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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.

Ecommerce SEO Best Practices for Better Rankings & More Conversions

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. Ecommerce SEO Practice

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.

The Takeaway

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

ecommerce SEO specialistTyler 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.

5 Key Elements for Optimizing Ecommerce Product Pages

In today's digital marketing age, your ecommerce website needs to be visible on the search engine results to sustain profitable success. Whether through organic search engine optimization (SEO), Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising, or both, the exposure of your ecommerce site is critical for its survival.

Attaining a top search engine ranking is one of the most powerful and cost-efficient sources of Internet traffic. For ecommerce SEO, your product pages are the ideal channels to focus your efforts. Product pages are the direct path for online shoppers to turn into paying customers, because product pages serve as effective landing pages for SEO.

Additionally, search engine users are becoming smarter and use detailed, product-specific search phrases (or long-tail keywords) to find what they are looking for.

Keyword Research is Imperative for Success

In this article, we will cover 5 effective ways in which you enhance the SEO potential of your ecommerce site's product pages. But before we dive into the methodologies, we must underscore the significance of keyword research and targeting. It is very important to conduct research and know precisely the keyword phrases your target market is searching. The Google Keyword Tool is a good place to start. Below are some considerations while conducting keyword research for ecommerce SEO.

  • Are searchers referencing the brand and model names?
  • Are searchers including specific model or part numbers?
  • Are searchers using a combination of the latter elements?

It is also very important to know the motives behind a consumer who is using plural versus singular search terms. In most cases, plural use of keywords will typically imply that the consumer is shopping around and will be purchasing in the near future, whereas singular will often mean the consumer is looking to buy more immediately.

Once you have a good idea of the precise keyword phrase that matches up with the corresponding product page on your ecommerce site, you can begin to optimize specific aspects of the page's content. Let's say we have performed some keyword research for our online store that sells running footwear. The product page we want to optimize is for "men's New Balance shoes", specifically the "730 model." We have determined that our primary keyword target that consumers are searching is "New Balance 730 mens."

Page Title

It is critical to include the primary keyword target in the page title for SEO. The page title is one of the greatest factors in establishing keyword relevancy of the page, and it shows up the Google search results as the main headline and link. For this reason, it is important to not only include the keyword target, but write it in such a way that searcher will want to click your listing.

A solid page title will lead with the keyword target or mention it as early as possible. In our example above, we can make this happen by writing the title as such "New Balance 730 Men's Shoes." We can also include the words "Buy" or "For Sale" to capture some keyword variations.

Meta Description

The Meta description appears just below the page title in the Google search results, and is an area to capture the interests of consumers. Here you'll want to get creative and motivate your audience to click your listing with some sort of incentive.

It is, however, very important to include the keyword target in the Meta description as well. Effective descriptions will include one or two variations of the keyword target, but keep in mind that most search engine cut the description off at 160 characters, so keep it concise.

Visible Page Copy

There a number of elements you will want to take into consideration for the visible copy of the product page. This copy is commonly the "product description" and will include information about the product. The organization of the content is the SEO difference maker.

Use a H1 tag whenever possible as the header or title of the product description, and always use the same keyword structure you used in the page title, or a close variation. Within the description, mention the keyword at least once, along with any variations that seem appropriate. If possible, use strong tags to make the keyword bold. This will further enhance the SEO value of the product page.

To take the page copy one-step further, implement a tab format for your product pages to bring more content onto the page, while keep it organized and clean to the eye.

Image "Alt" Tags

The "Alt" tag in images refers to "alternative" text, in the instance that a user's browser is incompatible with your website. This is rarely the case, yet the Alt tag is stilled crawled by search engine spiders and is taken into consideration for SEO purposes.

In the page's back-end or HTML code, always write a keyword optimize Alt tag, but keep it respective to what the image represents. For ecommerce product pages, this is pretty simple because the keyword almost always resembles the image. A good Alt tag for our shoe store example would be "New Balance 730 Mens Shoes White/Green"

Video Optimization

The last element to optimizing your product page is by use of video. Video is a huge selling point that greatly contributes to more sales conversions. If you have a top selling product, create a video highlight of that product. Strong, well-optimized ecommerce stores will have comprehensive YouTube channels that showcase their top products.

Although this is not our primary focus in this article, a YouTube channel is good food for thought for a long-term ecommerce SEO strategy, for video is becoming highly popular in the search results. When optimizing your videos, be sure to save the video files with respect to your keyword targets. Similar to image Alt tags, this is pretty straight-forward because the product video typically coincides directly with the keyword.

It is also wise to include keyword relevant tags and descriptions while uploading your video. This will maximize the SEO potential of your product pages as well as the conversion potential when users land on your page.

Final Thoughts for Ecommerce SEO

It is also very beneficial for ecommerce sites to encourage reviews. It is best to request reviews after the checkout phase or with a follow-up email. Independent reviews are strong indicators of a credible ecommerce site. In addition, reviews offer free, user-generated content which adds greater SEO value to your product pages, especially when customers make use of keywords in the their review.

Apply these strategies for product page ecommerce SEO, and start seeing your online store in the top search engine listings for the inventory that offers the greatest margins.

 

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

Visit Tyler on Google+

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