Check out what the top people in the ecommerce marketing industry have to say about online marketing and how you can get more traffic and conversions for your ecommerce businesses.
Find out what strategies that top ecommerce marketers are using that you should be implementing.
Here's what the top Ecommerce Marketing Experts had to say:
If you're like most ecommerce sites, SEO is a REALLY important part of your business. The problem is, retail giants like Amazon and Best Buy tend to rank for just about everything. But they have a weakness.
You see, massive ecommerce sites like Amazon rely on Domain Authority to rank. If you look at individual product or category pages, they generally have few (if any links) pointing directly at them. Which means, if you can build links directly to your product pages, you can outrank them. Fortunately, there's a strategy called The Moving Man Method that's perfect for ecommerce sites. Basically you a) find products that are no longer sold and b) reach out to people that linked to those products and c) ask them to replace their link with a link to a similar product you sell.
Decide what you want your brand to be known for.
When you’re just starting out it can be really tempting to try and have the widest range of products possible. You sell everything and nothing.
Think about many of the brands that have been around the longest? Even though they have a fairly wide range of products–nearly all of them have a signature product which they’re known for.
So unless you have expert level marketing skills, and the time and financial runway to play with, a better strategy is to really niche down.
Think deeper product selection, not wider. Pick your signature line. Your 80/20, bread and butter product.
Next, focus on marketing and promoting that product that you want to be known for until you start to get some traction. It pays off to decide what you want to be known for as early on as possible.
Add email capture points to all content and promotions you run, tap into your base of subscribers before launching to the public and ask for shares and links.
Most ecommerce sites focus on driving traffic. And although traffic is important, improving your conversion rate is a great way to generate more sales. So if you want your ecommerce site to grow, don't just focus on traffic building, also optimize your site for conversions.
The biggest issue with marketing, not just SEO, for E-commerce is that you have a large number of pages to deal with and the content of most of those pages is not inherently interesting unless you're specifically in the need state for that product.
When it comes to SEO you specifically have the problems of duplicate content, scaling product descriptions, metadata, internal linking structure (specifically with regard to keyword cannibalization) and getting all of those URLs indexed. Most of those things are pretty basic and apply to more than just E-commerce SEO, but they are bigger issues when you're dealing with sites of such scale. Cover your bases with segmented sitemaps that align with the sites taxonomy, and copy formulas for metadata -- unless you have the resources for creating unique metadata.
When you're dealing with so many pages you may want to consider plugging AlchemyAPI into your e-commerce platform and programmatically determining what pages own which keywords. Then you can potentially programmatically alter the internal linking structure at scale.
Additionally, you want to try to figure out cool ways to help the product pages interesting. FreePeople is a good example of making this work with their FP Denim feature where they used Olapic to pull in images of users wearing their products. Attracting links can also be done by building compelling pages featuring fake products.
Ultimately, though, to be competitive in the SERPs with the big players you will have to build links directly to the product pages and increase page authority.
The best e-commerce sites do three things remarkably well on the SEO front:
1. Get technical SEO right - canonicalize duplicate pages or variations on products that aren't uniquely worthy of separate indexation in the engines, make sure pages are as few clicks away from each other as possible, and build a logical, useful information hierarchy to categorize your items.
2. Create pages that are uniquely useful and worthy of sharing - most e-commerce shops focus exclusively on the experience of those making a purchase, but if you also optimize for shareability from those who browse, you can dramatically increase your incoming traffic and links, which help (indirectly and directly) with rankings.
3. If your product(s) alone aren't worthy of attracting attention, find a way to make people care about your company/brand - even the most boring products can have amazing stories attached to them. Don't settle for anything less than a brand story that drives interest through being unique and eliciting emotional reactions. Press-worthiness is SEO-worthiness.
Install SumoMe.com. Make a google spreadsheet of the first 10 companies you want and reach out directly for sales. Create a free PDF of your 10 favorite tools for your industry and email that to potential customers / give it away to their email address. Sign up at okdork.com to learn more :)
One of the most important factors to consider while trying to improve your online marketing is the creation of an optimal mix of online media. It is crucial to diversify and invest equally in several forms of traffic creation such as branding, paid search, PR, product search, SEO and social media.
Although each of these methods creates varying amounts of traffic, it is important not to put all your eggs in one basket. Across the board most profitable mainstream E-commerce websites get traffic from a number of channels. Direct traffic to your website should typically account for 35% of the total visits. A lot of this direct traffic grows via PR, branding and offline marketing. Search engine results typically direct around 30%-40% of traffic. Referrals from third-party sites should account for around 15%-20% of traffic, with email and social media directing on average 10%-15% of website traffic.
