Build your Advantage with eCommerce SEO
If you’re one of those brick and mortar retailers suffering continuing in-store sales losses, due to the shift to Internet shopping, you’re likely pondering the future of your business. Well, the outlook might be rosier than you’d imagined.
Using a low cost Shopify, Magento, or BigCommerce eCommerce store and clever content and SEO strategy, you can build significant online revenue. This is worth your time and you’ll be rewarded for showing interest and enthusiasm. SEO is the gift that keeps on giving!
So before your thoughts get too dark, consider that retailers who have both an ecommerce and real world store location do better overall than pure online businesses. And you should know that if you have a process and a clever SEO strategy, you can win big in the eCommerce space. In fact, in doing SEO, you could make your overall business more success, unique, and worth while for your walk in traffic. And the biggest benefit? That would be the big traffic.
I’ve performed eCommerce SEO for major brand clients in sports manufacturing, hotels, health supplements, tennis apparel and equipment sales, and women’s apparel and all had physical store locations with the exception of the big brand sports manufacturer who sold via Walmart, Dicks, Overstock, Amazon, and other national chains and shopping portals. So whether it’s a hotel room or baseball gloves or clothing, I discovered the foundation of strong eCommerce sales is high powered SEO.
No one is certain why “click and mortar” often works better. Having a physical retail store may be more reassuring to customers, or that it’s easier to visualize, or that they offer personal service or are able to return the product if they prefer.
If you leave expert level shoppers out of the picture for now, it’s the average people who are shopping and aren’t sure of a product. They need advice, context and reassurance from a real person (you), someone they know and trust. And this creates loyalty to a store. This so called beginner type audience will be big in the years ahead. This is where new customers are won and kept.
Content and Search Engine Optimization Pack Incredible Value
To capture any of these prospect customers you have to get visible in the search results. You do this through creating great content designed for high rankings. Why are you reading right now? Because you know SEO is the biggest traffic generator, and it’s FREE traffic. Success comes with volume and eCommerce SEO can generate big traffic results.
A homeowner considering buying a solar power system for their home would be reluctant to buy online even though they could. They would prefer talking to one person who can help guide them through the process. That homeowner might have started their journey looking for systems or components and perused the catalog, their intent is to ask for help from a real solar power system expert. The more customized or higher the value of the item, the more likely they’ll ask for help.
eCommerce SEO captures a highly qualified audience via Google and from then on, it’s your sales conversion system that keeps them on the hook.
In this post, I want to share these tips on how to setup a great eCommerce SEO process so you get the specific rankings and traffic you need.
There’s one Big Key to Sales Success. That is eCommerce SEO
Google is still number one. Adwords and Facebook ads are certainly vital to most eCommerce businesses, however with product margins razor thin, it might be too tough for you to compete head to head with Amazon and Walmart. An alternate, clever way to capture traffic and convert that traffic is needed.
Is eCommerce SEO Different?
The name eCommerce SEO might be a little misleading, since the same strategy and optimization takes place. It’s the same process I used when doing real estate SEO, Hotel SEO, medical equipment SEO, or building product SEO. There’s just a few extra tasks involved in ensuring mobile compatibility, shopping feeds, meta data, and other technical matters where you may actually need to call a eCommerce technical SEO expert in, if your site has hundreds of thousands of pages published on a number of domains. That’s where it gets tricky with Google.
Keep in mind that your technical expert may not be very knowledgeable about copywriting and social media sharing. SEO is complex with a big number of ranking factors.
What is Most Important in Doing eCommerce SEO?
SEO is about creating content strategically and optimizing pages of copywriting. eCommerce SEO has a little extra work though in the form of product feeds, catalogs, and optimizing category pages, etc.
Some SEO people confuse SEO with shopping experience optimization. An SEO specialist shouldn’t be optimizing your customer shopping experience. That is a retail shopping experience where you need to focus on your value proposition and selling proposition. SEO can make it more engaging, but you need to let your SEO expert stick to their forte.
