Hi there, everyone! Ben Fisher here again, and welcome to the fifth installment of our Local Search at Scale series. This series is aimed at large enterprises and franchises, and seeks to help them handle the ever-evolving world of local SEO.
Here’s a quick recap of what we’ve covered so far:
The first installment—How to Best Tackle Local SEO as a Large Enterprise or Franchise Business—was an overview of the topic at large and included the top five problems enterprises/franchises often face when trying to boost their local SEO efforts and the top five tips for how they can improve them.
The second installment—How to Understand Where Enterprise Marketing Budgets Are Most Impactful in Local SEO—was a deep dive into why large organizations always seem to have such a hard time understanding why investing in local SEO efforts is so important.
The third installment—How to Solve the Problem of Communication When Working with Enterprise Brands—took a look at why communication at large enterprises presents such a unique challenge to these big organizations and provided tips on how to overcome it.
The fourth installment—How to Deal With Having Too Many Decision Makers in an Enterprise or Franchise Business—examined the problem that many enterprises face of having “too many cooks in the kitchen” and how best to streamline communication and meetings to get the job done.
Next, I’m going to take a look at problems that may arise when deciding who is actually going to accomplish each individual task that must get done during a local SEO campaign.
Establish Clear-cut Goals from Day One
Establishing clear-cut goals from the beginning is crucial, as it helps create a sense of direction and purpose. It’s important to involve relevant stakeholders in the goal-setting process to ensure buy-in and commitment from everyone. This collaborative approach will ensure that the entire team is on the same page and has a shared vision of success.
When setting goals, use the SMART criteria to make them:
- Relevant, and
This will help you track progress and make adjustments when needed.
For instance, if your objective is to increase foot traffic to individual brick-and-mortar locations, examples of a SMART goal could be: “Increasing foot traffic in the individual brick-and-mortar locations, driving people to the website, increasing conversions on the website, or even improving the online reputation of the franchise as a whole by trying to increase the number of positive reviews on the Google Business Profile (GBP) for each location.”
Additionally, it’s essential to prioritize goals based on their potential impact and the resources required to achieve them. This will help you allocate resources efficiently and focus on the most critical tasks first.
You may also want to establish short-term and long-term goals, as they will serve different purposes. Short-term goals provide motivation and quick wins, while long-term goals ensure the project’s sustainability and long-lasting impact.
Regularly revisiting and reassessing your goals is also important. The dynamic nature of local SEO means that new challenges and opportunities will arise over time. Be prepared to adapt your goals and strategies to stay ahead of the competition and capitalize on emerging trends.
In summary, establishing clear-cut goals from day one is vital for the success of your local SEO campaign. Ensure that your goals are SMART, prioritized, and adaptable to the ever-evolving world of local SEO.
By setting the right goals and working towards them, your enterprise will be well-positioned to achieve success in local search rankings, drive customer engagement, and ultimately boost your bottom line.
Make Sure All Roles Clearly Understand Their Responsibilities
We’ve touched on this a bit before in prior installments, but when it comes to assigning the work, it’s worth highlighting the importance of understanding responsibilities in a more in-depth manner.
For a project as massive as improving local SEO for a major enterprise with numerous franchise locations, assigning and delegating work effectively requires a clear understanding of who is responsible for what, and it needs to be established from the jump.
As I mentioned above, the actual nuts and bolts of a local SEO project will vary slightly depending on the organization itself, its size, and its particular goals. Additionally, the roles of people who are involved in the project may vary as well (e.g. one enterprise might have a massive IT team and can afford to assign one person to each franchise location, whereas others might run a slimmer IT department and can’t spare to loan any team members out).
Having said that, these are some of the roles you might consider assigning to a local SEO project.
Roles to Assign In a Large-scale Local SEO Project
As the name might suggest, this would be the person to manage the project. Depending on the size of the enterprise, there may be one overarching Project Manager for the entire organization in addition to individual Project Managers that oversee each location.
