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7 ‘must have’ elements of retail SEO

Asad Imam
Asad Imam
Search Director
12 September 2012

The average online customer is now more information-driven than ever before – with a propensity to automatically refer to search engines for anything on his/her mind. And the world of online shopping is no different.

As a result, When it comes to online marketing for retail brands, presence and visibility in search engines (Google especially) is obviously critical. After having successfully lead SEO campaigns for over a decade now, we at Tamar would like to share some ‘starter for 10′ (or 7!) must-have tactics of retail SEO.

1. Meta Data optimisation
This may seem fairly basic, yet it is essential. Make sure each of your category pages has optimised Meta titles. Look out for duplicate title tags and Meta descriptions data in your webmaster tools. When it comes to Meta descriptions, don’t forget to include your unique proposition and “calls to action”.

Note: Optimising Meta descriptions and title tags for each product may at times seem tricky. Therefore for product pages you might want to get your IT team to write a script that duplicates your breadcrumbs for your Meta Title and the product description for meta description. It’s not ideal, but it would be better than leaving them blank!

2. On-page optimisation
Make sure that you follow all the SEO basics here. For instance, ensure some of your keywords are in your URLs, breadcrumbs, H1s and image all text, wherever possible.

3. Keyword Research
Retail SEO is of course affected by seasonal trends, especially in clothing. To reflect this seasonality a variety of new keywords will regularly come into existence. To keep track of these you should be aware of the latest “buzz words” or customer-specific slang for your products, and ensure you include these keywords as part of your “long tail SEO” strategy.

4. International SEO
A lot of retail sites are not limited to a single geographic location. For this it is important to have a clear international SEO strategy and to decide whether you are going to have multiple directories or multiple domains or multiple sub-domains. On the other hand it is also important to consider the tricky ‘duplicate content’ issue…

5. Press Releases
Make sure that you regularly come out with a press release that build upon your brand strengths. It is critical that you do not keep your PR and SEO service providers completely segregated. Encourage integration between the two and you will certainly see positive movement in your “brand strength”.  For content ideas you should keep track of the industry, release industry specific statistics, let the world know about your latest competition, your charity contributions or any award you have won etc.

6. Content
Understand the informational needs of your target audience and fulfil them through articles, blog posts or video. For example if you are in clothing then regularly release style guides as a blog or a video. Thinking creatively about your content is one of the most important ‘first steps’ to deal with.

7. Analytics

One of the most critical aspects of retail SEO is the advanced use of analytics. Use analytics to understand where your audience is coming from, how do they engage with your site and what are they buying. It might sound like a no-brainer, but you would be amazed at how many retailers don’t make it a central part of their strategy.

So, there we have it – obviously there are hundreds of other things you need to consider when starting out, but these seven should provide you with some decent food for thought. And if it all sounds far too complicated, why not get in touch and ask about what Tamar can do for you.

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