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3 Ways to Optimize Search to Increase Brick & Mortar Traffic

Driving customers who search online to a physical location isn’t rocket science. Often in organizations, e-commerce departments are responsible for increasing e-commerce revenue and are afraid of driving traffic away from the site.  Additional, linking online behavior to retail behavior is nearly impossible and at best, highly inaccurate.  From the perspective of traditional retailers, store managers are too busy running their business to push the digital department to make changes and optimize for physical retail sales. As an organization, the most important tactic to drive online visitors to physical locations is make retail engagement goals part of the e-commerce MBO. That being said, below are three ways search engine marketing can help brick and mortar sales:


1) Location Extensions

Some advertiser are hesitant to include ad extensions to their ad copy because they fear the user will click away from the site and not return. However, much like investors or job seekers, even though these consumers my be searching for an advertiser by Brand, their intent is often very different from most users you would like to attract to a website.  Location Extension offer a direct path to very relevant information for a consumer that is very interested in visiting a brick and mortar location.


  • Better user experience
  • Less non-converting traffic to the site
  • Larger ads at the top of the SERP
  • Competitors are pushed further down the SERP


2) Site links to the store locator page

Last summer, we launched an experiment with a large retail client in the Southwest. During a lull in promotions, the SEM team added a site link to the store locator page on all keywords and waited to see the results.  The results were astronomical.

The client tracked completed searches on the store locator page as a success factor.  The agency added the site link “Store Locator” to all campaigns.  The data showed about a 100% increase in the number of completed store locator searches with the site link.  Additionally, we saw no decline in online conversions and no decline in conversion rate. We just made it easier for consumers who were not going to purchase online to find the information they wanted.


3) Mobile campaigns

For the last couple of years, experts have been saying “this is the year of mobile”. As an advertiser, I was sick of hearing the same thing.  Advertisers have been saying, “mobile traffic is going to overtake computer traffic” and “smart phones are going to lead to more engaged users”. However, this year, my own data has show that while mobile traffic is increasing at a linear rate, more importantly, people are buying things on their phones. But I digress, mobile visitors are often searching for brink and mortar locations when they are on their phone.  There is nothing more frustrating then being on a phone, searching for a business and not being able to find it.  Take it to the next level, enable Click-to-Call and track calls over 60 seconds as a conversion.  Create regional mobile campaigns that drive visitors to a map of the nearest store location.


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