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Ecommerce SEO Services

At ClickCentric SEO, we offer  ecommerce SEO services for all types of online stores. Unlike some companies that offer SEO services for ecommerce sites, we can optimize your ecommerce site for more traffic and greater conversions. In addition to ecommerce SEO, our company specializes in ecommerce web design and development, social media, email marketing, and conversion rate optimization. We develop cohesive ecommerce SEO strategies and service packages that promote more traffic, increased sales, and sustainable customer loyalty. Get a free SEO audit today!

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  • Ecommerce Web Design

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Blogs by author "oicadmin"

Ensure Your Ecommerce SEO Strategy is a Success By Choosing the Right Long-Tails

As provider of ecommerce SEO services, how many times have you heard this:

"One keyword we would really like to rank for is 'Samsung TVs'" (or some other extremely competitive keyword.)

And you're probably thinking "Oh sure. That will only take us about 2 years to see page one of Google."

You know it, and you wish your ecommerce SEO clients did too. Short-tail ecommerce keywords are insanely competitive. So much so that, more often than not, these competitive keywords are not even worth your time and energy.

What your ecommerce SEO strategy needs is solid list of low-competitive long-tail keywords that are actually attainable and will drive your clients profitable traffic. But finding these golden long-tails is not an easy task. You need to drill, and you need to drill deep.

In this article, I will share with you a couple of my favorite resources and go-to techniques to uncovering money-in-the-bank long-tails that generate results and keep clients happy.

Have a Purposeful Direction

Before you actually start doing your long-tail keyword research, you'll need to have a clear idea of the keyword category you're going after. This is done by analyzing the site, its relevancy and authority, and its current rankings on the keyword category of interest.

As a result of this analysis, you can gain a better understanding of which keyword categories are actually attainable. It also helps to get some feedback from your client, so you keep them happy. Between the ecommerce site and the client's primary areas of interest, you can determine a purposeful direction for your research.

In our example, we know that the client is interested in ranking for "Samsung TVs," and after our analysis, we've concluded that site is relevant on (and ranking in the top 50) for "Samsung TVs" and a few related terms.

Seeing Samsung.com and few heavy hitters ranking at the top of page one, I can conclude that it's going to be near impossible to actually rank in the top 3 for "Samsung TVs." Thus, I commence my long-tail keyword research using the following resources.

Play with Google's Suggested Search (or Google "Autocomplete")

One of the best resources for long-tail keyword research is Google's suggested search or "Autocomplete" feature. Here I will start typing in my core keyword, "Samsung TVs", and see what Google offers me.

Because the client has competitive prices and sales on Samsung TVs, I am immediately drawn to the suggested search around "Samsung TVs on sale." So, I go down that road.

Simply by adding the word "on" to "Samsung TVs on" I see a few more potential options from Google's autocomplete. If it was black friday, "Samsung TVs on black friday" would make for a nice press release or article. The keyword that really jumps out is "Samsung TVs on sale this week." This is because the client does, in fact, do a rotating sale per week on a different Samsung TV. Boom.

So, I add this to my list of potential long-tails to target, and later do some competitive analysis around that term (more on this below).

Take a Look at "Searches related to..."

At the bottom of each SERP, Google shows "Searches related to (whatever keyword you searched)." Here you can play with all types of keyword variations and explore new ideas.

Click on any links to show the SERP for the given keyword. You can go down all types of roads that might be aligned with your ecommerce SEO goals.

Poke Around on Google's Keyword Planner Tool

Although many ecommerce SEO's start their keyword research using Google's Keyword Planner Tool, I typically use this tool at the end of my long-tail research. The Keyword Planner Tool will often display an abundance of very competitive keywords that I am simply not interested in. My true purpose for using the tool it see how popular my potential keywords are.

I can see that "Samsung TVs on sale this week" gets 20 searches per month (which is very approximate, and a number that I shouldn't depend on.) However, this is enough information to tell me that the keyword is legit and worth exploring further.

The Keyword Planner Tool can help come up with good ideas for ecommerce SEO; however, I think the tool has greater value for PPC advertising. Nonetheless, check it out and see if it helps aid your research.

Compile Your Findings and Review Your Competitors

Keyword research for ecommerce SEO extends far beyond finding relevant keywords with legitimate search volumes. Like any good approach to keyword research and selection, assessing the competition is important to yield a successful outcome.

After you have a list of potential long-tail keywords, you should take the time to search each phrase one by one to get a lay of the competing sites. If you're dealing with Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, and other big time retailers that are dominating the top 5, you might want to scratch the keyword.

However, if there's only 1 or 2 big time retailers up top and a few other random sites that don't appear to be specifically optimized for the long-tail, then we might have a good shot.

You can take your competitor review to the next level by performing a backlink scan, analyzing domain-level metrics (indexed pages, PageRank, Alexa Rank, etc,) and assessing the extent of keyword optimization for the URL that's ranking. This might seem a bit heavy, but hey, this research is critical if you want to ensure your SEO energy is invested in the right keywords.

The Last Word

In short, ecommerce SEO is no walk in the park. Big budgets are usually involved in most ecommerce SEO campaigns. And you don't want to spend months and months trying to get in the top 5, only to learn later on that the top ranking sites are incredibly authoritative. Don't be lazy. Do your homework, and rank on, my friend.

 

Tyler Tafelsky PPC EcommerceAbout the Author:
Tyler Tafelsky is the lead SEO analyst at Click Centric SEO. Tyler is well-versed in multiple facets of organic search marketing, particularly link building and content marketing strategy.

Top 5 Ecommerce-friendly Platforms That Offer the Best Web Designs

Top 5 Ecommerce-friendly Platforms That Offer the Best Web Designs

Design, layout, and overall aesthetics of a website are some of the most important considerations that go into an ecommerce business. There are numerous ecommerce-friendly CMS (content management system) platforms, and some offer better web designs than others.

Whether you support a large-scale retailer or a local store seeking an online presence, finding an ecommerce platform with the ideal web design is key. In this article, we share five ecommerce-friendly CMS platforms with the most creative selection of web designs.

1. Shopify

Shopify is a versatile platform that makes it simple to establish both large and small-scale businesses. It's an easy-to-use CMS with a wide variety of modern and clean web designs to choose from. Shopify's designs are cutting-edge, yet simple, and all layouts are intuitive and easy to navigate. Design customization to the might not come easy to basic-end users, however Shopify does provide a dependable and well-supported ecommerce platform.

Shopify is a fully-hosted platform offering complete packages and 24-hour support. Without worrying about these additional website needs, ecommerce entrepreneurs can concentrate on running and growing their online business.

2. BigCommerce

BigCommerce is also a fully-hosted ecommerce platform that is user-friendly for most business owners. BigCommerce comes with over 100 free web design templates to suit various styles and sizes of online stores. The platform is also supported by a network of skilled web designers who are available to create custom made designs for unique needs.

In addition to offering a wealth of design options, BigCommerce is well-known for its simple, yet complete, analytics platform. Online store owners and marketers can see detailed reports based on a number of different performance metrics. This platform also makes it easy to feature special coupon codes and gift certificates.

3. Exponent CMS

Although its not the most popular ecommerce-friendly platform available, Exponent CMS is an open-source, SEO-friendly CMS that showcases a wide variety of attractive web designs. Centered around online stores and deep inventory management, ecommerce merchants can take advantage of a complete platform that's supported by a number of resources.

In addition to its online community, Exponent CMS is supported by web design and development company, OIC Group, Inc. So if you're interested in a custom web design for your ecommerce stores, this team of Peoria web designers can tailor a unique design based on your needs. Additionally, Exponent sites can be hosted via OIC Group, in addition to a number of other web-based services and consulting programs.

4. Square Space

Square Space is emerging as one of the best ecommerce platforms for small-to-medium sized business owners looking for simple yet highly professional web design. Square Space offers beautiful looking web templates that are ideal for creatives (like interior designers and photographers) who want to feature portfolios of their work on the website. Square Space is intuitively programmed for seamless inventory management, allowing online merchants to upload thousands of products, configure sales taxes, and other back-end features of store management.

5. Volusion

Since 1999, Volusion has been recognized as one of the pioneers in top ecommerce CMS platforms. Supporting its solid reputation, Volusion offers a huge selection of solid web designs that range from creative and elaborate to modern and contemporary.

Volusion is an affordable platform for small businesses that are starting out. It is a hosted ecommerce solution which comes at a price of $120/month, but that includes the complete package. This enables a standard business owner to comfortably run a medium sized store. Additional features and capabilities also make this ecommerce platform ideal for medium sized stores that might require greater functionality and capacity.

Ecommerce CMS platforms are incredibly popular for all types of online stores. In addition to niche and local businesses, many ecommerce platforms support national big-box retailers. Be sure to choose the platform that offers excellent web design capabilities and the right set of options.

Tips to Create User-Centric Content That Earns Links Naturally

The foundational value of a website is largely determined by the quality and presentation of its content (such as the nature of the copy, media, graphics, and images.)

