How do new customers find your store? This is an important question to ask shoppers from time to time so that you can evaluate your marketing efforts.  Do most of them come in because they happen to be in the area? Do they see your ads on social media or in print publications?  Are radio ads helping to spread the word about your store?

Chances are good that if you offer online search as a possible answer, it will rank near the top – second only to the elusive “word of mouth” that is every retailer’s best sales tool.  When shoppers are looking for a store, they almost always turn to their phones, tablets or computers and ask Google for a recommendation.

And that is where SEO, or search engine optimization, comes in.  Assuming that you have a website that conveys the essentials about your shop – even if you don’t sell online – you want to make sure that Google finds you fast.  If you do both bricks and clicks sales, it is even more important that you help shoppers locate the products they are looking for our your site.

Stores that aren’t selling online will want to pay special attention to local SEO, which helps potential customers find the products they are looking for at a store that is near their current location.  In order to have Google bring up your store in proximity results, you’ll want to make sure that the details in your Google listing (below) are accurate, and that your shop’s NAP – name, address and phone numbers – are easy to find on your website.

The science of SEO is one that web specialists build their careers on, so it’s well beyond the scope of this blog post to tell you everything about it.  But if you are having someone help you with your website, give some thought to what you want them to know about your business.  What do customers come in asking for?  What are your top sellers? 

These are the items that you want to feature in the keywords on your site, as well as in the names of the individual pages (the more pages the better for coming up in searches).  Photos and other images should have file names and descriptions attached to them that can be matched in a search. 

If you are doing your own website, you might ask for a review by someone who specializes in SEO.  With 3.8 million Google searches per minute on average across the globe, it pays to take the best advantage possible of this marketing tool.

Even shops that don’t have a website will want to make sure that the free Google listing for their business is complete and kept current.  Google can help with this if you go to Google My Business – and don’t forget to update this listing if your hours or other details change.

Happy Retailing,

Carol “Orange” Schroeder

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