Why SEO Matters to Merchants
As you prepare your marketing plan for this (and future) holiday shopping seasons, be sure to consider your SEO and search engine rankings. Generating additional organic traffic from search engines like Google can be one of the most cost-effective and beneficial marketing initiatives that an E-commerce website can engage in.
Shoppers using search engines to learn more about a product are taking active steps before making a purchase. This is different than more passive marketing, like TV ads and billboards, which are meant for motivating consumers who aren’t actively shopping when they see an ad.
Furthermore, more shoppers click natural listings in search engines than the volume of searchers that click ads. This means that natural search engine listings can yield more traffic. Some searchers understand the difference between an ad and organic listings, so some shoppers may also infer that your organic listings come with extra credibility in your respective industry or vertical.
SEO can also be much more cost effective when you compare your optimization costs to the ad budget that you’d need to gain similar long-term traffic. Which begs the question, why do some store owners not engage in SEO campaigns?
It’s often because SEO requires time and diligence…in other words, it’s a long-term investment. It’s not for those that are seeking instant gratification. On the other hand, much of SEO is following best practices set by Google and other search engines to specifically improve the content and stature of your website.
SEO Best Practices
SEO factors can be broken down in a few ways. We generally like to look at search engine optimization as a mix of:
- Onsite SEO: Factors that relate to your content (including your category and product page content), SEO tagging, and website best practices
- Offsite SEO: Factors that relate to links to your website, and other buzz about your website across the internet, such as via social media websites.
SEO strategies are best focused on a mix of keyword phrases that you’d like to improve your rankings for, because such phrases are likely to both yield page 1 rankings in search engines and convert from clicks into sales. When it comes to the holiday shopping season, you can target rankings that relate to phrases like “[best/top/recommended] ______ gifts for _______”. There are no shortage of great keyword phrases that could drive valuable traffic to your digital store.
It’s important to look at all factors, as your optimization is only as strong as your weakest link. For instance, if your website is having hosting, loading speed, or security issues, your rankings could suffer regardless of other positive SEO factors.
Be Aware of Updated SEO Factors
It’s also important to be aware of changing SEO factors. For instance, Google wants your website to be mobile-friendly, and easy to navigate on mobile phones and tablets.
In recent years, we’ve seen more obscure factors impact rankings as well. For instance, Google prefers if a site loads all of its pages via HTTPS, a more secure protocol. Google has also begun to show less favor on sites that utilize some forms of popups that can get in the way of shoppers. Adjusting your site to keep up with new technology is of course a part of being an E-commerce store, but Google tries to provide extra incentives for keeping the internet a more safe and friendly place for all.
There are also “black hat” SEO techniques that can hurt your rankings instead of helping. These are typically tactics that are meant to trick search engines into thinking that your website is top notch. These include things like building links from spammy websites, and stuffing keywords into your website.
Making Sure That your SEO is a Priority
If you don’t have the resources to manage a complete SEO campaign in-house, consider hiring an agency to assist. Most reputable SEO firms will offer you a free evaluation, and be able to show samples of work that they’ve done for others, including rankings that they’ve helped their clients to achieve, however, No one can guarantee a #1 rankings on Google.
In the E-commerce world, it’s best to focus on teams that understand online storefronts, and have helped to devise SEO strategies for other digital stores. This can include focusing on rankings for SKU’s, Product Names, Categories, and posts and articles that can help shoppers to compare products and guide them through the decision making process.
Finding Ways to Improve Your SEO Rankings
With that in mind, the team at Rand Marketing is offering complimentary SEO assessment reports. You can request yours by visiting Rand Marketing’s website and asking for a free SEO evaluation. Be sure to mention Nextopia in your request to receive our complimentary advanced report.
About the Author
Educated at NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering, Robert has managed the development and marketing of hundreds of websites. He’s best known as one of the foremost experts in eCommerce strategies in the USA. Along with Rand Marketing’s award winning team, he helps clients take their businesses to the next level by employing best practices, while staying at the forefront of Digital Marketing technology.