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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.

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.

Tips to Create a Balanced SEO Link Building Strategy

Relentless use of keyword optimized anchor text no longer works for SEO and link building. Many SEO companies have gotten their clients in trouble because of this.

After Google's major algorithm update in late 2012 (targeting websites with "over-optimized" backlinks [or too keyword rich of anchor text,]) many website have plummeted in the search results

Now more than ever, it's critical to create a balanced link building strategy for your SEO efforts. This more natural approach will ultimately lead to more sustainable keyword rankings. balanced seo link building

But the underlying question is: what exactly makes a balanced SEO link building strategy?

In essence, rather than building links with exact keyword match anchor text, you'll need to take a more creative and natural approach.

Think about what makes a completely organic backlink portfolio. There are many different types of links, such as:

  • blog comment links
  • directory listing links
  • in-copy links from articles and blog posts
  • guest blogger (or "about the author") links at the end of articles/blog posts
  • social profile links
  • footer links
  • blogroll links
  • DoFollow and NoFollow links

5 Different Forms of Anchor Text

In addition to the different types of links, there are also various forms of anchor text.

Below we've grouped the various types of anchor text into five categories (using Click Centric SEO as the example:)

  • Brand Name Links: "If you're looking for trusted ecommerce SEO services from a professional company, learn more about Click Centric SEO by clicking here." Here the anchor text used is the name of the brand or business. You'll want to use brand name links about 30% of the time when building links.
  • Generic Links: "If you're looking for trusted ecommerce SEO services from a professional company, learn more about Click Centric SEO by clicking here." Here the anchor text has no real SEO focus, but it's natural as can be. Focus on using generic links about 10% of the time.
  • Naked Links: "If you're looking for trusted ecommerce SEO services from a professional company, learn more about Click Centric SEO by visiting www.ClickCentricSEO.com." Naked links are simply the URL of the domain or specific page being linked to. Use naked links about 10% of the time.
  • Optimized Links: "If you're looking for trusted ecommerce SEO services from a professional company, learn more about Click Centric SEO by clicking here." Here we're using exact phrase match of the keyword in the anchor text. This is still important for SEO, but only use these links about 25% of the time.
  • Semi-Optimized Links: "If you're looking for trusted ecommerce SEO services from a professional company, learn more about Click Centric SEO by clicking here." Here you can get creative. Use can use longer forms of anchor text that include some keyword targets, or just one word of your full keyword target (such as "SEO" or "ecommerce"). Semi-optimized links should be used about 25% of the time.

Keep mind that the percent distribution I suggest above is only a guideline. Google is continuing to evolve, and one element that's growing in importance is the contextual relevancy of the content that surrounds links (also referred to as "co-occurrence.")

That is, if a in-copy brand name link is surrounded with specific keywords, Google will recognize the surrounding text and find the link relevant to those specific keywords. It's not easy to explain in text, so I suggest checking out this video all about from Rand Fishkin of Moz.

If you do have any questions, or would like me to run a scan of your site's backlink portfolio, hit us up.

 

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.

5 Ecommerce PPC Tips to Advance Your Google AdWords Campaign

Learning the in's and out's of Google AdWords can seem like an ongoing endeavor. And to an extent, it is.

AdWords PPC TIps for Ecommerce

In an ecommerce context, PPC advertising can get really cumbersome. It's critical to be both properly educated and highly organized to make the most of your ecommerce PPC expenditure. 

In this article, I hope educate and inspire you to become a more proficient AdWords advertiser. Below I share five ecommerce PPC tips that reflect the knowledge and wisdom I have absorbed from my search marketing mentors.

And although these are ecommerce PPC tips, you can leverage these techniques for almost any AdWords campaign.

1. Split-Test Ad Copy, Relentlessly

One of the most common things I notice when optimizing AdWords accounts is that most PPC advertisers will only create one ad for each ad group. This poses significant limitations because ad copy has an immense impact on click-through rates (CTR).

Don't be lazy. Make the effort to split-test multiple ads for each ad group (ideally three to five ads.)

Try writing a slightly different headline for some ads, and perhaps a few minor variations in the supportive copy and URL extension. The key is to keep very organized with your split-tests and make incremental changes that can be gauged by performance.

