Written by Larry Alton
Search engine optimization (SEO) techniques are best practices that help move your website (or web presence) to the top of the results when people search for “your” keyword(s) in Google or another search engine. Local SEO (LSEO) is the same thing, but it incorporates geo-targeting.
For retailers, especially those with both an online presence and brick-and-mortar establishment, following SEO best practices can be a challenge. You might have numerous product descriptions that are nearly identical, constantly shifting inventory, and other obstacles.
Luckily, SEO is designed to match users with the best, most relevant content. It’s not out to get you, and if you follow the best practices for SEO by Search Engine Land, it can substantially boost your business.
However, if as a retailer you’re a niche market, your SEO strategy might need a little tweaking. Here are some of your biggest SEO obstacles and how to overcome them.
1. That whole duplicate content thing
“Duplicate content” is an SEO black-hat staple that’s not going anywhere. In other words, if you get “caught” with duplicate content, you might get dinged by SEO crawlers and your website could plummet down the rankings.
This can be tough when you’re having to describe the exact same sweater, just with a different color, on 12 different landing pages. Use keyword variance, and consolidate those 12 pages into one with a color selection tab if you can.
2. Outdated SEO
If you have thousands of pages worth of products and descriptions, how likely are you to update them in a timely manner, realistically speaking? Old SEO, including keywords that are no longer relevant, can destroy your rankings.
It’s why Contently has offered up a great infographic of new vs. old SEO as a reminder of why you need to stay current. Either consolidate your pages to make them manageable or outsource an expert to keep your pages updated.
3. Holiday competition
Some SEO keywords are so competitive that you may have to “pay to play.” It’s also a matter of timing, though: The sooner you get your holiday or seasonal pages up, the better off you’ll be.
As a retailer, you’re probably accustomed to prepping for Christmas before Back-to-School is over. Make sure that over-punctuality extends to your SEO and website. Otherwise, you might not be getting into the black come Black Friday, after all.
4. Industry jargon
There’s no room for jargon when you’re an online business, especially retail. Rarely is jargon considered a desirable SEO key phrase, and it’ll mostly serve to confuse your users.
If you can say things more simply (and with a competitive SEO key word or phrase), do so. Jargon will only confuse people, trick them into thinking you’re more powerful than you are, or cover up problems.
5. Skipping LSEO
Just because you don’t have a brick-and-mortar location, that doesn’t mean you’re exempt from LSEO. Tap into your local connections, whether it’s your founder’s hometown or the locale where your analytics have shown the majority of your customers are living (say, Miami, for whatever reason).
Just make sure your LSEO content is organic, and it’ll give your rankings a tremendous lift.
6. Stay on top of links
Link building is a great way to improve your SEO, but not all links stay the same (or relevant). If you engage in link building, make sure those links get checked at least once every month.
You don’t want to link out to what was once another local kitchen supply store from your bakery shop, only to find out later that it’s turned into a dog food supply.
Author Bio: Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn. Other ConverStations Posts by Larry Alton:
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6 SEO Hurdles for Retailers and How to Beat Them is a post from: ConverStations