The harsh truth of e-commerce is if your brand name is anything other than Amazon, you are typically fighting an uphill battle.
However, there are many strategic ways in which you can stand up to the giants and put your products in front of the right people. One of the best approaches is through organic search. In fact, according to a study conducted reported by Smart Insights, organic traffic accounted for 22 percent of e-commerce sales last year in the United States alone.
Considering most online searches don’t go past page one of the results, SEO experts are constantly working to get ranked as close to the top as possible.
For the sake of your web traffic, and ultimately sales, here are four tips to consider.
1. Conduct thorough keyword research
The classic saying “Prior planning prevents poor performance” cannot be more relevant to SEO. Optimizing your landing pages for the right keywords must be done very carefully in order to set your platform up for success.
In terms of e-commerce, there are many aspects to take into account. One of the biggest mistakes businesses make is focusing only on their products and selling them. In actuality, they need to consider the fact that most people these days are conducting a significant amount of research prior to buying.
Therefore, marketers need to map keywords for the entire buyer’s journey. Put yourself in the shoes of the consumer. What words would you enter into the search bar when first learning about a product or service? What about when you are narrowing down choices?
To give you an idea, for the awareness stage, consider using terms like issues, revamp, improve, better, etc.
For the consideration stage: solutions, options, benefits, or tools.
Finally, as people are beginning to make their final decisions, use keywords like: reports, comparisons, reviews, and costs.
Ahref’s Keywords Explorer is fantastic for this purpose and will give you a good idea as to what people are searching for within your industry.
2. Start a blog
Even though Google is famous for keeping the general public more or less in the dark as to what exactly goes into their algorithms, one of the most common threads experts have found is that the search engines favor sites with fresh, meaningful content.
With this in mind, creating a blogging platform on your website is one of the best ways to improve your rankings. Additionally, it shows you are an expert in your field and are dedicated to giving customers relevant information, rather than just pushing sales.
Blog posts can help boost your web traffic immensely. When this happens, the search engines see your website as credible, in turn, moving you higher up the list on the SERPs.
Make sure to include your relevant keywords within the content. However, steer clear of overstuffing, as the search engines will pick up on this and can penalize you for it.
Regardless of what line of work you are in, there are ALWAYS interesting ways you can create compelling posts. Look at some the popular blogs within your industry for inspiration.
Crate and Barrel does a phenomenal job with their blog. Not only do they create interesting content, they gear it perfectly to inspire people to buy their products:
3. Organize the site with strong URL structures
If you are selling a high volume of inventory on your e-commerce website, the importance of quality URL structure cannot be emphasized enough. These make it much easier for search engines to index your site, and they will reward you accordingly.
This has been a talked-about concept in the marketing industry for years. Creating SEO-friendly URL structures entails a number of key components.
Most importantly, be sure the proper keywords and categories are included. For example, take a look at online jewelry retailer Bluestone’s product pages:
The URL does a great job in including proper targeted terms related to the general selection. It starts with the category, then moves into the more specific product keywords.
This practice is extremely beneficial for not just making your website’s content more visible for both search engines and shoppers, but improving the overall usability and navigation of your platform. As a result, your rankings will improve.
4. Use social media to your advantage
Social media is a cornerstone of online promotion. The biggest benefit of incorporating it into your e-commerce SEO is shareability. Google’s mission is to provide their users with the best possible content. Therefore, they want the highest quality webpages showing up in their search index. If people are looking at your website and sharing pages, Google will take this into account and boost your site’s rankings.
If you haven’t already, make sure to optimize each of your pages for social media. This is imperative for making your brand easier to find on the web.
Present-day e-commerce platforms like Shopify allow you to easily insert the appropriate plugins for quick social sharing. This is by far one of the simplest and most effective ways to boost your e-commerce SEO.
Over to you
At this point in time, retail companies are fully aware they must integrate e-commerce into their business model. Even more, they must account for it in their marketing mix. Just as brick-and-mortar stores had to compete with Walmart in decades past, today’s businesses must work to beat Amazon. The key to gaining those conversions is using SEO to be visible while providing the right information to the right people.
Pratik Dholakiya is the co-founder of E2M, a full-service digital marketing agency and PRmention, a digital PR agency. He regularly speaks at various conferences about SEO, content marketing, growth hacking, entrepreneurship, and digital PR. Pratik has spoken at NextBigWhat's UnPluggd, IIT-Bombay, SMX Israel, and other major events across Asia. As a passionate marketer, he shares his thoughts and knowledge on publications like Search Engine Land, Entrepreneur Magazine, Fast Company, The Next Web, and the Huffington Post to name a few. He has been named one of the top content marketing influencers by Onalytica three years in a row.