How to Drive Traffic to Your Ecommerce Website
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
The old glory days of SEO where you could win the algorithm with basic backlinks, metadata, and keyword-rich content has been replaced with actual, value-added content that audiences are seeking. And not only is unique content so competitive these days, but the web has become saturated with content, and good content.
Which is why you have to truly go above the great, and be 10x greater. Create shareable, compelling content that signifies you as an authority in your space.
Ever heard of “10x content”? Well, if not, be prepared to be enlightened. Moz Founder and Former CEO Rand Fishkin introduced the now infamous term in a Whiteboard Friday video (watch here- “Why Good Unique Content Needs to Die”).
Fishkin defined it as “Content that is 10 times better than the best result that can currently be found in the search results for a given keyword phrase or topic.”
So, out is “Content is King” and in is “10x content”.
Easy breezy? Here are some tips on how to optimize your site for search engines, and increase traffic to your ecommerce website.
Remember the Basics (Site Architecture, Inbound Links, General Content)
Site speed, crawlability, mobile friendliness and duplicate content are just some of the success factors you must master in order to get your foot in the door. Without these SEO basics, your shot at being heard or seen will be limited. Set up the foundation and pillars on which your site rests, and then you can truly begin optimizing.
10x Content, Again
10x content can take the form of buying guides, industry white paper, ebooks, essays…and so forth. 10x content must possess overwhelming value; it can’t be good, it can’t be great – it has to be 10x greater than great.
You have to be a renowned innovator, accredited professor, or guru of some sort…or so it seems. “The hard truth is that if you can’t become this kind of an expert, then you probably don’t deserve to rank highly for your keywords”.
Know the Influencers and Become an Influencer
In today’s world of SEO, you can’t become an authority in your industry sector unless you actually provide expertise on the services & products you sell.
Every business must have an embedded connection within its community. Find the most relevant bloggers, websites and aggregators in your community and become a valuable asset to them. Share your knowledge and expertise by becoming a content contributor, answering questions, and allowing influencers to do the same for you – work together. The relevance, trust, and traffic will naturally begin to unfold.
Google and other search engines rank your site by considering a number of key SEO elements.
Google, which is still the web’s largest search engine, accounts for over 90% of global organic search traffic. Google’s algorithm takes into account a link value and scores accordingly based on quality, relevancy, and quantity of incoming backlinks pointing to your website.
– Quantity: The number of backlinks pointing to your site indicates to search engines that you are an active & respectable force within your industry, and that people like you! It means you need to make connections, contribute guest posts, and churn out lots of on-theme, relevant, and shareable content that people will link to.
– Quality: It doesn’t matter if you have a ton of backlinks pointing to your site if they’re not quality links. Quality links have to come from quality sites. For example, search engines consider web addresses ending in .edu and .gov and .org more valuable than .com – primarily because these are typically resourceful domains and have excellent content to share. So, if one of these types of domains links to you, then it must be for a worthy reason – and deserving of organic rankings. Additionally, you want links from sites that have a lot of credibility with search engines; If you can get your website submitted to the DMOZ directory, then you might gain a little more credibility yourself.
– Relevance: Search engines factor in the relevancy of your incoming links. The links must be on-theme and part of your industry realm. If you are selling bikinis and have a ton of automobile links pointing to your site, then the value isn’t there. Keep it relevant.
Social media is here to stay. Whether or not you’re fan doesn’t matter because if you’re in ecommerce then you better become best friends with Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and the likes.
Likes, shares, promotions, followers, sales, & relevance are all part of the social media ecosystem in which every business must think about.
Share then Promote
Sharing comes first. Promotion comes second.
First try sharing non-promotional, valuable content with your followers before shameless self-promoting.
Inspire your pages with personality, ensure you are optimized for all device screens (mobile, desktop, tablet), be openminded when it comes to feedback from your users, and genuinely create shareable content that appeals to your audience, preferably in a fun and informative fashion.
I’ll Scratch Your Back
Help the people you are trying to attract. Providing amazing content is great, but seek out opportunities to help your audience. Believe me, everyone will return the favor.
Follow them, promote them and ask for nothing in return. 15% of Twitter users unfollow brands within three weeks. Don’t be part of the statistic.
Know Which Platform to Choose
Know which social media platforms garner the most popularity and influence in your space. For publishing, maybe it’s Twitter; for photography, maybe it’s Instagram. LinkedIn might be your drink of choice if you’re a recruiter looking for candidates. Think about your business goals, and then choose your channel wisely.