One thing you must do when split-testing ad copy is adjust the campaign settings to rotate your ads to display evenly. This can be found near the bottom of the "Settings" tab under section titled "Advanced Settings" (see screen shot below.)

Ecommerce PPC TIps for Ad Rotation

Although Google claims that this option is "Not recommended for most advertisers," simply ignore this and carry on. Choosing this option will ensure that your ads receive equal exposure, and thus enabling you to determine the ad copy that gets the highest CTR.

I like to maintain a spreadsheet that keeps track of my PPC split-tests. In the spreadsheet I note specific changes I make, in addition to the time-frame and performance metrics of each ad. It's also important to make alterations to ads only after they have received adequate exposure (or have earned "statistical relevancy.") In other words, don't assume your ad copy sucks if you've received no clicks after 50 impressions.

2. Create Keyword-Specific Ad Groups

This is perhaps the most important tip for ecommerce PPC advertisers:

Create your ad groups around very, very closely related keywords.

The more narrow and specific you can get with each ad group, the more targeted your ads will be. Here is an example:

Ecommerce PPC TIps for Ad Grouping

Take a look at how the top ad from TriathleteSport.com is much more targeted compared to the lower ad from TYR.com (the actual brand of the wetsuit.)

The advertisers at TriathleteSport.com clearly have a dedicated ad group for the TYR Freak of Nature Wetsuit. TYR.com might have one ad group (and thus one ad) serving a number of overlapping keyword searches.

A good ecommerce PPC strategy for building campaigns and ad groups in AdWords is to think of brands (or product categories) as campaigns, and specific products or models as ad groups.

Create specific campaigns for each brand or product category that your online store has to offer. From each branded campaign, you can develop highly specific ad groups for each make or model of the given brand.

As a result, you can create focal ads with product/keyword-specific ad copy. Additionally, you can make strategic use of Ad Extensions per each campaign.

3. Employ Ad Extensions, Like a Boss

If your campaigns and ad groups are all structured as mentioned above, you can then employ Ad Extensions with immense creativity.

Ad Extensions offer many (and free) opportunities to make your ads pop and stand-out from the clutter. Additionally, you can use certain Ad Extensions to support other online marketing strategies.

Ecommerce PPC TIps for Ad Extensions

A few ecommerce PPC tips for using Ad Extensions are:

  • using SiteLinks to include product-specific links in ads that target more general keywords for brands or product categories (e.g. have SiteLinks to the top selling models of shoes ["Nike Flex Run iD"] in an ad that's triggered for a more broad keyword search ["Nike Running Shoes"].)
  • leveraging Social Extensions to show-off social authority and brand credibility. The ad will display how many Google +1's your ecommerce store has, thus increasing the level of trust shoppers have in your brand.
  • taking advantage of Location Extensions if you operate a big-box retail brand or an online store that has a tangible location. This technique is highly effective for local boutiques that want to advertise their products to a geographically-confined market space.

Many Ad Extensions can be used in conjunction with one another. This can significantly increase the real estate and click-through rates of your ads. To learn more about using various Ad Extension, check-out this Google Support page on the topic.

4. Use "Modified Broad Match" Keyword Bidding

When exact match is to narrow and restrictive (with respect to long-tail keyword searches) and broad match is just too general, try modified broad match bidding.

With modified broad match, you place a "+" symbol directly in front of the keywords that must be used in a searcher’s query in order to trigger your ads. This tip is highly effective for ecommerce PPC advertisers who are bidding on product-specific keywords the pose numerous search variations.

For example, if we bid on the keyword phrase +mens +saucony +guide (a popular running shoe,) those three words must be included in a searcher's keyword query for our ad to be displayed. This enables us to capture detailed long-tail searches like Saucony Guide 6 GTX for Men as well as Mens Saucony Progrid Guide Shoes.

Using modified broad match bidding also makes it a bit easier to do negative keyword research for select ad groups (which we cover in the next section.)

5. Know Where to do Negative Keyword Research

Hopefully you understand what negative keywords are and how to implement them in your Google AdWords campaigns. (If you do not, read this article on the subject.)

