5 Things Holding Your Business Back From eCommerce SEO Success

Jodie King

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There are a variety of elements that may be holding your eCommerce business back, however, we wanted to select five of the most commonly learnt problem areas. These five things holding your business back from eCommerce SEO success underpin the birth of SEO Traffic Lab. To successfully optimise your eCommerce store and maintain results you get you need:

  1. Time
  2. Money
  3. Tools
  4. Expertise
  5. Creativity

There is so much that goes into every website that most business owners tend to focus on one individual strand. A good digital marketing campaign combines SEO, Content, Social Media, PR, PPC and Email Marketing. As a business owner, understanding the basics of marketing is not enough to cover every strand and intricacy as the digital world has made marketing increasingly competitive.
We understand that you want to encompass your marketing activities and we have summarised these 5 key areas to help you gain eCommerce SEO success.

  1. Time

Producing any element of marketing takes a considerable time and that is why focusing on one strand at a time makes sense. For a social media campaign, we recommend at least 6 hours a week and 4 hours to cover engagement, dependent on your industry and social media platforms of choice. Search Engine Optimisation requires a large amount of time at the start and regular time to maintain. Plan and spend time on the right elements of your marketing mix.
For eCommerce SEO you should carry out these tasks, preferably in the order, you are reading them.

  • Audit your site
  • Solve any technical issues (redirects, pagination, canonicalisation, robots.txt, sitemap)
  • Do comprehensive keyword research
  • Write meta for each landing page and as many product pages as you can (this will be an ongoing job)
  • Write strong H1s and alt tags
  • Start earning links by creating useful content for your audience (How to guides, instructional videos, digital magazines or Flipbooks)

Moving forwards you will want to refresh all of the above. Do not try and save time by cutting corners.

  1. Money

Spend your money wisely and consider where you want to spend your budget to maximise results. If you are going to drive traffic to specific landing pages using social media or PPC then first optimise those landing pages. You will waste money if you are not converting traffic. Use Google Analytics (GA) and Search Console to make sure your website is working properly and allocate spend based on performance. GA will tell you where you need to put more budget and where to stop or reduce the budget. High bounce rate or low conversion rate, consider directing the budget to other campaigns that are working!
Putting money into tools and leave them running you are not measuring the success of your marketing campaign and you will not be there to correct failures. If it is making money then that is great but could you make more? Constantly optimising campaigns will lead to greater ROI.
If you are held back by a small marketing budget then focus your time on content. Create valuable, engaging and insightful content that your audience needs. That will then be shared acquiring backlinks and traffic to your site. It is a very cost effective marketing strategy as is social media population.

  1. Tools

You can do an awful lot with our free SEO Toolkit recommendations but sometimes a small investment makes a massive difference. Tracking your website’s performance can be done using Google Analytics and Search Console. But if you have very little time to spend on your eCommerce SEO then a tool that collates data is a practical call. There is a range of free tools available and some paid tools. Instead of reviewing all of these tools consider your needs to decide which would be the best fit. Here are a few recommendations:
Google Trends – Check what is trending on the net and what is not
SEM Rush – Does a host of SEO tasks and some use it as an all in one tool
Keywordtool.io – A useful keyword tool
Open Site Explorer – If you have a backlink issue or want to pull a backlink profile
QuickSprout Website Analyzer – A simple audit tool – a good starting point
SEO Site Checkup – An audit and scoring tool that is thorough
Combine those tools with the SEO Toolkit recommended here and you are good to go!

  1. Expertise

This is a tricky one because of course, expertise is vital to delivering eCommerce SEO success and expert advice plays its part. However, there are a lot of SEO companies that promise the Earth and deliver very little. There are many business owners that are dubious about how SEO experts can help their site. This is not an area anyone can guarantee and if someone says to you – we will get you to position one – before they have carried out an audit, then they are most likely a cowboy. If they try and discuss algorithms with you and tell you that the digital landscape is competitive and changeable then they are more likely what you need to be bolting on to your business.
If you want a basic understanding of SEO then we recommend the Moz Blog as that is an industry leading fount of knowledge. Knowing a few key terms and the general approach of SEO experts will help you avoid bad advice. Essentially you should look for someone who talks about:

  • Earning links as opposed to building backlinks
  • Knows what cannibalisation is and how it can affect your rankings
  • Can tell you exactly how to apply a canonical tag properly and resolve other duplicate content issues
  • Does not promise you rankings alone and discusses KPIs around bounce rate, conversions, traffic and goal completions
  • Offers to set you up a dashboard in Google Analytics so you can interpret the data yourself
  • Sets clear milestones in the project to keep it on track

If they are near to the above then they know what they are talking about and have the expertise you require. There are no quick wins in SEO these days so do not fall for the hollow sales pitch.

  1. Creativity

It may feel like a soft subject but I think that anything that isn’t quick to do gets labelled as such. As an eCommerce business owner, you could do all of the above and still find that you are drowning in a competitive and fast-paced digital market. There are giants constantly on your doorstep: Amazon, Ebay, Not On The Highstreet, Very, Argos and Boots to name just a few.
If you do not stand out, if you do not engage your audience, then no amount of SEO is going to help you sell your product. It is a vicious circle. Rankings can get you onto page 1 but the average customer does this:

  • They compare prices and leave baskets full hoping to find it cheaper elsewhere
  • They buy from Amazon and maybe check to see if they can get it cheaper, faster, or from another site
  • They research reviews and try different searches in case they are missing out on something exciting or more inline with what they wanted

So they may come to your site and dismiss it which means your bounce rates could be higher. Your conversions may be low, or the average time spent on site is low. These are all metrics that tell Google your landing pages are not engaging. You are not giving your customers what they want. That, in turn, dilutes your rankings so you drop down from page 1.
How you counteract that is by getting creative. You need to satisfy user intent which means you need to offer value. Deliver how to guides, quirky videos, one-page guides, product videos, pdfs. Giving the user value will keep them on your site for longer and could even impress and convince them to buy. Being creative can help you sell your products regardless of price because people invest in ethical, quirky, and relatable companies. Showing them your personality can push them over the line and make them come back to you time and time again.
So creativity suddenly doesn’t sound so soft – it sounds sensible. What makes your company stand out and why will people choose you over others? Answer those questions and then run with it. Break some boundaries, disperse some stereotypes and make a name for yourself. SEO can get them to your site but it’s down to content and creativity to keep them there.
Following these 5 steps will allow you to put SEO to work on your eCommerce store. These steps take varied time and effort, however, we want to reiterate the importance of understanding and implementing a campaign that works for your business.

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