value to individual users. Google will deindex pages with duplicate content.”
Whereas, on the positive side, “Do include unique and useful content. For example, location-specific content such as unique services, information about team members, offers, and reviews is a key differentiating factor and represents the difference between adding value and mere keyword stuffing.”
You can download the full report here.