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Shopping center success today begins with your website

July 9, 2020

During times of closures or reduced capacity, a shopping center’s website is the most effective way to communicate with shoppers in real time. It is also the most trusted source to quell shoppers’ concerns and reassure them of their safety as stores open back up. Imaginuity Centers clients have added landing pages to their websites to address the pandemic and regularly update information about closings, health and safety and programs like curbside pickup.

The pandemic has allowed shopping centers to build trust with retailers, as well. Centers’ websites can support stores by providing resources about government relief funds, featuring retailers that are open and promoting job openings as stores reopen.

But the resources shopping center websites provide for customers, tenants and employees are helpful only if people see them. Here are a couple ways to boost your search engine optimization and thus the position of your shopping center on search engine results pages, plus some longer-term trends we expect in the new normal.

Optimize content or create pages for trending keywords

Google Trends shows the popularity of topics, words and phrases at the moment. Search Engine Watch turned up these recent search trends, for example:

  • Consumers are searching for products usually used in salons, such as “hair shears.”
  • Mid-March to mid-April produced a spike in searches for keywords like “sweatpants.”
  • Consumers also want to know “how to look good on Zoom.”
  • Interest in musical instrument tutorials has increased by 72 percent.

The addition of trending keywords, especially those that pertain to a center’s retailers and what they sell, can help your website rank higher on search engine results pages.

Update your Google My Business profile

Businesses with a Google My Business profile can communicate new hours and social distancing policies to customers quickly. In April, new Google My Business features rolled out to support local stores, including higher and thus more visible placement of a business’ COVID-19 updates. Businesses also now can update their profiles with curbside, dine-in or takeout attributes.

Communicate with retailers regularly

Keep communications with your center’s retailers fluid and current, especially as the pandemic surges and other social issues influence communities. A secure section of your website with the latest information and resources for tenants will build trust while reducing the individual interactions with retailers.

Automate consumer-facing communications

Smaller marketing teams and budgets make operational efficiencies more important than ever. Marketing automation allows presets to trigger communications with consumers. Getting started can be as simple as sending a welcome email when a consumer submits a question via a form on the center’s website. Additionally, tailoring communications to customers that have been segmented by their interests sends them the most relevant information while minimizing waste, saving money and improving the customer experience.

Prepare for voice search

By the end of this year, 30 percent of all internet searches will be voice based, according to Gartner. To prepare, ensure your website has “structured data” so search engines can read the content correctly. Voice search reads only the first Google or Bing result, so being No. 1 is essential. Also create a voice “skill” or action that enables devices like Amazon Alexa and Google Home to pull information from your website in response to customer queries. Customer experience improves when they can receive trusted information by any device or platform they choose.

Need help navigating this ever changing landscape?

Challenges present opportunity, and during this crisis, you can build shopper and retailer loyalty by making your center’s website information rich and easy for search engines to find. That’s loyalty that can outlast the crisis we’re in today.

Imaginuity Centers provides unified digital marketing solutions for shopping centers across the nation. For over 20 years, we have helped leading shopping centers create better online marketing experiences through integrated strategy, technology and communications. Backed by full-service digital agency Imaginuity, we bring together imaginative thinking and technological ingenuity to drive transformative results for commercial real estate clients.

To learn more about how we can help, contact us here.

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