Blog items tagged with "seo"
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."
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.
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.
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.
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!
About 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.
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.
About 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.
Having a successful website that provides a great amount of value isn't as hard as many people think. There are plenty of ways to attract new audiences and hold their attention; it just takes some time and effort. Another big part of having a site that is successful is making sure it is optimized as best as it can be for search engines. Now SEO isn't the easiest thing to do, but once you are ranked high in SERPs, you will see much more traffic and it will have been all worth it. So to help you out, we are going to take a look at 7 tips that will not only increase the overall value of your site, but also help you get ranked higher.
Use a Great Navigation Structure
The spiders that search engines sent to crawl through our sites rely on our overallnavigation to be able to index everything properly, so when there isn't a good navigation system put in place, we risk our pages getting ranked incorrectly.
Unfortunately, there are millions of sites out there that have pages that aren't connected to their site or may have accidentally placed a broken link, making it impossible for spiders to crawl and index them. We can ensure this doesn't happen to us by creating a great navigation structure and also including a site map. Once your navigation is complete, you should run an audit on your site to ensure that spiders are able to easily access all of your content.
Navigation also helps people find the content they are looking for. It helps to decrease your bounce rates, increase conversion rates, and gives them a much better experience in the end.
Ensure Fast Loading Times
Having a fast website is very important due to the fact that so many people use their phones and other devices to load up websites. This means that their internet connection could be running much slower than the average person on a regular computer. If they start to see that the site is taking way too long to load, you can expect them to just leave and find another site that is more reliable. Search engines are starting to take this seriously as well and have implemented load times in their algorithms, so if your site is slow, you are going to get punished for it. As much as possible, stay away from cheap web hosts and optimize your images to help make your site load faster.
Add Social Media Aspects to Your Site
Don't forget to add social media into your site. You can have your own social media profiles, add social media widgets to your content, or anything else you may want. It's important to have these types of things on your site because social media is such a big aspect of our everyday lives, that people now expect to be able to like and share content directly from your site. The shares and likes that you get are all counted by search engines, so the more interactions you get, the better you will be ranked.
Create a Community
Let people talk to each other! It doesn't matter what type of site you have, you should allow people to comment on your content, have a forum, or allow reviews on products & services. By having these things, you are letting people create their own personal connections to the site, which will help you have steady traffic and more conversions. If people are able to read product reviews from other customers they will see that they have had a good experience, trust your website much more and buy your stuff. If you are just trying to have people subscribe to a blog, allowing people to express themselves will create a much more welcoming atmosphere and will convince them to sign up. Search engines will also look highly on sites that allow these types of interactions because the site is always being updated, and they provide more value and a better experience.
Use Plenty of Internal Links to Connect Relevant Content
A great way to keep people on your site and engaged with your content is if you use internal links to help them find other pieces of content they would be interested in. If they know that your site has more content available that they like, then they are more likely to be converted once they gain more trust in your site. If you use relevant anchor texts, implementing an internal link strategy can be quite easy and will help with your bounce rates, overall navigation, and conversion rates.
Implement More Multimedia
Using videos, images, and audio in our sites is a must because of how popular they have become over the last decade. People would much rather interact with a website full of multimedia than just sit there and read an endless amount of text, so give them what they want. Search engines also understand how important multimedia is to a website, so they have started to index them and rank them very high based on their success. So, if you can come up with a great video, you can expect some good results.
Use Call to Action Buttons and Other Techniques to Increase Your Conversion Rates
It's important to always have your ultimate goal in mind when changing your site around. If you have an online business, then you are probably looking for more sales, while a blog would be looking to have people subscribe. Either way, both need to have strategies implemented to help new visitors become converted. You can use call to action buttons, catch people's attention by using contrast effects, or any other technique you feel would work best for your site.
The important part is that you use these techniques to make your site more appealing to your viewers, which will keep them on the site much longer. Since they are interacting more with your site once they start to be converted, you can expect that search engines will start to increase your authority.
