If you’re a coffee person, you’ve likely used Google to find a local coffee shop when you were visiting a new city. The results you saw and your eventual visit to the coffee shop resulted from coffee shops taking advantage of local SEO.
Focusing on local SEO can be one of the most lucrative digital marketing strategies for coffee shops. This strategy will help your shop occupy some of the most valuable real estate in the world: the top spot on Google.
Keep reading to learn more about local SEO for coffee shops and how to use it to help your business grow.
What is SEO?
Broadly speaking, SEO (or search engine optimization) is the set of practices and techniques that help improve a website’s ranking in search engine results. It involves everything from organizing the information on a website to building links from websites with higher authority.
When setting up an SEO strategy, the plan is usually focused on specific keywords that an organization wants to rank for. For example, a website that sells coffee mugs may want to show up whenever someone searches for things like “coffee mugs for sale” or “travel coffee cup.”
A company’s goal is to use a strong position in the search results to attract customers to their business at just the right time. This kind of high-intent web traffic is very valuable to businesses. As you might expect, that makes SEO incredibly competitive when it comes to certain keywords. The more search volume a keyword has, the more businesses will be fighting for those top spots.
So how can your local coffee shop compete with huge businesses that have tons of money to spend on search engine optimization? That’s where local SEO comes in.
Local SEO is a search engine optimization strategy that helps your business improve its ranking in local searches.
A local search is any search that is looking for something located within a specific geographic area. An example of a local search could be “coffee shops in las vegas.” This qualifies as a local search because the user is searching for something within a specific geographic location. Nearly half of all online searches are looking for local information.
While local searches include searches with the phrase “near me” or the name of a specific city, those aren’t the only local searches. Oftentimes, search engines like Google will consider a search local as long as the search references a product or service that is typically consumed locally. That means search terms like “coffee shop” and “plumber” will likely provide the user with local results, even if the name of a city isn’t included.
81% of people research businesses online before visiting in person. This means that people are searching for local coffee shops online before ever visiting your shop (or your competitors!). This trend in consumer behavior presents you with an excellent opportunity. You have the chance to bring more foot traffic to your shop by simply improving your coffee shop’s local search ranking.
How to improve your local ranking
You’re convinced that local SEO is a valuable marketing strategy for your coffee shop. But how do you ensure your shop appears at the top of search results? There are two main things you can control that will have a massive impact on your local SEO. These things are your website and your Google Business Profile.
Google Business Profile
A Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business) is a business listing on Google. Since Google is the world’s most popular search engine, you want to make sure you have this business listing so that Google knows who you are, what you do, and where you do it. Plus, these listings are free so there’s no reason not to take advantage of them!
To make the biggest impact with your Google Business Profile, your goal is to rank in one of the top three local business results whenever someone searches for coffee shops in your city. The “3-Pack” refers to these top three spots and they earn most of the web traffic (and foot traffic) from organic searches.
There are some pieces of your Google Business profile that you’ll want to pay attention to as you try to improve your Business Profile’s ranking in the local search results.
The information section of your Google Business Profile is where you tell potential customers all about your business. You can use it to tell the story of your coffee shop, describe what the atmosphere is like, and keep people up to date on your hours of operation.
This is a good place to naturally include some keywords that you’d like to rank for. Don’t just stuff as many keywords in the description as you can, but include them when it makes sense to. Every piece of information that you can include to describe your shop to Google and your customers will prove valuable in the long run.
Many people are more moved by visual imagery than text on a screen. Take advantage of that! Your coffee shop’s Google Business Profile has a section where you can include photos of your shop, your staff, and your drinks. Be sure to post high-quality pictures of each of these things to entice more people to click on your listing and visit your coffee shop.
Humans are social creatures. We tend to trust other humans and go with the crowd. That’s why reviews for your coffee shop are so powerful. Your Google Business Profile allows people to leave reviews of your coffee shop that can be seen by other users. Collecting lots of five-star reviews will signal to Google and potential customers that your coffee shop is a high-quality establishment that leaves customers satisfied.
Check out our article about how to use Google Business Profile for coffee shops to learn more about how to optimize your Google business listing.
Your coffee shop’s website is the virtual front door of your business. It’s the place people go online to learn more about who you are and what you do. Since SEO is tied to your website, the things you do on your website can have a massive impact on where your coffee shop appears in the local search results.
Google can only rank your website as well as it understands what your website is about. Google’s crawlers are always looking for information that helps them better understand what a website is about. The best way to help them understand is to simply tell them! Here are a few key areas of your site you can use to do just that.
The titles of your pages should be accurate and descriptive. You want to make it very clear, both to your customers and to Google, what each page of your website is about.
