Making your ecommerce site visible and discoverable amongst all the larger, well-established sites on the internet isn’t simple. But with our ecommerce SEO strategies, you’ll be competing in no time.
Here’s the scenario.
The sales you’ve been getting from your ecommerce site have been close to nonexistent ever since the day it was launched. You’re getting anxious, frustrated, and you’re just about ready to hang it up because of the emotional and financial battery that you’ve been getting every time you see $0 in your website’s sales records.
I mean, it’s been nine months since your website went live yet the only thing it has done so far is suck your bank account dry. At this point, you can’t help but ask yourself, “Should I just give up and sell the website?”
My answer to your question? A big fat “No!”
Look, you need to realize that you aren’t the only one struggling with this kind of problem. In fact, we’ve helped countless clients deal with the same issues, and some of them are now earning five to seven figures monthly.
Because we’re all for helping you succeed here at Digital Current, allow me to share with you the things that we’ve uncovered from having worked with several ecommerce sites owners.
The strategies that I will share with you will work wonders regardless of your ecommerce site’s niche, however, in this ecommerce SEO guide I’ll be using examples that fit sports apparel retailers, but are still applicable for any ecommerce site.
It is my hope that by the time you finish reading this post, you’ll have a better idea on how to deal with your ecommerce marketing issues.
What Are the 4 Common Ecommerce SEO Problems?
For the most part, we found that these four problems are the main culprit that prevented our clients from enjoying a huge jump in their online conversions:
- Poorly conducted keyword research.
- Low-quality content.
- Poor link building strategy.
- The webpages aren’t optimized for conversion. This is more about Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) than it is about Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
These gaps have kept our customers from ranking their ecommerce sites in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page), therefore, robbing them of hundreds of thousands of website traffic that would have possibly bought their products.
I hope you now realize the importance of properly optimizing your website for search engines.
How Do You Fix These 4 SEO Problems?
Now let’s dive in and talk about the nitty gritty of how we can solve each of the four problems, one at a time.
1. Conduct Effective Keyword Research for Ecommerce Sites
While there are several ways that you can go about doing keyword research for your sports apparel website, I will share with you two effective methods of going about it.
Research Using Amazon & Other Reputable Ecommerce Sites
You can type in your keywords in Amazon’s search, and then view the suggested queries that appear in the dropdown.
If you try researching on Ebay.com, you’ll also see suggested search queries.
It’s important to note that the suggested words are appearing because Amazon and Ebay (and the other ecommerce sites that you’ll try this strategy on) found that these sports apparel keywords are frequently typed-in by their users.
In short — these are the best ecommerce SEO keywords that you can target because there is proof that your audience is searching using these exact keywords.
If you’re running out of keywords or if the ecommerce site isn’t showing you any suggestions, you can use Google search to look for synonymous keywords, just like what I did in Amazon and eBay continuing our sports ecommerce example. I tried “sports apparel” on Amazon and “sports clothing” on eBay.
Here’s an example:
You can also use Keywordtool.io to build from the keywords that you’ve obtained from the ecommerce site’s suggested keywords.
Just type in the suggested keywords in Keywordtool.io so you’ll get more keyword ideas:
What you need to do at this point is rinse and repeat the process to gather as many keywords/search queries as you can; later you will qualify each of them to make sure that they are feasible to target (more on this later).
Spy on Your Competitors Using Google Keyword Planner
The logic behind this strategy is simple: Outrank your competitors for the keywords that they are using to get found online, that way, their customers will end up finding you — instead of them.
And so the question becomes, “How do you find out which keywords your competitors are trying to rank for?”
That’s where Google’s Keyword Planner comes in.
If you aren’t quite familiar with how to access the tool, you can click this link then log in using your Gmail account. Or, you can log in to your Google Adwords account then click the Tools menu, and choose Keyword Planner from the dropdown.
You will then be taken to the Keyword Planner page where you need to click Search for new keywords using a phrase, website, or category.
Type in your competitor’s website on the field that says Your landing page, then click the blue Get Ideas button. Following our sports apparel ecommerce example, I typed in http://www.dickssportinggoods.com/.
Google’s keyword tool will then show you the keywords that they uncovered from crawling your competitors’ website. You can take note of these keywords to give them a thorough review later and decide if targeting them is a good idea.
Before we proceed on qualifying the keywords you’ve managed to put together, I’d like to point out that you should be laser focused and use sites that are your direct competitors.
For example, if you are only selling in your local area, then you might want to type in your competitors in your local area, instead of typing in sports apparel companies that target the global market. That way, the keywords which Google will come up with are relevant to your business.
Now that you’ve managed to get a hold of a plethora of keyword ideas from Google Keyword Planner, it’s time to qualify the keywords.
Qualify Which Keywords to Target
At this point, you’d have already put together a spreadsheet where you’ve listed all the keywords and search queries that you uncovered.
