SEO seems to be a devout mantra that ecommerce companies are chanting like any other online business. Yes, our online world is devoured by the Search Engine demon but what makes us all prey to it?
Understanding Search Engine Optimization is the first step indeed. And then understanding why it is important for your business. It is definitely interesting to read through case studies to understand how SEO has helped businesses. Content marketing, Contextual Backlinks, Relevant Sources the list is endless in the SEO domain. Here is a simple video that explains what actually SEO is all about.
So how can SEO help an ecommerce company boost sales? Here’s how:
1. Gets you more Visibility
Isn’t this what Page Ranks are all about? Ensure that you company/brand/ecommerce store ranks above everyone else so that you get maximum eyeballs. Customers tend to click on the first link that Google throws up on a result page, and if that is you; then you have done well! You can check the Page Rank of your website here
So, Higher Page Ranks= More Visibility= More Customers= More Sales J
2. Helps you Stand Out
In a competitive world out there, it is important for you to stand out amongst competition. Not only that, every single product on your site needs to fight many wars to actually reach out to the end customer. You can do that by having unique meta descriptions for each webpage ; have unique Product Descriptions with keywords, include Product Reviews & also optimize Product images as image search is becoming increasingly popular when people shop online. Use rich snippets like Schema mark-up is becoming a bigger part of SEO which can help you stand out in a crowded marketplace.
So, Unique Content= Stand Out= More Eyeballs= More Customers= More Sales J
3. Brings you Credibility
It is but obvious, that the top ranked pages on Google are those a customer can trust when compared to the 23rd listing on the 3rd page of the search result! By following best practices in SEO, websites can easily build more credibility in the marketplace and hence even help in Branding and Positioning strategies.
Also, by including Product Reviews on your sites, it brings in a human appeal to the listings and helps in generating unique user generated content onto your ecommerce store.
So, More Human like features= More Credibility= More Customers= More Sales J
So here is a list of things you can do to improve the SEO on your e-store:
- Keyword Strategy– From choosing Keywords wisely, to mapping each keyword to a page on your site and also making URLs friendly so that users know they will get what they are looking for by clicking on what you are presenting to them
- Site Structure– Maintaining a logical Site Structure by using the likes of breadcrumb navigation and getting smart about internal links that link to similar products, product reviews etc….
- Product Titles & Descriptions-This includes crafting unique product titles, product descriptions and rich snippets
- Content Strategy– Creating buyer’s guides, site maps, optimized images, interactive videos and any other informative consumer centric content becomes a goldmine for SEO
- Being Social– By encouraging sharing, bringing in user generated content through product reviews etc and leveraging social proof which helps in boosting the popularity of product pages while improving optimization.
- Going Mobile– Having the need to speed up your site and make sure that your site works well on mobile devices and that it is easy for people to complete necessary actions. As Mashable notes, more than 17% of Web traffic comes from mobile devices, and it is only increasing. The Google Hummingbird update along with other updates is a big win for the mobile content economy.
- Linking Strategy– It is still important to give importance to link building as well as link earning so as to have inbound links from customers and manufactures on their sites and having your opinions on other sites.
You can read in-depth on the above points here
Here is something you must be careful about:
1. Don’t Duplicate Content
Duplicate content is the enemy for search engines. However, since many ecommerce stores have a large amount of duplicate content as a result of product descriptions and lists, ecommerce sites tend to get penalized by search engines.
It is also important for ecommerce businesses to optimize their products on marketplaces like Amazon apart from their own e-stores. Scott Langdon, Managing Partner of SEO Company HigherVisibility, who explains how your Amazon listing should always, be entirely separate from your e-commerce website. He says, “You must optimize your product pages separately from what you’re doing on your own ecommerce website so that you don’t have any duplicate content issues. If you are trying to use the same content for Amazon optimization and on-site optimization, you’ll fail on both fronts. This is a mistake we unfortunately see eCommerce companies make all the time, particularly when it comes to a description.”
Many online store owners simply copy and paste the manufacturer’s product descriptions onto their website. This is an SEO no-no! Always re-write every single product description to ensure that it is unique and search engine friendly. Remember to use several words that people are most likely to search for.
2. Concentrating only on Link Building
No one’s arguing that links are becoming less important to online visibility. If anything, they’re only becoming more important. Actively “building” links is still an important component of a successful SEO strategy. However, the approaches, and mind set, that used to work are becoming ineffective. Now, successful link-building requires a completely fresh approach. A fresh perspective through Domain Equity (Content Marketing + Brand Recognition + Subject Matter Expertise + Social Signals + Link Building) is something that we should all look forward to.
3. Don’t Optimize only for Google Search
A lot of us forget the actual idea of search after SEO has come into our dictionaries! Same is the case with many ecommerce companies who are getting it wrong when it comes to basic search features on their sites. Yes, they may have Google’s spiders crawling all over their site and also show off first page rankings, but what happens when users actually go into these sites? They are lost! E commerce businesses must always remember that they are building search features not only for technology but for humans too!
It is said, on e-commerce sites, up to 30% of visitors will use the site search box, and each of these users is showing a possible intent to purchase by entering product names or codes. Who would want to lose out on these potential buyers? …..There are lot of tips and tools out there to help businesses work on their search features and make it customer centric.
While it is very important to have key features like a neatly visible Search Box, commonly understood icons like the magnifying glass, having intelligent auto-completion integrated, filtering search results and adding smarter breadcrumbs; it is even more important to have proper product descriptions and meta data ingested into the sites. Making sure you have the right keywords in your product listing is essential for it to show up on top of the search results is a criteria many take lightly. This is important especially when items belong to multiple product categories, can belong to multiple filters, and may have multiple spellings too!
Matthew Curry, E-commerce manager at Lovehoney says, “In my experience, autosuggest provides a real boost to search conversion rates. In a usability test I ran, we found that users actually relied upon site search autosuggest and autocorrect to know the correct spelling of words for them. Make sure that your site search solution is up to scratch, and that you still provide search results for common misspellings, just in case.”
Our very own ecommerce sites are listening carefully; when I conducted this test myself on myntra.com and searched for Scarves with two different spellings (Scarfs and Scarves) I was happy to get relevant results!