The Project Manager’s job is to check in on all the other team leads, ensure that deadlines are being met and tasks are getting done, and check in often to make sure the results are progressing throughout the project.
Google Business Profile Manager
You probably (hopefully) don’t need to hear it from me, but Google Business Profiles (GBP) are a massively important part of a local SEO campaign.
Each franchisee must have a GBP that is fully optimized, and that receives regular, SEO-friendly updates, so it makes sense that each GBP should have a manager assigned to it. This person should respond to reviews promptly, post regular updates, add new photos, and make sure all the attributes/services/products for the business are as accurate and up-to-date as possible.
As mentioned above, regular updates to the Google Business Profiles will be key, yet the GBP Manager might not have the time or the inclination to write them.
Having someone who’s a talented writer with experience in content marketing can help not only alleviate this burden from the GBP Manager but will also ensure that updates to the GBP are well-written and contain the proper keywords.
Obviously, that’s not an “official” title per se, but you’ll absolutely want to have someone in your corner who has seen a thing or two in the SEO world.
This person can work with the GBP Manager and Writer to ensure that the keywords are the right ones, but also can help on the back-end items such as making sure the store locator page on each site contains the city and state in the title tags, ensuring the clickable mobile elements are working correctly, and making sure that local schema markup has been implemented on all of the store locator pages.
This is not a comprehensive list of roles, and again, your team may look vastly different depending on the nature of your enterprise, but I would consider these the bare minimum of roles that need to be on a team to boost local SEO.
Establish a Realistic Timeline
We’ve probably all been there before at one point or another in our professional lives: the boss comes in with a big idea that will undoubtedly help move the needle (e.g “We need to increase sales and get more customers!”) but doesn’t know how to best execute the plan.
Or if they do, they will almost always provide the team that is actually going to execute the plan with an unrealistic (and usually unfair) timeline.
I know I sound like a broken record here, but local SEO projects are no different.
Local SEO projects make take months, or even years, to fully actualize. And if the enterprise in question is like most other companies in America at the moment, everyone on the team will have plenty of other projects they are currently working on with all of their accompanying tasks.
That’s why it’s crucial that you establish a clear, aggressive timeline, but one that is realistic and gives your team the time they need to complete what’s been assigned to them.
Again, there is no clear-cut answer for how long your project will take; it will inevitably depend on the size of your team, your specific local SEO goals, what other projects are currently going on at the company, and how many locations you’re dealing with.
To establish a realistic timeline, it’s essential to break down your local SEO project into smaller, manageable tasks and milestones. This will enable you to allocate resources more effectively and monitor progress at each stage of the project.
Start by identifying the key deliverables and then estimate the time required to complete each task. It’s crucial to involve your team members in this process, as they can provide valuable insights into how long each task will take based on their expertise and experience.
Once you’ve estimated the time required for each task, factor in any dependencies or potential roadblocks that could impact the project timeline. For instance, consider the availability of team members, potential bottlenecks, and other ongoing projects that might demand their attention. It’s also a good idea to build some buffer time into the schedule to account for unforeseen challenges and delays.
Regular progress check-ins and status updates are essential for keeping the project on track and ensuring the timeline remains realistic. These check-ins provide an opportunity to identify any delays or obstacles and adjust the timeline or resources accordingly. Encourage open communication within the team, as this will help flag any issues early on and enable prompt resolution.
Another important aspect of establishing a realistic timeline is setting expectations with stakeholders. Communicate your project timeline, including any potential risks and uncertainties, to stakeholders from the outset. This transparency will help manage expectations and build trust, ensuring everyone is on the same page throughout the project.
In conclusion, a realistic timeline is crucial for the success of your local SEO project. Break down the project into smaller tasks, estimate the time required, factor in dependencies and potential roadblocks, and maintain open communication within your team and with stakeholders.
By carefully planning and monitoring your project’s progress, you’ll increase the likelihood of achieving your local SEO goals and ultimately drive success for your enterprise.
