Blogs by date "05/01/13"
Ecommerce website owners and marketers are constantly look for new ways to increase product sales and achieve sustainability in their online business. With Google Search continuously evolving, ecommerce marketers must adapt and re-vamp their strategies from time to time.
To realize success as well as support other search marketing strategies like SEO and PPC advertising, ecommerce marketers may find Google Shopping to be a powerful avenue to promote products. Google's Shopping results appear for almost any product-related keyword search. This offers this quite the marketing opportunity for ecommerce stores.
The Down-Low on Google Shopping
Do a Google search for any type of product, whether it's a general category (e.g. Men's running shoes) or specific brand, make, or model (e.g. Saucony ProGrid Guide 6).
The Google Shopping listings take a up a significant amount of real estate in the search results. This makes it a popular avenue for Google users who want to browse products they're interested in buying.
The Google Shopping platform helps direct customers to online stores by inviting the ecommerce owners to create ads for their products. Google shows customers the name of the store, picture of the product, and the price.
Customers interested in the products click through the link that opens the store's website to purchase the items. So although Google takes a cut on the sale, the process is rather seamless and easy to implement for ecommerce marketers.
Making the Most of Google Shopping for Ecommerce Marketing
If you're interested in Google Shopping for ecommerce marketing (or want to improve your existing campaign,) below are some tips to help you make the most of this great platform.
Optimize Product Data Feed
A business owner can fine-tune a Google Shopping campaign directly on the platform. Sort out the product database according to the relevant categories or departments. Find the most-searched and less competitive version of each of the categories using keyword tool and replace all instances of the original category name to further boost the effectiveness of the strategy.
For instance, improve the data feed by tagging high-margin items with labels and then bid more aggressively in AdWords. Other than optimizing page titles, descriptions, categories and product images, a business owner can include shipping costs and quality product images. Google is likely to identify a website's worth through its rich-content.
Frequently Update, Analyze and Test Product Feed
Improve Google Shopping search marketing campaigns by providing accurate and updated information. Update the data feed each time there is a change. Other than updating, the feed should be error free. Test data feeds to make it easier to remedy any errors after submission. Use the help center for troubleshooting information. Data feed errors and data quality errors can be identified and fixed before submitting the feed for indexing.
Add an Identifier for Tracking Purposes
Track the traffic reliably with Google Analytics to help in optimizing search marketing strategies. To help differentiate traffic from Google Shopping from other referring URLs and search engines, an ecommerce site owner can add an identifier to the product URLs.
Set up the ecommerce site for the Google Merchant feed to include UTM tags that instruct how to report data. The right string can separate Google Shopping results from Google organic results. Tracking results can provide information that can help in improving a marketing strategy.
Benefits to an Ecommerce Search Marketing Strategy
One of the benefits of listing products on Google Shopping is that Google is the top search engine used by millions of people daily. Opting for the service can create a wider audience reach and consistent traffic. The site can get more traffic because active buyers can search and find a store's items via the Google search engine.
Replacing free shopping placements with paid ads has lowered the number of retailers thus minimizing the competition. Other than being a comparison shopping engine, it also acts as paid search marketing strategy. A store that lists on the platform pays for results. This means a business owner is charged only when someone clicks on the ad and lands on the website.
Whether you're unveiling a new ecommerce website or have been trying your hand at ecommerce SEO for some time, a thorough audit can reveal help get you on the right track to success.
Here at ClickCentric SEO, we conduct ecommerce SEO audits on the reg. Whether for new prospects or existing clients, providing SEO audits is an integral aspect to the service programs that we offer.
In this article, I will share three essential resources that we use to conduct ecommerce SEO audits. These resources are available to anyone and should be well-respect assets in your SEO arsenal.
1. Google Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster Ttools is one of the best resources for a number of SEO-related insights. Below are a few key places to look when conducting a SEO audit for your ecommerce site.
Optimization -> HTML Improvements
Ecommerce sites are often common culprits of duplicate content. Under the HTML Improvements section, check for duplicate and/or missing Page Title and Meta description tags.
Health -> Crawl Errors
Page errors can hinder the crawling and indexing process of your ecommerce site. Take a look at the Crawl Errors section to pinpoint any ailments that might be diminishing the SEO-value and crawl-ability of your pages.
Traffic -> Search Queries
Take a look at the types of queries (keyword phrases) that are generating organic search traffic to your website. Keep in mind that this data is a bit loose and not the most accurate (queries account for phrase matches - which are difficult to define.) Nonetheless, you'll be able to understand which keywords your site is most relevant about.
Traffic -> Links to Your Site
Get an idea of who is linking to your ecommerce site. Backlinks are huge factor for SEO, so the more quality links you can earn, the better SEO potential your ecommerce site will have.
Optimization -> Sitemaps
Under the Sitemaps section, check to see if any XML sitemaps have been submitted. If not, this is a good opportunity to take advantage of. An XML sitemap submission tells Google of the pages on your ecommerce site that are ready to be crawled and indexed. The submission, which is simply a notification to Google, accelerates the process.
2. W3C Markup Validation Service
Ecommerce sites are often very deep domains with hundreds and thousands of pages. This makes it difficult to ensure that no code errors and warnings are present on the website.
The Crawl Errors section of Google Webmaster Tools is sometimes not enough. This when the help of W3C Markup Validation Service can help you pinpoint HTML code errors and warnings present on your ecommerce site.
After you submit your domain at validator.w3.org, the service will tell exactly which lines of code are problematic to your site's health. You can then work with your webmaster see that these errors and warnings get fixed.
3. Pingdom for Site Speed Testing
Parallel to minimizing HTML code errors is ensuring the load speed of your ecommerce website is fast and fluid. A slow loading website can hinder both SEO and user engagement.
Test the speed of your ecommerce site using a free tool like tools.Pingdom.com. If your site takes longer than one second to load, then it probably can be optimized.
There can be a number of reasons for a slow loading website. Often times it's the HTML coding structure of the site that correlates to load speed. So if your using an ancient CMS software platform to run your ecommerce site, then chances are it's inhibiting SEO performance and usability.
Diagnosing a slow ecommerce site is best when done with tech-savvy individual who can troubleshoot why things are slow going. The remedy can range from a simple website optimization tune-up or complete overhaul onto a new CMS platform.
Bonus: Tools for Backlink Portfolio Audits
Assessing a site's backlink portfolio takes ecommerce SEO auditing one step further. The tools needed to conduct a backlink scan of a website (as well as provide data about the sources' anchor text, Google PageRank, etc.) typically require payment to use.
A backlink portfolio audit is essential if your ecommerce site has been penalized by Google Penguin (which targets over-optimized backlinks with too much exact keyword match anchor text.) Two tools that I personally favor are:
- Open Site Explorer - Created by SEOmoz, Open Site Explorer is web-based tool that offers a wealth of data regarding a website's backlink portfolio. Test it out for free by visiting OpenSiteExplorer.org.
- SEO Spyglass - SEO Spyglass is an advanced software platform that's apart of the SEO Powersuite by Link Assistant. For search marketers, this tool is ideal for client management and auditing.
About the Author:
Tyler Tafelsky is the lead SEO analyst at Click Centric SEO. Tyler is well-versed in multiple facets of digital marketing and branding, including organic SEO, PPC advertising, social media and content marketing. Tyler spearheads most of the ecommerce SEO audits at Click Centric SEO. You can k0eep in touch with him by following Tyler on Twitter.