On top of that, you should include the location of your shop in the titles, headings, and content whenever it’s appropriate. Whether it’s a specific region, city, or neighborhood, you want search engines to be able to know where people can find your coffee shop.
The headings and subheadings on your website create an informational hierarchy. They help signal what the most important parts of the content are. Using a proper heading structure will make it easier for search engines to understand the structure of the information that they’re reading. You’ll want to include local keywords in the headings and subheadings of your site whenever they can fit in naturally.
Here’s an example of how headings and subheadings could be structured on the locations page for a coffee shop with multiple locations:
- H1- Coffee Shop Locations in Kentucky
- H2- Western Kentucky
- H3- Hopkinsville
- H3- Bowling Green
- H2- Northern Kentucky
- H3- Florence
- H3- Fort Thomas
- H2- Western Kentucky
Notice how there is only one H1 heading on the page. This is an SEO best practice because it helps make it clear what the page is about.
The content of your site in this case refers to the copy written in the body paragraphs. This copy should speak directly to your target audience and be easy to understand. This is a great place to add location-specific keywords to your site as long as you do it in a natural way. You also may want to throw in some potential variations of your keywords so that the copy isn’t too repetitive.
At the end of the day, you should design your coffee shop website primarily for people, not search engines. A search engine’s job is to provide humans with the best experience possible, so they’ll appreciate it when your site is set up to meet the needs of users.
When was the last time you searched for something on your smartphone? If you’re like most of us, it was probably earlier today.
Roughly half of all internet traffic comes from mobile devices. Search engines are aware of that and want to provide their users with the best experience possible. That’s why mobile-friendliness is a ranking factor for Google.
Your coffee shop website should be fully responsive. That means that the site’s design “responds” to whatever size screen it’s displayed on. It should look great and be useful whether it’s being viewed on a desktop, tablet, or smartphone.
Even if mobile-friendliness wasn’t a ranking factor, you’d still want to make sure your website looks great on mobile.
Imagine someone is searching for coffee shops in your city. You’ve put in the work so your shop appears at the top of the 3-pack. Naturally, the person clicks on the icon to visit your website. From here, they can either have a good experience on your site or a poor experience on your site. If your site is mobile-friendly, they’ll find the information they need and be walking through your door in no time. If the site isn’t mobile-friendly or it takes too long to load, they’ll become frustrated and decide to visit one of your competitors instead. That is the importance of a mobile-friendly coffee shop website.
Bonus: listing consistency
Another way to help your coffee shop appear higher in local search rankings is to have accurate, consistent listings all over the internet. This will help search engines recognize that you have a legitimate business that deserves to rank highly.
An online listing is basically anywhere that your business is listed online. This could be on social media, maps, or directories. There are three main parts of a listing that you’ll want to make sure are consistent across the board: name, address, and phone number.
Accurate listings aren’t just for search engines, they’re for customers. You never know where a customer could be searching for coffee shops. You want to appear anywhere that they’re looking. Whether it’s on Google, Yelp, Facebook, or somewhere else, you don’t want to miss a chance to win a customer.
Track your coffee shop’s local SEO efforts
If you’re just starting off working on your coffee shop’s local SEO, there are a couple of free tools you can use to keep track of the progress you’re making. There are tons of tools out there, but these ones are straight from Google. They’re the Google Business Profile insights tab and Google Search Console.
Google Business Profile insights tab
The insights tab on the Google Business Profile dashboard is where you’ll go to track how your business listing is doing. Here, you’ll be able to see how many people have seen your business profile, how many searches you’ve appeared in, what keywords your coffee shop is showing up for, and more.
It’s a great place to learn more about how users are finding you so that you can tailor your listing to fit their customer journey.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console is where you’ll go to track how your website is performing for local searches. After you’ve connected your website, Google Search Console offers you a ton of different information, so it can be overwhelming at first.
If you’re just starting out, one of the best areas to focus on is the performance tab. Here, you’ll be able to see how your efforts have paid off over time. SEO is often a long game, so it helps to zoom out to get the full picture of how far your coffee shop has come.
The dashboard will show you key search result information for given date ranges that you can use to inform your SEO strategy. You can see your website’s total clicks, total impressions, average click-through rate, and average position all in one chart.
Below the chart, you’ll be able to see what queries your website is showing up for and which pages on your website appear the most often. This information can help guide the decisions you make and the content you post on your website going forward.
All-in-one digital marketing platform
We know you’re busy managing baristas and brewing great coffee. You don’t have time to manage countless usernames and passwords and make sure every single business listing is up to date. That’s why Marketing Backend provides coffee shops like yours with everything they need to succeed in the digital world. Our platform allows you to connect all the platforms we’ve talked about as well as our own marketing solutions into one easy-to-use dashboard.
Local SEO doesn’t have to be a pain in the tail. Marketing Backend is here to help.