Make it easy for your customers to find your retail website by implementing a strong strategy for local SEO for retail.
You invested time, money, and energy into building your retail business. You curated the right products and created a customer-friendly environment. All of that is for nothing if your potential customers can’t find you.
Your website has the power to attract customers to your store especially if you use a strong Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. Local SEO for retail has unique challenges and opportunities.
Try these tips to avoid the four most common types of SEO mistakes local retailers make.
Four Local SEO For Retail Mistakes To Avoid
The following list outlines some of the most common errors that may hinder your local SEO. Most mistakes are broad categories that include many details. You can optimize your reach by paying attention to each category and the relevant details.
Mistake #1: Inaccurate Google My Business Listing
Your first step is to make sure your Google “My Business” listing is accurate. Since Google is the number one search engine, your business benefits from making the best use of this page. Some business managers overlook the value of their Google listing.
As a local retailer, you want to make it easy for your customers to find you. Be sure to include your address and directions to your storefront. Also, claim your location on Google maps since is one of the most sought-after services Google offers.
One common local SEO mistake is including false information on a “My Business” listing. For example, some webmasters claim a fake office or a post office box number. Solo professionals and online businesses often make this mistake since they don’t want to list their home on Google. However, this practice is a violation of Google’s terms and conditions, so it often results in losing the listing.
Another key part of the “My Business” listing is your business description. Write an engaging description including local keywords. However, be careful not to stuff the description with keywords. Limit your keyword use to one or two keywords or phrases. You can make use of your “My Business” listing page to promote events, sales, and specific services.
Finally, according to “Think With Google,” consumers search for local business information using their phone. The most common information they look up about local retailers includes the store location, business hours, and product information. Make it easy for your customers by including this essential information in your listing.
Mistake #2: Bad Website Local SEO Structure
Second, now that you optimized your “My Business” listing it is time to focus on your website. Structure your website in a way that makes it easy for search engine bots to navigate your site.
The first consideration is user experience and your site navigation. Google prefers to feature websites that offer a good user experience. Unfortunately, they don’t typically send a human to evaluate your site. Search bots crawl your site, and these bots have an easier time crawling a website that has a clear structure and easy navigation options. Strategic internal links also help the bots better “understand” your site structure.
Next, make your website is mobile responsive. At least half of all web traffic happens using a mobile phone. Therefore, you want to optimize your website for mobile traffic. Clickable phone numbers are one way to make use of a mobile responsive site.
According to Google, 50% of consumers who used their phone for a local search visited that store within a day. Sometimes small business owners overlook small but important details that consumers and Google’s bots expect to see. For example, you may be surprised how many business managers forget to include their address on their website.
Include a contact page to make it easy for readers to contact you directly.
Duplicate content poses a particular challenge for e-commerce sites. Google only ranks one version of the content, so you will want to ensure that any variations of product descriptions are unique. To qualify as unique, each product page needs to vary more than just the title, location, and color.
Mistake #3: Not Auditing Your Business Listing
Next, schedule time to audit your website, social media profiles, and all of your business listings. The goal is to ensure a consistent, on-brand message across all platforms. All too often, local retailers handle their branding in a piecemeal way and end up presenting inconsistent and sometimes conflicting information.
Things to Check When You Audit Your Business Listing:
- Complete contact information
- Duplicate listings and accounts on the same platform
- Each profile and listing reflects your current brand image
- Opening hours and pricing information is consistent
- Are your name, address, and telephone listing consistent across all listings? Your address on Google should match your address on Yelp. Both should match your address on Facebook.
During your listing audit, pay special attention to your reviews. Reviews can make or break your local SEO. The following factors all affect your local SEO:
- Quantity of reviews
- Average rating
- Velocity and recency
Most platforms forbid incentivizing reviews. Also, customers don’t like being harassed about reviews. However, you can find friendly ways to prompt customers to leave reviews. Monitoring your reviews offers helpful insight that may help you improve your store and give you ideas on how to encourage other customers to leave reviews.
Mistake #4: Setting and Forgetting Your Local SEO
Finally, remember local SEO is not a one and done proposition. SEO is a long-game and an ongoing process. Google’s algorithms constantly change.
Create new content such as articles and blog posts. However, feel free to think beyond text since internet users seek video content and audio content like podcasts. New content gives you the chance to rank for more keywords and to pitch your message to a specific audience. It is impossible to be everything to every customer. But you can tailor one blog post to one segment of your customer base. Then target the next blog post to another. An ongoing content plan enables you to create content that serves your entire customer base.
Search engines like Google and Bing prioritize websites with up-to-date information. By publishing new content, you send the message that your site is current.
Finally, since SEO is a medium-to-long game, fine tune your SEO strategy over time. It is an ongoing process as seasoned websites tend to climb up the search rankings when they keep their site up-to-date.
Does all this sound overwhelming? The good news is you don’t have to do it alone. Hire an experienced SEO consultant to create and implement a complete local SEO strategy.