It is evident that a number of forms of online marketing must be used in order to achieve full market coverage and encourage more potential customers to visit your website. Spread your online marketing budget, and don't make the mistake of undervaluing a good brand.
eCommerce marketing is all about creating a valuable experience for your audience at every interaction. Less than 5% of people make a purchase on their first site visit, so building relationships before, during, and after their visit with relevant and engaging content is key. Leverage tools like social media and blogging to connect with your audience outside the shopping cart.
Get more traffic and sales to your eCommerce store by using email marketing. Collect emails from potential customers and your website visitors and use this email list to directly communicate with your target audience. This method of marketing allows your subscribers to become familiar with your brand. It is a great way to build trust, loyalty and ultimately get sales.
The difference between a hobby eCommerce site and a real thriving business is how well you know your customers.
Sure SEO is important, paid advertising channels such as AdWords and Facebook are important, even content is important. But knowing your customer is REALLY IMPORTANT.
Take the time to build out detailed Customer Avatars and test them. Once you know your customers and you understand how to speak to them, you can generate more sales per customer and your conversion rates and profits will skyrocket with your existing traffic.
Knowing the lingo and mindset of your customers gives you a few pretty cool advantages.
1. You can speak directly to them at each stage of the buyer cycle and escalate them to the next phase much easier when you know who they are, what they struggle with, and what solutions they need.
2. You can generate more sales per lead which allows you to bid more on valuable advertising channels than your competition and still make a profit.
You can apply the same methods to your eCommerce Email Marketing efforts and scale your business even more. And at this point, you still haven’t needed to worry about getting MORE traffic, all this can be done with the traffic you already have!
Take a little time to nurture your leads before pushing them to buy from you.
One thing we always recommend our customers at LeadPages do is create a free lead magnet for their visitors. For example, if you were a photography equipment eCommerce site, you might create a PDF titled "The Top 10 Tools Every Pro Photographer Needs in Their Arsenal." When visitors land on your site, they could then opt-in for your email list in exchange for the guide.
Now, your eCommerce site becomes a "giving" site as opposed to strictly just a "taking" site in the customer's mind. When they opt-in for your helpful content, they become more qualified and more likely to buy from you. Not to mention you can recommend some of the same products you sell.
We've created tools at LeadPages that make this strategy incredibly simple to implement, so you can get a big return on just a small investment of time.
Know your customer and FOCUS. I see a lot of shot gun marketing. Business owners hear a new tactic or hot new marketing button that they feel like they should try. I suggest getting back to basics. Know who your customer is and where they get their information on products like yours. Then, create a system to test marketing tactics so you aren't just randomly trying things. While you are testing, make sure you are keeping track of metrics! You eventually want to know how much it costs to acquire a customer and how much the lifetime value of that customer is.
Keep your marketing emails remarkably simple. Simple design. Simple message. Your customers (and prospective customers) are busy and distracted. Use compelling images and subject lines to grab their attention, and then use very clear, friendly language to convey what you want them to learn, feel, or do. Keep it simple.
Put a phone number on your website and pick up the phone! Talking directly to your customers (and not hiding behind your laptop is one of the biggest point of leverage for ecommerce owners.
IMO, the most important aspect of SEO for Ecommerce site is crawlability. Sites with only a few hundred products can quickly bloom into thousands or hundreds of thousands of pages which is extremely inefficient. In fact, most of the time when I work with an Ecommerce site they're already suffering from index bloat. So, make sure you're using parameter handling, your on-site search (and results) is under control, and your links aren't watering down topical relevancy. Take full advantage of the simple things like robots and sitemaps, and go through the exercise of identifying content worth showing in organic search.
The platform itself is also crucial, so make sure you take SEO into consideration before picking out a CMS. Find one that allows you design the site structure, with the URL patterns you need (not numbers and letters with no semantic meaning). Specifically, design the content around each general bucket of search interest from general awareness to "buy now". Research these tasks and reflect them in your site- from homepage, category, subcategory, and product pages. Each of these has specific intents and too often category pages get neglected, and not every product has the same search interest.
There are two figures that are important for the long-term: lifetime value of a customer, and cost of acquisition. Lifetime value is how much a customer is worth over the course of your business and it varies between business models. Cost of acquisition is the amount of dollars spent to find a new customer that purchases your product or service. Most people only think about lifetime value, but acquisition costs are just as important. You cannot win in the long term if cost of acquisition is higher than your lifetime value. In a world that gets noisier with more distractions, the cost of acquisition is the most challenging part for online retailers now.