To get to the good stuff, below are my two favorite resources for doing negative keyword research:

  • The "Search Terms" feature under the Dimensions tab in AdWords - Search terms reveals the history of keyword phrases that have triggered your ads. Here you can pinpoint which unwanted variations to include in the negative keyword list. (For more insights on this, check out this blog post all about using Search Terms.)
  • Google Suggested Search (or "Auto-complete") - Open up Google search and start typing the keyword phrase you are bidding on. Often times Google will suggest keywords that not what you want triggering your ads. These negatives often include variations like "reviews," "kids," or "discounts."

The Last Word

Although most of these ecommerce PPC tips focus on Google AdWords, you can apply many of these PPC tips to Bing's AdCenter, as well as other advertising platforms. For more insights about AdWords optimization and campaign management, join this community on Google Plus.

 

Tyler Tafelsky PPC EcommerceAbout the Author:
Tyler Tafelsky is search marketing specialist who spearheads the SEO and PPC campaign here 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. Keep in touch with Tyler by following him on Twitter.

Product Page SEO Tips for Ecommerce Websites

When it comes to ecommerce SEO, product pages are the bee's knees. In addition to SEO and generating valuable search traffic, product pages are primary conversion touch-points that sway visitors to buy now, or to keep browsing. 

It's thus important that you respect both SEO and CRO (conversion rate optimization) when optimizing your product pages.

Although the scope of this article is to offer product page SEO tips for your ecommerce website, some insights will touch upon CRO and promoting the conversion value of these pages.

Before Optimizing, Know Your Keyword Targets

When you're doing keyword research, you'll want to understand how your product pages relate to the searching behaviors of your target market.

Product pages represent a specific product. Your target search market is seeking a specific product. For this reason, you should optimize your product pages for very specific long-tail keywords.

Not only are these keywords more achievable in a competitive ecommerce SEO context, but the individual's searching these long-tails are further along in the buying cycle and know exactly what they're looking for.

So when pinpointing your keyword targets for product pages, go deep. That is, avoid broad keywords like "Men's Tri Shorts" and shoot for more specific long-tails like "TYR Competitor 7" Tri Shorts Men's."

Write a Keyword Naming Convention

The keyword naming convention is the order or sequence of terms that make up your complete keyword target. Determining the keyword naming convention is important to ensure the on-page SEO or keyword optimization process is consistent.

Consistency is key when it comes to any form of on-page SEO. For example, let's say we are optimizing a product page for the latter phrase "TYR Competitor 7" Tri Shorts Men's."

If we write this phrase as our Page Title, we'll want to use the exact same sequence of keywords for the Meta Description and header of the page copy (not "Men's Tri Shorts TYR Competitor 7.") Be sure to pinpoint this naming convention for your product pages and keep it consistent for each of the following elements mentioned below.

Optimizing Product Pages for Ecommerce SEO

After you have your keyword naming convention down, the on-page SEO process is fairly simple. Below are the content elements you'll want to optimize for each page (and examples based on our mock keyword target:)

  • URL: Be sure to include the most essential terms of the keyword phrase.
    • www.ecommerce-website.com/tyr-competitor-7-triathlon-shorts-mens/
  • Page Title: Define your page using the exact phrase match of the keyword target (but try to keep titles under 70 characters so all text appears in the search results.)
    • TYR Competitor 7" Tri Shorts Men's | [Ecommerce Website]
  • Meta Description: Although it is under debate on whether or not keyword inclusion in the Meta description helps with SEO, search terms will be displayed in bold which can help to make your listing more relevant to searchers. Additionally, this description is your sales pitch to compel search users to click your listing.
    • Shop for TYR Competitor 7" Tri Shorts in Men's from [Ecommerce Website]. We offer some of the lowest prices on TYR triathlon gear and clothing.
  • Page Copy: In the visible copy, try to use the same keyword naming convention in the first header as the Page Title. It also helps to have the keyword mentioned a few times in the supportive copy or product description. Consumer-generated reviews are one of the best way to integrate quality content that offers conversion value (as well as SEO value.)
    • Page copywriting tip - don't use product descriptions provided by manufacturers. You want to avoid any risk of duplicate content with other website, so write your own copy and make it unique.
  • Media Files: Before uploaded images and videos to your product pages, keyword optimize media files by opening-up the image or video properties. Here you can add keyword references to titles, sub-titles, tags, descriptions, and other fields.
    • Bonus -Do this can result in your images showing up in Google Image search for related product keywords.