SEO for ecommerce sites is often insanely competitive. With authority domains like Amazon and eBay owning the top spots in Google for any keyword that's product related, outranking them can seem unrealistic.
Well muster-up some courage and confidence, my friend. Because outranking these intimidating authority figures can be done using the best practices of ecommerce SEO.
Below I outline a winning process to help formulate your ecommerce SEO strategy. These best practices will guide your SEO efforts holistically, demanding the support of you entire ecommerce marketing team.
So roll-up your sleeves and open your mind. It's time you learn the best practices of ecommerce SEO for better rankings and more conversions.
Obsess About Usability
The manner in which users interact with your ecommerce site is paramount. Sure, this might not be focal to ecommerce SEO, but what good is your search traffic if visitors aren't taking the steps to convert?
Usability flows with conversion rate optimization (CRO), which should also run parallel to your ecommerce SEO efforts. Some best practices to consider for usability include:
- Designing and testing call-to-action and sign-up buttons
- Ensuring the check-out process is fluid (e.g. allowing customers to buy without needing to register)
- Utilizing breadcrumb navigation links, which not only aids usability, but also SEO
- Offering a secure and easy-to-manage shopping cart
- Making sure your site's search functionality is easy and intuitive
Usability is paramount to your ecommerce store's success. These elements should be at the forefront of your concerns to ensure your site's traffic potential is maximized.
Write Your Own Awesome Page Copy
Although it may be legal and convenient, never use manufacturer-generated content for product descriptions or other aspects of your page copy. This will lead to duplicate content and diminish the SEO value of your pages.
Whether you recruit someone creative on your team, or hire a quality SEO copywriter, unique and engaging copy is more important than many think. Shoppers do actually read copy on your site, especially the product descriptions. When page copy speaks truly about a product while resonating with your brand, you can really grab their attention.
Respect Technical SEO
The techical SEO aspects of your ecommerce site are critical. Technical SEO focuses on elements like:
- Finding and fixing HTML coding errors
- Creating sitemaps and optimizing internal linking
- Pinpointing duplicate content, specifically page title tags and meta descriptions
- Determining where to utilize canonical tags
- Optimizing URLs that are non-SEO-friendly
- Ensuring proper crawling and indexing of the ecommerce site
- Implementing redirects and correcting those that have been mishandled
Respecting technical SEO demands the skills and expertise of a coding guru (or ideally, a "technical SEO expert"). Some SEO specialists center their practice on the strategic and creative side of SEO, whereas others have knack for analytical and technical aspects of ecommerce SEO.
Produce Great Content
Whether product profile videos, educational articles and blog posts, producing great content extends beyond the webpages of your ecommerce site. To maximize ecommerce SEO value in today's social age, you need a hub to publish interesting content, such as a blog or media center page.
Producing and sharing great content plays a two-fold role in your SEO mission:
- By keeping your ecommerce site fresh with newly published content on a consistent basis, search engine spiders are apt to crawl and index your site more frequently. Additionally, you create content that's keyword relevant (and links to your optimized inside pages) which can bolster your ecommerce SEO efforts.
- By sharing, promoting, and marketing your content on social media platforms, you site adds a layer of social credibility and authority (via mechanisms like social signals and the volume of social followers). These new social mechanisms have been said to help with SEO and search rankings.
Diversify Your Backlink Portfolio
There's no questions that building links for SEO still works. It's just a matter of how and where you building links. I recently wrote an article called Tips to Create a Balanced SEO Link Building Strategy, and I highly recommend reading it if you need a primer on link building.
For ecommerce sites, link building is entire SEO strategy in itself. Not only do you want to balance the types of links (as well as the anchor text of those links), but you want to link to a variety of your pages (and not just your homepage). For some, this might be a no-brainer, but it's not uncommon to see SEO service providers pointing every backlink to the homepage.
