How to Drive In-Store Traffic with SEO

An e-commerce SEO client recently asked me how their SEO campaign could drive physical traffic to their stores. While their e-commerce site was holding strong in terms of sales, actual in-store sales had been trending downward. They wanted to know if there was anything their SEO could do to help drive in-store traffic. Here’s what I told them:

1. Create store pages for each location with a map and directions, phone number, call-to-actions and a short paragraph of unique content.

You want to make sure each of your store locations have a unique page on your site that can be properly crawled and indexed by the search engines. Those pages need to be optimized for hyper local keywords; there may not be a ton of search volume, but you want those pages positioned well for anyone that searches. For instance, if you own a clothing store with boutiques in Boston, Cambridge and Brookline Massachusetts you would need to create three separate store pages. The URLs might look something like myclothingcomapny.com/boston and myclothingcompan.com/brookline. The content could take about the store, what makes it unique, when it opened and so forth. You could also list any in-store promotions or upcoming events (those are great ways to drive foot traffic!).

2. Be sure to list the phone numbers, hours, address and any other contact information a potential customer might be looking for as well.

Whether you have three locations or 30, there needs to be a local profile for each store. Google Places recently moved to Google+ Local, so be sure your Google+ business page is up to date and all the information transferred correctly. You also want to claim your Bing Local profiles, Yelp (if applicable), Merchant Circle, Yahoo! Local, YP.com, Local.com and any other local site you can create a profile on. Each of those profiles can link back to your main website or the individual store location page. Make sure all the contact information is prominently displayed and the phone number is formatted correctly (123-456-7890) so someone searching on a Smartphone could just click to call. Make it easy for people to find and do business with you!

3. Integrate a live Twitter feed on the store location pages.

A study from the CMO Council found that one of the main reasons people (67%) engage with brands on social networks is to be eligible for exclusive offers. By incorporating a Twitter feed onto your locations pages, potential customers will be able to see any recent tweets promoting specific sales or deals. This is a great way to create the urgency that is needed to get someone physically in-store. It’s also a lot quicker and cheaper than adding and removing promotional banners to each of your location pages, especially if you have a lot of locations. You should still promote your sales/specials, but a live Twitter feed makes it easy to make sure any possible shopper is instantly aware of what’s going on in the store nearest to them.

4. Invest in an E-mail marketing campaign

You have to give people a reason to walk into your store, especially if they could just order something from your e-commerce website. Invest in e-mail marketing and send out a monthly newsletter keeping current and past customers up to date with what is going on in your store. You can highlight upcoming specials or events, send out coupons to your most valuable customer lists and more.