Marketing

Mastering SEO for independent retailers

Independent retailers may be so focused on retaining customers and keeping their business moving that they forget to optimize their websites for SEO.

Independent retailers may be so focused on retaining customers and keeping their business moving that they forget to optimize their websites for SEO. However, SEO is crucial for increasing online presence and the chances of being found by customers. 

In this post, we highlight the benefits of SEO for independent retailers and the key steps to grow a retail business organically and increase sales.

What is SEO?

SEO or search engine optimization is the process of optimizing a website to improve its rankings on search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. A website with better SEO means better visibility for its products, services, and content. There are three major categories of SEO. 

On-Site SEO
Also called on-page SEO, on-site SEO involves optimizing the elements of a website, including the content and HTML source code of a page. The primary goal of on-site SEO is to help search engines and users understand the page content. More specifically, on-page SEO helps:

  • Users and search engines interpret the content of a page

  • Search engines find the most relevant pages for a search query

  • Search engines rank the most useful page on the search engine results pages (SERPs)

Off-Site SEO
Off-site SEO or off-page SEO refers to actions taken out of a website that impacts a site's ranking on Google. Unlike on-page SEO, which revolves around creating quality content, optimizing for relevant keywords, and adding internal links, off-page SEO includes building high-quality backlinks, local citations, and more.

Off-page optimization helps people and search engines gauge a website's:

  • Expertise

  • Experience

  • Authoritativeness

  • Relevance

  • Trustworthiness

High-quality backlinks act like a vote for a retail website. The more high-quality backlinks a website has, the more likely search engines will show it on relevant searches, and the more searchers will trust the brand.

Technical SEO
It involves optimizing a website to make it easier for search engines to crawl and index it. Talk about the behind-the-scenes elements like page speed, site architecture, and mobile optimization.

The process starts with performing a site audit and then creating a strategy to address the issues found.

Why SEO is Relevant to Independent Retailers?

Wider Reach
One of the benefits of SEO is that it gives retailers a wider reach. When retailers create and publish high-quality content, Google will likely show the pages for relevant searches from potential customers.

Statistics show that 83% of shoppers research a product online before visiting a physical store.

Additionally, about 43% of eCommerce revenue comes from organic traffic. Good SEO will help increase traffic and position the retail website as an industry expert.

More Clicks
The benefits of good SEO go beyond reaching a wider audience—it also means a better click-through rate.

According to Semrush, websites in position one get an average click-through rate of 22.4% on mobile. On the other hand, a website on position 10 gets about 2.3% of clicks. These stats underscore the importance of investing in retail SEO.

Better Credibility
Google values user experience. To achieve this, it ranks the most relevant and valuable content to a searcher's query on top of the search engine results page.

On the other hand, users associate a higher ranking with increased credibility and trust. If a retail website ranks higher on Google, searchers will view the business as authoritative and reputable and will be more willing to do business with it.

Cost-Effective Marketing Strategy
Compared to pay-per-click (PPC) and other paid methods, SEO for independent retailers offers a cost-effective marketing plan for a business.

Besides the cost, SEO can drive over 1,000% more traffic than organic social media. The only downside is that SEO takes time to get results, but once a business achieves that, it will continue to benefit with minimal maintenance fees.

Retailers That Are Doing It Well

REI Co-op


REI is a popular outdoor retailer that sells gear for outdoor activities like camping & hiking, climbing, cycling, and water. They also feature informative articles, guides, and tips for a thrilling adventure.

One of their articles is ranking for these long-tail keywords: "Outdoor clothing for winter hiking," "Kayaking accessories for beginners," "Backpacking essentials checklist," etc.


REI has a rating of 4.6 from over 5.7k reviews and over 500k downloads on Google Play.


Reviewers on Yelp also describe REI as a perfect place to buy camping and other outdoor essentials.

This outdoor retailer has a 4.0 rating from 64 reviews on Yelp.


