Edelman recently conducted research into how and why people trust certain online stores and not others. The investigation revealed that search engine rankings convey trust in a similar way to traditional media such as television and newspapers have done for decades. Furthermore, they found that nearly 50% of online shoppers do research via a search engine to discover potential purchases – as opposed to going directly to a retailer’s site or finding products on social media.
This information demonstrates the importance of search engine optimisation for new e-commerce businesses. We’ve heard it said in e-commerce that if you don’t rank in the search results, you don’t exist. We can safely assume based on Edelman’s research that at least half of the average e-commerce stores sales would be lost if they hadn’t invested in SEO.
Many e-commerce entrepreneurs focus their efforts on PPC campaigns – which is tempting because they bring instant results. While PPC is effective in this manner, SEO shouldn’t be overlooked for this reason: the costs of PPC campaigns increase every day but once a business stops using them, their online presence completely vanishes. Consistent SEO optimisation, on the other hand, lasts longer.
Both brand new e-commerce start-ups and established sellers (moving off of eBay and Amazon onto their own domains, perhaps) need to know as much as they can about SEO in order to compete for those top ranks in Google. Below, the ParcelBright team offer four tips to try out, as well as warning of a few pitfalls to avoid in order to boost your e-commerce business’ online presence.
These tips may be simple, but these small modifications are the first things you should implement in the pursuit of drastically better organic search traffic.
4 SEO Tips For Those Starting Out In E-Commerce
Keywords are key
Finding the right keyword to optimise for is no simple task. If predicting consumers was as easy as that, business would be a lot simpler.
That said, Google has a tool that will help you find the right words to use, calledKeyword Planner. Keyword Planner is part of Google’s ad buying service, AdWords, and it shows you how many people per month are searching for any term you enter. It also tells you how much competition there is for this term and can provide similar keywords.
Make an AdWords account (even if you don’t want to buy any ads on Google), and use the Keyword Planner tool to tell you which words to optimise your website for.
Track. Record. Measure. Change.
SEO is both labour intensive and incremental improvements happen over months and years, not days.
This is why it’s so important to measure and analyse your progress in SEO – otherwise you’ve no idea how your investment is paying off.
There are incredibly powerful tools like Moz to help you do this – but as you’re just starting out, have a look at the plethora of free tools available. Google Webmaster Tools and AHrefs can get you up and running for free. Google Analytics will help you see how traffic from different search engines and keywords behave, too.
Optimise Your URLs
Creating the perfect structure for your URLs is essential to gain better positions in search rankings.
Your URLs should look something like this:
URLs should be less than 2048 characters (or IE won’t be able to load the page) and should use hyphens to separate words (not underscores and certainly not spaces).
Faster, higher, stronger
One of the main benefits of shopping online is convenience. Customers like fast, efficient and easy- to- use websites. So do search engines.
Sites that load faster and have the best user experience rank higher than those that do poorly in this area. Make sure your site is on fast and correctly configured servers and see the benefits in the SERPs.
So there are some tips for getting started in e-commerce SEO. Now, here are some specific mistakes that you don’t want to make.
3 SEO Pitfalls To Avoid
Don’t Be Tempted To Rip Off Content
Your search engine rankings are important, but your reputation is even more so.
Ripping off other people’s keyword optimised content is not only ethically unsound, but is punishable by Google, who will push you down (or out!) of search rankings if you try it.
Be careful though, you could publish your own original content in two places and be punished, too. For example, you might re-use copy on two pages of your site, or you might publish content both on your blog and your main website.
Read up on the Canonical Tag to make sure you don’t fall victim.
Look Out For Broken Links
A site full of broken links and redirects will never rank well with Google. Webmaster Tools will help you find out if you have any issues – make sure you get rid of those 404s and reap the benefits with Google.
Optimise Your Images
Having beautiful, high-resolution product images is one of the best ways to increase conversion rates on your e-commerce site, but did you know you can optimise images for SEO too?
High-quality images are more likely to get clicked on in Google Image searches than low-quality ones, bringing more customers to your site.
Optimising your ALT text as well as including keywords in image file names can help your images appear in the searches in the first place.
Try these tips and avoid these pitfalls to start building your organic traffic and making more sales today.
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