Remember, product pages are your bread and butter. Once you've optimized a product page with alluring (and keyword-friendly) copy and media, sending some backlinks to that page can truly empower its rankings. Based on my experience, product pages can withstand a greater volume of backlinks with exact keyword match anchor text. Of course too much exact keyword match anchor text much can be risky, but I think the true ratio and balance of anchor text (before a red flag is raised to Google about your site being over-optimized) stems primarily from the domain.
Use a wide range of backlink sources to diversify your site's portfolio. Directories are a good place to start, in addition to reaching out and gathering prospects suitable for guest blog posts on product reviews. Offering contests and other forms of link bait is equally, if not more effective. And of course, start getting social!
Be an Educator & a Social Butterfly
Late last year I wrote a post at CPCStrategy.com about how socializing on Google+ can influence your SEO efforts. In the article I describe how the more people that encircle your brand's page on Google+, the more control you'll have over their search results. The concept is based on Google's "Search, plus Your World" which integrates a social element to search.
Although this concept is still emerging and has yet to fully bloom, it should not ignored in your ecommerce SEO strategy. There's also the element of "social signals," which are the Facebook "Likes," Google "+1's," "Pins," "Tweets," and other social attributes that can be given to webpage. Based on several studies on this topic, a high volume of social signals correlates to better search engine rankings. I like to think of it as Google's way of attributing a legitimate, human-based ranking factor to its algorithm.
But the big question is: how do you gain a lot of social signals? Like I mention above, you need to produce great content that truly resonates with your target audience. For ecommerce sites, being an educator is a winning strategy. Some of the most successful and highly ranked ecommerce sites will create videos that educate shoppers about a product, or set of products. Not only does this practice help generate social signals, but the videos themselves can rank atop the search results.
Imagine this: what's a high margin product that you want to sell a lot of? Start be optimizing the product's page with unique content and optimized images. Next, produce a video, image gallery, blog post (or all three) about that product. Share (or upload) the latter content on YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Google+, and any other social media sites your brand is active on. And lastly, build a few links to that product page.
Using these ecommerce SEO best practices is a winning strategy, so long as you're mindful during each step of the process. All the while, always focus on improving the usability and technical aspects of your website. In a matter of time, your ecommerce site can evolve into a true online authority figure
About the Author
Tyler Tafelsky offers over five years of experience as an organic SEO specialist. Tyler is highly-engaged in social media, link building, and content strategy. You can learn more by connecting with Tyler on Google+, or following Tyler on Twitter.
There's no two ways about it: SEO for ecommerce sites is a challenge.
With (literally) thousands of pages to tend to, it takes a lot of resources to check off all the on-page SEO boxes that Google looks for.
Fortunately, you can get more traffic to your product and category pages by implementing these simple on-page SEO "hacks" courtesy of Backlinko.
While all of these SEO tips apply to ecommerce sites, here are the four strategies that can get you the most traffic in the shortest period of time:
1. Add modifiers to title tags: A common mistake that I see ecommerce sites make is to use short title tags. There's a large percentage of searchers who use long tail keywords, like "best blue widget", "cheap blue widgets", or "brand blue widgets". By adding these modifiers before and after your target keywords you can potentially wrangle in more search traffic.
2. Speed up your page loading speed: A study by Amazon found that they lost 1% in sales for every 100 miliseconds of site speed loading time. If you run an ecommerce site you literally can't afford to have a slow website. One of the fastest ways to boost site speed loading time is to switch over to a better hosting plan. It's usually more expensive, but the ROI is typically positive over the long-term.
3. Post long content: Google loves giving their users pages with lots and lots of content. Unfortunately, most product pages are fairly thin in the content department (mostly due to the sheer number of pages ecommerce sites tend to have). One way to get around this is to identify your top 5-10 pages that you'd like to get more traffic to. Then add more details and information about the product on those pages.