Ultimately, giving visitors a solid sense of purpose that answers the question "why I am here?" can help position your online brand as a legitimate, trustworthy, and enlightening resource.

Whether via SEO or other inbound marketing strategies, the righteous path to realizing success online is through your content. It's essential to create user-centric content (whether via blogging, crafting landing pages, or designing the homepage) that resonates with your audience on a meaningful level.

user centric content strategyFurthermore, awesome content can actually earn your site valuable links. This can play a huge role in driving higher keyword rankings for SEO and keeping your online business thriving.

Below we share a series of tips and techniques you can use to inspire brilliant ideas for your content strategy.

Incubate & Empathize With Your Target Audience

The first step of the planning process is putting yourself in the shoes of your target audience. Learning exactly what your target audience likes, laughs at, and loves, (although difficult sometimes) can generate some of the best ideas for content creation.

A good approach is to chat with your existing clients to get an idea what jives with them. In short, pick their brains on what forms of content will spark their interests and captivate their attention.

Engaging with your target audience is key to learning more about their tastes, perspectives, and preferences. For instance, after publishing a blog post, try ask questions (whether in the blog post [depending on how many readers you anticipate] or in the social media posting when sharing the content.) Not only does this help generate feedback, but it enables you to interact with your audience on a deeper level, thus instilling your brand deeper into their subconscious.

Consistent communication with your clients and prospects also helps to establish long-term relationships and higher levels of trust. If you're regularly seeking the feedback of your clients, it sends signals that you truly care.

Dive Into Research & Read Up

One of the best sources for inspiration are other successful ideas. This can be in the form of research or other articles published throughout the web. Using these resources can help you get generate valuable ideas and facts to share in your own words (or imagery via video or graphics.)

Here's an example: fitness guru Ben Greenfield has created a massive following and a prominent online brand by diving into health-related research studies. He shares topics of interest on his blog and podcasts, which organically grows his audience and cultivates sincere followers whom of which are loyal.

In addition to reading up and researching other related ideas for content creation, finding good studies or articles provide excellent pieces that can simply be shared via social media. Not only does this give you something good and tangible to share with your audience, but by sharing other authors' (or influencer-generated) content, these powerful individuals might befriend, like, follow, or encircle you on their social media accounts. These are meaningful connections that can later be of incredible value for your content strategy.

Stay Current & Up-to-Date

Dovetailing aspects of your content strategy on news and current events is also a solid means to create link bait-able content. Often times, busy marketers don't have the time to visit and explore websites and other sources of news and events. Using an RSS feed, Google Alerts, or Talkwalker are great solutions to be shown content that relates to specific interests you can define.

With these alerts and feeds, you can notified whenever something relevant and important comes up. You can then take timely action to re-purpose these happenings into your own content.

Think Locally. Execute Globally.

Producing content that favors a local audience is highly effective in engaging specific in-market users. However, in order to draw the interests of larger audiences, you need to develop and share content that can be absorbed by people of diverse cultures.

For example, if you operate a website that provides natural health supplements, you can find relevant news of local interest to cover, but also tailor your content to also be relevant on a grander scale. Just a hint of locality in your content can spark a connection regional prospects and customers (but you also want to respect the entire clan.)

Don't Forget to Serve Existing Clients

As much as expanding the client base is the primary goal of most businesses, it's important never ignore existing clients. In fact, it's equally important that your currently clients are happy, loyal, and satisfied with your product or service.

Be creative and come-up with ways to reward your current clients. This can be as simple as a social media shout-out or even deeper by offering incentives or discounts on their investment with your company. The objective is help them feel appreciated, which can lead to repeat purchases and, most importantly, referrals.

Lastly...

As you can see, generating user-centric content should be..... well... user-centric. In other words, deliver value to your website visitors and don't obsesses about the links. If your content is truly awesome and resonates with your audience on a meaningful level, the links will come, naturally.

Using Google's Advanced Search Operators for SEO Link Outreach

Finding link opportunities for ecommerce SEO is one of the most essential yet challenging endeavors that search marketers face.

To compete with the big dogs (Amazon, eBay, etc.), you need to generate quality links that will last (and not drift away like the links found in guest blog post.)

In this article, I will share some simple techniques that I learned from Eric Ward for purposeful link outreach.

These highly effective techniques center on Google's advanced search operators to find relevant pages and websites that are worth reaching out to for links. So let's dive right in.

Leverage "inurl:" to find "Links" and "Resources"

Many websites create pages dedicated to relevant and informative links and resources for their visitors. These types of sites can range from directories, infomediaries, and ecommerce sites. When the domain is keyword relevant and authoritative, these "links" and "resources" pages offer incredible SEO value for the sites receiving the link.

Using the inurl: advanced search operator enables you to efficiently find these golden pages in Google.

For example, lets say we're doing SEO for an ecommerce site that sells natural wooden toys for babies and toddlers. Our objective is to find links and resources pages that offer opportunities to reach out and inquire about being included on their list.

Starting with the advanced search wooden toys inurl:resources, Google will render search results consisting of pages that include the word "resources" in the URL and are relevant to "wooden toys."

Google Advanced Search Paramters for SEO

Now it's time to sift through the results and do some digging on sites we might find potential link opportunities. One notable opportunity is the #5 ranking page for BrianWoodenToys.com. Although the site name and brand looks like a possible competitor, the links on this page are diverse (although still relevant) and the site seems open to link exchanges.

Ecommerce SEO Link Outreach

Even though this is probably a reciprocal link opportunity, it will still offer some SEO value when done right. There's a contact email near the bottom of the page, so we'll inquire and see what kind of relationship we can build.

Try "site:" to Pinpoint Powerhouse Domains

In moving forward with this approach of using Google's advanced search operators, keep in mind that some of the search results shown are going to be competing sites. Ideally, you'll want to find .edu's, .org's, and other neutral websites that offer information, not so much products for sale.

Another great search operator is the more popular "site:". With this operator, we can narrow down the search results to specific domain types, like those mentioned above.

For instance, in our next round we try the search natural toys inurl:links site:org". The results shown are all .org's relevant to links for natural toys.

Google Advanced Search Operators Outreach

The first listing looks very promising, as the example client site offers Waldorf toys, which is a form of homeschooling and education (mentioned in the Meta description.) Sure enough, upon clicking into this listing, there's section of links dedicated to toys.

Natural Toys

We hit golden opportunity with this high authority .org. It looks like we have a great chance at getting inclusion on this page, so we'll definitely inquire.

Start Searching and Start Reaching Out

By now, you should have a general idea on how to leverage these creative link outreach techniques. If you'd like to learn more Google advanced search operators, visit GoogleGuide.com for a nice list.

Do you have additional ideas to share? Please, let me know in the comments section below!

 

Tyler Tafelsky PPC EcommerceAbout the Author:
Tyler Tafelsky is an ecommerce SEO analyst at Click Centric SEO. Tyler is well-versed in multiple facets of organic search marketing, particularly link generation, content strategy, and social media marketing.

5 Must-Use HTML Tags for Product Page SEO

HTML Tags for Ecommerce SEOOptimizing product pages is an integral aspect of ecommerce SEO. But many search marketers are stuck in rut as to which elements of a product page need to be optimized.

Most of us know the basic tags for SEO: page title tag, Meta description tag, etc. So in this article, I highlight 5 HTML tags that you might not be including in your on-page optimization.

Schema Product Markup

If you're new to Schema, then I highly suggest you visit Schema.org and freshen up. Using Schema's structured data markup enables you to better communicate a page's content to search engines. In short, it's a game changer for ecommerce SEO.

What is Schema

There are specific schemas for products. These can not only help your product pages rank harder, but also display rich snippets in Google's search results.

Some of the most powerful to consider include: aggregateRating, brand, model, and productID. Take a gander and get busy!

Rel="Canonical" Tag

Think of the Rel=Canonical tag as means to tell search engines the most important pages on your site. In some cases, particularly on ecommerce sites with 1000's of pages, duplicate content (or very similar pages) can exist. Often times, this can discount SEO value to the page your really want getting all the love and attention from Google.

SEO Conanical Tags

Tell Google "this is the page to crawl, index, and rank" and implement the Rel=Canonical tag on your optimized product pages. It's super easy and potentially an SEO game-changer depending on your website.

Image ALT Tag

The image ALT tag is intended to be alternative text for those viewing a page that doesn't render an image. The ALT tag should reflect what the image is, but it's constantly abused by SEO's and keyword stuffers. Just don't leave it blank. Write at least something in for your ALT tags.

SEO Alt Tag

The nice thing about product pages is that the images being used are typically very keyword relevant. For this reason, it's legit to use keywords in the image ALT tag for these pages. If you have multiple images, vary your ALT tags with keyword variations. You can take the practice of image optimization even further by using these strategies.

Header 2's, 3's and 4's

Introduce some depth to you product pages by including more elaborate descriptions. Not only are unique, creatively-written product descriptions essential for SEO, but they also sell and can inspire visitors to make a purchase.

