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Sustainability of Every E-commerce and Mobile Commerce Business Depends on Search.
Organic search has been proven to deliver more qualified traffic at a lower cost of acquisition and greater return on investment than paid search and other digital promotion programs. Unfortunately, keywords and meta data are a mere drop in the sea of SEO. In fact, search engine optimization has never been more complex than it is today. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
How Much Organic Search Traffic Should Your E-Commerce Website Attract?
It is important to have a reference point before optimizing your website for search. If 50% of your traffic is not legitimate Organic search engine traffic, it is very likely you are missing significant opportunities to grow market share and increase sales, year over year.
I specifically mention “legitimate” because there has been an explosion of bogus traffic to e-commerce websites by way of bots generated by spammers overseas. These are typically counted as bounces, which can reduce the quality score of your website. So, it is important that you not be fooled into thinking your website is generating more traffic when you could be experiencing a drastic decline from real human visitors in your target geographic markets.
A « Dashboard Report » will never reveal this information. Only when you dig deep into analytics and know what to look for can you truly determine the quality of your website traffic and effectiveness of your SEO investment.
Even if you have done everything according to quality guidelines put forth by Google, Bing and other search engines, you may still find it difficult to continually increase traffic and conversions by way of search engine traffic – unless you are willing to get a little creative.
How can you increase organic traffic to your E-Commerce website?
1.Content Marketing to New Customer Types.
Everyone has pretty much gotten the message. Content marketing (blogs and RSS content specifically) is an important element for E-Commerce SEO. However, few take it to a truly strategic level. Instead of publishing a schedule of posts talking about your product to existing customers; try expanding your published content to include all audiences and influencers to expand the reach of your product.
Planning content is easier when you have a calendar and framework to guide content creation. Generate a persona for each customer type important to the success of your business (consumers, partners, affiliates, media, investors, employees, etc.). Be sure to map out the experience you would like each customer type to have once they visit your website. You can download a free persona worksheet from my book website.
Creating content that is hyper-relatable to each customer type can go along way in cutting through online clutter and noise. Added bonus, search engines will index RSS content much faster than a static page on your website.
Targeting this content to specific segments of your audience through search, social media lists and segmented email lists can go a long way to promote visibility and generate legitimate qualified traffic. Remember to make your content “shareable” so visitors can post to their preferred social media platform. Content and links to your website, shared on social media are often indexed by search engines, making social media a perfect compliment to search engine optimization.
2. Don’t Just Ask for the Sale.
If your website is purely transactional, meaning it focuses entirely on closing the sale, you are missing out on tremendous opportunity. One of the most important aspects of the customer journey that most Ecommerce websites are so focused on conversion to sale that they overlook; the three phases of the purchase decision.
If you want to continually expand your reach to new customers, you must be willing to help them get to the purchase. That means optimizing your website to appeal to customers during the research and comparison stages in addition to the final conversion: purchase. This approach is most effective when included in website design. However, it can be equally effective by adding pages and posts to fill in the blanks at any time.
3. Ask the Question, Literally.
If you populate product descriptions, FAQs, blog post headers with the answers to questions you know your customers ask when considering your product, you have significantly increased your ability to reach them directly via search.
Keyword tools, largely based on paid search activity, will never give you this insight on how your ideal customers are using search before they find you. Consult with internal sales and customer service personnel, they will (or should) be able to provide tremendous insight on what matters to customers. If those resources do not exist, or you want to back up their feedback by investigating which questions are being asked in search.
If you want to know what customers are askin Google, begin typing in the question and top questions will appear automatically in the search bar. This is a more time-consuming proposition, especially if you have a large inventory of SKUs. Also, make sure you have a search bar on your website, AND that it is being specifically tracked in Google Analytics. Referring to this data will be very useful in optimizing product descriptions, content, and can be used in product development and purchasing over time.
4. List Your Product on High-Visibility Platforms.
Once you have a good handle on SEO of your product, you may consider featuring one or two products on retail platforms such as Amazon.com, retailmenot.com, etc.; that you may initially overlook or view as a competing source of traffic. The visibility of these high-traffic domains can be extremely effective in helping your product and brand appear high in search engine results. This is as effective for B2B products and software.
It will take more than one listing to take full advantage of this strategy. However, integrating these listings strategically with website SEO can be extremely valuable in introducing new product, an entry-level version of your product, or strategically position against competitive product.
5. Connect with Google. Google continually changes its algorithm.
Google is continually changing its algorithm. Whether your e-commerce website is connected to a brick-and-mortar store, or is an online-only store; making sure Google knows everything it can about your business can be extremely helpful. Many web-only E-commerce companies overlook this opportunity, thinking that it is meant only for brick and mortar.
What is the best way to help Google Find Your E-Commerce Website?
Begin by making sure your company has a Google profile and that this profile, along with all business-related Google accounts (Google Analytics, Gmail, AdWords, Business/Maps, Shopping Feed, etc.) are owned and connected to the same Google business profile. This profile should be “optimized” to include a full description of your company, link to your website, hours, locations, phone numbers, etc. This is one simple, direct step to identify the business to Google and improve inclusion of the business and ecommerce website in the “Knowledge Graph”, as demonstrated in the screen shot below.
So, there you have it. Hopefully at least one of these non-traditional E-commerce SEO strategies has your wheels turning! I’d love to hear how one or one of these methods worked for you-ping me on Twitter @VirtualMarketer or via LinkedIn.