4. Lower your bounce rate: A bounce doesn't just represent a lost sale: it may also mean decreased visibility in Google search. One site way to reduce your bounce rate is to add multiple "related products" sliders. This is a technique Zappos employs on their product pages:
This can also boost page views and time on site: two important user-interaction signals for SEO. Stay tuned for more ecommerce SEO best practices.
Whether you're unveiling a new ecommerce website or have been trying your hand at ecommerce SEO for some time, a thorough audit can reveal help get you on the right track to success.
Here at ClickCentric SEO, we conduct ecommerce SEO audits on the reg. Whether for new prospects or existing clients, providing SEO audits is an integral aspect to the service programs that we offer.
In this article, I will share three essential resources that we use to conduct ecommerce SEO audits. These resources are available to anyone and should be well-respect assets in your SEO arsenal.
1. Google Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster Ttools is one of the best resources for a number of SEO-related insights. Below are a few key places to look when conducting a SEO audit for your ecommerce site.
Optimization -> HTML Improvements
Ecommerce sites are often common culprits of duplicate content. Under the HTML Improvements section, check for duplicate and/or missing Page Title and Meta description tags.
Health -> Crawl Errors
Page errors can hinder the crawling and indexing process of your ecommerce site. Take a look at the Crawl Errors section to pinpoint any ailments that might be diminishing the SEO-value and crawl-ability of your pages.
Traffic -> Search Queries
Take a look at the types of queries (keyword phrases) that are generating organic search traffic to your website. Keep in mind that this data is a bit loose and not the most accurate (queries account for phrase matches - which are difficult to define.) Nonetheless, you'll be able to understand which keywords your site is most relevant about.
Traffic -> Links to Your Site
Get an idea of who is linking to your ecommerce site. Backlinks are huge factor for SEO, so the more quality links you can earn, the better SEO potential your ecommerce site will have.
Optimization -> Sitemaps
Under the Sitemaps section, check to see if any XML sitemaps have been submitted. If not, this is a good opportunity to take advantage of. An XML sitemap submission tells Google of the pages on your ecommerce site that are ready to be crawled and indexed. The submission, which is simply a notification to Google, accelerates the process.
2. W3C Markup Validation Service
Ecommerce sites are often very deep domains with hundreds and thousands of pages. This makes it difficult to ensure that no code errors and warnings are present on the website.
The Crawl Errors section of Google Webmaster Tools is sometimes not enough. This when the help of W3C Markup Validation Service can help you pinpoint HTML code errors and warnings present on your ecommerce site.
After you submit your domain at validator.w3.org, the service will tell exactly which lines of code are problematic to your site's health. You can then work with your webmaster see that these errors and warnings get fixed.
3. Pingdom for Site Speed Testing
Parallel to minimizing HTML code errors is ensuring the load speed of your ecommerce website is fast and fluid. A slow loading website can hinder both SEO and user engagement.
Test the speed of your ecommerce site using a free tool like tools.Pingdom.com. If your site takes longer than one second to load, then it probably can be optimized.
There can be a number of reasons for a slow loading website. Often times it's the HTML coding structure of the site that correlates to load speed. So if your using an ancient CMS software platform to run your ecommerce site, then chances are it's inhibiting SEO performance and usability.
Diagnosing a slow ecommerce site is best when done with tech-savvy individual who can troubleshoot why things are slow going. The remedy can range from a simple website optimization tune-up or complete overhaul onto a new CMS platform.
Bonus: Tools for Backlink Portfolio Audits
Assessing a site's backlink portfolio takes ecommerce SEO auditing one step further. The tools needed to conduct a backlink scan of a website (as well as provide data about the sources' anchor text, Google PageRank, etc.) typically require payment to use.
A backlink portfolio audit is essential if your ecommerce site has been penalized by Google Penguin (which targets over-optimized backlinks with too much exact keyword match anchor text.) Two tools that I personally favor are:
- Open Site Explorer - Created by SEOmoz, Open Site Explorer is web-based tool that offers a wealth of data regarding a website's backlink portfolio. Test it out for free by visiting OpenSiteExplorer.org.