Most of their customers are happy with the quality of their products and convenience when shopping. Ideally, customers can see the inventory, availability, and locations when looking for products on this website. This, alongside the huge parking, makes REI a reputable outdoor retailer in California and other U.S. states.


Sports Basement


Sports Basement is a popular sporting goods retailer headquartered in San Francisco, California. The retailer sells and rents the best brands at favorable prices with nine office locations throughout the U.S.

Despite being a large store, Sports Basement offers a personalized shopping experience to make shoppers feel at home.

Sports Basement has a 4.5 rating from 1,291 reviews on Yelp, which is a testament to its commitment to providing quality sports and outdoor products.


Not just Yelp, Sports Basement Outdoors has a 5 rating from 296 reviews on TripAdvisor and a 4.3 rating on Facebook.


Steps To Get Started

Most independent retailers understand the benefits of SEO for their businesses but don't know where to start. This section highlights five crucial steps retailers should focus on when doing SEO.

Perform Keyword Research

Keyword research is vital for a successful retail SEO. Retailers need to know the terms their target audience uses when searching for products/services like theirs to build content around them.

Many tools, including Ahrefs and Google Keyword Planner, can help with keyword research. Here are crucial stages to cover when researching keywords:

Informational keywords: They help educate users about products or services

Navigational keywords: Users use these keywords when they want to visit a specific website or webpage.

Transactional keywords: Users will use these keywords if they intend to do a transaction. In other words, these keywords reveal users have the strongest intent to take action. Examples include "buy," "download," "subscribe," register," etc.

Intent-based: These keywords show the purpose or intention of a searcher's query.


Local SEO

Local search provides retail businesses an excellent opportunity to gain more visibility locally. By optimizing for local searches, businesses can reach more potential customers actively searching for local solutions.

Below are steps retailers should take to optimize their local businesses:

  • Set and optimize Google My Business listing

  • Ensure the business name, address, and phone number is accurate across all platforms

  • Encourage customer reviews

  • List their businesses on relevant local directories

As a bonus, retailers respond to all reviews (positive and negative) to boost credibility and trust.


Create High-Quality Content

High-quality content forms the basis of a solid SEO strategy for independent retailers.

High-quality content attracts the right audience to a website, engages them, and encourages them to take action. In fact, if the content is valuable, users will likely share it to reach a wider audience.

In addition to benefiting users, high-quality content can help improve a website's rankings on search results. High-quality content will also help generate high-quality backlinks and increase click-through rates (CTR).


Optimize Images

A picture is worth a thousand words. This is especially true for independent retailers who offer physical products or tutorials.

Image optimization ensures that a website and product images are in the right format, size, dimension, and resolution. Optimizing images has many benefits, including:

  • Improving page load speed

  • Enhancing user engagement

  • Providing a good user experience

  • Reducing bounce rate by shoving off additional page loading time

In turn, this will help improve SEO for a retail website and boost conversions.


Mobile Optimization

Mobile devices contribute to 59.01% of all website traffic. Additionally, 92.3% of all internet users use a mobile device when performing a search.

Mobile optimization involves adjusting the website content to provide users with a good user experience when viewing it via mobile devices.

Retailers can achieve this by ensuring the content is scrollable, optimizing videos, and using easy-to-read text, among other things. 


Taking it to the next level

The benefits of SEO for independent retailers cannot be overstated. With better SEO, retailers can reach a wider audience, become more credible and trustworthy, and get a higher click-through rate.

SEO is a cost-effective marketing strategy with long-term benefits. When done right, it can form the firm foundation of a retail business and provide room for sustainable growth. Strategies like proper keyword research, content and image optimization, mobile optimization, and local SEO will help boost visibility for retailers and increase sales.

© 2024 RareCircles Inc. All rights reserved.

© 2024 RareCircles Inc. All rights reserved.

© 2024 RareCircles Inc. All rights reserved.