That, my friends, this the simple process of on-page SEO for ecommerce product pages. Stay tuned for more SEO-focused articles here at Click Centric SEO.

Optimize Your eCommerce Website for Better Usability and Greater Sales Potential

No matter how much a fancy website you may own, in the end it always comes down to its usability.

In case you are not sure about the usability of your website, check the 2-3% rule. Do the 2-3% of the visits on your website get converted into sales?

If not than definitely you would have to rework on your website, to make it more user friendly and effective in selling.

Here is a complete potpourri of various steps and techniques that you can follow, in order to optimize the usability of your ecommerce website.

Steps That You Can Take to Improve the Usability of Your Website

If, as per the data, only 3 out of 10 orders on your ecommerce website are seen through completion, of course there is a room for a lot more that can be done. Here we shall be discussing various ways in which you can optimize your website, offer a better user experience and subsequently improve the sales of the same.

Optimize Your Website for Faster Loading Time

Your website has at most 3 quick seconds to load on the browser of the user, otherwise no one is going to sit around and wait for your ecommerce website, while it takes forever to load.

So, remove any unnecessary animation or flash designs, optimize the images on your website and ensure that your website is a quick loading one.

Reconsider the Layout

Follow the conventions – over the period of time, there has come to be an ecommerce website union of the sorts.

They follow similar practices, have a similar layout, so that the users do not get intimidated and find it rather easy to navigate through and use various different websites.

You may think of applying the widely followed practices on your website as well.

These include – Logo on the top left side, hyper linked to the main page, a contact us page, which offers contact information such as Name, email address, postal address etc., the right side as the link to check out page.

These conventions will make the users more comfortable and hence will enhance the user experience.

Wisely use the text – the right blend of text can further increase the experience a user has. Do not use morbid type of fonts and also do not get extra flashy with the same. By the very nature, it gets a bit difficult to read through the website, hence ensure that the size of the texts is optimum enough to be read. Also, avoid long paragraphs, try to follow the KISS principle [keep it simple, silly!]

Condemn unnecessary graphics – unnecessary graphics only adds up to the over all weight of the website hence increased the loading time and also distract the users from focusing on the main content and highlights of the website. Keep the brand logo of your website and the pictures of what you are selling, rest everything is simply unnecessary.

Rework on the Navigation

Effective organizations – you need to make it very easy for the users to find the products.

Do not leave them unguarded in a maze of product pages etc, rather be their torch bearer.

Organize the content of your website rather skillfully and the entire journey should appear to be as smooth as boating in still waters.

Work certain conventions out – there should be certain aspect of your page, which should not change and also should be easy to find. Like, the links of the previous page or the next should always exist on each and every page and that too at the same locations. Similarly the checkout button – it should be easiest to find and should exist at the same right hand corner, on all of the pages.

Offer users a menu bar – the menu bar will make it considerably easy for them to flip through various pages of your website, it should have the home page, Contact Us page and other critical pages.

Streamline the Order Process

Give them clear cut, specific information – nobody’s a fool when they are shopping online. We are all well aware of the online frauds and cyber crime and hence it definitely gets a bit difficult to trust the online medium, regardless of how easy and effortless it is.

In such a tight cryptic scenario, if you hit them up with hidden information, add hidden costs and inflate the prices at the point of checkout, the users will only simply abandon your shopping cart.

KISS, KISS and more KISS – well, there are people who can never get enough of it, but this time round we are talking about the principle we already discussed – Keep it simple, silly!

Though it is such a simple concept to follow, yet a lot of websites simply refuse to follow it; especially when it comes to the check out process. Usually, the checkout process takes at least 5 pages, simply because as an online merchant, we want to get as much information from the users, as we possibly can manage.

However, what we don’t realize that every page in the check out process gives an opportunity to the user to abandon the entire page and leave it right in the middle.

