eCommerce SEO: The Tactics You Need To Know To Generate Sales
You put together your beautiful eCommerce site and started patiently waiting for traffic to start teeming through your home page and product pages.
You waited. And waited. And then waited some more. Nothing.
After pouring a ton of time and energy into building out their eCommerce site, many merchants get discouraged with the amount of additional effort required to start getting their site ranking in search engines. Even merchants that have an intermediate understanding of SEO tactics and a basic implementation of them often get stuck in a motionless jam when it comes to generating traffic.
The following tactics are designed to help any eCommerce merchant put together and implement an actionable SEO strategy, with additional tips to help boost your total digital marketing efforts.
1. Start Writing Content Around Questions People Want Answered
Traditional search engine optimization knowledge leads people to structure their content strategy around keywords related to their industry and products. While this is an effective way to start targeting traffic and leading it to your home and product pages, the competition can be incredibly fierce for the highest search terms.
Most small businesses don’t have a gigantic budget that they can commit to targeting hot keywords like “pizza” or “basketball shoes,” so they try to target peripheral traffic with long tail keywords such as “healthy lean pizza thin crust” and “discount basketball shoes Summer 2017.” While this could also be a viable strategy to generate traffic, these fringe long tail keywords are not as lucrative, yet can be just as competitive since they are the low-hanging fruit for other SEOs.
This leads us to building content around questions people want to have answered. This way, the traffic that lands on your content pages will have its questions answered, will stay on your page longer, and will help your page build authority in search engines. These power pages can then be leveraged by internally linking to your product pages and other relevant pages.
2. Learn the Art of Guest Posting
Guest posting is one of the most under-looked digital marketing tactics. Granted, the process may seem much more extensive than commissioning content around keywords, but it’s not much different from traditional link building.
Guest posting is a strategy in which business owners reach out to reputable and authoritative websites with the goal of writing a guest post for their blog. The authoritative websites receive a high-quality piece of content relevant to their audience, and the guest poster receives a link back to their site, as well as any potential traffic navigating from the guest post to their site.
This tactic is something that requires building rapport and, eventually, long-term relationships with authoritative sites within your industry. Since the effort required to get a live guest post can be fairly extensive, many people in your industry have likely been discouraged from pursuing this route. The benefits, however, are enough to entice those savvy enough to use this strategy:
You snag high-quality backlinks from strong authority sites.
You start building up credibility as an expert in your industry.
Interested and targeted referral traffic starts trickling into your site.
3. Include Product Videos
Although Google and other search engines haven’t released what exactly makes their search algorithm tick, it’s fair to assume that the time spent on a page is a huge factor. Time spent on a page indicates users are interested in the content and that they find it valuable. Google and other search engines reward valuable content with higher rankings because they assume users will find that content more useful than similar content with a lower time spent on the page.
When it comes to your product pages, however, it’s usually a pretty cut and dried process for visitors. They see the product, skim through the description, look at some of the reviews, and decide whether they want to add it to their cart or keep shopping.
This is where product videos and video pages can come in handy. A high-quality product video that immerses the viewer in the product and allows them to learn how it is valuable to them is a great way to keep them on the page. Not only will your on-page time increase, your shoppers will make better-educated decisions.
This strategy helps to generate traffic by boosting your search engine optimization efforts, and boosts sales by nipping buyer apprehension and showcasing the product in higher detail, and reduces the number of returns by helping buyers make more informed decisions.
4. Optimize Your Site for Mobile
Mobile, mobile, mobile. If you’ve been in eCommerce for more than a few months, you’ve likely heard this word repeated over and over in every SEO guide and white paper. The reason for that? Mobile is not a passing fad; it’s a trend that will continue to play a larger role in SEO. Internet use is expected to jump from 71% to 75%, in 2017, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down after that, either.
To put this into perspective, three out of every four people who search for something on the internet are doing it on their phone. That means if your site’s pages, product images, and overall design look bland and don’t readily load, you are automatically making a poor impression on the majority of your traffic. Unless you want to make eCommerce difficult for yourself and fight for that final fourth person, who may or may not be interested in your products, everything should be optimized for mobile.
According to Social Media Examiner, only 62% of B2B and 51% of B2C marketers have optimized their blogs for mobile to improve SEO. The reason we want to emphasize mobile so much is that the disparity in people searching on mobile and people prepared for mobile search leaves a huge opportunity for new eCommerce merchants.
5. Create Longer Content
A joint study by BuzzSumo and Moz analyzed the links and shares of over 1 million articles and found that content over 1,000 words consistently earned more links and shares than shorter content. Additionally, a Backlinko report found that longer content also tends to rank higher, and the average first page result in Google had around 1,890 words.
This statistic, however, doesn’t mean that your content can trade quality for length and still receive the same results. The reason longer content tends to rank better is because it takes readers on a valuable journey that addresses several concerns and problems, and then it answers them in a detailed specificity. To express their gratitude and their accomplishment of having finished it, readers are more inclined to share the content. These shares and links add up, and the content will eventually climb the search rankings.
While these five tips can be very useful to help eCommerce merchants generate traffic and sales, they work much better when implemented within a long-term SEO strategy. Search engine algorithms will continue to change and, likely, in the favor of the searcher. This means that eCommerce sites will have to provide more value to their customers, outside of their transactions, and attempt to retain as much traffic as possible through email and social media to hedge the risks from an ever-changing search engine marketing industry.