When separating ideas and paragraphs, use H2, H3, and H4 tags where appropriate. This is good practice incorporate in all aspects of on-page SEO.

Strong, Italics, Underline Tags

Text styling tags, like the strong (bold), italics, and underline tags, are some of the most under-used HTML tags that can help with both SEO and CRO. Wrapping keywords and phrases in these tags can help to emphasize greater meaning and value in certain words on your product pages. Not only does this practice help signify keywords of value for SEO, but creatively using text styling makes for a better user experience.

 

Tyler Tafelsky PPC EcommerceAbout the Author:
Tyler Tafelsky is an ecommerce SEO analyst at Click Centric SEO. Tyler is well-versed in multiple facets of organic search marketing, particularly link generation, content strategy, and social media marketing.

Do Social Signals Impact Search? Yes, but...

There's been a lot debate in the search marketing community regarding the impact social signals have on search rankings. Most professionals are under the impression the more tweets, likes, shares, pins, and +1's a page receives, the higher the likelihood the page will rank well in the search results. SMX London

Last month at SMX London, John Mueller of Google and Duane Forrester of Bing cleared the smoke with some rather interesting statements. They both denied that asocial signals have a direct impact on their search engine algorithms in determining ranking. However, they didn't offer insight has to how social media is indeed used in search.

Both Mueller and Forrester explained that there's a reason why a large number of people would share, tweet, like, etc. a given page: it's good content that offers value. Although this doesn't necessarily mean that the page will rank highly in search, the large number of social signals does serve a purpose in evaluating the page.

Social Signals Help to Evaluate the Legitimacy of Content

Contextual (or keyword) relevancy and links still hold true to attaining top search rankings.

If an article gets 100 links but no social signals, this can raise a red flag.

However, if an article gets 100 links and 323 likes, 86 shares, 134 +1's, and 432 tweets, the relationship makes sense.

In short, there's a very strong correlation with socially-favored content and the amount of inbound links it gets. Google and Bing can leverage this relationship to spot obvious signs of over-optimized content that offers minimal value to users.

What do you think? Does this shape your SEO practice? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

3 Ways to Generate Higher CTR's with Product Page Schema Markup

Ecommerce SEO's are always looking for ways to boost their product page click-through rates (CTR's) from Google SERPs. In this short article, I will show you three of the most powerful ways to do just that using Schema markup.

Depending on whether or not your product pages contain images, videos, ratings, or reviews - some of these elements may not apply. Nonetheless, take a quick gander and see if you can implement product page Schema markup to boost your CTR's, and perhaps, your SEO keyword rankings.

1. Ratings & Reviews

If your ecommerce site features ratings and reviews on your product pages, you can make this information appear in Google search results. You've probably seen these beautiful rich snippets popping on high authority site listings - the little 5 star rating showing just under the URL.

Product Review Rich Snippet Schema

There are a number of ways to trigger this rich snippet on your product pages. For instance, you can manually integrated the code via the AggregateRating microdata at Schema.org/Product, or try other methods like the hReview-aggregate microformat to make ratings and reviews data appear in Google.

After implementing this product page Schema markup, hop on over to your Google Webmaster Tools account and use the Rich Snippet Testing Tool to ensure it's working properly.

2. Images & Videos

Perhaps the most profound product page rich snippet that grabs attention and entices click-through's is for images and videos. Rich snippets for video and images do not render as often as other product page rich snippets (often it's YouTube that owns these gems,) however if your product page SEO is highly specific (make, model, model variation, etc.) and the users search query was also specific, it's definitely achievable and worth while.

Video Rich Snippet Schema

In this case, ispot.tv used a Macy's commercial to trigger the video rich snippet in their Google listing - creative, yet borderline ethical. Nonetheless, they masterfully leveraged the Schema.org/VideoObject microdata to make it happen.

Video Rich Snippet Code

For images, use the Schema.org/ImageObject microdata markup. It's essentially the same format as for Videos, and equally as eye-grabbing.

3. Product Name & Price

The product name and price rich snippet is especially powerful if your ecommerce site offers competitive pricing. It also helps to bring in better quality traffic, as shoppers know the price before they click your listing.

In the example below, FarmandFleet.com was able to trigger the price of their 57 piece socket wrench set at $79.99.

Product Price Rich Snippet Schema

This was achieved by leveraging the Schema.org/Offer microdata markup.

Product Price Rich Snippet Code

As you've probably gathered, implementing product page Schema markup takes some technical capacity. But in most cases of using Schema, the content of your product pages is easier to interpret by Google, and thus generates some impactful search results. If you're using Wordpress to manage your online store, explore some of the Schema-generating plugins available. These can make the process much easier and streamlined.

 

Tyler Tafelsky PPC EcommerceAbout the Author:
Tyler Tafelsky is an ecommerce SEO analyst at Click Centric SEO. Tyler is well-versed in multiple facets of organic search marketing, particularly link generation, content strategy, and social media marketing.

Applying Hyper-Local SEO Concepts in Ecommerce

Local SEO is in a different ballpark compared to ecommerce SEO. Sure there are commonalities in handling on-page optimization and link generation, but more times often than not, the core strategy concepts are different.

One highly effective local SEO strategy is to target very niche and selective keywords that are less competitive and easier to rank. Also known as hyper-local SEO, or niche-targeted SEO, this concept goes after the low hanging fruit, while progressively working toward larger keyword targets.

This hyper-targeted approach can easily be applied to an ecommerce site. Because the ecommerce search landscape is often saturated with authoritative competitors, it's vital to pick niche and go after it hard.

Example: Local SEO for Surgeons

Click Centric SEO (which is a branch of the OIC Group, Inc. family) has sister company that focus on local SEO. But more than just local SEO, this company has finely-tuned its SEO practice to provide local SEO for surgeons.

Optimized Surgeons SEOThe company is called Optimized Surgeons. As you may predicted, Optimized Surgeons has tailored its off-site SEO resources (link gen sites) to be highly relevant on surgery, particularly breast surgery. Additionally, the team's copywriters freshened-up on their medical jargon to incorporate phrases like "our surgery practice" and "satisfied patient outcomes".

By crafting a niche business model in local SEO for breast surgeons, Optimized Surgeons can get equally targeted with thier own advertising and lead generation. By leveraging Facebook's demographic targeting capabilities, ads can be exposed to numerous professionals with breast surgery credentials.

Putting These Ideas to Work

Putting these ideas in motion will depend on the way in which you approach ecommerce SEO. That is, do you provide ecommerce SEO services, or are you optimizing your own ecommerce site or affiliate site?

Hyper-Targeted SEO for Ecommerce Sites

If your optimizing your own ecommerce site, you need to get super targeted as to what your website is all about. Okay, so you offer shoes. What style of shoes? What brands of shoes? Who wears these shoes? Men? Women? Athletes?

Don't try to optimize your ecommerce site for "men's shoes" because you'll be insanely challenged to realize profitable rankings. Instead, think of a specialty ecommerce store that's optimized for "triathlon running shoes for men" or "women's wide toe box shoes".

Hyper-Targeted SEO for Ecommerce SitesHyper Targeted SEO

If you're an ecommerce SEO service provider, than you can apply this hyper-targeted framework to the types of ecommerce stores that you serve. For instance, perhaps you could carve a niche in ecommerce SEO services for footwear retailers. Or maybe men and women's clothing. It might sound a bit ridiculous to narrow the focus of your SEO business in such a way.

But when it comes to providing a quality Traverse City SEO service, it only makes sense. Not to mention, the growth and expansion of the web is only make generic market segments even more saturated. So adopt some of these hyper-targeted SEO strategies into your ecommerce practice.

Why Web Presence Optimization is the Future of Online Marketing

web presence optimization horizon

The future of online marketing is changing. Diminishing are the days when keyword optimization, link building, and other traditional SEO strategies were all that was required to successfully rank in search engine results. As we enter 2015, SEO will slowly fall by the wayside as savvy Internet marketers use a new term: web presence optimization.

What is Web Presence Optimization?

Web Presence Optimization (or "WPO" as many are starting to call it) is a new online marketing strategy where businesses optimize content across all online platforms they are involved with. This is mainly via business blogs, social media pages, press releases, or the business website itself. Businesses now have to converge all their advertising platforms to improve their online brand visibility.

Why is WPO Approach Important to Business?

The greatest revelation in eCommerce today is that consumers are no longer looking for flashy advertisements but tangible information that can be used to make crucial purchase decisions. Consumers want to be educated about the product beforehand and know what they can gain from it. In other words, consumers want fresh, discoverable and relevant content about any product or service they are interested in.

Web presence optimization takes the focus away from mere advertising and channels it into building concrete and entertaining content that will generate new leads while maintaining old ones. This is not to say SEO is completely being tossed out the window. SEO is still at the core of internet marketing, only that WPO aims at spreading the various strategies of SEO on all search platforms used by internet consumers.

Components to Optimizing a Solid Web Presence

web presence pillars

As a business, the first step to successfully initiate web presence optimization is to put more effort in its three key aspects namely content marketing, social media and search engine presence. Search engine presence will still rely heavily on the usual SEO tools to ensure your business remains visible to consumers on Bing, Yahoo! or Google.