Stay in Touch
If you want to completely derail a business project of any scope or size, the most effective way to do that is probably to practice poor communication. Forgetting to check in with team members, failing to give regular status updates, and not maintaining a regular stream of communication will inevitably lead to missed deadlines, hot tempers, and just generally speaking, a hot mess.
Properly delegating work, assigning proper roles, and working together as a team requires effective communication. How you establish this regular contact is up to you.
- Maybe your GBP Managers have a daily standup meeting every morning for 5-10 minutes, just to connect very quickly and see if anyone needs help.
- Maybe your Writers have a bi-weekly 30-minute meeting with the Project Managers for each location to give them a report on how everything is going, and then those Project Managers email a monthly overview to the overall Project Manager.
- Maybe every single team member for each location gets together for an hour every day over a video conference to bounce ideas off of each other and try to come up with new metrics to move the needle.
- Maybe all of the above!
Whether it’s email updates, video conferencing, in-person updates, or just quick messages over Slack, however you decide to do it—just ensure that there is a regular, expected pattern of communication across all parties. And in my experience, when it comes to communication, the more the merrier.
In addition to the communication strategies mentioned above, it’s vital to foster a culture of openness and collaboration within the team. Encourage everyone to share their ideas, challenges, and accomplishments, as this can lead to better problem-solving, innovation, and a stronger sense of camaraderie.
Moreover, celebrating individual and team successes can go a long way in boosting morale and keeping everyone motivated to achieve the common goal.
Utilize technology to facilitate communication. Project management tools, shared calendars, and collaboration platforms can help keep everyone in the loop and ensure that deadlines and milestones are tracked effectively. These tools can also help create a transparent work environment where team members feel accountable for their tasks and progress.
Lastly, remember that communication is a two-way street. Active listening and acknowledging your team members’ input can significantly enhance trust and engagement within the team. By maintaining open and regular communication, you’ll not only keep the project on track but also build a strong, cohesive team that can tackle any challenge that comes their way.
Constantly Analyze and Be Ready to Pivot
You might be familiar with the aphorism, “Man makes plans, and God laughs.” Among other things, it highlights that even with meticulous planning, an abundance of preparation, hours of research, and basically doing everything right… the wheels can still fall off.
That’s why for a local SEO project, it’s important that you’re analyzing every single step. SEO is an ever-evolving beast and some of the best tips we have right now for enterprises and local SEO might look a bit different in 2024 and beyond.
Being able to spend as much time and devoting as many resources as possible to constantly evaluate your efforts will help you achieve your goals, but it’ll also help you pivot if they aren’t working. Being able to adapt is key because Google is constantly making tweaks to its search engine algorithms.
In this fast-paced digital landscape, it’s essential to stay agile and responsive to the changing dynamics of local SEO. Regularly monitoring key performance indicators (KPIs) and adjusting your strategy based on the data you gather can lead to better results and help you stay ahead of the competition.
Don’t hesitate to experiment with new tactics and techniques, but make sure to A/B test them before implementing them on a larger scale. This will allow you to determine their effectiveness and minimize the risk of disrupting your overall strategy.
Ensure that your team stays informed about the latest industry trends, best practices, and algorithm updates by attending webinars and conferences, and following industry influencers. Encourage them to share their learnings and insights with the rest of the team, fostering a culture of continuous learning and improvement.
Finally, always be ready to pivot your approach when necessary. If a particular strategy isn’t yielding the desired results, take a step back, reassess, and come up with a new plan.
Embracing a flexible and adaptable mindset will enable your enterprise to thrive in the ever-changing world of local SEO, ensuring sustained growth and success.
Much like building a house, the foundation of a strong local SEO project is going to be in establishing roles and assigning work from the beginning.
By coming up with goals that make sense for your organization, ensuring that your team is composed of people with skills that are necessary, that they’re communicating regularly, and making sure your timelines are realistic and won’t cause burnout (which you definitely want to avoid), you’re setting your enterprise up for local SEO success.