A Data-Driven Approach to eCommerce SEO Services
Ecommerce websites are unique to other business sites found online. Other businesses can attract new sales from word-of-mouth, but an eCommerce company’s survival depends on a fine-tuned digital marketing strategy. Ecommerce sites rely on search engines to bring in qualified web traffic and increase sales. At AIS Media, our eCommerce SEO services start with research. We research how your audience searches for your products and what motives them to purchase.
An Ecommerce SEO Company with Experience
For many digital marketing agencies, the SEO strategy needed for an eCommerce company is no different than any other. However, with features such as carts, transactions and online specials, eCommerce SEO requires a customized strategy tailored to your business goals. This is where our 20+ years of experience in digital marketing impacts your bottom line.
We know the journey from manufacturer to customer. We know how to find motivated searchers and market to them. We know what it takes to profit from online search. Our data-driven approach to eCommerce has propelled the growth and development of our clients.
Are you ready to grow your online visibility? Give us a call at 404.751.1043 for a free eCommerce SEO consultation. Our experts are happy to share even more successes our eCommerce clients experienced while working with us.
Our Approach to eCommerce SEO
The path to increased sales online begins with keyword research. The first step in determining the most effective SEO strategy is defining which products bring the best ROI, where value is driven by repeat customers or revenue generated from a sale. Then, a SEO company will connect product names to popular phrases customers use to find your products online.
With search marketing, you can reach a potential customer at each step of their purchasing decision. You can increase their interest to buy from you if they landed on your eCommerce site multiple times during this process.
For an eCommerce company, keywords should be organized into three buckets – informational, investigative, and transactional. This spreads your reach of potential customers online relative to their level of buying intent and generates search traffic for each step of the purchasing decision.
- Informational keywords answer the when, where, how and why of your product. They are best implemented on blog posts, in-depth articles, buying guides, and any other content that is meant to inform the consumer. Discover the long-tail keywords (4+ word phrases) that address specific questions in your niche.
- Examples of informational keywords include: benefits of [product], how to use a [product] or types of [product].
- Investigative keywords contain product attributes, such as brand, color, size, etc. These keywords should be used when creating content resources for your consumer as well as category pages.
- Examples of investigative keywords include: blue [product], mini [product] or used [product]. Transactional keywords indicate a high level of buyer intent by including a specific product (make or model) or obvious indicators such as “for sale”.
- Transactional keywords can be used on product pages as well as throughout your other content marketing efforts.
- Examples of transactional keywords include: cheapest [product], buy [product] or a search for a product model.
Oftentimes, knowing search volume is not enough information to determine the most effective SEO strategy. For a more complete view on keyword research, you need to know your peaks and valleys in search term popularity. With organic search, we recommend starting your SEO strategy 4-6 months before peak season in order to maximize the benefit of your efforts. For example, when working with Rocky Mountain Ski & Board, we began our SEO campaign two seasons early, in the summertime, in order to bring huge ROI when skiers and snowboarders began buying their equipment.
Know your neighbors. Page #1 has limited real estate for businesses to rank. We recommend making a list of close competitors and industry leaders to audit their eCommerce marketing strategies. The goal of a competitive analysis is to understand what your competition is doing well. You’ll also uncover where the opportunity exists to provide a better online shopping experience. Here are some things to look for in a competitive SEO analysis for eCommerce sites.
- Check page speed: A high load time can negatively impact user experience and, therefore, your appearance in search results. If your site takes longer to load than your competitors, you may be losing out on sales. Check your load time and get recommendations from Google’s PageSpeed Insights here.
- Audit on-page factors: Are you implementing keywords on your site properly? Compare your title tags, meta descriptions, URLs, image alt tags and header tags to be sure that you are using relevant keywords when you have the opportunity.
- Tally your indexed pages: The larger the footprint your site has, the greater the opportunity to rank. How many indexed pages do you have compared to your competition?
- Leverage external backlinks: When other sites link to you, it demonstrates to search engines that you are the authority for your search market. A strong backlink profile is rewarded with improved rankings. Consider, how many inbound links do you have in comparison to your competitors? What linking opportunities do you see based on the sites that a linking to your competitors? Domain authority (DA) is a measure of trust that search engines have for your domain, based on your site’s backlink profile. Compare your DA to your competitors so you can get a good understanding of how search engines value your site.
Ecommerce sites that provide the best user experience for their customers have the best strategy for generating more traffic and sales. With the expanding popularity of mobile searches, user experience must be considered on both mobile and desktop versions of your eCommerce site.
In order to find the best user experience for your customers, consider spending time using your competitors’ websites. What do you like about them? What do you not like about them? Make note of the following:
Laying out site elements properly has a significant impact on whether or not a visitor stays on your site. Mark the location of the logo, menu, contact information, shopping cart, key messaging, imagery and body content. Is anything difficult to find? How about on mobile?
Navigation Menu and Sub-Menus
What do you see in your competitors’ navigational areas? An uncluttered, intuitive navigation will make it easier for consumers to find the product they’re looking for. Products are often sorted by brand, product category or subcategory i.e. Men’s J. Crew Pants.
Cutting down on extra steps improves conversion rates. On a competitor’s site, pick a product that you wish to “purchase”, and then navigate back to the homepage. Using the website’s navigation, how many clicks does it take to add the product to the cart?
