5 steps to higher ecommerce search traffic

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! [subscribe] 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. Image from ThinkDigi.org The two most commonly used channels are Facebook Ads and Google Ads - and there are tons of useful resources online that will teach you all the basics (read this guide for Facebook ads or this guide for Adwords). Alternatively, if you don’t want to handle your ads yourself, you can always outsource them to an expert. 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.

2017-10-05

How to set up Site Search tracking in Google Analytics (VIDEO)

What are visitors searching for on your website? Watch this quick video to learn how to set up Site Search tracking in Google Analytics. Site Search makes it easy to track search activity on your site. In the video we show you how to: Set up Site Search for a web property connected to your Google Analytics account Understand which query parameters you're using, and apply them to your Site Search setup View the resulting search metrics, including visits with search, total unique searches, specific search terms (what web visitors are searching for), and search depth Tracking on-site search terms is surprisingly easy! All you'll need to get started is a Google Analytics account and a search box on your site. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OlsMBWFt5aQ[/embed] What are visitors searching for on your site? On-site search is one of the things we scan for with our free Google Analytics audit tool. Many online businesses forget to add this to their Google Analytics setup, focusing instead on external search data such as that from Google AdWords (or ignoring search activity altogether!), but this is a mistake. Capturing on-site search terms is essential for any online business that that is serious about growth. Understanding what web visitors are searching for - and how that leads to deep engagement with your site or app - can help you improve site UX (user experience), develop product offerings which your customers are already hungry for, and get a higher ROI from product marketing campaigns and ad spend. For more details on the Site Search feature and how to identify search query parameters, check out the Google Analytics help guide. Still have questions? The Littledata team is always here to help. You can contact us directly in the app, or feel free to connect with our Google Analytics consultants for larger projects. [subscribe] Hint: Use search-related benchmarks to find out how your on-site search traffic compares with other sites in your industry and location. The Littledata app includes analytics benchmarks to make this as easy as possible. For example, you can compare usage of internal search on your website against internal search usage on all websites. Once you've set up Site Search, you will automatically be able to see relevant search-related benchmarks in your Littledata dashboard.  

2017-09-06

How to set up internal searches in Google Analytics

Learn how to set up site search (internal search) with and without query parameters and see how users search your site. Find what your customers are researching for on your website and improve your website content. The site search reports provide data on the type of content people are looking for on your site. Having site search data is like reading the minds of a subset of your audience. You can easily see what they’re looking for, the words and terminology they are using and how quickly they found what they were looking for (or if they did at all). Site search must be set up for each reporting view in which you want to see user search activity. To set up site search for a view: sign into your analytics account, navigate to a view in which you want to set up site search then click view settings and under site search settings, set site search tracking ON. In the query parameter field, enter the word or words that designate an internal query parameter, such as "term,search,query". Sometimes the word is just a letter, such as "s" or "q". Enter up to five parameters, separated by commas. The simplest way to know what your query parameter is is to go to your site and perform a search for something, anything! On the following page, take a look at the URL – do you see your keyword? If your keyword appears at the end of a URL following a question mark, like this: http://www.yourwebsite.com/?s=your+keyword, this means that your website is using query parameters. If your keyword appears in the middle of the URL, with no query parameters, like this: http://www.yourwebsite.com/search/your-keyword/ then this means you need to use the Page Paths. How to identify search query parameters for Site Search with Queries If you’ve identified that your search keywords show up in the query parameter portion of the site, you’re in luck! This is the easiest way to set up Site Search. When you're searching on your website, you might see the URL like this: http://www.yourwebsite.com/?s=your+keyword, or in this example blog.littledata.io?s=internal+search. The query parameter is the bit between ? and =, which is 's' in this example. So you must use the query parameter ‘s’ when setting up the internal search in Google Analytics settings. Now to set this up in Google Analytics, follow these steps: Select whether or not you want analytics to strip the query parameter from your URL. This only strips the parameters you've provided, not any other parameters in the same URL. Select whether or not you use categories, such as drop-down menus to refine a site search. If you select 'no', you are finished. Click save changes. If you select 'yes': In the category parameter field, enter the letters that designate an internal query category such as 'cat, qc,'. Select whether or not you want analytics to strip the category parameters from your URL. Note that this only strips the parameters you provided, not any other parameters in the same URL. This has the same functionality as excluding the URL query parameters in your main view: if you strip the category parameters from your site search view, you don't have to exclude them again from your main view. Click apply How to set search terms for Page Path Search Terms (No Queries) Another common behaviour of site search is to have the terms appear within the page path instead of a query. Like this: http://www.yourwebsite.com/search/your-keyword/ To track this type of site search, an advanced filter should be used for views that will be using these reports. First, navigate to filters > new filter under your view. (Note: when adding a filter, you must have EDIT rights on the property level!) After choosing the filter name, select ‘custom’ and ‘advanced’ in the filter’s settings. Choose ‘request URI’ for field A since we are getting the information from the URI, or page path. Your site’s page path goes in the text box, so for this example, it would look like this: search/(.*). When we do this, we are telling Google Analytics to look at this page path and extract the characters from within the parentheses. The dot and asterisk are regular expressions representing any character and any number of characters - so we are storing anything after the slash. Field B will be blank since we are only concerned with extracting from the page path and nowhere else. The next field, ‘output yo’, is the one we are interested in. Now that we have stored the keyword from the URI, we need to output it to the correct dimension. In the drop-down menu, select ‘search term’ and type ‘$A1’ into the input box. This tells Google Analytics to grab the user-defined value from field A and output it as a search term. For the checkbox options below, only ‘field A required’ and ‘override output field’ need to be selected. See site search data To see the site search reports: sign into your analytics account, navigate to your desired account, property, and view, then select the reporting tab and under behaviour go to site search. Your report must look like this: Take into consideration that the report will be populated with data from the moment you activate the internal search or add the filter. It is not retroactive and may need 24h to you see the queries in your report. If you'd like to know more about how to set up internal searches in Google Analytics, get in touch with one of our experts! Further reading: Attributing goals and conversions to marketing channels 9 tips for marketers using Google Analytics Image credit: Image courtesy of hub.3dissue.net

2016-09-22

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