At first glance, you’ll find that almost all the keywords in your list seem logical to target. Not only do they make sense in terms of capturing your audiences’ possible search intent, but your keywords are highly relevant to the products sold in your sports apparel ecommerce site.
However, even having said that, we still need to qualify each keyword to make sure that it is a good idea to target them.
Why, you might ask? Well, there are a couple of reasons for that:
- You might be competing with huge brands.
If the keyword that you’ve chosen is also targeted by huge brands like Nike or Adidas, it becomes almost impossible for you to outrank them. Avoid competing with ginormous companies that have an almost unlimited marketing budget.
To have an idea of how difficult it is to rank for certain keywords, you can use Moz’s Keyword Explorer tool.
Just type a term in their keyword analysis tool, click SERP Analysis, and then review the details shown by the tool about how authoritative the ranking pages are.
As you can see, the sites shown have a minimum Domain Authority of 60. Also, their “linking RD’s to their Root Domains” number by the thousands. This tells us that the sites are too difficult to compete with.
While you can certainly try to compete with larger ecommerce companies (especially since they do not have that many linking RDs to the actual page that are ranking), doing so might prove to be too time-consuming and expensive.
2. Not enough people are searching online using the keywords that you’re trying to rank for.
If the keyword doesn’t have enough monthly traffic, then you’ve wasted your resources ranking for keywords that no one’s really using in the search engines.
To find out whether there are people using the keyword or search query that you’re thinking of ranking for, you can use Google Keyword Planner.
Of course, I’m just scratching the surface with the two points that I shared above. There are several other scenarios that can turn your seemingly sensible prospective keywords into useless ones that won’t bring you any benefit even if you rank for them.
Here are some main points that I consider when qualifying keywords:
- The keywords should be aligned to my buyer persona’s search intent.
- Huge brands shouldn’t be ranking for the keywords.
- It should have a decent amount of monthly traffic. It’s hard to draw a line on what the minimum or maximum monthly traffic should be since your competitors, products, and your target audience (and several other details) can affect this. However, for the most part, I usually use 1,000 as my minimum monthly visitor requirement.
- The keyword should be relevant to my niche.
If you consider these points, you should be able to come up with a fairly decent set of keywords that you can use as a foundation for your website’s ecommerce SEO and marketing.
Now that you have a good set of keywords to target, you just need to make sure that your website and your marketing materials are optimized for the keywords.
2. Create Quality, Relevant Content for Your Audience
There are marketers and business owners who create their content based on what they think is a good fit for their audience, while there are those who do their research diligently so they can determine the type of content that they know their audience loves.
There is a difference between the two, the former is just guessing, while the latter is basing their judgment on cold, hard numbers.
Choose to be the latter, will you?
I will share with you three strategies that you can use to figure out the kind of topics that your fitness audience would like to read about.
This strategy requires you to look for forums that are related to your ecommerce niche; then you need to dig up the threads with the most engagement.
As you can probably imagine, there is a reason why your target audience is commenting, sharing, or upvoting a certain thread; and that’s because they are passionate about it.
The fact that the thread has tons of engagement to it is validation enough that your audience is interested to learn more about the topic.
On the screenshot above that I took from a tennis forum website, it showed that some of the threads had thousands of views and replies over others.
If you were to write about the topics with the most views and replies, there’s a good chance that your audience within the tennis niche would end up reading it. We know this to be true since it has been validated in the forum sites that your audience loves the topics.
2. Q&A sites
You can go to Q&A sites like Quora.com, and then type in your keyword to uncover the most asked questions about your niche.
Just like the first strategy, you need to look for questions/threads with the most answers or engagement. In addition to examining the number that the original poster had with his post, you need to give the actual answers a quick gander as well.
You can use the answer with the most upvotes as a theme for your content. Because the answer had a lot of upvotes, it just means that your audience found tons of value from reading the answer.
3. Use Buzzsumo.com
You can use Buzzsumo to figure out the type of content that’s being shared the most online within your niche. You just need to type in your keyword in Buzzsumo’s search box, and then review the results.
Look at the content with the most shares and review them. Check out the content’s actual topic/title, what type of content it is (e.g. article, infographic, or video, etc.), and other clues that you think is important that caused the audience the share the heck out of the content.
The idea is, if the content has been shared a large number of times, then that means that their audience loved it.
Here’s how things look like when using Buzzsumo following our sports ecommerce example:
There are tons of insights that we can get from the screenshot above from running our sample keywords in Buzzsumo. For one thing, it shows us that a “News type” article has a tendency to get amazing results in regards to tennis.
Another insight is that videos are most likely a better content type to use over text- based content since several of the content that had the most shares were video-based. It might be different for your niche.
As you can see, the tips that I shared to help you come up with content ideas are data driven. This means that the ideas you’ll come up with aren’t just effective on a hypothetical level, they are proven and tested to bring in more engagements.
