You’ve probably heard the term SEO before, but understanding what it means, why it’s essential, and how to implement it can be challenging!
Read on to learn how to get more potential customers to visit your retail store’s website with these six powerful and simple search engine optimization fields.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Ahrefs, a popular SEO tool, defines it as “the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.”
For example: if you’re a soy candlemaker in Ohio, when someone searches for “Soy Candles Lakewood Ohio,” the goal is for your website to rank in the top 10 results in Google, so people are finding you first.
If you design or sell boho jewelry and someone searches “beautiful boho necklace,” again, the goal is for your website to come up!
Using the SEO tools or fields available to you on your website will help search engines find, categorize, and present your content in relevant search results.
Where to Enter SEO Information on Your Website
If you’re on Shopify or Square: you’ll see SEO fields to fill in for each page you create and each blog post you write. Simply fill in the blanks to start! Just don’t leave them blank—something is better than nothing.
If you’re on WordPress: download the Yoast plugin. It makes SEO much easier to implement!
If your website is another platform, reach out to the company and find out where you can enter SEO information for your pages, posts, and product listings.
Additionally, some web designers offer SEO services. If you’re working with a web designer, ask if SEO is included in their services or if they can refer you to someone who specializes in it.
Six SEO Fields You Need to Know
Search engine optimization might feel complicated, but there are six essential pieces. Let’s learn what they are together and I’ll share some SEO optimization tips for retail brick and mortar business owners.
Note that some of these fields might be labeled differently depending on your website platform. I’ve tried to use the most common names in this post.
Keywords are the words you think your audience will be searching for. They’re the search phrases for which you want Google to show your content in search results.
When I write for Savvy Shopkeeper, these are some of the content keywords I use: “inventory turnover,” “profit margin,” and “pop-up shops.”
When you’re brainstorming keywords, be sure to focus on people, not on search engines. It can feel like we need to get technical in our strategy to have pages and posts rank better. But if you create your content with people in mind, it will also do well for search engines.
Think about your ideal customers. What are their pains? How do you provide a solution? What might they be searching for?
For my store, I would think about our FAQs. What are all the common questions my customers ask us, especially around paint and painted furniture? If I’m writing content that specifically answers their everyday questions, the search engine will naturally work in our favor.
Keyword Tip: Take words that are the focus of your content (for example, “furniture,” “Charlotte North Carolina,” or “fine chocolates New Jersey”) and search for these words in the Google and Pinterest search bars.
Google and Pinterest both have guided search features. Guided search means it will take the word you searched for and tell you what other similar words other people are searching for! Expand your keyword list with the similar words and phrases that Google and Pinterest show you.
Also, it’s okay to be specific rather than broad. For example, “custom painted or refurbished furniture” is a better keyword phrase than “furniture store.”
The SEO Title is different from your Post title or Page Name. Confusing, I know!
Blog post titles or page titles are shown publicly to your audience (forward facing). Naming each blog post is a critical step because this is what’s going to determine if someone is going to click through and read the content.
The SEO title is what search engines use to determine what the content is about (back-end facing). Using a good SEO title is vital because this will determine how Google ranks it.
The slug is what the link to your content looks like. For example, the link for my blog post on the topic of Tundra vs. Faire is https://savvyshopkeeper.com/the-difference-between-faire-vs-tundra-wholesale/
This part—the-difference-between-faire-vs-tundra-wholesale—is the slug.
SEO best practices state that the slug should be short and contain your focus keyword. My focus keyword for that post was “Faire vs. Tundra,” and it is one of my best-performing blog posts.
The meta description is what Google shows as the first few lines of text under the title in search results.
When you Google something, you’ll see eight or so post titles that Google believes best match your search text, along with two lines of text below each option. Those descriptions help you determine if that link is what you’re looking for.
If you haven’t been writing meta descriptions, Google will automatically grab the first few lines of text on the page. Writing click-worthy meta descriptions will help you show up in search results and get people to actually click through to your content.
Meta Description Tip: Keep it short and sweet! A meta description should be two sentences, maximum, and include your focus keyword. This can be challenging for the new SEO writer, but it gets easier each time! You’ll find yourself getting creative quickly.
Alt text is the SEO for images on your website! It explains what the image is. In addition to the text in your post, search engines use alt text to figure out what you’re writing about.
Alt text is also an important accessibility feature of your website. People who use screen readers rely on alt text to describe an image when they cannot see it. You can learn more about adding accessible and SEO-friendly alt text to your images in this article from Moz.
Alt Text Tip: Ensure the images you upload to your website don’t have titles or alt text such as “IMG_7454.” Instead, include a short description of what you see in the image and include a keyword, if relevant. If you have time, go through the top five pages on your website and add appropriate alt text for each image on those pages.
Try to get other businesses and websites to link to your website! If someone is writing a story about you or you’re a guest blogger on someone else’s site, that’s the perfect time to ask for a link back to your website.
For instance, I sometimes write shopkeeper spotlight blog posts. When I do these posts, I include multiple links to the featured shopkeepers’ websites, which helps their SEO.
You want to make sure linking is authentic, though. Don’t pay for backlinks—Google will often be able to tell based on the quality of the backlink and lower your search engine ranking.
SEO Might Seem Complicated, But It Doesn’t Have to Be
SEO may seem very advanced or techy to retailers, but SEO optimization for retail brick and mortar business owners doesn’t have to be complicated.
Think about your ideal customer and what they may be searching for. Then tackle this one step at a time.
If you’ve had your website for years or have so many pages and products that implementing SEO overwhelms you, I recommend starting with your five top-visited pages.
Usually, your top five pages will include your Home, About, and Contact pages. You can review your website analytics to determine which pages get the most traffic. Work on filling in the SEO fields mentioned above for each page and then go from there.
As your business grows, you can learn more about SEO, be strategic, and even hire someone to handle it for you.
- Yoast plugin for WordPress
- Moz’s Keyword Explorer
- Sharethrough’s Headline Analyzer
- CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer
- [01:54] What is SEO?
- [03:17] Where to Enter SEO Information on Your Website
- [07:17] Six SEO Fields You Need to Know
- [19:43] SEO Might Seem Complicated, But It Doesn’t Have to Be