Optimize for Mobile
Mobile, mobile, mobile. Ecommerce shopping is taking over smartphones. A huge percentage of online shoppers are taking it to a mobile device. 89% of the time people are using their phones, many times on social apps like Instagram and Facebook. Think about how your social posts and landing pages render on a mobile screen, and how the mobile experience can dramatically affect your business. Think about posting more videos as opposed to still images; studies show it’s more engaging. Speaking of videos, use long captions with emojis and numbers – studies also show this gets more clicks.
Many social media sites, Facebook for instance, have integrated shopping functionality into the platform, allowing shoppers to make purchases on Facebook.
And Facebook is just the beginning, folks. Instagram has turned its platform into a place to shop (unofficially) for photography, art, fashion, and more.
It’s a Commitment
Social media requires investment & commitment. Understanding your audience, posting compelling content, engaging with followers, contributing to your community, creating groups, updating profiles, and running social ads isn’t something a small to mid-sized retailer should underestimate. Having a robust social strategy requires genuine time and commitment. Social media is growing and transitioning into a marketplace. Don’t take it lightly.
Follow and engage with the people that are engaging with your competitors. These are people who are interested in what you do, it’s free advertising and it’s a great approach at driving awareness to your brand.
AdWords and Pay-Per-Click Advertising
The quickest way to gain traffic is to pay for it.
But pay-per-click advertising might need to take some notes from the art of war when it comes to competing with big-box retailers.
How can you compete without outbidding them? The market sets the bid price, and the price can be exorbitantly high.
But there are some rules of thumb you can do to even the playing field.
Your Quality Score and bid determines your Ad Rank in AdWords. As a smaller retailer, you might not be able to compete with competitive bidding against big retailers, but you just might with Quality Score. Ad Extensions are one way to boost your Ad Rank.
Day Parting: Maybe it only makes sense for you to serve ads during certain times of the day. If customer service is important for your business, then you might serve ads only during work hours when your staff is present. If you’re business is international, you might set your campaigns to run according to specific timezones.
Geo-Targeting: You can deliver specific content to different markets based on their physical location. If you’re selling snow boots, don’t serve ads in Florida.
If your business relies on phone calls to seal the deal, then you should consider a bid modifier to serve ads to those already on their phones.
Broad Match and Modified Broad Match leave a lot of interpretation into the hands of Google and can be quite costly. Exact Phrase Match gives you more control over your spend while providing the awareness you need.
Overspending on Retargeting
Be sure to remove successful conversions out of your retargeting list. No need to spend more money on the ones already converted.
Google is Not Alone
There are other search engines besides Google. If you’re on a tight budget or just starting out, you might want to serve ads on Bing, as an example, for lower conversion costs. The competition might not be as extreme on alternative search engines.
Think of Google Shopping as a search engine completely dedicated to shopping. Every shopaholic’s dream come true.
Google Shopping is different from Adwords in that retailers can display product images & information within search results. Shoppers can then compare prices for the same product between different merchants/retailers. Shoppers can go granular and filter by price point, brand, size, etc.
Google Shopping is a paid search initiative, just like AdWords, but the rules are different. Today’s ecommerce retailer must be proficient at converting these comparison shoppers.
Your Google Shopping feed is what matters most. It is the most critical factor in driving success for this channel.
Here are some tips on how to optimize your feed:
Product Titles: It is thought that Google adds value to title keywords & descriptors from left to right. When writing titles, make sure to place your most important keywords first. For example, you might use a title like this: “UGG Adirondack Women’s Waterproof Snow Boots in Black/Grey Size 7”. This title is using the following in order by importance – “Brand, Gender, Product, Color, Size.”
Product Descriptions: Try to keep it short and stay under 1,000 characters. Just like the product titles, add your most important info first and least important last. Make sure it includes targeted keywords that shoppers are using. Consider the format you are presenting; maybe bullet points is all you need to list specs and dimensions or maybe adding a cool story in a short paragraph form is better.
Last Click Conversion
Google Shopping is full of bottom-of-the-funnel shoppers. They’ve done their research and are ready to buy. So you might want to optimize your bids accordingly.
As Google Shopping continues to grow, so should your budget allocation. As an online retailer it’s important that a fair portion of your marketing budget be allocated to this channel.
Driving traffic to your ecommerce website can be a grind, but if you can effectively build campaigns via SEO, Social Media, Adwords/PPC, and Google Shopping – then you’ve got your bases covered.