3. Build Quality Backlinks to Your Ecommerce Site
[su_testimonial border=”no” name=”-Zig Ziglar” photo=”http://www.digitalcurrent.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/blog_content_icon_edited.png”]“You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.”[/su_testimonial]
The quote that Zig Ziglar shared is just as true even when it comes to link building. We are a firm believer that if we just give our audience the best value for their time by publishing nothing but the best content, our audience would have no problems reciprocating our efforts by linking to our content, or sharing it.
It’s because of this that we love using the Skyscraper technique to build links and traction online for our customers’ ecommerce sites.
So what’s the Skyscraper technique, you might ask?
In layman’s terms, the Skyscraper technique is creating content that towers over all other content that’s been published on the web; thus, the term used is “Skyscraper.”
This comes from Backlinko’s Brian Dean, who coined the term in his article, “Link Building Case Study: How I Increased My Search Traffic by 110% in 14 Days.”
Here’s the gist of the strategy:
1. Figure out a topic to write about (you can use the strategies that I shared above where you use Buzzsumo, the Q&A sites, or forums).
2. Once you find a topic that you know your audience loves, you can decide to write about that topic.
3. Do a quick Google search about your topic, so you’ll have an idea of the kind of content already ranking for it.
4. Now that you’ve put together a list of important points that you obtained from the pages that are ranking in Google, it’s time to start writing the content.
5. When you’ve created the final piece, you can send outreach messages to the influencers within your industry and tell them about the epic content that you’ve published.
As you can probably imagine, at the end of the process that I described above, you’ll be able to put together a long-form article that covers ALL the search results from page one of Google.
Instead of the searchers going through each result to find the information that they are looking for, they can find everything in one page on your site.
Not only is this strategy good for your audience (since you’re providing tons of value by publishing this epic post), it is also good for your ecommerce SEO because your epic content will end up getting peppered with relevant keywords organically and ranking higher on Google and Bing.
After you reach out to relevant influencers in your industry and tell them about your epic post, there’s a good chance that they’ll share it with their community since your post isn’t the usual 500- to 1000-word article — it is a comprehensive post that’s so massive and complete that their audience will end up thanking them for sharing the post.
4. Use These CRO Tips to Convert Visitors Into Paying Customers
*Note: The tips that I’ll share in this section are geared more towards conversion optimization than SEO.
I’d like to start by telling you that there is no one-size-fits-all advice when optimizing your ecommerce website for conversion. There are varying elements that can cause a CRO tip to bring boatloads of sales to one site while causing another to lose tons.
That’s why you need to split test — a lot.
When you’re split testing, you’ll know which conversion optimization tip is working and which one isn’t. The best part is, you’ll have the data to back up the information, so you know that you aren’t just guessing.
Alright. Now that we’ve pretty much established to the importance of split testing to make sure you’re using CRO tactics that work, allow me to share with you nine conversion optimization tips that seasoned marketers are using to convert their visitors into paying customers:
- Use a landing page. If you’re using paid ads, whether through Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, or any other site, be sure to route your prospective customers to a landing page when they click your ad. In most cases, routing your prospective customers to your homepage is a terrible idea because homepages are loaded with all sorts of distractions. Instead of doing that, you can route them to a landing page instead where every single aspect of the page points to your prospective customers buying your product or taking action on whatever CTA you added on the page.
- Add your call-to-action buttons above the fold of your website.
- Sprinkle your call-to-action buttons (or clickable links) within your content. Be sure to add your CTAs in places where it makes sense so your readers won’t think that you’re spamming them.
- Talk about your audience’s pain points, and emphasize those pain points to trigger feelings. Remember that emotions (not logic) are what will most often make your audience convert.
- Avoid confusing your audience by giving them too many options. Ideally, your pages should only have one type of call-to-action. If you ask them to share, buy, register, and comment all at the same time, there’s a good chance that you’ll only overwhelm them. This could cause your audience to click away without doing any kind of action.
- Add your customer’s testimonials.
- Capture your audiences’ email addresses whenever you can.
- Make your contact details visible to your audience. That way, whenever they have a question that’s preventing them from making the purchase, they’ll be able to quickly and easily contact you. A strategy that we like to use is to add our contact details in a floating bar that’s always present.
- Price your product accordingly. This won’t be the same for everyone, so you’ll have to research prices on your own. What I can tell you, however, is pricing your product as cheaply as possible isn’t always the best way to go. If your products are too cheap, then their perceived value might decrease. After all, if you were the prospect buyer, you’d probably think that the quality is crappy because the product is so cheap. Price your product ridiculously high, however, and no one’s going to buy it simply because it is too expensive.
More than just reading the conversion optimization tips that I shared, I hope you’ll take the time to implement the things that you’ve learned. After all, there’s no point in you learning any of these ideas and concepts if you don’t take the time to use them.
Are you in need of a digital marketing agency that can help you develop your ecommerce site into a cash generating machine?
Whether you’re struggling with sales, leads, traffic, PR, or more, we’ll be more than happy to turn things around for you and give you the business growth that you’re looking for.