Search engine algorithms have grown stricter and require diligent use of SEO techniques and strategies like generating backlinks, content keyword optimization, and SEO mapping to increase organic search listings. If you need your online content or social media campaign ranked highly in SERPS (search result pages) then you will need to pay attention to your search engine presence approach.

Content marketing is the new secret weapon for the business yearning to push through the cut-throat online competition and rich a substantial client base. Consumers are in need of new information every day thus it's the mandate of the business to update their content on blogs, article directories or press releases.

Google will also rank great content high-up on search results boosting your brand visibility. Content marketing accomplishes what advertising could not-educate consumers about the product, get them to like the product and trust it enough to buy it.

Social media is where business happens most today and every ecommerce company is looking for new ways to get users engaged on social media to create leads. Social media offers a ready advertising platform for company products and also an avenue to continue your content marketing strategy to potential clients. Your social media sites will require visibility in search engines. This means you will employ both SEO tools and fresh content marketing skills to get customers to notice your brand.

Web presence optimization is the future of business and all its three aspects-content marketing, social media, search engine presence- integrate together to boost brand visibility for businesses.

What It Takes To Cultivate a Sustainable Ecommerce SEO Strategy

Ecommerce SEO is a battle that many retailers fight (often times for years) and lose within time. Achieving sustainable search engine placement and out-ranking the Amazon's and eBay's of the web is incredibly tough. But it's not impossible.

What does it take to be atop these heavy hitters and hold high search rankings for the long-haul? Below we delve into some of the primary pillars that are vital to cultivate a sustainable ecommerce SEO strategy that delivers results for years (not just a few weeks.)sustainable ecommerce seo strategy

The On-site SEO Basics

There's on-page SEO and there's on-site SEO. Although many in the industry find these terms synonymous, they are actually a slightly different.

You can think of on-site SEO as the all-encompassing effort of ensuring your ecommerce site is properly optimized across all pages (i.e. sitemaps, schema markup, internal linking, etc.) While on-page SEO focuses more on the specific details and intricacies of optimizing a page (i.e. keyword-relevant titles, Meta data, copy, etc.)

To cover the on-site SEO basics, follow our Ultimate SEO Checklist for Ecommerce Sites. Here you find a quick run-down on the basic necessities of on-page and on-site SEO for ecommerce sites.

Growing Social Media Presence

Growing your social media presence should be equally as important as growing your keyword rankings in Google. A strong social media presence on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other relevant channels is a powerful asset that can have a profound impact on your store's bottom line.

social media seo Not only does social media fuel direct traffic and sales for your ecommerce site, but it also helps to ignite your SEO efforts and content strategy (below). There's also an emerging buzzword called "social authority," and it makes a lot of sense from an SEO perspective.

In short, an ecommerce brand with loads of Facebook page likes, Google +1's, Twitter and Pinterest followers, etc. is attributed with great social authority. And what better mechanism for Google to determine ecommerce sites worthy of higher rankings?

Invest some marketing dollars in social media advertising and build your audience. Naturally growing a social media presence (via a content strategy) is pretty challenging, but not impossible. Your team can accelerate this process by getting new followers on-board to help share and spread awareness of all things awesome about your brand.

Fresh, Audience-Focused Content (On The Reg)

The next primary pillar to a sustainably-performing ecommerce SEO strategy is devise and implement a content strategy (or "content marketing strategy"). There are many possibilities to create audience-focused content, but ultimately, originality (evergreen content) and value are vital aspects to keep top of mind.

Product review videos are always a great approach, as evergreen videos (produced by your ecommerce store) placed on key product pages or rank-worthy money pages brings SEO value to those pages.

Focusing on long-form content is also a great content strategy, particularly if you're selling high-dollar items that require deep customer research and contemplation. Long-form content is comprised of in-depth articles that focus on specific topics, products, and applications.

Get your ecommerce marketing team together and brainstorm some stellar ideas to cultivate a content strategy. Just make sure to create a schedule and keep pushing out brilliant content on the reg (regular, that is ;).

Authoritative, Relevant Backlinks

While your awesome content should hopefully earn the likes of your social media audience (and thus earn some backlinks as a result,) this practice is often much easier said than done. Earning links requires an exceptional content strategy that's executed to perfection.SEO authority

In most cases, manual link generation is need to produce results. And while we don't always recommend link building, when we do, it's absolutely important to take a very natural approach and build links mindfully using relevant sources and a very balanced anchor text profile.

While the best links are earned naturally via brilliant content that people link to, it can be beneficial to jump-start an ecommerce SEO strategy by manually publishing content on quality sources to direct links back to your site. Although this a consider "gray-hat" SEO, there's really no other option to be a strong contender in a competitive search market. In short, authoritative, relevant backlinks will help to build domain authority all while helping to establish keyword relevancy (two key drivers to sustainable rankings.)

Technical Fluidity

Last but most certainly not least, the nuts and bolts behind the ecommerce site (the HTML backend) needs to be fluid and free of HTML errors and warnings. In essence, a technically fluid website enable search engine spiders to seamlessly crawl and index a site without getting choked up on broken code, flash media, or other roadblocks negatively impacting performance.

A good place to check the technical fluidity of your ecommerce site is the W3C Markup Validator which will highlight HTML errors and warning present throughout your site. Another good place to look as your site's Google Webmaster Tools account. Both of these sources can help you pinpoint problem areas that are hindering the technical performance of your ecommerce site (and thus its ability to rank as hard as possible.)

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Ecommerce SEO Articles

3 Ecommerce SEO Tools Employed by the Pro's

Ecommerce SEO is long-term endeavor that demands a solid set of SEO tools and resources. In essence, having the proper SEO tools can reveal a world of insights and make process far more efficient.

Ecommerce stores can be extremely deep, making it challenging to prioritize SEO tasks as well as pinpoint SEO weaknesses. As a result, investing in the right arsenal of tools can be complete game-changer.

In this article, I will share with you three ecommerce SEO tools that can make optimizing your online store much easier.

Open Site Explorer

Open Site Explore is a web-based tool that was developed by the reputable team at SEOmoz.org. The emphasis of Open Site Explorer centers on link data, or information surrounding the backlinks of a particular domain. This includes metrics based backlink sources (such as the authority of the domain and the link). Open Site Explorer also offers insights on social signals stemming from Facebook, Google+, and Twitter.

As these off-page SEO elements continue to grow in importance, the data surrounding backlinks and social signals is immensely valuable for SEO's. Open Site Explorer is very popular tool that's free (with limited access to information) and very easy to use.

SEO PowerSuite

As one of the most advanced tools for ecommerce SEO, the SEO PowerSuite offers four different software programs that each target a specific sub-set of SEO. The programs included in the SEO PowerSuite help facilitate both on-page and off-page SEO, as well as keyword reporting and analysis. Below is a brief summary of each software program.

  • SEO SpyGlass - This program will perform a scan of all of the backlinks directing to a particular domain. SEO SpyGlass will generate a report that includes valuable link data metrics about each backlink (such as the sources of backlinks, Google PageRank of the sources, backlinks' anchor text, etc.)
     
  • Rank Tracker - Rank Tracker helps make keyword reporting much easier by seamlessly checking a domain's keyword rankings. The program compiles the results in a clean report that serves as wonderful deliverable to share with others.
     
  • Link Assistant - Although any form of link building is now viewed as “gray hat SEO,” Link Assistant helps make your SEO link building hat a bit whiter. This program makes the effort of pinpointing relevant and quality link partners much easier.
     
  • Website Auditor - Website Auditor will scan and evaluate the content and overall on-page SEO quality of a specified domain. This audit can help find issues of duplicate content, broken links, and other problems that may be hindering SEO performance.

SEMRush

SEMRush is a handy web-based resource designed for both SEO and paid search advertising. In addition to helping with keyword research and analysis, SEMRush is also a powerful tool for competitive analysis and developing sound SEO strategies.

After submitting a website's domain at www.semrush.com, you can view a wealth of metrics surrounding the site’s keyword rankings and overall presence in the SERPs. The tool offers valuable keyword data about each search query (or keyword phrase), such as the keyword's competition rating, average monthly search volume, and overall search trends.

Paid search advertisers can learn which keywords a competitor is bidding for in AdWords and the position of the competitor’s ads in the SERP (per keyword.) Similar to the other Open Site Explorer, SEMRush offers both free and paid versions. It's great SEO tool to do quick analysis on the fly and we highly recommend bookmarking the tool for easy reference.

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Ecommerce SEO: Why Top Rankings Just Don't Cut it Anymore

It's no secret that search engine optimization is a highly competitive industry – especially when it comes to ecommerce. With thousands of SEO companies out there to choose from, it's important for businesses to keep in mind what's really important in measuring the success of your SEO campaign. It's not top rankings. It's the number of conversions that come from achieving those top rankings.

