Search traffic is essential for ecommerce growth, and it takes time to build. In this guest post, SEO expert Bill Widmer highlights 5 easy steps to rise to the top.
There are over 1 billion websites on the internet today, with almost 2.4 million websites created every day. Of those sites, only 10 make it to the front page of Google. And the top result gets 30% or more of all the search traffic. Where does that leave you?
If you don’t take SEO seriously, there’s no way your ecommerce site will beat the competition.
If you want to make tens of thousands of extra sales every year, without spending a dime on marketing, listen up. It’s time to boost your ecommerce search traffic.
Step 1: Start a blog and produce high-quality content
Don’t think you can get away with slapping together a few paragraphs about your latest collection and calling it a blog article. The content gods are watching!
In all seriousness, quality content is crucial to ranking on the first page of Google. It’s one of their top 2 ranking factors to determine what to show (the other is backlinks).
But what exactly does quality content entail? Let’s hear it from the horse’s mouth:
Google's basic principles for high-quality content
- Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.
- Don't deceive your users.
- Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is whether you'd feel comfortable explaining what you've done to a website that competes with you, or to a Google employee. Another useful test is to ask, 'Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn't exist?'
- Think about what makes your website unique, valuable, or engaging. Make your website stand out from others in your field.
In a nutshell, Google wants you to focus on providing value to your readers with every blog article. Producing high-quality, long-form content (at least 1,500 words) is the key to ecommerce content marketing and pleasing the search gods.
Pro Tip: Not sure what kind of blog articles to produce? As a general rule of thumb, steer clear from anything that’s too obvious and salesy (eg. 5 Shoes From Our Latest Collection That You’ll Love). Instead of this, try to produce content that’s useful to your customers (eg. How To Maintain Leather Shoes: A Comprehensive Guide).
With these less salesy articles, you can still include links and call to actions for readers to shop your products after they’re done reading the article. As an added bonus, these articles can help you rank for keywords which your product and category pages can’t (such as 'how to maintain leather shoes').
Step 2: Fix your on-page SEO
On-page SEO refers to elements which you can optimise within your website (off-page SEO, on the other hand, deals with external links and other factors).
Image from FlightMedia.co
With on-page SEO, the first thing you need to do is select the keywords you want to target. Once you’ve got your keywords in mind, optimize your title, header tags, content, image alt texts, and metadata for each page and post on your website.
If this sounds like Greek to you, don’t stress. Here’s a step by step guide which will take you through the entire process.
Pro Tip:Only target one keyword per page to increase your chances. However, it’s always a good idea to include LSI keywords!
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Step 3: Add internal links to your most important pages
By adding internal links (links from one page on your site to another page on your site), you’re helping Google to understand the relationship between the different pages and posts on your ecommerce site. The more internal links a specific page or post on your website has, the more 'important' it is deemed by Google.
Think of your website as a pyramid, with the most important content - your 'cornerstone' content - at the top. You should be linking from your cornerstone content to other related pages in order to pass on link value to them. At the same time, link to these cornerstone pages from other pages in order to bolster their standing.
Want to learn more about internal links? Check out this article.
Step 4: Build external links
Once your internal links are done, it’s time to move on to building external links.
You might need to invest some budget into this, but since Google has confirmed that external links are amongst the top 3 ranking factors, I’d say it’s definitely worth your while.
First, look for influencers in your industry and reach out to them to enquire if they’d be willing to link to your website in exchange for a small fee OR for a partnership. You can use platforms such as Mailshake and VoilaNorbert to speed up the communication process.
Another way of getting backlinks is to guest-post on other websites. Whilst this typically takes longer to execute, it’s a great way of building your brand and establishing thought leadership whilst getting more backlinks.
Step 5: Consider paid traffic
Assuming you’ve completed all the above steps (and you reallllly should!), this doesn’t mean you’ll see results overnight.
It’ll take some time (a few months, or even a year) for you to experience a boost in your organic traffic. In the meantime, you can consider 'supplementing' with paid traffic.
Once those ads are running, a full-cycle analytics platform like Littledata is essential to help you optimise your ad spend and connect it to revenue. After all, the idea isn't just to get more traffic, but to get the best kind of traffic and sell to your best type of customer - the kind that's more likely to convert.
The truth about ecommerce growth
A few parting words.
A lot of ecommerce store owners think that as they become more established, they’ll automatically have more people visiting their website.
The truth is, word of mouth can only get you so far - and if you’re serious about growing your ecommerce store and increasing your profits, you’ll need to boost your search traffic through SEO and the other methods discussed above. And you'll want to optimise that search traffic by paying attention to specific metrics such as bounce rates from mobile Google search.
Do you want to see a nice exponential curve in your search traffic analytics, or are you content to have your traffic flatlining?
The sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll be able to snag that highly coveted spot in the first page of Google. I’m rooting for you!
Bill Widmer is a content marketing and SEO expert who has worked with many well-known brands like Content Marketing Institute, Social Media Examiner, and SEMrush.