eCommerce in 2020 will continue to be an uphill battle as competition continues to increase. While the fundamental reality that the success of your eCommerce store is chiefly reliant on sales has been true since the dawn of the Internet, finding success is becoming increasingly difficult with each passing year. Effectively, if you want your eCommerce store to survive, you need to be driving a consistent flow of traffic to your site and then capitalizing on them once they’re there. Otherwise, your business will have no option but to shrink as sales diminish.
Examining the reality of SEO in eCommerce sites
With fierce competition both from other privately-owned businesses as well as large multinationals such as Amazon and Walmart, it may seem intimidating to have your eCommerce website stand out. It’s about more than having a distinctive online presence though, as simply having a beautiful website that no one visits doesn’t lead to sales; the lack of sales leads to going out of business. While it is imperative that your website be beautiful and that your product descriptions are compelling with professional product photography, this isn’t enough. This is where both technical SEO and content-driven eCommerce SEO comes in.
Understanding the importance of eCommerce SEO
When you find yourself in the market for a product or service, what is your first stop?
If you are like most online consumers, your first stop was to perform a Google search to see what your available options are and compare them to ensure you’re making an informed decision. Access to information has fundamentally changed the way consumers shop over the last decade. Most consumers have made up their minds regarding the products that they’re going to purchase before ever visiting an online shop or setting foot in a retail store.
Given this, if your website does not register in the search engine results pages, in particular page 1, you’re losing potential customers every day. If your products aren’t where people are looking for them, you’re going to struggle to sell them. Even if your products are somewhere on the Internet, that doesn’t mean people can readily find them. One of the most common pieces of feedback we get from customers and potential customers alike in the early days of working together is “when I search my product, I’m not on Google.” This is the reality for all newly formed businesses and a lot of established companies because it takes time for Google to index your website. Furthermore, that times increases if you don’t take the needed steps for eCommerce SEO, such as submitting your site map and claiming your domain. Essentially, opening your store in 2020 without an eye toward search engine optimization would be like opening a convenience store in the middle of the Amazon rain forest and then being confused when nobody stops in. The Internet is a jungle, and if you don’t draw people a map through your eCommerce SEO efforts, the odds of them stumbling across your website are small.
SEO increases the likelihood of your page ending up on the first search engine results page by clearly outlining to Google and other search engines what your eCommerce site is about. Long gone are the days when this was done by jamming your pages full of keywords or posting links to it in forums or on comment boards. In 2020 search engine optimization is about providing quality content written for humans.
If you’re still not sold on the value of search engine optimization, cloudways.com completed a study in 2019 that found 39% of all eCommerce website traffic globally is directed from search engines, and almost 80% of consumers pointed out that they do not pay attention to the sponsored listings at the top of page 1 on Google. These stats should make the importance of working on your search engine optimization clear.
What goes into a successful eCommerce SEO strategy?
Whether your website is brand-new or has been around for a while, the blueprint of your SEO approach will contain many of the same priorities. It’s an important note at the outset that SEO is not a one and done activity, and it will take a sizeable amount of time and effort to understand the nuances of SEO as well as your website platform such as Shopify or WordPress, but the results speak for themselves when SEO is done correctly.
Identify your keywords
While the days of keyword stuffing have passed, your keywords still matter a lot to eCommerce SEO. They need to be prominently visible in your website copy but included in a way that flows naturally. Capitalizing on latent semantic index keywords is an art form but one worth learning. It’s essential to sprinkle them throughout your text in a way that gets the most out of on Google’s algorithms without compromising the readability of your webpages.
For example, if you operate a leather jacket store online, your approach to eCommerce SEO would be to identify related keywords and then use those within the text to complement your principal keyword. In this example, the associated keywords would include terms such as men’s jacket, motorcycle apparel, leather coat, etc. including these within your copy helps ensure that when people are searching for those terms on Google, your website will come up for them.
When you’re identifying the keywords that you will target, it is imperative that you start by analyzing the cost per click of the keywords as well as the search volume. While it may seem on the surface as though you should target keywords with the highest search volume, this is not always the case. By examining the cost per click, you’re able to identify the level of competition for those keywords, and in situations where the competition is high, it often makes sense to target alternate long-tailed keywords. Identifying intermediate traffic keywords with low competition is a great way to rank higher faster and still drive traffic to your website.
Developing an SEO blueprint is easier said than done, but it can be done by anyone with the time and inclination to learn the intricacies of the different search engines and their ever-changing algorithms. If you understand the importance of search engine optimization, but either don’t have the time or recognize that your time and effort is better spent focused on what you do best, reach out to the SEO experts at Shop Style Design to speed up your business growth in 2020.