Some ecommerce SEO companies are narrowly focused on working to gain high organic search rankings for their clients, but they're overlooking another essential element that seasoned ecommerce Internet marketers know plays an equally significant role in the overall success of the campaign – optimizing the website for conversions and not just rankings.

So what goes into the conversion optimization element of ecommerce SEO? First, we must define what constitutes as a conversion for the ecommerce website. The most easy to determine conversion is for a user to make a purchase from the website itself.

However, there can be other conversions that come from the website including email list signups, filling out a contact form for more information, or just enticing users to make a simple phone call. Granted, each “conversion” from the website can actually be categorized in different stages of the overall “Conversion Funnel,” as you're guiding users who simply provide an email address or phone number or ask for more information into an eventual sale, which is the ultimate end “conversion.”

So what are some ways that you can optimize your ecommerce website for more conversions? Below I'll list out several ways your ecommerce Internet marketing company should be optimizing your website for better conversion rates.

Conversion-Focused Product Landing Pages

Having a conversion-oriented landing page for your products applies to both organic SEO and paid search for ecommerce websites. Ecommerce SEO companies can utilize a variety of on-site and off-site SEO techniques (such as deep linking SEO) to get your product landing pages ranking high in the organic search results, but once a user lands on that page, enticing the sale is a must.

A conversion-focused landing page can have several helpful and interactive elements for the user. In the example below, this home brewing supplies website has a variety of great features that help sell this brewing kit to the end user.

Along with the typical product descriptions, images and availability, they've added customer product reviews, Facebook likes and a video describing what to expect from the brew kit. These are great conversion optimization strategies for the product landing pages.

Simple Product Navigation

The amount of products and product categories varies from one ecommerce website to another. Some sites carry only a couple dozen niche products, while other ecommerce sites have thousands of products that fall under one of a hundred different categories.

From a conversion optimization standpoint, keeping your products and product categories as concise and easy to navigate as possible is crucially important. Your users have to be able to easily find the products their looking for in order to buy them!

Other than condensing your product categories to the minimum number of categories necessary, there are certain website design elements that come into play as well that can improve the overall usability of the website. The site below is a prime example of an ecommerce site that is extremely easy to navigate.

The top level categories are very simple (Men, Women, Hike & Camp, Shoes, etc.) and every product category under those top level pages are listed on the flydown menus. This makes finding exactly what they want incredibly easy for the end user. Alternatively, the user can search for a product that they're looking for in the search box just to the left of the top level navigation.

To further the user experience, this website has included easy to use sorting features where the user can sort products by price, color, discount or ratings.

Offer Discount Codes and Other Deals

Online shoppers love a good deal. Once you've driven the user to your website, offering them a discount or special offer is another incredibly effective way to get that user to convert into a sale.

Design a compelling call to action that offers your website visitors a special discount code that they can use on their order to get a certain percentage off their total order. You can also lure a site visitor to place an order by offering free shipping for orders over a certain dollar amount or for orders that are placed during a specific time period.

Showing special pricing on your product landing pages is also a great way to capture a sale and increase your conversion rates.

No matter what type of products your ecommerce website sells, it's critically important that you select an ecommerce Internet marketing company that understands the ins and outs of not only getting your website positioned well in the search engines, but also knows how to optimize your website so it drives conversions and ultimately a solid ROI for your marketing dollar.

This guest post was written by Chris Everett, Principal of Captivate Search Marketing in Atlanta, GA. You can connect with Chris via email at chris@captivateseo.com or on Google+.

 

 

 

 

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How to do Negative Keyword Research for PPC Advertising

Whether you're an ecommerce paid search expert or a newbie to PPC advertising, learning how to do negative keyword research can help minimize unwanted clicks while maximizing return on ad spend (ROAS).

For ecommerce PPC advertising, adding a few negative keywords can drastically improve a campaign's efficiency. Because ecommerce PPC campaigns are often composed of tons of ad groups spread out over hundreds of products and categories, small discoveries can have a momentous impact.

In this article, I will share with you some insightful tips to do negative keyword research and how make your paid search expenditure more cost-effective.

Negative Keyword Research via AdWords

Negative keyword research is just as critical as the initial keyword research that starts the campaign. For product keywords, pinpointing negative keywords is key to ensure ad spend is invested in the right variations.

Adding negative keywords to your AdWords campaigns and ad groups tells Google which keyword variations you do not want triggering your ads. For example, if you sell 'mens swimming goggles,' you may want to add the negative keywords 'free' or 'reviews' to ensure your ads are not triggered under searches for "free mens swimming goggles" or "mens swimming goggles reviews."

If you are using broad, modified-broad, or phrase match keyword bidding, you'll need to determine which keyword variations are causing unwanted impressions and clicks. To do this, click the "Dimensions" tab in the AdWords interface (while in a certain campaign or ad group.)

In the filter option under the Dimensions tab, select "Search Terms." Here you'll see a list of the keyword phrases that have triggered your ads over given period of time (which is can be adjusted in the top right of the AdWords interface.)

This keyword data can be extremely enlightening, and often times shocking. The shock is primarily due to Google's definition of "broad match" - leading many PPC advertisers to use only exact phrase match or modified broad match. Once you've found unwanted keyword variations under the Search Terms option, you can add these keywords as negatives, under the "Keywords" tab. The negative keyword list is located at the bottom of the Keywords tab, underneath the actual keyword list.

You can add negative keywords on ad group or campaign basis. One of the best ways to add negative keywords appropriately is to implement the unwanted variations as a phrase or exact match. So if we wanted to eliminate all variations surrounding "free," we'd simply add the word free in quotes. This way, any keyword phrase that is searched with the word free would not trigger our ad.

After doing some negative keyword research, you may come to find out that broad match bidding is too ambiguous (and thus costly) for your ecommerce PPC efforts. Because broad match semantics are often extremely broad according to Google, you may want to pursue more precise bidding techniques.

Negative Keyword Research via Google Search

Another way to pinpoint unwanted keyword variations is through Google Search, specifically Google's suggested search or 'autocomplete' feature. As you go to type any keyword query, Google provides more specific recommendations based on popular search trends. These suggestions can offer insights as to which keywords you'll want to add to your campaign's negative keyword list.

For example, the suggested long-tail keywords that Google offers above gives us a good negative keyword insight. Perhaps we don't sell "swimming goggles with nose cover." We will then want to add "nose cover" to our negative keyword list for that particular ad group or campaign. Negative keyword research is something that you can do on regular basis. Just be certain that you're not eliminating keywords that might offer good traffic.

This blog post was contributed by Tyler Tafelsky, ecommerce SEO and PPC specialist. Connect with Tyler on Google+ or check out his Google Ads online training course at YisooTraining.com.

 

 

 

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Using Google Suggested Search (Autocomplete) for SEO Keyword Research

When it comes to on-page SEO for ecommerce sites, optimizing for the right keyword is paramount. Ecommerce sites face an extra degree of difficulty when it comes to product-related keywords. This is primarily because product-related keywords are known to be profitable, and many marketers are investing heavily to be found on those keywords.

As a result of the keyword competitiveness found in various ecommerce markets, smart SEO's are going after more specific, long-tail search terms. So instead of optimizing an online shoe store for 'Saucony running shoes' (which is extremely competitive,) a more precise keyword target that might actually lead to high rankings is "Saucony progrid guide 3 womens running shoe," (assuming the online store carries such shoes.)

How did I come up with that lengthy, seven-word target? By using Google's suggested search feature, or autocomplete

As you start typing "Saucony progrid guide," Google suggests the Progrid models 3, 4, or 5. After following through with a model number, gender is often the next filter suggested by Google. Based on our shoe store's "inventory," we will know that "Saucony progrid guide 3 womens" is our primary keyword target, with "running shoes" as the secondary long-tail target.

In a competitive keyword category, this keyword research strategy is highly effective to gain insight on the searching behaviors of common Google users.

Use Google Suggested Search for PPC Keyword Research

Using the Google autocomplete feature is also a great way to target keywords for ecommerce PPC advertising. In any ecommerce PPC campaign, typically the more keyword-specific you can get with your ad groups, the better. By utilizing suggested search, advertisers can bid with precision on highly targeted keywords using creative bidding strategies like modified broad match.

Using the above example, we could bid on dedicated ad group for the keyword phrase "+saucony +guide +3 +womens." (Using plus signs in front of keywords is modified broad match - a highly efficient form of bidding.) The only way our ad will trigger is if all of those keywords are used in a search query.

Based on the competition in the image above, we could apply some superb PPC strategies to really stand out from lazy competitors above (except for the one at the bottom.) Spread this bidding strategy across an entire product line, and you have yourself a very powerful AdWords campaign with highly focused ad groups.

Now can you create more relevant ad copy, but your quality scores are typically lower, resulting in lower bid prices. Additionally, you can make better use of Google's Ad Extensions features, which really spruce-up the ad at no additional cost.


 

This article written by Tyler Tafelsky, one of our Ecommerce SEO Specialists here at ClickCentric SEO. Connect with Tyler on Google+".

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PPC vs. SEO: Which is Better for Ecommerce Internet Marketing?