How long does it take to add product to the cart and get through the checkout process? What extra information do you request from your customers that the competition doesn’t? What payment options are offered that you don’t? Checkout processes are vital for an eCommerce company’s success online. Keep your checkout process simple. On average, two-thirds of eCommerce shoppers add items to the cart without completing the transaction. Move your customers through to purchase quickly and efficiently to avoid high rates of cart abandonment.
Unique Value Propositions
What are your competitors boasting that makes them unique? What distinguishes your eCommerce company from them? Highlight these in highly visible regions to demonstrate value to your customers.
CTAs consist of text or imagery that directs site visitors to take a specific action. What are your competitors doing to encourage visitors to buy? Where are they placing these CTAs?
Risk reversals reduce consumers’ perceived risk of purchasing your product. Do your competitors market money-back guarantees or free shipping? How does your return policy stack up against theirs? Make your risk reversals clear throughout the checkout process for increased conversion rates.
What resources do your competitors provide to their site visitors? It may be blog posts, whitepapers, video tutorials, infographics, and more. How are your competitors communicating with consumers? Note their social, email marketing and PR initiatives.
How Do I Get My eCommerce Site Ranked?
After researching your search landscape and your competitors, it’s essential to consider technical site factors that may be bottlenecking your keyword rankings. Based on the latest Google algorithm updates, these are the key areas to focus on:
Great site architecture (layout) balances business goals with user experience. Your site should have an intuitive path to checkout and encourage users to purchase with product information. Your site architecture also determines how quickly and efficiently search engines can crawl your site.
Start by creating a visual representation for your site with a sitemap. Define where each page lives in your site’s hierarchy. Next, define the purpose of each page. Does it exist for navigation, information or conversion?
- Navigation pages direct visitors to the next step, such as a category page.
- Information pages direct the visitor so that they can make a future purchasing decision, like a blog post or article.
- Conversion pages are where your visitors make a purchase, submit a form, download an asset or perform any other activity that you would define as a conversion.
Audit each page of your site and answer this question: what would it take for a visitor to take the next step? For example, what would encourage a consumer to go from a category page to a product page? This will help you determine where pages should be in your sitemap and how they should be linked to one another to keep visitors on the path to conversion.
HTTP vs HTTPS
Google has stated since 2014 that having an HTTPS (secure encryption) site is a ranking signal in its algorithm (Source: Google Webmaster Central Blog). In fact, this began with eCommerce sites as a way to ensure user data was safe and secure online. Today, the correlation between having an HTTPS site and page #1 keyword rankings is strong, especially among eCommerce sites.
A URL slug describes a site or page to visitors and search engines. Search engines use URL slugs as a ranking factor in understanding the content of a page. The best practice is to keep URLs simple, accurate and keyword-rich.
Page Titles & Meta Descriptions
Title tags define how a page is introduced on Google. Because page titles are your first introduction to prospective customers, they present a big opportunity for creativity. Additionally, you should use relevant keywords and reinforce your brand in your page title. A well-written page title is unique from any other page title on the website, will entice a searcher to click and stay within the 70 character limit.
Meta descriptions are a short summary of the web page. You see them most option as the descriptions in search engine results pages. Like page titles, they should be unique, use relevant keywords, and be under 156 characters.
Canonical tags communicate to search engines that your site’s content is original and unique. Use of canonical tags is especially important for eCommerce sites, which oftentimes have duplicate product information on multiple web pages.
Image Alt Tags
Alt tags inform search engines of the context of an image. For eCommerce site, having product images is just as important to users as it is for search engines. It’s also an opportunity to use relevant keywords and earn placement in search results.
A great tip for crafting quality ALT text is to pretend like you are describing the image to someone who is blind (which was its original intention). Don’t force a keyword if it’s not relevant for describing the image.
Site content has the greatest influence on its visibility in organic search results. By adhering to certain best practices, you can position your content for success in search engine results pages.
- Duplicate content is content that appears on the web in more than one place. Search engines will avoid displaying multiple results containing the same content. Eliminating duplicate content issues will prevent your site from being penalized.
- Thin Content or low-word-count content can be associated with poor quality to search engines. To demonstrate the value of your website’s content, we recommend that you provide sufficient content on your web pages. We recommend a minimum of 500 words for each page that you would like to appear in search results, especially on product category pages and high volume product pages.
Linking between relevant pages of your site creates a good user experience. A common example on eCommerce sites is including items “you might also like” as you might see on Amazon.
This process of internal linking allows search engines to associate pieces of relevant content to better understand which search terms you should be ranking for. Be mindful that having broken links on your site is a negative ranking factor which signifies poor site structure. Resolve any issues where pages are returning 404 error codes and create links between key site pages.
It is also a good SEO practice to link to external sites when an outside resource is relevant to one of your web pages. Research shows that linking to authoritative sites can improve your site’s SEO.
Consumers are getting more comfortable shopping on their mobile devices. If your website doesn’t cater to this segment, you’re missing out on revenue. Here are some quick tips to benefit your site’s mobile compatibility:
- All page elements fit the device’s screen resolution.
- Scrolling should only be up and down, not left or right.
- Tap target/icons aren’t too small.
- Font sizes are legible.
- Plugins you may be using work on mobile devices.
Our Ecommerce SEO Services
AIS Media offers SEO services that specialize in helping eCommerce companies accelerates growth through the power of online search. Our SEO services have a proven track record of propelling online sales.
Are you ready to grow your eCommerce business? Give us a call at 404.751.1043 or contact us online for a free eCommerce SEO consultation.
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