Thus, work on the checkout process. Do not ask repetitive questions, which would force the users to type the same information again and again. Also, match their shipping information with the billing data and there fore, fill in the shipping details automatically, so that the users do not have to type the same. Lastly, it will be good to show some sort of a progress bar, which will show how much far they have reached in the checkout process.

Do away with the registration – there are websites that require the customers to register first and then place their order. If you have one such website, you are only inviting much more steps and inconvenience for the users. Do away with any such formality and your may add a handful amount of loyal customers to your kitty.

Ask for Feedback

One of the basic lessons that one learns in the business school is that consumer demands have no end. No matter how far you go to please them, they would definitely come up with something or the other that went amiss.

Ask for their feedback anyway. Their feedback will give you a reality check on where you stand. Do not be swayed with the criticism or the acclaim, always try to read between the lines and test the waters on your own.

I hope these certain guidelines or tips (in whatever way you take it), would help you to boost up your sales. We are waiting for your reviews and views in comments section.

About the Author:
This post has been contributed by Mr. Praveen Sharma, an Sr. Associate – Internet Marketing at Daffodil Software Ltd., a company specializes in magento ecommerce website development and other cms development services. You can get in touch with Praveen on twitter @i_praveensharma.

 

The Best Ecommerce SEO Strategy: Produce Content About "It"

There's countless online marketers and SEO enthusiasts trying to reveal the best ecommerce SEO strategy. Well, my friend, I know what that SEO strategy is. And I will share it with you.

First, you must know precisely what "it" is. From dry SEO perspective, "it" is simply your keyword target. But from an ecommerce perspective, "it" is most likely a product or brand that your online store offers.

"It" is what you want to rank for in the organic search results. To prove your website is worthy of such top rankings, you must produce quality content about "it."

Defining the Best Content to Showcase "It"

That doesn't necessarily mean write one of those keyword-stuffed "doorway" pages that are specifically designed for SEO. We don't want any of that content, and neither do your visitors.

Instead, you have to get creative and determine the best forms of content to showcase "it."

The idea is produce content that offers value, insight, education, and/or enlightenment for your target audience.

In short, you need to create valuable and meaningful content that is socially liked, appreciated, and shared throughout the web.

Yes, this purpose for this content is for real people (and not just the search engines.) Envision the outcome of your brilliant content as something super interesting that goes seriously viral. So long as your content is somewhat optimized for search (withholds some degree of keyword relevancy,) the social authority it earns will make it rank naturally in the search results.

So what are some the best forms of content for your ecommerce SEO (content marketing) strategy?

  • Articles and Blog Posts - Writing insightful articles and blog posts is easily done in house. What's nice is that these forms of text-based content can be on the same website or domain, making it easy for readers to browse around your ecommerce store after taking-in your wonderful post.
  • Videos - Producing videos are a great way to engage your audience. Some of the best videos for an ecommerce SEO strategy are product reviews and highlights. Seek to educate your audience and they'll trust you more as a store to buy from.
  • Images and Graphics - A very easy form of content to produce (especially if you have a graphic designer on hand) are images and graphics. They are also very engaging and can instill all kinds of emotions in your audience. Infographics are also cool, but require a lot more planning.

Why Content Marketing is the Best SEO Strategy for Ecommerce

Proving you know a lot about "it" shapes the level of credibility, trust, and value your audience sees in your ecommerce brand. For ecommerce SEO, producing and sharing content about "it" makes your website more relevant on "it."

If your content is widely accepted and goes socially viral, your potential for search exposure will be much greater for keywords about "it"

This whole ecommerce SEO strategy is purely a content marketing strategy. The fact of the matter is, content marketing can help your ecommerce band in multiple ways.

From brand building and public relations to inbound marketing and SEO, the advantages are vast when you produce and share superb content. The underlying focus is to ensure that your content marketing as a very clear and well-defined purpose.

About the Author

Tyler Tafelsky has over five years of experience as an organic SEO expert. Tyler is highly engaged in social media and content marketing, and advocates these channels as essential components for SEO. You can learn more by connecting with Tyler on Google+, or following Tyler on Twitter.

 

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+

 

 

 

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+

7 Powerful Link Building Tips for Ecommerce SEO

An ecommerce site enables you to efficiently sell products to your target market. However you must effectively target and attract your target customers to keep your online store afloat. Although this can be done through many different Internet marketing strategies, search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most targeted and highly effective methods to market your ecommerce site.

