The food and drink industry is undergoing something of a transformation in 2020. With the hospitality sector severely affected by COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, businesses are being forced to diversify and reinvent themselves.
While the trading restrictions and non-existent footfall are undeniably catastrophic for many companies, the new landscape we find ourselves in has opened up a wide range of possibilities too. As food companies, drinks manufacturers, and leisure venues modify their operations to continue serving their market, there is one key tool that’s helping them to succeed: local SEO.
What is Local SEO?
A branch of search engine optimisation; local SEO takes the principles behind broad SEO and applies them to a specific geographical region. While the theory behind local food marketing may sound deceptively simple, it’s a powerful tool for B2C food businesses. Indeed, enterprises across all sectors routinely use local SEO to boost brand awareness and sales in particular regions. For food businesses, however, reaching a local market is critical, especially when people are still limited by travel restrictions.
Why do Food Companies Benefit from local SEO?
Food and drinks companies can make significant gains from engaging in local SEO activity. With a well-honed strategy and exciting content, local food and drink SEO could transform your business and help you to grow in any direction you choose. To find out why take a look at these top reasons local SEO works wonders for food businesses:
1. Reaching your target market
If you’re an offline B2C food company, the vast majority of your customers will be situated within a defined distance of your location. This means that your target market will be in close proximity to one another, so the ability to prioritise one area over another becomes far easier.
Even online food companies can benefit from local SEO, regardless of whether they have a brick and mortar base for customers to visit. Statistics show that an increasing number of consumers search for information about a company online before engaging with them. From customer reviews to featured content, potential interaction rests on your online profile.
However, HubSpot reports that ‘near me’ searches have increased by 900% in just two years. This highlights the emphasis users are placing on location, even when they’re looking for an online business. While you may assume that a well-designed website is enough for any online business to thrive, don’t be fooled. Your location is relevant to users, even if you don’t offer face-to-face interaction with your clients or customers. When you leverage local SEO strategies, you can reach users who are searching for content relevant to a specific area and provide the engagement they’re actively looking for.
2. Increasing brand awareness
For food and drink companies that want their products to be a first-choice impulse buy, local SEO is essential. Perhaps you run an eatery in a busy city or maybe you own a restaurant in a rural idyll? You may manufacture thirst-quenching soft drinks that are available in chillers up and down the country or you might produce protein-fuelled snacks that are perfect on-the-go. No matter what you’re bringing to the market, people need to be aware of it if they’re going to join your customer base.
With local SEO, you can make sure your target market is aware of, informed about, and intrigued by your brand. If you operate a coffee shop, for example, you’ll want to be the first result that pops up when someone in the area searches for ‘great coffee near me’ on their smartphone. With local SEO, you can be.
3. Enhanced reputation
People are reluctant to interact with brands they’re unfamiliar with, so building your reputation is critical if you want to facilitate sales. Even when potential targets are actively interested in your brand, a lack of credibility will cause them to abandon their purchase and move on.
By legitimising your business and securing a foothold in specific areas, you enhance your reputation and build trust amongst your target audience. As this trust grows, you’ll find your sales increase accordingly. The more your target audience knows about your business and the more they can verify with independent information, such as Google Business citations, the higher your engagement levels will be.
Start Benefiting from Local SEO Now
If you aren’t already using local SEO to boost your food business, you certainly should be. If you’ve already dipped your toe in the water, it’s time to up your game and maximise your results. With a cohesive and strategic local SEO campaign, you can look forward to high revenues and, ultimately, a bigger share of the food and beverage market.