Today we have part 3 of our e-commerce SEO series. If you haven’t seen part 1 and 2 yet then please check them out (part 1 is here, and part 2 is here. If you have already seen them, let’s get on with the last part shall we?
Content marketing is an idea that is being banded around a lot at the moment, it’s not a new thing though – in many ways it is older than the internet.
One simple philosophy will guide you through most of this section:
Build pages that deserve to rank!
The first aspect of content marketing is of course the actual content. So let’s start there.
If you’re not blogging, you should be. It’s pretty much a pre-requisite these days.
Unfortunately, a badly written or neglected blog can actually hurt your business, so before you start your blog, set-aside the time and resources to actually maintain it.
Think about who your customers are and what they are interested in; and write a blog for them. Don’t write about your business, use your blog to give.
We are an SEO agency, but this blog isn’t trying to sell you anything is it? Hopefully this blog post will help a few people, and that’s the only goal really.
The best possible way to use content marketing is on your product pages. Partly because not many stores do.
A couple of different studies have found that:
- Longer content ranks better than shorted content
- Longer copy produces better conversion rates
- Long content = more long-tail ranking opportunities
For every product that you sell you should aim to write a long and unique description including as much detail as possible.
Include multiple photos showing different angles.
Include information such as:
For certain items, including videos, diagrams or instructions may also be helpful.
Exactly how you add content to your products depends a lot on what you are selling, so try to be creative and put in the extra effort to create a better site than your competitors.
The same principals apply to other areas of your site too.
The tired old ‘list of products’ format is becoming a thing of the past and to be successful you need to be a little more creative.
The key is to add value to your category pages.
Show your customers the products that they want to see, try to filter out anything that is not relevant (a sensible category structure goes a long way).
- Show only the most important product data
- Use white space to make browsing easier
- Pick the most relevant thumbnails
- Include links to helpful content pages
- If possible show unique description texts
Basically, if your pages are too functional, they will be boring. But don’t go the other way and make them overly creative and difficult to use. Find a sensible balance.
User Related Stuff
All the work that we have put in so far has been focused on making your website awesome. But the true measure of a good website is how your users react to it.
The next step is to start looking at user-metrics and figuring out which parts of your site are performing and which parts are not.
You will need: Analytics
That’s pretty much it really…
You can use Analytics to scope out which pages are being landed on.
In particular, look for products which are getting a lot of search engine traffic. These are your easiest wins.
The top performing products or categories are good places to give some extra attention, particularly developing content etc…
There is no good or bad bounce rate, it is all relative. What you can be sure of though, is that a lower number is better.
By comparing your product pages or your category pages you can spot which ones have higher bounce rates.
A higher bounce rate could indicate:
- Poor product selection
- Not enough products
- Your description needs some work
Conversion Rate Optimization
We’re coming to the end of this post now, since it’s getting a bit lengthy anyway, so the final thing I am going to leave you with is this:
Conversion rate optimization is the process of analysis user behavior against different versions of the same page to see which performs better.
The results can be quite surprising and anything that improves your site is not only good for sales but also for rankings.
Link Building & Social Media
This final step is all about 1 thing: Getting your name out.
Your brand new website could be absolutely stellar, but until people know about it you won’t see the rewards for your labor.
The good news is that if you have built a decent website, building links should be a lot easier than it otherwise would be.
Not many people will want to link to boring product pages and category pages; but you have put in the effort to make your category pages a bit different right?
Try to think of link building as a way to generate traffic and build a brand.
- Get your name in front of potential customers
- Show yourself as an expert in your niche
- Help people, give value and don’t hard sell
With those principals in mind, try these link building methods
- Blog commenting
- Being active in top forums
- Answer forums
- Guest posting
Some of the links you get from these activities will be of relatively low SEO value, but if you follow the principals above they can lead to better links, referral and word-of-mouth traffic and most importantly; customers.
Here is a full guide to link building through guest posts
Social media is a tricky animal; some niches lend themselves better than others, so it is important to consider who your audience are and whether they are likely to be avid social media users.
For most niches, Twitter is the best opportunity in SEO terms, so if you think the traffic potential marginal it may be worth pursuing for the ranking benefits.
Here are the basic principals of successful Twitter use:
- At most 20% of your Tweets should be self-serving
- The other 80% should be sharing useful tips/ideas
- Fill in your profile and use a good image/background
- Find relevant users and follow them
- Tweet at least twice a day 5 days a week
How to find followers
The best way to find followers is to use Followerwonk, but you will have to pay $99 a month to sign up. There are a few other services available which may be cheaper, depending on your budget.
Here’s how to find some people to follow:
- Find authoritative users in your niche
- Download all of their followers
- Filter out inactive users
- Filter out users with few followers
- Pick out followers who are in your area
Now simply work your way through that list, follow people and get some follow backs.
At the same time, keep up your Tweeting and try to get re-tweeted and mentioned so that new followers will find you.
And finally, link to your Twitter account from your website, from your emails and from any guest posts you have published.
As you build up more of a following your account will get more traction and it can start to snowball. This can bring you traffic as well as better rankings.
What Have I Missed?
This post has covered a lot of ground, but there are plenty of other things that I haven’t had room for, so if you think I’ve missed something important, please leave a comment.