Ecommerce SEO Tips for Local Brick-and-Mortars
Ecommerce SEO and selling product online (to wider geographic market) is not limited to big retailers, warehouses, affiliates and drop shippers. Whether you're selling high-performance road bikes or kids scooters, there are many ways local brick-and-mortars can capture a share of the greater search market and grow their businesses.
In fact, there are many SEO strategies that local retailers can use to increase their search visibility. While some of the following ideas can be taken in different directions, each tip is designed help brick-and-mortars use ecommerce SEO in a creative and actionable manner.
It's All About Branding...
The first tip to a thriving ecommerce SEO campaign is to understand that a great deal of success hinges on brand building and cultivating a reputation. From your social media image to the content a business produces, underscoring your efforts with a brand-centric approach is the way to go.
Marco Laterza gets it. This guy built a brand around The Vegan Project and he's monetizing through product sales.
Bloggers, related brands, and other web users link to and mention brands (not just websites.) Establish a reputation for something your business offers, and offers well. And make the brand behind your store the foundation to it all.
...and Niche Targeting
Like I mentioned above, establish a reputation for something your business offers well. Think of this as your wheelhouse. Are there any products that your retail store is recognized for? Do you specialize in a select brand or exclusive line?
Take a look at what Better Triathlete has done to position itself as an triathlon authority for bikes, coaching, training, and gear. Using a simple blog format, the site has been able to position itself as an niche authority in the space for all things triathlon.
Take these ideas and try to niche-them-down even further. Ecommerce SEO can be a fierce battlefield, so it's critical to target and optimize for very niche keyword categories. While incubating on which direction to take with this, you may find that you're best off starting with specific products. And perhaps products you know very well.
Go Deep With Product SEO
A local health food store is going to have a difficult time competitively ranking for keywords like "vegan protein powder." However, that same store could stand a better chance with phrases like "sunwarrior warrior blend raw plant-based complete protein powder," (yes, that long-tail phrase does get searched in Google,) Or perhaps, "best plant based protein powder for weight loss."
Sure, there are tons of undefined variables that could impact this site's authority and ranking. The idea here is that it can more effective to build, optimize, and share content for specific products and long-tail keywords.
When you search for specific products, Google will often favor popular review posts, videos, and other great forms of content marketing. High-value content that gets social shares, links, and other heavy ranking signals are true assets for SEO.
Construct a Content Strategy
The nice thing about local brick-and-mortar SEO is that these businesses can practice better pacing. What do I mean by that?
The common scenario when investing in an expensive ecommerce SEO program is targeting 1,000+ keywords and swimming in many different seas. This can be effective for authoritative domains and big brands (or retailers who work with the best-rated Atlanta SEO companies. However, for local brick-and-mortars, it's often best to start smaller, and invest quality efforts over volume.
In short, you don't want to spread yourself to thin. Focus on actualizing (a handful of) high-value content strategies (i.e. in-depth product reviews, videos, blogs, etc.) that yield high levels of engagement. Long-form content often wins when it comes to SEO and high page rankings, especially when infused with subtle keyword targeting and social media.
Infusing Keywords & Social Media
The last tip I am going to offer is the icing on the cake. So much so that you might find yourself confidently investing in social media advertising (i.e. promoted Tweets and boosted/sponsored Facebook posts.)
Here's an example: let's say the local health food store writes a great product review for Amazing Grass Protein Superfood (a fine product if I might say so myself.) The store tags @Amazing Grass when sharing the review on Facebook. The folks over Amazing Grass love the review so much, they decide to share it with their 98,895 followers.
In just a couple weeks, the review post earns 392 likes, 12 comments, and 25 shares, as well as a few backlinks from other bloggers. And because the health food store's web marketer was SEO-savvy and infused the blog post with keywords around Amazing Grass Protein Superfood Review, the page ranked in the top 3 for that keyword phrase.
Again, this is just an example, but a realistic one that sheds light on the possibility of infusing your content strategies keywords (for SEO) and social media (by earning social signals and backlinks.)
For more information about this topic, check out an article I wrote titled Infusing SEO Into Your Content Marketing Strategies. For best practices on ecommerce SEO, local SEO, and search marketing, check me out on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.