E-commerce SEO can be tough - especially when you're trying to get actual product pages to rank well, and your store doesn't have a huge Domain Authority like Amazon, eBay or the most popular online store in your industry, yet it has to compete with those sites.
Apart from trying to increase the domain authority of your own site, you can leverage an easy strategy that I originally found MobileFun (an online store selling mobile phone accessories) using. It requires only some of the products you're selling on your e-commerce site, and a little bit of outreach.
Suppose, you have an e-commerce store that sells various kinds of affiliate marketing books. Now, say you want to increase the organic search rankings of your traffic generation related products. The strategy basically would be to find a few authoritative sites related to traffic generation as part of affiliate marketing, and then reaching out to the site owners and offering a product to them for free that they might be willing to publish a review of on their authoritative websites, and politely asking for a link (doesn't necessarily have to be anchor-rich), linking to either the product page or product category page.
As you probably know already, it's extremely hard to build links to product and category pages of e-commerce sites. But thanks to this method, you won't have to spend upwards of $500 or even $1,000 dollars to gain a dozen of extremely powerful, editorially given links from authoritative domains from extremely related sites.
The reason this strategy can be so effective for small to medium e-commerce sites is that for relatively less popular products and industries, even Amazon and eBay product pages lack links. They still manage to rank well thanks to the authority of the domains they are on. But, as your product pages will be having links from related authority sites pointing right at them, chances are, they'll give Amazon and co. a run for their money, if not outrank them straight away.
In this day and age of Google randomly changing their ranking algorithms, the best way to gain and retain customers is to focus more of your efforts on email marketing. Grab as many email addresses as possible by including email signup forms on all of your content pages and embedded within the content. Experiment with popups regardless of how you feel about them.
The biggest opportunity right now is in content. It goes without saying that most ecommerce businesses are very good at selling product, customer service, fulfilment etc and that a good proportion of them know how to create a great user experience from purchase funnel perspective but that's not enough on its own.
The really smart strategy is to shift thinking away from the fact that you 'sell stuff' and instead concentrate on becoming a one stop shop for knowledge, advice and opinion on your chosen niche/industry. The 'brand as publisher' opportunity is game changing for those that get it right as investment in great content and the strategy that pulls that together is really being rewarded now in both search and social. Not only will you earn trust but you'll also engage with your audience more, learning more about them and improving your business as a result.
That's not to say it is easy as you need to approach it in the right way to maximise return on investment but if you do you'll create a real barrier to entry to any new entrants into the market.
While you are in the early development stages of your eCommerce store you need to be able to have a clear strategy for handling out of stock and obsolete items. This strategy will help you to determine what platform is going to be best for your business. You see some eCommerce systems will automatically throw up a 404 error once an item is out of stock, others may simply 302 your visitors to an alternative product or category, both of which aren't great for your SEO, plus if you do return 404 errors there is a chance someone will contact the people who are linking to you and get your links removed(!!)
I usually advise my clients to handle out of stock products by always leaving the pages up. On the out of stock pages offer alternative products and have a clear notice of when the product will be back in stock. If there isn't availability for a few weeks you may want to offer a coupon code to soften the blow and perhaps an opportunity to receive an email when the items are back in stock.
If a product is discontinued or made obsolete you need to be able to easily add in a 301 permanent redirect to a similar category or product. If you sell generic me-too products such as mobile phone cases you might be able to reuse the URLs and therefore maintain the authority of the page.
My #1 piece of advice is to develop an expertise in website structure and how search engines work. Ecommerce shopping carts are not necessarily built for SEO - so understanding how your solution works with and against the search engines is probably the #1 thing you can do. You may choose to hire someone who has an expertise in the platform you've chosen and keep them on until you're sure you've got all of the intricacies of your ecommerce system worked out, or you can develop an in-house employee into an expert. You'll find having that go-to person who can tell you, or find, the answer to a sticky SEO situation invaluable. Don't expect them to know every question right off the top of their head, but a willingness to dig for the correct answer and keep digging until they find it is the tenacity you'll need!
Focus on the channel that you know works best for you. With so many options today between social, email marketing, paid traffic, content marketing, SEO and more it's easy to get overwhelmed. If you're a Fortune 500 eCommerce company with a huge marketing team, then you'll have no problem tackling all these marketing channels well.
But most of us don't have massive teams, and have to prioritize our marketing efforts. So pick the one that generates the best results for your company and niche and spend the majority of your time there.