- SEO Spyglass - SEO Spyglass is an advanced software platform that's apart of the SEO Powersuite by Link Assistant. For search marketers, this tool is ideal for client management and auditing.
About the Author:
Tyler Tafelsky is the lead SEO analyst at Click Centric SEO. Tyler is well-versed in multiple facets of digital marketing and branding, including organic SEO, PPC advertising, social media and content marketing. Tyler spearheads most of the ecommerce SEO audits at Click Centric SEO. You can k0eep in touch with him by following Tyler on Twitter.
Promoting an ecommerce brand on the Internet can be done in many different ways these days, however many people get stuck when it comes to creating a successful ecommerce marketing strategy. They may be unable to determine the best places to promote their products, in addition to defining who their target audience is.
As a result, it is important to educate yourself and pursue the best marketing channels to promote your ecommerce brand. Every ecommerce brand is unique (as well as a brand's target market,) so leveraging the proper Internet marketing channels is critical to succeed.
In this article, we share with you seven effective tips to promote your ecommerce brand.
In order to make more and more people aware of your business, you should consider blogging for your ecommerce brand. People will be able to read the blog and find out more about what you have to say regarding your new products. Your blog can also announce new updates with certain products and give customers a general idea of a new direction that your business may be taking.
Social media is a powerful tool when it comes to brand marketing. Customers can ‘like’ a brand’s page. This page will then post various updates and continue reminding customers about the new changes that the business is making.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO can be used in order to promote your ecommerce website, which will in turn help to promote your products. You will need to put specific keywords into the text of your website. Ecommerce SEO will help to boost your product pages up in the rankings and will help to ensure that more people can find it. As a staple of ecommerce marketing, SEO is one of the first channels that you should think of investing in.
Reviews are going to either make or break your reputation. When it comes to review websites, you are going to have to make sure that you get the best reviews from customers. Review websites will also help you to gauge what the current trend is when it comes to your reputation.
With Twitter you can make announcements and engage with other customers. This is a very useful tool when it comes to sorting out certain issues that customers may bring up.
Monitoring your brand online can be done through a variety of different uses. Brand monitoring will allow you to determine just what people think of your product and what you need to do in order to improve it.
Paid surveys can give you more information regarding customers’ thoughts on your products. Do not underestimate a survey’s power, for they can reveal a wealth on insights in creating an effective ecommerce marketing strategy.
This article was provided by the advocates of Brandchats. Brandchats is unique tool designed for social media analytics and online branding.
Ecommerce SEO can be a complex undertaking that demands a higher degree of effort and consideration compared to typical websites. In addition to optimizing a robust site (that may contain hundreds and thousands of pages,) ecommerce SEO is typically more keyword competitive as well.
In short, there's just a lot that goes into the SEO process for an online store. Although the best results are attained with a professional ecommerce SEO company, there are a number of on-site SEO tasks that can be handled in-house by a webmaster or tech-savvy marketing team.
In this article we share several SEO processes that are essential for ecommerce sites. Think of all of these processes as your ultimate SEO checklist for your ecommerce store.
Your Ecommerce SEO Checklist
- Define keyword optimization naming convention - This doesn't sound as technical as it may seem. A "keyword optimization naming convention" is simply the semantic structure of words that you use for essential SEO elements (namely the Meta Title.) Because ecommerce sites are often so deep with pages, it's best to write a consistent naming convention for the Title and other parts of a page. A good place to start in developing SEO-friendly naming conventions is with the brand name and then the primary keyword phrase (or product name.) So your naming convention formula might be "[Brand] [Product Name] | [Ecommerce Store Name]" (e.g. "Nike Flex Trainer 2 Shoes | EcommerceShoeStore.com.") You can also apply naming conventions for URLs, Meta Descriptions, and other important content elements with SEO value.
