Let’s clarify what SEO actually means in 2020
Over the past decade or so, search engine optimization (SEO) has evolved a lot. Gone are the days of spamming websites with keywords or strange and unusual growth-hacking techniques claiming to immediately boost your search rank.
Google’s techniques and ranking algorithms are complex, evolving, and hard to manipulate. So let’s be clear, no matter what you hear online, there is no magic button to suddenly make it work for you.
Optimizing your website takes time, lots of effort, and a decent amount of technical skill. Fortunately for Ricochet Web Store users, we take care of most of the technical side of things for you. And if you want to increase your search rank for your consignment store, there are a few ways you can work to improve that.
Brick-and-Mortar Stores Stand Out On The Local Stack
If your store operates with a physical location, Google Local Stack is where you should be focusing your efforts and measuring your success. If you don’t know that this is, it’s the little map and list of stores you see when searching online. They always appear first on the page before any organic links populate. It also applies to services like Google Maps.
Notice how the photo above isn’t filtered to Google Maps or Images. This is the direct result after a simple “kids consignment” search.
The word “consignment” gives you a home-field advantage.
While most industries tend to have massive national brands and chains to compete with, consignment remains fairly localized. Sure, there are the rising stars in nationwide used clothing marketplaces like The RealReal, ThredUp, and Poshmark. But when you search for almost anything attached to the word “consignment,” local results are significantly more promoted.
This is simply because Google wants to give its users the most relevant searches possible. Typically, generic searches such as “clothing” or “shoes” could mean that somebody is looking to purchase shoes online.
Consignment does the opposite. Until consignment products and businesses are widely available online, Google will assume the search is for something local.
Check out below where we add the word consignment to two simple and common search results “outdoor clothing” and “furniture.”
You’ll notice that in the left column, a more generic search, the first page results are all national brands. This makes sense. They have had online stores, websites, and recognized brands for many years.
But then we add “consignment” at the end of the same search. This time, most of the results are actually local stores! Also, notice how in both comparisons, local results actually rank twice for one local consignment store.
This insight is exactly where you should focus your SEO efforts. There is no need to try and compete for broader keywords that will get you from page 10 to page 9. That’s basically a net zero gain. Instead, focus your efforts on the word “consignment” and anything that will favor more localized results.
Spend some time analyzing the qualities and elements that make your store unique. If you want to compete for some broader keywords, stick to keywords like “used midcentury furniture” or “discount kids outdoor clothing.” While those don’t necessarily trigger associations with consignment, you’re at least narrowing things quite a bit.
But you may be wondering what it means to “compete” against certain keywords. In most cases, websites generally fall into their own marketplace. Even without any intentional SEO practices, your homepage, about us, and contact pages will naturally place you in the consignment and relevant industry you operate in. Without even thinking about it, you’ll probably include keywords like consignment, your city name, location, style of store, hours, and other things on your website. That’s a great place to start.
How to optimize your local results.
The first thing is to claim your business on Google and the largest business location services out there. This includes things like Yelp, Yellowpages, Foursquare, Apple Maps, and others. Start accounts with each of them and make sure the information about your store is updated and accurate. Post quality pictures, update your store hours, list holidays, store type, etc.
Consistency between platforms is incredibly important! Google will ding you hard if your hours or phone number are inconsistent. It’s a good practice to put a note somewhere letting you know all the services you’re registered with. That way you can update information on all of them if something should change.
Regularly add content. This is probably what you’ve seen most on SEO optimization blogs elsewhere, and it’s still relevant. No, you don’t need to be posting an in-depth blog twice a week. Just keeping your website current with upcoming sales, discounts, new styles, and others will be enough. Again, you’re not trying to compete with national brands, just do more than the other store down the street. There are already thousands of blogs on how to style your store, train your staff, etc. Try and do something a little different. Post and write about content that is unique to your store.
Encourage Authentic Reviews Online. Reviews can go a long way for your store. Not only do they help future customers and consignors feel validated in their search, but it can also help boost your page rank and move your store up the list of local stores on maps.
Notice how Google highlights the content of the reviews and descriptions for the stores above. Getting those keywords sprinkled in from others adds up.
Don’t give up. It’s probably clear by now that investing time and money into your website is a lot of work. It is. And just like anything else in life, your hard work will pay off over time.