Ideally, do you want a well diversified marketing mix driving traffic to your site? Absolutely, and I wouldn't recommend completely neglecting all other channels. But it's better to have one extremely effective channel that's bringing you a lot of business vs. half a dozen weak, non-effective channels that aren't helping at all.
Find accounts related to your niche with large followings on less mature social networks like Instagram, Pinterest and Vine (Channels like YouTube are tapped out now and prices are too high now). Most of these large accounts are built solely for the purpose of selling ad space. You'll know if someone will feature your paid posts because they will have an email in their bio. These less mature accounts usually have high engagement and are low cost.
From my experience, you can get on Instagram accounts with 500k followers for $60-$100 ($0.12/CPM) right now. These sponsored posts can garner upwards of 15,000+ likes, hundreds of comments and thousands of new followers to your account which you can then nurture with your own content.
These channels are still relatively untapped gold mines at the moment.
I've worked with plenty of clients that come to me and want me to help them rank higher.
But the problem is that a crucial step hasn't been taken.
In most situations they want more traffic because they think they aren't getting any sales.
The reason for this in most cases is their website isn't geared to convert.
My advice would be to start at the very beginning, get the website to a point where it's able to convert.
Then continue to build a solid foundation by identifying priority keywords with a high focus on long tail keywords. Then work on getting the technical/on page SEO sorted. Just getting the categories and URL structure sorted can make a huge difference.
It's also worth noting that backlinks are still the currency of the web and you will need them to rank, but you need to focus on link earning. Keep it natural. It's more expensive but you will be glad you invested in the future. Those that let the quality slip and build shoddy links run the risk of manual and/or algorithmic penalties that will end up costing even more to recover from.
Keep your focus on quality and improving user experience.
The biggest thing that comes to mind is building out great category pages and other taxonomy pages. Typically this means custom content on the pages, not simply product listings.
The next thing is to build out all of the informational content you can think of, and put it in the right places on your website. For a camera equipment shop, that might mean a series of buyer's guides about "The 3 Best DSLR Video Packages Under $1000", and something like "What Canon lens should I use for indoor close-range interviews?" might fit better in a Q&A section.
Finally, make your website design shine. Nothing says "sketchy fly-by-night drop-shipper" like a half-customized theme that you whipped together that looks like every other mediocre e-commerce shop your visitors have ever seen. The details really matter, and missed details in design and UX translates to lost sales.
I don't think that e-commerce SEO differs greatly from any other "type." It really comes down to on-page optimization and backlinks. The only wrench that is thrown into the e-commerce scenario is the potential for a far great number of pages than, say, a small/medium blog or simple business site might have.
The number of pages can be beneficial for rankings, though. More content is generally a good thing. But you have to make the most of it. Write detailed, unique descriptions on the product pages. Include reviews and ratings (this can help provide unique, user-generated content and help with conversions). Include good images and optimize their tags. The on-page optimization is pretty standard even for product pages on an e-commerce site.
The one thing that e-commerce sites do have to worry more about - that smaller site's don't always have to (although it would certainly help them if they did) - is establishing a proper architecture. You want to have an architecture for pages that not only makes sense for the user, but also passes "link juice" from link building efforts. For larger sites it isn't reasonably feasible to build a large number of links to each page. So you want to set up an architecture that won't force you to do so.
Focus on providing value. It may sound ridiculously simple -- especially when there are countless SEO tips, techniques, and tactics floating all over the web -- but when you think about it, it makes perfect sense! No one's going to bother to link to your latest blog post if they don't like what you've written. No one's going to consider you to be an authority if you don't offer hard facts and legitimate advice. Remember, search engines exist because people need a way to get their questions answered and their problems solved. If you focus your efforts on providing bonafide answers and solutions, your SEO will naturally fall into place.
And, please, whatever you do, don't stuff a ton of keywords into your content! Yes, it's important to target a couple of carefully-chosen keywords in everything that you publish, but if you make your website look like it was written in some kind of bizarre alien language, no one -- including Google -- is going to take you seriously!
First off, you MUST have Google Analytics e-commerce tracking set up properly! You need to be able to track revenue from sources like organic and referrals.
If you sell a product online that others do as well, then make sure that you craft unique and descriptive product and page titles and descriptions so that you don't have the same content as everyone else. The more content on your product pages that you can do, the better! Start with your most profitable and popular products and just keep working down the list. Lastly add in good, relevant, internal linking between pages. E-commerce sites usually have lots of pages, making internal linking that much more powerful!