The competition in ecommerce search marketing increases with each year. Nearly every corner of online business contains a blend of players with both advertising skills and deep pockets. Below is one example of the dense variety of retailers all trying to increase their visibility on the web.

So a sports retailer sells gear and memorabilia in all the major sports (basketball, baseball, football, hockey, golf, etc.) over the web. How do you market the products and compete with all the other big boys? Any query for every type of sports gear is filled with big-budget national retailers that dominate both paid and organic listings.

PPC advertising is one way to attain high search engine exposure. However, at nearly $1 per click for an exact phrase match like [mens baseball cleats], it’s easy to see how the expenses can add up in PPC advertising. The other main option is to target search engine optimization. The goal with SEO is to earn a top spot on the keyword phrase.

The chances of reaching a top spot are hard to predict because of the amount of strong competition. Not to mention SEO takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears. In the end, what should a retailer decide when exploring the possibilities of ecommerce Internet marketing? Is SEO or PPC the answer?

Long-tail Insights Are the Key

Search engine users are more precise with their keyword phrases than ever these days. The habit of Internet consumers is to search a long-tail keyword phrase reflecting the particular product they’re seeking. Simply put, the phrase will include three or more words specifying a product, such as “louisville slugger genesis” or “louisville slugger genesis baseball bag.”

Knowing the tendencies of long-tail search is critical for ecommerce SEO as well as PPC, particularly with limited budgets and close competition. Google’s Instant feature is an ideal tool to increase your scope on these trends with relation to your ecommerce website’s keyword-targeted-phrases. From the results given by Google Instant, it seems like “louisville slugger genesis wheeled bag” is a long-tail keyword worth targeting.

We can create highly-targeted ads specifically for this equipment bag as a means of ecommerce PPC. By doing so, our ad has a chance to stand out from the rest. The headline of “Louisville Slugger Genesis Wheeled Bag” may pertain to searches more than the average “Louisville Slugger Genesis.” For retailers with a limited advertising budget, testing ecommerce PPC waters with long-tail keyword targeting is a smart move. Bid on keywords using only [exact phrase match] to start.

You can also use modified broad match to capture anything relevant that included any of your specified terms. Bidding on a keyword phrase using the modified broad match might look similar to this +Louisville +Slugger +Genesis. This bidding strategy will only trigger your ads when each of those three words are used in a query.

Using Ecommerce PPC to Test SEO Keywords

Search engine optimization is a lengthy endeavor, so it’s important that the chosen keyword targets produce sales. It’s great if we can accomplish a top keyword ranking, but the real goal is conversions. Without the conversions, the SEO campaign’s a bust.

One of the most effective strategies in ecommerce Internet marketing is to use PPC to test the sales of a variety of potential keywords before optimizing for them with SEO. For huge online retailers with endless products, PPC can be one of the best testing procedures for search engine optimization. Typically if a keyword produces sales in PPC advertising, then it will most likely convert organic SEO traffic. The point here is to highlight the keywords that produce the most sales via PPC and decide which of those keywords should be used for ecommerce SEO.

If a keyword is new and unfamiliar, test it for a while with PPC until the statistics are relevant enough to evaluate its sales and SEO potential. Part of the keyword selection process is taking into consideration how competitive each keyword is and whether or not achieving a top ranking is possible. The organic listings for some keywords are too competitive for ecommerce SEO, no matter how successful a keyword converts from PPC.

Localize Your Campaigns

Some retailers have a local market focus allowing them to set-up ecommerce PPC campaigns targeting specific geographic areas.

This enables marketers to write targeted ads with locally-centered content, like “Product of the Napa Valley” or “Found only in…” These ads will stand out from generic keyword phrasing cluttering up the SERPs. A lot of times, users are searching for products locally. Their queries might include a geo-modifier, such as “sporting goods in Kalamazoo.”

If you own an ecommerce site, but also have a physical location of business, you definitely want to consider developing a local SEO strategy. The process of geo-optimizing your website is simple. Make sure to mention the city or region your store is located in throughout the content of your site. You can include your store address in the footer for starters.

Also include your geographic target in your URLS, Page Titles and Meta Descriptions of your optimized pages will help your website significantly for geographic matching in local searches.

The idea to localize your ecommerce Internet marketing campaign may seem strange when you’re also trying to sell products on a national level. But if you’re also looking for foot traffic then the decision to locally optimize is a no-brainer.

Socialize the Marketing Campaign

Social media plays a part in pretty much every Internet marketing campaign. When it comes to ecommerce Pay Per Click advertising and organic SEO, social media is the ribbon complementing the gift.

Social media is budget-friendly, extremely interactive and always has the potential to go viral for your ecommerce brand. Think about the viewpoint of your target market. Are they using social media platforms? Which ones?

Facebook and Google + are the most frequented due to their popularity. But a social media campaign goes further than just identifying. Building a following and interacting with your followers in specific ways is how you solidify your campaign.

Social media, if done correctly, can really complement all SEO and PPC efforts. The goal is to build a brand while consistently bringing in traffic to your website. Social media platforms may contribute a little to the SEO effort, but for the most part, social media should be approached with an inbound marketing strategy.

How can you lure a potential customer to your ecommerce site?

The End Result

The most successful search marketing campaigns use a mixture of search engine optimization, pay per click advertising and social media marketing. Email marketing can be important too, but that could be covered in a whole other blog post. Study your target market’s interests and slowly assemble your campaign in a way which will relate to them best. Patience is critical as you make your way into PPC and SEO. Internet marketing for an ecommerce brand is relentless. Know your strategies are effective before pouring too much time and money into a campaign.

This article was contributed by Kyle Blasco

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7 Impactful Ecommerce PPC Strategies

Managing a PPC campaign for an ecommerce site can be a cumbersome endeavor. In addition to keeping everything organized, ecommerce advertisers battle a lot of clutter in the paid search arena. With big budget retailers dominating the playing field, it's now more challenging than ever to stand out in the SERPs.

Building a well-structured campaign and employing the right ecommerce PPC strategies is paramount for success. Regardless of your business type, budget size, and overall competition, there are a number of techniques to make your ads more effective. Below we highlight seven effective strategies for ecommerce PPC advertising.

Peel n' Stick

Ecommerce PPC - Peel n StickAd groups typically perform optimally when they include a very narrow grouping of highly similar keyword targets.

One of the biggest faults Pay Per Click advertisers make is cramming far too many keywords in a single ad group. Attempting to cover several different keywords with one ad results in numerous inefficiencies. When this appears to be the case, the keywords in an ad groups can be further segmented, or in other words, peel n' stick can be employed.

Coined by marketing specialist Perry Marshall, the peel n' stick strategy involves taking a poor performing keyword and putting it in another more relevant ad group (or creating a new one.) Good peel n' stick opportunities are typically found in keywords with low quality scores.

For ecommerce PPC, this might be a keyword that represent product variation, such as a specific model that's worthy of a new ad group. Often times when a weak keyword is placed in a different yet more relevant ad group, the quality score will increase. Similarly, a new, more targeted ad can be written.

Split-Testing

Ad copy is an often overlooked component when optimizing a PPC campaign for better performance. Not only can the content of your PPC ads impact quality scores, but ad copy influences how well users respond to your ads (measured by click-through rate or "CTR"). It is thus important that you split-test several ads per ad group.

Try running 2-5 ad variations, depending on how many impressions a certain ad group is receiving. If you ads are getting a lot of exposure in little time, it makes more sense to split-test 3-5 ads, as opposed to just 2. By including the primary keywords of an ad group in the ad copy, the improved contextual relevancy helps to increase quality score.

PPC Split TestingFor this reason, it's beneficial to use all or some of the keyword phrase in the copy. Trying using multiple variations in your ad copy. One effective strategy is using Dynamic Keyword Insertion (shown in the middle ad in the image.)

Using this strategy will help improve the keyword relevancy of you PPC ads by having the headline of your ads to replicate what the users searches.

When using dynamic keyword insertion, you include a unique string in the headline like so: Ad Headline = {KeyWord:Kids Army Uniform} If a user's search query is more than 25 characters long (exceeding the headline's character limit,) the alternative phrase "Kids Army Uniform" will be displayed.

This strategy is highly effective in improving both CTR as well as quality score, especially for AdWords PPC campaign management. Just be careful using this strategy, for your competitors maybe doing the same thing. This is particularly common for competitive, product-related keywords where there's a number of big budget advertisers.

Ad Copywriting

Successful PPC ads will include three important elements to promote greater click-through rates (CTR). These include:

  • Offer - what's the product you're offering
  • Value - why buying from your ecommerce store is beneficial
  • Proposition - what kind of action the user should take

The offer is almost always a given and is typically included in the copy naturally. The value and proposition of the ad are the elements that most often go overlooked. The proposition is simply a call-to-action, or a verb of some kind. A few of the most common for ecommerce PPC is "Shop," "Buy," and "Save." Get creative and try more appealing verbs like "Discover," "Gain," or "Realize."

