In this 6-minute read:
- Claim your online listings
- Get and respond to customer reviews
- Optimize your website
- Create content and get links to your website
One of the first places people go when searching for a new place to shop is Google. If they want to find a new clothing store, a cute boutique, a pawn shop, or any other physical location in which to shop, they take their search online.
Is your retail shop showing up in the top rankings on Google? If not, you could be losing valuable opportunities to gain new customers. Here are some important first steps to getting your store to rank well on Google.
Claim your online listings
The first thing you’ll want to do is create and/or claim your online listings. This includes Google My Business, Yelp, Bing, Facebook, TripAdvisor and a whole bunch more.
Claiming your Google My Business listing is what allows your store to show up on Google maps and be visible in local search results. Having other listings created and claimed will help to improve your rankings in these local searches.
When claiming your online listings, it’s very important to make sure that the name of your business, address, and phone number (NAP) is the same on all of these listings. That consistency helps Google to verify your information from multiple reputable sources.
Here are some other things you should update and include in your online listings:
- Business type or category
- Hours the business is open (including any special holiday hours)
- Website URL
- Description of your store
- Products your sell and prices or price range if possible
- Photos of storefront, logo, and products
The more information you can provide to potential customers during their “research phase,” the more likely they’ll be to visit your store.
Check out 25 free business listing websites every small or local business should be on for more places to list your store.
Get and respond to reviews
Once you have your listings claimed, you have the ability to get and respond to customer reviews. Online reviews are not only a big ranking factor for local search results on Google, but they also help a lot when it comes to converting customers.
The number 1 place you want to get reviews is definitely Google, but you’ll want to monitor and respond to reviews you get on any of your online listings.
Here are a few ways you can encourage customers to leave reviews for your store:
- Provide excellent service. A huge reason stores get bad reviews is because of poor customer service, so keep your staff well-trained and hire people that you trust will provide great service.
- Ask customers to leave your store a review. When a customer is glowing about your awesome prices or how great their experience was in your store, that’s the perfect opportunity to invite them to leave your store a review online.
- Leave “Rate us on Google” signs at the cash register and on the walls or window on the way out.
- Use reputation management software. Services like reputation management solutions can help you streamline the review process for customers and help you manage all of your online listings and reviews from one simple platform.
When reviews start coming in, be sure that you respond to them within a day or two of receiving them. And respond to ALL reviews! These online review platforms love to see engagement on their sites, and owner responses also send trust signals to customers as they are reading your reviews. A good response to a bad review can make or break a customer’s decision to shop at your store.
Read how to respond to Google reviews for more information.
Optimize your website
Your website ultimately is what ranks organically on Google. But without certain signals from your website, Google won’t know what search phrases to rank your website for.
There are specific on-page signals that you should include on your website to help your store rank well for relevant search phrases.
- Your business information—name, address, and phone number
- Keywords in page titles and meta descriptions (like “Men’s Clothing Store in Toledo”)
- Descriptions of your products or the type of products your store offers
- Keywords in H1 and H2 tags (headings and subheadings within the content of a web page)
- Location pages if your store has multiple locations
Really anything that you would add to your online listings, you should include on your website (and more) so that Google can verify your information through your own site and point customers to the best source for the information they are searching.
Write a blog
Fresh content on your website on a regular basis is a great signal to send to Google. It shows that you are keeping your website updated and providing valuable content to your online visitors. Stagnant websites that haven’t been touched in a while don’t perform as well as those that update their content.
Need some ideas for blog content? Here are a few to get you started:
- Giveaways and contests
- New deals that your store is offering
- Videos of new products that recently came in
- Customer testimonials
- Gift ideas with products from your store (especially around each holiday)
Get more links to your website
When you have some awesome content on your website, the next thing you want to do is make sure other people are seeing it and linking to it. Links from other high-authority websites to yours are huge trust signals that help your store’s website to rank better on Google in both the local and organic search results.
The best way to get links is to provide really good, shareable content (your blog is perfect for this). Once you have some good content, share it on social media and boost it to get a larger reach. When people engage with that content and share it, there are more opportunities for you to get links to it.
Here are a few other ways to get links to your store’s website:
- Local new stories—if the local news did a story about your retail business when you opened, be sure to ask them to link their online article back to your store’s website
- Guest post on other blogs and link back to your products and helpful articles
- Get involved in the community or sponsor local sports teams
Now get your store ranking better
Take these tips and get them going to start seeing better rankings on Google and more customers in your store. The more that you can do to boost your online rankings, the more online and in-store traffic you will start to see.
Go deeper: 15 ways to improve local SEO
Consider trying reputation management software to help you save time managing your online listings and reviews so you can focus more on keeping your retail business running.