These on-page SEO tips will provide you good results and are fairly low hanging fruit.
For eCommerce company, it is important to focus on local SEO. It doesn't matter if you have a huge factory or just a shop lot for your business. You need to have visibility and Google tend to be pretty 'one-sided' especially for those who invest time to setup proper Local SEO for their company.
For a typical eCommerce website, you have hundreds (if not thousands!) of product pages containing duplicate and thin content. With Google's Panda update continuously evolving, this can really hurt your SEO rankings. My advice is to make sure all of your product pages contain at least 100 words of unique and well-written content. This is a minimum - aim for more meaty content if you can. Also put some focus on site speed. This is an SEO ranking factor, but more importantly, it directly affects your conversion rate. The slower your site, the less you sell. Lastly, link building is still super crucial. But focus on quality over quantity. And manual over automation.
Identify a unique product/niche you can serve better than the bigger guys. It's really the only way to compete online these days, and the competition's only getting more intense. You're screwed if you do it wrong from the start.
My second tip would be to use a professional copywriter to create your product descriptions. While you may know the product best, hiring a pro copywriter helps you communicate the value of a particular product much better than someone without experience. It takes years of practice to learn how to write sizzling copy that skyrockets your sales, but it's worth every penny. Plus, 99% of businesses do not use a copywriter, and have no awareness that one is beneficial. So, it's a huge, little-known competitive advantage. It costs money up-front, but you'll make so many more sales long-term that it's ridiculous.
Nailing down a good strategy for Ecommerce is largely effected by how many products you're selling. If you only have a few segments, it helps to spend a good amount of dev and testing time on your product pages. After that you can work on a link building strategy for individual product pages.
However, If you have thousands of products, this gets exhaustive. Instead, you should focus on a solid URL and taxonomy structure and work on building links for category segments.
Overall, I don't think the biggest issue for Ecommerce is SEO, but more about growing your visitors life time value. Spending weeks optimizing pages is worthless if visitors only purchase once and are never heard from again. The same goes for spamming your email list with "deals" on a daily basis. It's not a long term strategy. You'll get much better results by being the first company that comes to a person's mind when they think about products in your target niche.
While everyone talks about building links and driving visitors to product pages, the parts that come before and after getting traffic are very important.
On-site optimization for ecommerce is critical because of the large numbers of CMS and frameworks that are used to build online stores. Once you decide on a scripting language and CMS on which you're going to build your ecommerce site, look up every conceivable tip, plugin and piece of code to optimize it to the hilt. There are comprehensive guides, robots.txt samples and posts out there that cater to Magento, Shopify, WordPress or whatever platform you're using. And then there is landing page optimization. Never cease A/B testing and optimizing your category, product and campaign pages. Here's an entertaining guide to get you started. Further, Oli Gardner and Peep Laja are a couple of CRO experts you should closely follow.
If you have an e-commerce site, you are more or less dependent on search engine organic traffic (mostly Google). And for that SEO is a MUST-DO. SEO for e-commerce websites is quite different from a traditional SEO. In an e-commerce website, technical on-page optimization is a basic necessity. Backlinks are no doubt very important but as you have lots of pages obviously you cannot build links to all the pages, so if you can make your website Search Engine friendly, you can easily rip the low hanging fruits (traffic from long tail keywords) as they're lesser competitive in nature.
Building Links to an Ecommerce website is totally different from normal blog site. Why? Because a lot of thee sites are amazon affiliate stores that are on autopilot (they pull content from amazon). 1) This is the first mistake a lot of people make when creating an ecommerce site. 2) And even if they build thousands of links, their ranking will be temporary.
Now that we are through with the first mistake a lot of ecommerce companies make, the next step is to pay for unique content. Give Google something to index, locate your top selling products and product categories (through E-Commerce reports) and make them content rich so that they can attract traffic from Google/search engines.
One way to get your ecommerce site to rank is to build powerful links (preferable homepage links from PBN). You don't just want to link to your homepage. This will not look natural to search engines. What we are going to do next is to build links to our inner pages. Why not start a blog on your ecommerce site? The content on the blog will focus on your products, with this, bots will have a lot of crawling to do on your site. There are more ways to attract traffic to your ecommerce site apart from search engine, here are top 10 ways to attract referral traffic to your site.
Social media is a new SEO. Create engaging content, review your products and share it on social media. Each platform i.e. facebook, instagram, pinterest etc... has its own audience and methods and demographic. Check what is your demographic male, female or both. Reviewing your products will bring traffic from search engines as well as social media eventually result in more sales.