One of the most powerful ecommerce SEO practices that you should be doing is link building. Having a high volume of quality external backlinks coming from various sources around the web (such as articles, web directories, press releases, blog comments, blog posts and other relevant websites) makes your site more popular and thus better ranking in the search results. Hence the industry buzzword "link popularity," with respect to SEO link building.

Link building for ecommerce SEO must be done as naturally as possible. That is, after Google unveiled the 'Penguin' update to its search engine algorithm, no longer are paid link programs or expansive blog networks as effective as they used to be. This is because these link building services are designed to create tons of optimized links (or links with exact keyword phrase anchor text), which is very un-natural and will raise a red flag on your site.

Rather, you should be focusing on link building strategies that generate natural link popularity. Sure, there are still ways you can manually build optimized links for SEO, however you will want to do this moderation.

Below we offer 7 tips that will help you create a sustainable link building strategy for ecommerce SEO:

  1. Have creative category pages: It is important to realize the SEO value of creative, well-optimized category pages. This is because product category pages are often times filled with rich content and relevant internal links (usually pointed to specific products.) Building links to these pages is very powerful SEO. Even more so, focus on making your category pages extremely valuable for consumers. Provide information, offers, deals and specials as clearly as possible. This will compel other users on the web to link to your category pages in an effort to spread the goodness your ecommerce site has to offer.
     
  2. Start an External Blog: Creating an external blog (a blog that is on a separate domain from your ecommerce site) will give you optimum flexibility in publishing content and building links. We suggest starting a blog that is highly focused on a certain aspect of your ecommerce store. So if you sell outdoor apparel and equipment, perhaps create a blog all about outdoor gear. Here you can write blog posts that highlight certain products you have to offer. Within the content of your blog posts you can build links back to your ecommerce site.

     
  3. Offer contests and special promotions: Contests and promotions are a great way to attract the interests of your target audience. Most effectively paired with social media marketing strategies, contests, sweepstakes, polls, and promos generate buzz and popularity about your ecommerce store. As a result, people will be apt to link to your site to share the fun with all of their friends.
     
  4. Take photos and create image galleries: Beautiful pictures are visually stimulating and they make even a passive customer active. Use photos that are large and that have high resolution. It is recommended that photos are professionally taken for the best results. Create mini-galleries on product pages to really capture the allure of customers. Additionally, image galleries are great form of link bait. When you have a robust product page filled with quality images, the potential to attain links back to your site is greatly enhanced.
     
  5. Write and publish articles and press releases: When you have something newsworthy going on, such as a new brand of products being offered on your ecommerce site, publish a press release about it. Take advantage of the power of content, for both marketing and link building. It is important that anything you publish is of great quality, value, and relevancy. On many publishing platforms, you are allowed to add links in the content. This is your opportunity to build an optimized link back to your ecommerce site. Just be sure to do this ethically, and use only relevant anchor text that reflects the topic of the article or press release.
     
  6. Create product video highlights: Video is becoming huge for search engine optimization, especially for ecommerce SEO. Creating videos that highlight the features of products is a great way to both earn and build links. You can earn links by offering informative videos that people will want to link to. You can also build a link to your ecommerce site or product page in the video's description on YouTube. Develop a YouTube channel for your ecommerce site and start creating videos of some of your highest margin products.

     
  7. Offer resources, tools, info and/or freebies: Whether you create product pages with tools and information on sizing and specification, or offer free incentives and add-ons for purchases, the name of the game here incentivize. When you create incentivizing offers, your customers are likely to share the goods by linking to your site. Make your incentives unique and be creative with how you pitch them to your customers. Again, social media is an effective tool to use for strategies like these.

There are tons more link building strategies for ecommerce SEO. One platform we have to mention is Pinterest. Here you can pin your product images to you 'pin board' where other viewers can see them. Not only does this build a link back to your product page, but gives your product additional exposure on the web.

Link building for ecommerce SEO demands creativity and responsibility. Be responsible and ethical in how you link, as well as creative in capturing the attention and interests of your target market.

 

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

Visit Tyler on Google+

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