In most sites, SEO, UX design, and the Shopper Experience are 3 different disciplines. The designer creates the web template and shopping cart, the eCommerce site manager will likely take care of the product organization, shopper experience and product catalogs (data). Your SEO person will just have to make do with the situation they create. Hopefully, your site will be Google friendly and amenable to SEO strategy and tactics. If not, you likely won’t be beating the likes of Amazon, Overstock, Walmart or other big shopping portals.
Let’s keep this straight: Search engine optimization is about appeasing Google’s search algorithm and building big traffic using words
Retail product pages are often produced in the thousands and tens of thousands, often having the exact same content on them. And Google doesn’t really want this redundant material polluting their precious search listings. Google likes originality and uniqueness. They also like a good customer experience, valuable helpful content, and to see customers very immersed in your ecommerce pages and site. Therefore, your job will often involve finding ways to make each of your product pages unique.
Google is a very page specific search engine now. Amazon or Walmart don’t carry the same advantage as they used to. Although big brands have their strengths. We can capitalize on opportunities and get your site competing for keyword phrases you thought impossible. I’ve done it many times. We need to be clever.
You should have a process or plan of action to take you from an automated product catalog with thin content, to one that is unique, engaging and competitive. This process below should help you get the overall picture.
Here’s the eCommerce SEO process:
- research and know your market – who buys your products and why would they prefer them to competitors?
research your competitors – which keywords and longtail keyword phrases do they optimize for, where do they get their traffic, which websites link to their website, and which pages do they get shared on social media?
research your unique value proposition – what emotional satisfaction does your products and brand deliver to your customers?
- research your unique selling proposition – this is the specific value they receive at the moment of decision – where their money is on the line and they experience doubts and where you need to hit a home run right at that moment.
- research your target keywords – using Google keyword tool, Moz tools, or ahrefs, and Spyfu, you will come up with a lengthy list of keywords your prospects might use. You’ll need to choose the best of them.
- research topics and keywords for your page content and for blogs and social posts – choosing popular and current topics helps you build content that will help you rank on Google, Yahoo, Bing and get shared via social media.
- what is your competitors website and catalog layout like? How are the product pages categorized and linked together, and which are strongly linked to?
- what do your competitors talk about on their product pages and in their blog and social media posts?
- what is your website layout like? — use the screamingfrog service to scan your site for problems.
use the Google page speed and Pingdom site speed tools to check your site’s speed and then discuss improvements with your webmaster or site administrator
- assess your site’s social media integration
- assess these SEO details:
- The page title
- Paragraph copy
- anchor text
- Image file names
- Image alt tags
- Meta title and description
- keywords near the purchase button
The above process should get you geared up to really improve your site’s performance in Google. There’s much more to SEO than keywords and meta data and I hope you’re up to at least appreciating the art of SEO.
If you have a clever SEO expert working with you, you might come up with many additional words that make Google consider your pages more relevant. You’ll also want to come up with EPIC level content since this is where the real success is now. If you wondered why some blog posts are so long and promoted strongly, well, now you know.
SEO is also about the customer experience, learning, engagement, and capturing the intent of your audience, and getting them to return later. You need to study why people are coming to your site and why they’re returning. What do they think your store can do for them? Are your products unique and exclusively available at your store? Do you have styles and brands they really like and believe in? Do they like your store location and staff? Do you offer special incentives that can seal the deal in the moment?
Google sees a lot about what is happening on your site, which is why impact and engagement are so important now. Make sure your site is capitalizing on their intent or mood and move them forward. Google will be watching this nurturing or conversion activity too.
Google’s goal is to make money, but also to create engaging shopping experiences where something got done — a purchase, information learned, and interest established. The purchase might not happen right away, in fact, immediate sales are a rarity in these competitive times in eCommerce.
One thing good eCommerce SEO can do for you too, is build preference and keep your visitors away from the competition. This is why number one rankings convert so well. That person isn’t finding your competitors. So by all means, put some effort and money into eCommerce SEO. It’s powerful and you don’t have to pay per click.
We can use a number of handy tools too to help guide your site’s ascendancy in the rankings: Spyfu is good, and so is ahrefs.com. SERPWoo specializes in ecommerce websites. Learn more about SERPwoo’s advantage:
Come back again for more insight into SEO and shopper strategy. If you have any questions, please contact me via the form below.
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