Search engine visibility is an important part of your store’s marketing and growth strategy. While it takes time, and sometimes money, to earn top search positions (SERP), it’s a worthwhile effort that eventually drives “free” traffic. However, this isn’t easy and many store owners are concerned about the cost of search engine optimization. No worries, there are several factors that will help your effort to become an SEO expert for your ecommerce site.
Evaluate the Competition in Your Field
If you wish to best your competition with search visibility, you need to understand your competition. There are three key steps to this process which will help you develop your own winning SEO strategy. Mastering this process will make you an SEO expert for your eCommerce site!
Step 1: Who are your competitors?
The first step is to identify the main competitors. There are two different types of competitors. The first are those you think are your primary competitors. These are the stores you want to beat.
The second type of competitor are those Google sees as your competitors. When using an SEO tool, are those listed even related to what you offer? If not, your site’s content doesn’t match your intent. Are they tiny? Well, that means you have a lot of work to do.
Step 2: Compare their strengths and weaknesses.
Next, create a competitive analysis after evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. This is pretty much impossible to do without a high-quality SEO tool though there are several nice ones out there. Most pros use SEMRush or RavenTools. New ones are always out to try.
I like to use SEMRush for this as it makes it easy to pick who I wish to compare to my site. Then I usually pick 2-3 to compare and see which keywords they rank for that my site doesn’t or doesn’t rank as well. These lists can then be used to build my own target keyword list and enter them in a tracking tool.
Don’t ignore their actual content. Why do they outrank you? What topics did they miss or do poorly. Your goal is to better them.
Step 3: You need a great SEO strategy
The last step is to develop an effective strategy by identifying your competitive advantages and disadvantages. Use the information you gathered in step 2 to find areas where you can excel. Use this to build your content strategy – what will you write about?
I like to group keywords into groups. It isn’t necessary to write a blog post for every possible keyword around a topic but it is possible that several great topics come out of your research on a core topic.
When this happens, do write multiple articles and be sure to reference and link each to the other. Also consider writing for the long-tail keyword phrases which are inclusive of the core keyword. Long-tail keywords consist of 4 or more words.
In most cases, you should also be linking articles to product and category pages. After all, your goal is to increase sales.
Understanding search intent & using it in your strategy
When looking at a keyword, we need to determine what people are searching for in order to successfully rank on the first page of Google. Are they looking for research, comparative information, a how to choose or best list, or to find an actual product?
Understanding the intent of the searcher is key because your goal is to drive organic traffic to your ecommerce site consisting of shoppers who are closer to the buy stage rather than doing broader research.
This is done by looking at the search terms and using them to create a long list of keywords. The keywords should be grouped into similar categories which will then increase the relevance of the content that is written.
For example, if someone types “navy blue dress heels leather” that query is intended to display actual shoes that fit that description. This is where your product descriptions become important to SEO.
Product pages are harder to rank
Products are harder to rank for than informational articles. The further from “ready to buy” the easier the keywords can be to rank for. A good top of the funnel strategy would include broader articles – “how to pick a comfortable dress shoe” or “the best heel height for dress shoes to dance in.”
Middle of the funnel content is closer to the buying decision. Topics like “top ten navy dress shoes for spring” or “our favorite brands for long lasting dress shoes” represent this type of searcher.
At the bottom of the funnel are great product descriptions that avoid duplicate content as much as possible. Products can be harder to rank because the competition is more intense. In addition, too many ecommerce websites don’t bother to write original product descriptions. Don’t be that store owner!
The Dos and Don’ts of Proper Web Design for SEO
- Take the time to optimize your ecommerce store for search engines. If you want to rank highly in SERPs, your site should be easy to navigate, use the right keywords and have good content.
- Consider your keyword terms as you plan navigation. Your categories should embrace well-searched names. Consider linking to helpful informational articles from your product category pages. Filters should enhance this strategy.
- Write great meta descriptions for each page. This important marketing content helps improve your click through rate, which is turn signals to Google you may have great page that deserves a better rank.
- Expect website visitors to read long blocks of text on a page. Break it up into short paragraphs and use bullet points or other visual dividers where appropriate.
- Avoid getting too clever such as adding a “z” instead of an “s”. Crossbody purses will rank better than Crossbody pursez. What might be clever for branding can backfire in a big way for SEO.
- Forget about the alt descriptions on your product images. In addition to being helpful for the disabled, these descriptions can assist your page with ranking well. Google also ranks images so this offers the possibility of another search link via image search.
We’ve prepared a number of articles that will guide your path towards a good user experience that supports your SEO strategy.
- How to Create a Great Customer Experience for e-Commerce in 5 Easy Steps
- Before You Build an Ecommerce Website: The 4 Key Factors You Must Know
What You Need to Know About User Experience Optimization and Conversion Rates
User experience optimization is a systematic approach to meeting user needs. It involves looking at the information architecture, usability, accessibility, visual design, and content strategy of an application or website to make sure that they are all aligned with the business goals.
Users come from various backgrounds and have different needs when it comes to interacting with the web or mobile applications. Hence UX optimization is not about a perfect user journey but more about meeting their varying needs for different purposes and contexts.
As you plan your store for SEO, the quality and ease of the user experience impact your conversion rates. A poor user experience will hurt your search rankings and your sales!
Doing right by your customers with a great user experience will help your SEO.
Share your content!
The best content in the world is of little use if no one sees it. Seeking out inbound links is part of the process. Unfortunately, it can be very time consuming and expensive to hire a professional to do this for you.
What you can do if you have no budget for inbound link building is to start by sharing your content on your social media and in your emails. A great article provides a friendly, non-promotional way to communicate with your audience and keep them engaged. Sharing should absolutely be part of your overall content strategy.
Conclusion: Become an Expert in SEO for Your ECommerce Site Today!
SEO is a process of making websites visible to search engines. This is done by implementing different strategies for keywords, producing original content, posting on social media sites, and seeking inbound links.
The methods that SEO experts use today are not the same as the ones that were used a few years ago. The major changes in SEO can be attributed to Google’s algorithm updates like Panda and Penguin.
This also means that not all SEO pros have stayed current and are practicing solid, honest techniques that will stand up to Google’s many changes.
In conclusion, you absolutely can become an ecommerce SEO whiz with the investment of time and effort. Like all things ecommerce, very little is easy anymore.
If you need help, please feel free to reach out to our team of experts.
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