SEO for High Street Shops: It’s the Present, Not the Future
Our local high street has been under pressure from online retailers for years, and many of our small shopkeepers are still finding it really hard to make the most of the new digital reality. Because, let’s face it, that is what it is.
Why your local business must embrace digital technology
There’s no point thinking that digital marketing is somehow not relevant to your bricks-and-mortar shop or longing for the return of the ‘good old days’. Rather than being a replacement for high street shopping, you should see internet technology as an integral part of it, for that is what customers are increasingly expecting.
Nor is an online strategy something you can afford to put off until later, even if you may be struggling to get your head around the technology or your budget is stretched to breaking point. Sadly, any local business that fails to see internet marketing as an opportunity to grow and instead views online shopping as a threat or a ‘nice to have’ will likely end up self-limiting its customer reach, its business growth and, ultimately, its commercial viability.
The fact is that using the right digital marketing and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) techniques are now business critical for EVERY high street establishment, and that includes small independent shops. So, whether you’re a local hairdresser, therapist or florist, whether you run a café, deli or garage, the time to take action, for the sake of your business, is now.
Having a business website is not enough
Does your shop have a website? Interestingly, more than a quarter of small businesses don’t have one, presumably because they don’t see the need for an online presence – a huge mistake! A website allows your customers to find out more about you as a company with a simple mouse click. At its most basic, it’s an opportunity to present your business brand and tell your story, introduce your products and services, explain the way you do business, and tell potential customers why they should visit your shop and where you are located.
But even if you do have a website, that’s not the end of the story. Because what’s the use of having a great looking site if it is nowhere to be found in the search results? It’s like having the best restaurant in town but it’s in a tiny side street in a basement and there’s no sign. No one is going to find you!
These days, 90% of customers find businesses in their local area using the internet. Indeed, Google reports that about 46% of all online searches have a local intent behind them. You want your website to be on the first page of Google search results because, let’s be honest, that’s the only place people will look.
So, what do we mean by ‘SEO for retailers’?
Optimising your retail website can take many forms, and they’re all aimed at increasing organic rankings, so you can be found more easily on Google. Here are some of the key techniques that can be employed to achieve tangible ranking improvements:
- Targeting the right keywords, including location specific terms
- Creating good quality, relevant content for your web pages
- Updating your content regularly with fresh content, e.g. through regular blogs
- Ensuring an optimal user experience for visitors on your site
- Building backlinks to your site to show domain authority
- Checking your website for technical coding issues that can have a negative effect
Independent retail outlets that depend on local customers can use organic SEO techniques to improve their site’s Google rankings. In addition, localised SEO can help physical commercial premises increase their online visibility in a specific geographical location. The ultimate aim is to convert online searches into in-store visits, increasing footfall through your door.
Local SEO is focused on a particular location. These days, shoppers are likely to look online for business such as yours, and effective local SEO can help attract them to your physical store. With excellent location-specific content and building links through relevant and high-quality local websites, you stand a greater chance of ranking higher.
Geo Page Optimisation involves the creation of pages on your site aimed at specific locations, an essential part of ensuring you rank for the areas and locales that are most important for your local shop.
Google Business Profile is a free service offered by Google to help you share business information with your customers and influence how your business appears on Google Search, Google Maps and Google Shopping. The top three local businesses relevant for a particular search will appear in the Local Pack on the first page of Google and literally put your business on the map.
Online Business Directories can be extremely useful in raising your visibility, playing a crucial role in your local SEO success. You need to supply your name, address and phone (NAP) in all the important places.
Customer Reviews and Google Reviews are read by 82% of customers when they carry out a local search, which means managing your online reputation matters hugely. Getting positive customer feedback can make all the difference to building trust and legitimacy with potential customers, attracting more shoppers to your premises.
How important is social media marketing?
Finally, don’t neglect your social media marketing. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok – these are truly awesome online tools that reach billions of viewers around the world. Did you realise that the average person spends an average 2.5 hours per day on social media? It’s an easy marketing opportunity that your high street shop cannot afford to miss out on.
Choose your platform carefully depending on your target audience, and mix up your posts to make sure they inform, entertain and engage. Be sure to include good quality images and video. Don’t be tempted to only post product promotions and sales messages – people will lose interest and engagement will drop. Instead, invest time in building relationships with your target audience. Start conversations, ask questions, provide useful insights – in other words, nurture your community to achieve emotional engagement.
How can Artemis help?
Artemis is a leading full-service digital marketing agency in Sussex with a wide range of digital marketing services designed to get your business noticed online and working for you. Our multidisciplinary team specialises in working with small and medium sized enterprises and are proud to have helped numerous small businesses grow their revenue and profits in 2004.
We currently work with a number of local high street businesses including a complimentary health clinic in Haywards Heath, a luxury watchmaker in Lewes, an Italian restaurant & delicatessen near Richmond, Surrey, an estate & letting agent in Burgess Hill, and an independent garage in the centre of Haywards Heath.
If you want to attract traffic and reach new customers in your local area and increase the business you get from your website, we can help you. Get in touch to talk to our expert team and arrange for a free consultation.