7 Simple SEO Tips Any Small Retailer Can Do to Improve Search Rankings & Drive Foot Traffic

“Start off simple,” says Phil Frost, founder and COO of Mainstreet ROI. “If you’re new to SEO, that’s the best advice I can offer.”

SEO is ongoing and involves many moving parts, with payoffs that are never immediate. The good news is, you don’t have to be an SEO guru, a web designer, or have years of experience in marketing to improve your search engine rankings. Just start with a few simple tips to boost your SEO, work at them consistently, and you’ll see good things happen.

Of course, you’ll want to continue to learn more about search engine optimization and expand your knowledge as time goes on, but for now, the seven tips below—which any small business can do, by the way—will start you out on the path to SEO success:

1. Get Blogging

“Content isn’t king, it’s the kingdom” That’s the word from Lee Odden, who also stated, “Content is the reason search began in the first place.”

“Blogging matters. It might not be as sexy as Instagram or virtual reality, but when you want marketing that gets results, look to blogging.”


Source: StrataBeat

When you consider the sheer volume of posts, it’s obvious that marketers view blogging as a highly valuable practice. In fact, Torque found that more than 2.13 million new WordPress blog posts are published every day. We’re talking 24 posts per second, folks.

Additionally, Statista reports that Tumblr blogs increased from 260.5 million in October 2015 to 319.8 million the following year. In January 2017, that number jumped to 332.8 million.

In a report by Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, blogs were named the #1 most important tactic for B2B content marketing success in 2017. But that’s not all. Blogs were considered by marketers to be of even greater value than email newsletters, social media, white papers, webinars, and more.

Blogs provide opportunities to write about new products and industry trends and engage your customers with helpful advice. Blog posts also help establish your business as a local authority and can be shared on social media, which gives you backlinks and positive social media signals for your website’s SEO.

It’s no secret that Google’s algorithm loves websites with unique, relevant content that’s highly valuable to visitors. Blogs serve this purpose. Plus, readers who like your content are more likely to bookmark your site and return for future purchases.

2. Claim your business listings – According to Moz, local SEO Starts with claiming your business listings on business directories, social networks, review sites, and rating aggregators. Here are 3 to start with:

  • Google My Business– Connects you directly with customers whether they’re looking for you on Search, Maps or Google+.
  • Yelp!– #1 portal for people to find local businesses. Millions of users visit Yelp every month.
  • Bing Places– As the second largest search engine provider, Bing offers free services for local business to get found.

Claiming business listings—like the ones above—builds trust by verifying that you are the owner of a valid business and authorized to maintain its presence on the web. Additionally, it helps you improve your search engine performance and makes it easier to be discovered by potential customers who are using social media to find businesses.

3. Build a Network of Backlinks

Interested in ranking better in Google Search and setting your business up as an authority in your field? Build a network of backlinks (hyperlinks from other sites to your website).

You’ll want to stick to organic linking, not the paid kind. You can do this by encouraging customers to write reviews on other sites about your product or service. If you’re a blogger, offer to do guest posts for other bloggers and link back to your site. You could also build a company page on LinkedIn or create a YouTube channel if you offer informative and/or instructional videos.

“Overall, backlinks are the number one way Google decides which sites are authorities and ranks them accordingly. After all, if other sites are linking to yours, Google should be, too! If you write good content and participate in online communities, you can develop a healthy ecosystem of backlinks over time.”


Source: DreamHost

4. Make Sure You Create Proper Titles, Headers and Meta Description Tags

“When you develop online content, your HTML coding behind the scenes plays a big role in your search engine rankings, making Title Tags and H1 Headers all-important for SEO,” says Volume Nine. “Used correctly, they can increase your position in search engines.”

Volume Nine does an excellent job of explaining what titles, headers and meta descriptions are, so we suggest heading over there to get the basics down. By the end of their article, you’ll know the difference between Title Tags and H1 Headers, and how to use them.

There are tons of resources online to help you develop good titles, headers, and meta descriptions, so take advantage of the free education!

5. Request Reviews From Satisfied Customers

According to statistics found on Invesp, 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business and 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. And that’s not all, check out these other compelling statistics:

  • Customers are likely to spend 31% more on a business with excellent reviews
  • 72% say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more.
  • 92% of users will use a local business if it has at least a 4-star rating
  • 72% of consumers will take action only after reading a positive review

“Quite simply, user reviews increase conversions,” says Econsultancy  “They can eliminate any doubts potential customers may have about a product or can help product selection.”

In a world dominated by a digital culture where social networks reign supreme, customer reviews play an increasingly integral role in helping retailers build successful brands and grow their businesses. Click to learn how you can easily get reviews from customers with our automated marketing tools.

6. Use Relevant Keywords

People frequently type the same phrases into Google when they’re looking for something, such as “pet toys” or “low sodium recipes”.

With Google Keyword Planner, you can identify popular search terms and phrasing by logging into your Google account and selecting “Search for new keywords using a phrase, website, or category.” Type in “low sodium recipes” and a variety of related phrases commonly searched for by Google users will pop up. These phrases are called “keywords” and they will help direct people to your blog or website.

Google Keyword Planner will help you determine which keywords make high-interest topics. If your blog is about interior decorating, for example, the keyword planner might reveal that “mid-century modern furniture” is currently a hot search term. By including this phrase in your content—as a topic or in a post about modern furniture—you’re more likely to attract searchers looking for this subject.

7. Optimize Your Site For Mobile

Google’s algorithm is tuned to connect people with sites that offer good user experiences. If your website isn’t built on a responsive platform, your mobile search engine ranking is likely to take a hit because your content won’t display correctly and may not even function as intended.

Fortunately, WordPress and other online publishing tools offer free website templates that are ready for mobile users. If that won’t work for your circumstances, you may need to enlist a Web developer to optimize your site for mobile. While there may be some expenses associated with this update, it’s well worth the cost when you consider that you risk losing more than half of your potential online customers without the mobile upgrade. Click to learn more about our mobile-friendly websites.


SEO may seem complex, but even a small amount of knowledge can make a big difference, according to Moz. Free SEO education is widely available on the web.

“Anything you can do to improve your SEO – even the small things – will pay off over time. Just be patient and don’t get overwhelmed. Keep your process simple, and learn new things when you can. Eventually, your quick-hitting efforts will snowball and your website will climb in the rankings.”


Source: Target Marketing

Sherene Funk is the author of the contemporary romance Autumn in Your Arms and two small business e-books. She is a voracious reader who owns more books than she can ever read in this lifetime. A graduate of Brigham Young University, she worked in advertising for many years before moving to her current writing position at Rain Retail Software. She researches non-stop to see what successful retailers do and loves to share what she learns with small business owners.