Express value in your ad copy is one of the greatest challenges of copywriting. Paid search ads have limited character space which makes it difficult to sum-up the unique benefits and qualities. Some of the most obvious and over-used examples are "Free Shipping" or "100% Money Back."

In some instances, taking a more emotional approach can be highly effective. Take the time to learn about the product your advertising and its target market. Knowledge is the best sources for great ideas for ad copy.

AdWords Ad Extensions: Product Extensions

A powerful PPC advertising strategy that can significantly help improve CTR is using ad extensions in Google AdWords. Ad extensions are simple enhancements that can greater improve the presentation of your paid ads.

Keep in mind that ad extensions influence an entire campaign (not per ad group,) so any ad extension you implement will impact all ad groups within that campaign. One of the best ad extensions for ecommerce PPC is product extensions. Using this extension will show an image for the specific product being advertised.

For competitive keywords, this strategy can really make your ads stand out from the clutter. In fact, eye-tracking studies have shown that product extensions are among the most effective techniques to capture the attention of Ecommerce PPC Product Extensionssearch engine users.

To use product extensions, you'll need to set-up a Google Merchant Center account. This is basis for Google's shopping results which display in the top right side of the search engine results. After this account is established, you can sync your AdWords account with your Google Merchant Center account to start using this excellent extension.

AdWords Ad Extensions: SiteLinks

Ecommerce PPC Sitelinks Extension

Another effective ad extension is using Sitelinks. With this extension you can include links in your PPC ad that take users to specific pages of your ecommerce site. Not only can this help make your ads appear more prominent in the search results, but sitelinks can help facilitate conversions on broad keywords like "triathlon wetsuits."

In a campaign like this, you ad sitelinks to men's or women's wetsuits or perhaps certain brands. Utilizing the sitelinks ad extension can also contribute to greater usability by minimizing your conversion funnels.

Keyword Bidding

PPC Keyword Bidding StrategiesA great method to make your paid advertising more efficient is employing keyword bidding strategies like modified broad match. Unlike broad, "phrase," or [exact] phrase match bidding, modified broad match uses a "+" symbol in front of keywords that must be included in the user's search query for your ad to appear.

For instance, if we bid on the keyword phrase +access +control +systems, those three words must be used in a user's search query for our ad to be shown. (So the keyword phrase "access control systems for banks" would trigger the ad, however "security access system" would not.)

This bidding strategy can help ensure that you ads are being shown when users search long-tail keywords or phrases with greater detail. Another advantage of using modified broad match is that the cost per click (CPC) for some keyword combinations is significantly lower.

You can try using creative bidding strategies like security +access +control. By leaving "security" as a broad match (no "+" symbol,) our ad may display for searches like "surveillance access control" because "security" and "surveillance" are closely related with respect to Google's broad match standards.

Remarketing via the GDN

Have you ever visited a product page on an ecommerce site (did not make a purchase) and later while browsing other websites (or even watching a YouTube video) noticed ads being served of that same ecommerce store?

That's called remarketing, or advertising to market segments that may have had some previous contact with your brand. However, instead of using Google Search, the most effective remarketing channel is using the Google Display Network or GDN. 

Remarketing via the GDN is a bit unique compared to traditional paid search advertising. As an advertiser, you need keep in mind that those individuals being served display ads are not actively shopping like they are using Google search.

Remarketing is the strategic process of serving a follow-up ad to someone who has already connected with your site. This practice, although very powerful, can sometimes appear intrusive, so it's important to use this approach in moderation. Google has recently unveiled some new features in Google Analytics for remarketing.

In essence, Google has made it more efficient to create highly targeted customer lists and run ads to these individuals.

Summary

Depending on the size and nature of your online store, ecommerce Pay Per Click advertising can be a complex undertaking. In addition, to properly structuring your campaigns and ad groups, developing effective strategies for ecommerce PPC is essential to thrive amongst your competitors. We hope that these seven strategies will help you stand out from the crowd and start realizing greater return on ad spend.

 

This article written by Tyler Tafelsky, one of our Ecommerce SEO Specialists here at ClickCentric SEO.

Visit Tyler on Google+ or check out his Google Ads online course at YisooTraining.com.

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Why Being an Educator Wins for Ecommerce SEO

For many product-related keyword categories, the ecommerce SEO playing field is fierce with many big budget retailers dominating the SERPs. Although these competitors may be intimidating for your organic SEO efforts, there are usually ways to get around them. Being an educator is one.

Successful SEO for ecommerce sites demands a good understanding of the buying behaviors of online shoppers. A vast majority of online shoppers are better defined as browsers, or info seekers who are still in the pre-purchasing phases of the buying cycle. These individuals are purely seeking information to help aid their decision.

Common pre-purchasing behaviors of online browsers include:

  • learning as much as they can about the product before they buy it
  • seeking out unbiased reviews of the product
  • comparing the features of similar models

This is when being an educator is clutch for ecommerce SEO. Instead of optimizing only product pages, maybe you can optimize a page for reviews? Or perhaps a product 'FAQ' page? Or Video? To help get your creative juices flowing, we provide a couple examples of how being an educator wins for ecommerce SEO.

Superb Use of a Sub-Domain

Just the other day I was doing some research for a new pair of running shoes, particularly for triathlon. I've been noticing a lot of the pro triathlete wearing Newton running shoes, so I decided to learn more about what makes this brand so special. I submitted the search query 'newton triathlon shoes' in Google.

The first thing I noticed was www.TriSports.com dominating the top two search listings. But what really stood out was this listing at the #5 spot: "Genious..,"

I thought to myself as I delved into highly informative write-up (with the subtle "Buy Now" button) all about Newton's new MV model shoe. TriSports created a sub-domain called the TriSports University which profiles certain products with very thorough analyses. In essence, the write-up was a thorough review that touched on many of the specific details that the average shopper wants to know.

 

It covered how well the shoes perform under certain conditions, all of the minute features and benefits of the shoes, as well as the primary pitfalls of the product. Not only did this write-up help my decision on buying the Newtons (in which I did,) it made me perceive TriSports as a trusted ecommerce store that knows what they're doing.

Owning it with Rich Media Reviews

The organic search listings for product-related queries can be a bit overwhelming, especially for broad searches like "arcteryx jackets reviews." One form of rich media that makes a prominent appearance in the search results is video.

Creating and optimizing review-focused videos is a great way to capture search engine exposure (naturally, without building links.) The search results shown above reflect the keyword query "arcteryx jackets reviews." The listing that really stood out to me was the video.

The creator of the video (www.missionreadyequipment.com) does a good job at explaining some of the features of a couple different Arcteryx brand jackets, however the company fails to provide a good call to action. Nonetheless, their video has earned over 14,000 views and it holds a great ranking for a very popular search.

Additionally, the video is educational and speaks to a very specific target market. The practice of creating review-based videos can be momentous for ecommerce SEO and organic search marketing.

The trick is to optimize videos to maximize there organic SEO potential. In addition to keyword optimizing the video properties, a good way to do this is create a video sitemap on your ecommerce website. In a nutshell, search engine like Google love video sitemaps and they help to get your videos found in the organic search listings.

Blogging All About It

While looking for costume ideas on some 'sailing clothing' sites for sarcastic 'yacht club' party, I came upon a well-optimized ecommerce site called Point Loma Outfitting. I saw that they had a blog, so for sh**ts and giggles I thought I'd take a peek.

I noticed they had a blog post about "Camet sailing clothing" with a video as the many feature of the post. Naturally, my organic SEO instincts directed me to Google where I searched that exact phrase match 'camet sailing clothing'.

Sure enough, Point Loma was sitting pretty at the #2 spot, along with the video they featured in their blog post at #5. I decided to glance at the blog again to test its true effectiveness. After seeing a blog post about the arrival of the new 'SLAM Force 4 Series Foul Weather Gear', I decided to search the phrase 'slam force 4'. It turns out that Point Loma is killing it.

In addition to the company's impressive display of video SEO, they seem to understand the power behind content marketing via blogging. I tip my hat to the organic SEO's of Point Loma. Well done.

Be More Than Just an Ecommerce Site. Be an Institution.

Educating potential customers can instill a high degree of trust and credibility in your ecommerce store. Additionally, offering valuable content can naturally earn link popularity for the benefit of organic SEO. The underlying takeaway to becoming a good educator for ecommerce SEO: be creative in what you offer, and strategic in how you offer it.

 

This article written by Tyler Tafelsky, one of our Ecommerce SEO Specialists here at ClickCentric SEO.

Visit Tyler on Google+

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Optimizing Landing Pages for Greater Conversions

The landing page (also known as the "lead capture page") is where visitors land after clicking on an online advertisement or link. The landing page is the first impression visitors have of your website and what you have to offer. It is thus very important that your landing page is optimized for exceptional usability and conversion orientation.

Ecommerce Landing Page OptimizationWhen it comes to ecommerce Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising, landing page optimization demands constant testing. It is only through split testing where we able to determine which design concepts and page layouts are working, and which are not. The optimization and testing of landing pages is not rocket science, however having the right resources and experience is key.