- Always write unique page copy - One of the biggest SEO mishaps that ecommerce stores face is duplicate content. This often stems from using generic product descriptions provided by manufacturers. The problem is that the same product descriptions are found on various other websites (perhaps even competitors'.) As a result of using generic content, the SEO value of your product pages is significantly diminished (if not entirely obsolete.) Instead, take the time to write unique and compelling product descriptions. This might demand the help of an experienced copywriter, but the investment is usually well worth it.
- Keyword optimize media files – Most individuals who know a thing or two about SEO are familiar with keyword optimizing the ALT tag for images. However only few keyword optimize the entire file before uploading it to the website. To do this, name your media files with respect to your keyword targets (which is typically logical for product page image.) Additionally, you can modify the properties of images to be more keyword relevant. Right click the image or media file, select properties, and populate the title, sub-title, tags, description, and comments of the file to reflect your keyword targets. This helps maximize the SEO value of your pages when you go to upload the files.
- Optimize for faster load speeds - Beyond the scope of SEO, optimizing your ecommerce website for fast load speed enhances user experience (which aids in conversions.) Although there is some SEO value to having a quick load times, most value is seen for conversion optimization. Faster load speed is achieved by minimizing the HTML code and optimizing robust media files. By taking the time to strip unnecessary code and reduce the file size of images and video, you can significantly improve your website load speed.
- Start content marketing (if you haven't already) – Content marketing is the glue that holds your social media marketing and SEO efforts together. In a nutshell, you can create informative, inspiring, and enlightening videos, articles/blog posts, or images/graphics, and share the goodness with your social media followers. Awesome content earns social authority and gets linked-to naturally. As a result, you can leverage content marketing to both increase your keyword rankings and grow your social media following.
- Integrate social media icons - There's no question that social media is having a game-changing impact on SEO. Tweets, shares, likes, +1's, pins, and other "social signals" are becoming stronger ranking factors. In essence, social signals tell search engines that humans are digging it, so it's worthy of higher rankings. In addition building a presence on relevant social media sites, integrating social media icons makes it more efficient for visitors to like your content, particularly product pages, the homepage, and blog posts.
- Build a HTML sitemap - The HTML sitemap serves as the index of your ecommerce site, and is considered by many SEO experts as the second most important page of the website (next to the homepage.) Although visitors rarely use the sitemap, it's very important to search engine spiders and SEO in general. The issue with ecommerce websites is that a complete sitemap can sometimes contain thousands of pages. When this is the case, you can create segmented sitemaps that focus on specific product categories. From you primary HTML sitemap, you can link to each segmented sitemap. This is a great solution for SEO and helps to keep your online store in good shape for crawling and indexing.
Although there's a lot more that goes into ecommerce SEO than the processes mentioned above, this is a solid starting place to get the ball rolling. On-page SEO is only a small piece of the puzzle, however by respecting the potential behind content marketing and social media, you'll be well on your way to executing some momentous off-page SEO strategies.
For any ecommerce SEO strategy, building and earning links is essential to earn top keyword rankings.
Without an arsenal of blogs and link building resources, it's not easy to generate link popularity for your ecommerce site.
It's time to get your creative juices flowing and start brainstorming ways to naturally earn links back to your website.
Below are five creative link building (and earning) tips to empower your off-page ecommerce SEO strategy.
1. Construct a Creative Content Marketing Strategy
The best way to naturally earn quality links back to your ecommerce site is content marketing. That is, produce, publish, and promote brilliant content that earns the favor of your audience. Content that earns social favor will typically garner a natural influx of links.
Be creative in the content you produce and share. Product profiles and reviews are an ideal form of link bait for ecommerce SEO. And beyond write-ups and blogs post, a short video or insightful graphic can be the most engaging form of content.
Parallel to creating content that's creative and compelling, ensuring that your content gets exposure is equally as important. Social media plays a pivotal role in getting your content in front of the right people.
