Looking to start an E-Commerce Store? Here are 6 ways to outrank your competitors.
Amazon’s reign over e-commerce is a fairly recent event. Malls used to make a lot more money for retailers, and very few of them had a retail presence online.
All of that is changing.
Amazon dominated e-commerce during the most recent holiday season. It is estimated that the online retail giant will account for more than 50% of the growing e-commerce sales by 2021. That leaves a smaller piece of the pie for the rest of us if the trend continues.
E-commerce still accounts for only about 10% of retail sales in the United States.
The latest data from Forrester states that 71% of consumers in the US will use a search engine to discover new products, brands, and services. If you are not ranking in search, you are missing out.
It’s simple. If you want to compete online against giants like Amazon, Walmart, and others, you must win at SEO.
It might feel a little like David fighting Goliath with just a sling and few stones, but there are ways to stack the odds in your favor to topple the giant armies of marketers you’re competing against.
Better e-commerce SEO ensures that your products get discovered online, help consumers make the best buying decisions, and give them something worthwhile to share with their friends and followers.
Here are six areas where you need to focus for better e-commerce SEO.
1. What is ROBO?
Online search is crucial throughout the customer lifecycle—from product discovery, to purchase decision to engagement and retention.
If you are an online e-commerce retailer, you have to do more than optimize your site. You simply can’t ignore how you rank in the search engines for your key product, brand, and service terms.
In global search, there is Google… and then there is everyone else. It is crucial as a seller that you understand what it takes to get discovered on Google, first and foremost.
Even when the purchase ultimately doesn’t happen online, 65% of consumers still research online before making their final purchase decisions in a brick-and-mortar store. This is known as ROBO (research online, buy offline).
If you are selling electronics, appliances, autos, or apparel, then discovery and consideration practices do matter online even if the purchase ultimately happens at a retail location 90% of the time.
In fact, 54% of online buyers read reviews before a purchase.
If you have been selling online awhile, then you know the benefits of being on page one of Google.
While the top result on Google tends to have a click-through rate above 20%, the drop off is steep—falling below 1.5% for anything after the first page. It doesn’t matter if you’re searching on a desktop or a mobile device—the search ranking and click-through rates fall-off a cliff the further you get from that first page.
Your potential customers have to go somewhere to shop. If they are not purchasing with you, then they’re likely buying from Amazon or going to your competition instead.
If you are only selling online, and do not have a retail shop, then you are losing out on sales, but building an online brand is where the movement is headed. So know that,
2. Keywords are key
Ranking on the first page of Google is great, but unless you’re ranking for the right search results, it’s not going to do your business any good.
That means you’re going to need to do your keyword research.
It’s a great feeling to rank on the first page of Google for a competitive search term, but for pages that aren’t ranking well, you should consider a long-tail keyword strategy.
First, you need to understand the shortcomings of broad keywords.
Broad keywords tend to be very competitive, and it can take months or more to rank for them. They might also cast too wide of a net to capture your target audience effectively.
It has been said that the “riches are in the niches.” This is where long-tail keywords come into play.
According to Moz, 70% of search traffic comes from long tail searches.
The trick is to find the sweet spot of keywords that convert your ideal customers in search while also helping you rank. That is a win-win for your potential customers and you as a seller.
If you aren’t sure where to start, take a look at your competitors’ keyword data to get a better idea of which keywords they are bidding on. You can use SEMRush or Google Adwords Keyword Planner.
3. Produce Relevant, Engaging Content.
One of the best ways to start ranking for your targeted keywords is by creating an informational blog. Once you do that, you can incorporate SEO into it by using keyword research to frame topics that proactively answer your customers’ questions.
The benefits of blogs go way beyond higher search ranking. The conversion rate for websites with content marketing is nearly six times higher than websites without it.
Content entices your potential customers to spend more time engaging with your brand—helping them feel much closer to your brand than they otherwise would.
70% of consumers prefer to learn about a brand through a blog post rather than through corporate messaging. Help your audience get to know you and your brand by providing them with relevant, consistent blog content.
Not only should your site be optimized for SEO, but the blog content needs to be optimized too.
If producing content for your e-commerce site does not come naturally, don’t worry. You don’t have to create an airtight SEO strategy in one fell swoop. Just pick one channel and try it.
Take video, for example.
On average, web visitors spend 2.6 times longer on pages with video than those without it. Companies like ThinkGeek know this and use videos (optimized for SEO, of course) to drive traffic back to their website. With videos averaging around 600,000 views each, that’s a lot of potential web traffic.
4. Get PPC Organized
Structure matters in PPC, and it matters for SEO too. If your content is scattered all over the place on your site without any real structure, you will be working against your other efforts to improve organic traffic.
Search engines prefer structure when crawling your site. Put simply, it means that your most important content should be at the top of your site, and everything else should flow from that top-level infrastructure.
Internal links to content are one method to help refine the structure of your site and boost your chances of getting discovered.
Including links to your product and category pages inside your posts will capitalize on the SEO traction you earn from your blog articles to help guide your audience to specific product pages.
The long tail articles you create about topics that your prospects are searching for are a cornerstone piece in your foundation for bringing in customers that convert.
Don’t forget to link back to your own content, too. It not only helps Google better understand the structure of your site, but it also makes it much easier for visitors to find and share your content. If your audience has to work too hard to find your content, they will stop looking.
This goes for both your products and your blog. The deeper you ask a site visitor to navigate, the higher the likelihood that they never return from the depths. Keep simplicity in mind as you design and manage your e-commerce site and menus.
Following the concept of keeping the number of levels on your site low for complexity, you should keep your URLs simple as well.
One last tip: don’t forget that keywords still apply when considering URLs.
5. Influencer Marketing
Backlinks are foundational for any site on the web and have long been known as an important ranking signal in Google.
Another way to establish your authority online is through influencer marketing. It not only lends credibility to your story, but it also broadens your reach and creates better ROI.
Bigelow Tea enlisted the support of influencers to help boost their blog traffic and online sales.
Through the help of one influencer campaign, they saw 32,000 blog engagements and an 18.5% increase in sales.
6. Page Load Speed Must Be Lighting Fast.
Site performance is a critical measurement area for any site’s SEO.
Harry Shum, head of AI at Microsoft says this: “Two hundred fifty milliseconds, either slower or faster, is close to the magic number now for competitive advantage on the Web.”
If your page load speeds are slow, potential customers will abandon your site before they ever see your products or services. Why risk it? Sites need to convert to survive.
Recently, Google just announced that starting in July 2018, page speed will be a ranking consideration for mobile searches.
It should come as no surprise. The benefits for mobile far outweigh the investment, in the form of a better user experience that will convert to higher conversions and sales.
It’s easy to start testing for site speed, and you can’t afford not to. Use a free tool like Page Speed Insights to test your mobile performance, and then do the same for your web pages.
Sites like Shopify live and die by site speed metrics—and it’s paying off. Shopify Pay has an uptime of 99.8% and offers a 40% faster checkout than its competitors. That translates into an 18% increase in sales.
Get fast, test often and stay fast.
If you want success with your E-Commerce store please CONTACT US!