In addition to analyzing data for testing (typically via Google Analytics,) other skill-sets that accompany landing page optimization are copywriting, web design, and usability. Before we dive into the fundamentals of optimizing landing pages, we must underscore the importance of landing page dedication. That is, it's best to get as specified and targeted as possible with landing pages.

In most cases, especially for ecommerce sites, this will call for the design of dedicated landing pages per advertisement (or ad group from a Google AdWords perspective.) Having dedicated landing pages can not only increase the consumer relevancy and conversion potential of your advertising efforts, but having highly focused landing pages can also increase your AdWords quality scores (which can help to reduce cost per click.)

Understanding Consumer Behavior

The purpose of the landing page testing and optimization is to determine the best ways to influence buyers’ behavior. Understanding the human nature of consumers is a key consideration. A framework that describes stages of customer behavior and interests was pioneered by Elias St. Elmo Lewis back in 1898, and the same concepts are still used today. These four stages, commonly referred to as AIDA, may sound like marketing 101; however each emphasize a stage of customer behavior and can offer insights for development of landing pages.

  1. Awareness: The first stage is the realization by the customer that there are several possibilities/actions available.
     
  2. Interest: The consumer shows preference and selects one of the possibilities/courses of action.
     
  3. Desire: The enthusiasm of the customer grows in the course of action chosen.
     
  4. Action: The customer acts and begins to enjoy the benefits of the option/course of action chosen. There should be flow and continuity in the landing page decision making model so that the progression of the visitor is properly supported through all the steps. In essence, you want to get to know you target market as best as possible to determine how they proceed through each step. For that reason, the stages of AIDA must be aligned with certain visitor types.

Know the Nature of Visitors

The different visitor types are:

  • Browsers: These are people with unmet needs, but are not quite certain what they truly want.
  • Evaluators: These are people who are searching for more detailed supporting info and who know enough to compare different options.
  • Customers: These are people who have completed transactions in the past and whose satisfaction level has to be maintained until they come for another transaction.
  • Transactors: These are people who have already decided what they want to buy and who are now in the process of making the transaction.

The marriage of AIDA and visitor type can also apply to different time frames and scales of tasks. A potential customer may interact with a site several times before making the final decision. On the other end of the spectrum are is short-duration decisions or micro tasks that take a few seconds only.

Fortunately, Google AdWords now enables marketers to see and assess such data to determine the various touch points that may contribute to sales. In summary, visitors should be given what they want when they reach a landing page.

Define key visitor types of you target market and define the most important conversion tasks (or desired action) for each type. Ideally, you'll want to dedicate conversion oriented landing pages to the ads at hand (as well as consumers.) As a result, your ecommerce PPC efforts can flourish.

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Optimize Your Ecommerce Marketing Efforts

Virtually all ecommerce sites rely on a blend of online marketing and advertising to capture more customers. Nowadays it's becoming even more challenging, for the competition has become very intense and simply establishing a good ecommerce website will not guarantee its success.

In essence, ecommerce marketers must be creative and strategic to earn an edge over big competitors. There are several strategies that will help to ensure your Ecommerce Marketing Optimizationecommerce website attracts quality traffic that is more prone to convert.

Below we share three of the most powerful strategies to help optimize your ecommerce marketing efforts

  1. Offer incentives: Most online shoppers are thrifty in that they often seek the products with the best prices. In short, the average customer will buy from an ecommerce website that has a good deal. It is thus important to employ such marketing efforts creatively without investing a great deal of ad dollars. If you want to offer incentives without breaking your bank, consider leveraging second tier products as promotional pieces. Typically offering incentives and promotions of Incentives not only encourage customers to buy, but they also ensure that your customers return as well as recommend you to others. Email and social media marketing for ecommerce sites is a great way to promote incentives to both new and existing customers, depending on the nature of the campaign.
     
  2. 2) Take advantage of social media: Social networking sites, video sharing sites and other social media platforms have taken the Internet by storm. There is immense value in using social media to leverage and manage customer loyalty for increased brand awareness and website promotion. Social media brings you greater conversion potential since you will be getting targeted web traffic for minimal investment. This is mostly because only those individuals who know what you are offering will end up on your website. Social media is also advantageous in that it allows you to get valuable feedback from customers as well as engage and interact with customers on a personal level. The trick is post only valuable, unique content on your Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and/or Pinterest accounts. The content of your social posts should be engaging and interesting, and more times often than not, encourage users to take action. You could make games and contests to get more people to engage with your ecommerce site. You could also attract new customers by offering an irresistible offer or coupon. Be proactive and engaging and this will motivate your fans, followers, and subscribers to spread your brand image through sharing and the likes.
     
  3. Optimize marketing for mobile: More and more people are using the Internet on mobile devices. In fact, statistics show that up to 79% of U.S. customers use a smartphone to compare prices, locate retailers, find product information, and make online purchases. There is also a significant number of people who are using other mobile devices like PDAs and tablets for shopping. Take advantage of this by ensuring key pages of your ecommerce websites are mobile-friendly. In some cases a custom mobile application could be the best investment for ecommerce marketing. It is also important to ensure that the checkout process from mobile devices is secure and straightforward. When making a mobile-friendly ecommerce store, ensure that the platform has such exclusive mobile features like mobile store promotions via emails, check-ins, SMS offers, and GPS localization. Mobile website optimization is a critical consideration for ecommerce sites, and it's becoming even more important as mobile becomes even more popular.

The competition in ecommerce marketing is growing to be more intense year by year. Not only is it difficult to pursue ecommerce SEO and other forms of search engine marketing, but simply establishing a web presence and solid customer bases is a challenge in itself. Before you unleash you ecommerce site or web marketing campaign, be sure to have a sound ecommerce strategy in place.

 

This article written by Tyler Tafelsky, one of our Ecommerce SEO Specialists here at ClickCentric SEO.

Visit Tyler on Google+

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3 Essentials of Search Engine Optimization for Ecommerce Sites

Ecommerce sites are conceptually similar in that they all have product categories, subcategories, product pages, shopping carts, and checkout processes. This makes the fundamentals of ecommerce search engine optimization, (SEO) relatively universal for most online stores; however, there are still a number of intricacies that contribute to better rankings.

In this article, we outline some of the most important concepts of SEO for ecommerce sites. Acknowledging these three components of search engine optimization will help you create a more prominent presence in the organic search results.

1. Optimize Product-Level Pages

Product pages are some of the most important page for ecommerce SEO. These are the pages that contain unique, value-driven content that is often optimized for specific (often times long-tail) keyword targets. When optimizing product-level pages for ecommerce SEO:

  • always do keyword research to know the exact keyword target/search query per product.
  • ensure all page text is crawl-able by search engine spiders.
  • make strategic use of headers, strong tags, and other content elements while optimizing product pages.
  • mention key product features, specifications, unique selling propositions in the content.
  • implement rich media like videos and image galleries.
  • infuse user-generated customer reviews on each product page.
  • display related products or additional selling pushes, such as 'products that might go good with this product' or ‘customers who bought this, also bought that.’

2. Proper Page Classification

Classifying pages on your ecommerce site is highly important to bolster category pages that have been optimized for ‘short tail’ keyword queries and generic searches. Proper page classification also ensures a more intuitive navigation and browsing experience for users (which also translates to better conversion rates). For effective classification of pages:

  • assign and organize product-level pages under tiers for product categories and subcategories.
  • organize the each product category into a hierarchy.
  • focus on more short-tail keyword optimization when doing category level SEO (such as brands or broad-based categories.)
  • List and link all relevant product level pages on each category page.

3. Avoid Duplicate Content

Duplicate content is common problem for ecommerce sites and can negatively impact your SEO efforts. In many cases, particularly with content management system (CMS) software, pages may be generated without acknowledging issues with duplicate content. Whether this be duplicate page titles and meta data, page copy, or complete pages, you'll want to be mindful of many considerations, including:

  • avoid duplicate content both on-page and off-page.
  • ensure that your have unique category pages (that show no signs of overlapping with other related pages and more importantly, have unique product pages.
  • assign source attribution to products by adding parameters to URLs.
  • when doing affiliate marketing, have alternate versions of your product information in different feeds. Create different sets of descriptions, titles, and other elements.
  • consider having select fields in the different feeds, reserving the full product data set for your website.
  • use Google Webmaster Tools, check search engine indexes and do analysis to identify and to eliminate duplicate content. These are three core components of SEO for ecommerce sites that must not go overlooked.

Although there are many other factors that go into the optimization of an ecommerce store, these three are the most essential can make or break your search engine optimization campaign.

In addition to these essentials mentioned above, cohesive ecommerce SEO campaigns will almost always include social media marketing as well as a number of off-page SEO strategies, such as link building, content marketing, and ongoing public relations management.

The idea is build a strong ecommerce brand through a number of channels, with SEO being the base for increased exposure in the search results.

 

This article written by Tyler Tafelsky, one of our Ecommerce SEO Specialists here at ClickCentric SEO.

Visit Tyler on Google+

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