2. Be as Social as Possible
Having a strong social media presence can help maximize your content marketing and link earning potential.
In short, the more people who engage with your content, the more likely your content will be shared and linked-to.
Three of the most powerful social media platforms for ecommerce SEO are Google+, Facebook, and Twitter. Not only do these platforms facilitate sharing and link earning potential, but the likes, tweets, and +1's (social signals) that are earned can help increase the content's ranking potential.
Social media is a powerful tool that should be used in conjunction with SEO and link building. If your ecommerce brand is fresh on the social scene, start reaching out and connecting with various communities. You can leverage Facebook's ad platform to rack-up more likes to your page, or create an organic social media strategy to help grow your following. Although the gratification will not be instantaneous, the long-term rewards of building social authority can indeed help your overall SEO strategy.
3. Incentivize with Contests & Giveaways
An amazing way for your ecommerce brand to get popular is to put on a contest or sweepstakes giveaway that draws the attention of your target audience. Again social media can help immensely in promoting such offers. And once known to your audience, a contest can help garner links back to your website.
Beyond a link earning context, be sure that participants opt-in to the contest via email, social media platform (by "liking" or "following" your page,) or both. This way you can take advantage of growing your contact list for future ecommerce marketing efforts.
4. Produce Link Bait-able Content
Link bait is purely awesome content that people like, and link to. Similar to constructing a creative content marketing strategy, think of publishing something super inspiring that instills that 'ah ha' moment in your audience.
Some of the most link bait-able forms of content are:
- Product reviews and feature profiles (especially in the form of video)
- Infographics that are very relevant (and fun) for your target audience
- Unbiased, customer-generated reviews on product pages
- How-to articles and blog posts for self-enhancement
- Interactive applications and games
- Coupons, deals, and other creative buying incentives
5. Use Link Anchor Text Creatively
Although link earning is the best way to establish greater off-page authority for SEO, manual link building is still an effective practice. However after Google's Penguin attack on over-optimized anchor text, it's now important to diversify anchor text to appear more natural.
Mix it up and be creative with your link anchor text. Choose descriptive anchor text (over "generic anchor text") for your links, and be empathetic from the perspective of your readers. Of course some degree of keyword relevancy is important for SEO; however, be well-balanced and avoid using exact phrase match anchor text more than 30-40% of the time.
About the Author
Tyler Tafelsky offers over five years of experience in the organic SEO profession. He is an ecommerce SEO specialist here at Click Centric SEO and offers expertise in strategy development, content creation, and consulting programs. You can email him directly at Tyler(at)clickcentricseo.com or Follow him on Twitter.
In most cases with SEO, it's the big moves that make a difference. And although it's important to commit to a long-term SEO strategy (especially for ecommerce,) small moves help to bolster the grand, long-term effort.
Although the quick and easy SEO methods of the past are obsolete and avoided today, there's still quick moves that you can make to progress your SEO efforts. Kevin Gibbons defines these as "small wins" in a brilliant article published at SEOmoz.com.
Kevin breaks-down a grand list of 96 "small wins" into categories of:
- Research and Analysis Wins
- Google+ and Authorship Wins
- Events and Sponsorship Wins
- Content Strategy and Planning Wins
- Relationship Building Wins
- Content Production Wins
- Comment Marketing Wins
- Local Wins
- Blogger Outreach Wins
- Penguin and Panda Penalty Review Wins
- On-Site Optimization Wins
- Productivity Wins
- Link Removal Wins
- Link Reclamation Wins
- Competitive Analysis Wins
- Public Relations Wins
- Technical Wins
- Analytics and Measurement Wins
With this list, SEO and Internet marketers can really focus on improving their weaknesses. For instance, if you need to freshen-up on the technical end of ecommerce SEO, there's a nice section dedicated to that.
This totally awesome resource at SEOmoz.com is of immense value and should be bookmarked on your browser. For those of you who do ecommerce SEO, it's the "small wins" that make up a majority of our efforts.