Don’t you wish that your online shop was like Amazon, where people come to your site just looking to spend money? That’s the dream, right? Unfortunately, unless you have millions of dollars to throw into televisions spots, that’s not going to happen.
You must work to bring traffic to your site to make money. In most cases, you need to pay to bring visitors to your ecommerce store. But there’s another method for increasing traffic that doesn’t get as much love by new online businesses, either because it does not produce immediate return or people just don’t understand it: ecommerce SEO.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of optimizing your website pages to make them more visible on search engines. In this post, I’m going to cover some easy tactics and strategies to generate free traffic from Google to your ecommerce site.
Understand Buyer Intent and Cater to It
Understanding buyer intent means understanding your buyers and what they’re looking for. Are they looking for a specific product that does a specific thing? I put this section first because you need to have a good understanding of what your buyers are searching for so you can include that information on your website for them.
For any given product, think of the Five Ws:
- What is it?
- What is it used for?
- Where is it used?
- When is it used?
- Who uses it?
Buyer Intent Example
To give real examples in this post, I’m going to pretend that you have an online gym equipment shop.
Let’s look at weights. Do your customers need free weights or plates? If plates, do they need regular plates or bumper plates?
If you sell bumper plates, your bumper plate product page should mention the exercises that use bumper plates. Bumper plates are great for deadlifts. Therefore, you should mention that on the page because buyers of bumper plates are using them for deadlifts.
When someone is searching for plates, a lot of results will appear. But if your product is bumper plates and your listing is geared towards the ideal buy of bumper plates, then you’re more likely to show in the results.
If you don’t fully understand what people are looking for when it comes to your product, do some research. I usually look at similar products on Amazon and check reviews. I also search Google for the product and add the word “review” to the query to find blogs that reviewed similar products. In these pages people will usually answer the Five Ws for you. Use this information to enhance your product page for better ecommerce SEO.
Content Marketing for Ecommerce
Content marketing is not specific to just blogging or posting on social media. It’s using all your channels to reach your goal of more traffic and more revenue. If done right, it can lead to a good deal of free organic website visitors from Google, Facebook, Pinterest, and more.
You may think that since you have an online store, you’re just in the retail space. You’re not. You’re in the content marketing space. You need to build content to help promote your products.
Content should be created, and repurposed, for as many channels as possible (that make sense for your audience). Your Instagram followers may not be on Pinterest, and your Facebook followers may not be on Twitter.
Related: How to Write More Content, Faster
If you create content, it gives you more opportunity to be found on Google. And if done correctly, on other organic outlets as well. However, if you just shout “buy buy buy” all the time, you won’t be able to build an audience. Whereas, if you create informative content that also promote your products, it will be more receptive to readers. Granted, this is essentially a marketing project and will take time, but the results will be worth it.
Content Marketing Example for Ecommerce
Using our gym ecommerce store example, there are a lot of ways to use content to increase views to our products. We can create any number of exercise videos/blog posts.
I can easily develop an entire strategy to generate 10+ pieces of content from one asset. I’ll show you how:
- Shoot a YouTube video demonstrating an exercise using my equipment
- Embed that video on a blog post with more information
- Pin the video to my Pinterest
- Create a visual image, or images, for my blog post
- Pin the image(s) to my Pinterest with a link to my blog post
- Tweet the video to my audience on Twitter
- A week later, tweet the blog post to my audience on Twitter
- Create short version of my video to post on Facebook
- Link to full version of video, or to the blog post, on Facebook
- Post image(s) on Instagram and tell people to check my site for the post
That’s over 10 pieces of content for four free traffic sources I just came up with, for a niche I don’t fully understand. There are probably other sources such as forums that I could use to promote my video, too. Think about where you can post your content for your industry. Before you can get the most out of your content, however, you must establish an online presence for your business in the major social platforms.
The best part about content marketing is that you’re creating links to your site, or YouTube channel, when you share on other platforms. Links to your site and your content are a huge factor when it comes to improving your ecommerce SEO and ranking your site on Google.
If you’re struggling with different content to create, here’s 10 ways to come up with new ideas quickly.
Create Buying Guides
A buying guide is helpful for users who are doing research before they purchase a product. It is also a very easy content piece to create if you understand your industry and buyer’s intent.
If I were to create a buying guide for kettlebells, I would create an outline that looks like this:
- What are kettlebells?
- Why are kettlebells useful?
- Things to consider when buying
- Things to avoid when buying
- Highlight my product and why they need it
I could also take it a step further and link to exercise articles or videos I have that promote my kettlebells. This not only helps with internal linking, which improves ecommerce SEO by showing Google how your content relates to one another, but it pushes the users further into my site. The more they interact with my brand, the more likely they are to buy from me.
Keep in mind, you are not just limited to buying guides for specific products or product categories. You can also create guides for events such as birthdays, Christmas, and any niche specific events in your industry. Here are examples of buying guides for our gym store:
- 25 Gift Ideas for the Gym Rat in Your Family
- 10 Essential Products for Personal Trainers
- The 10 Must-Haves for CrossFit Beginners
- 15 Christmas Stocking Stuffers for Runners
Think about searches you’ve done in the past when trying to find ideas of what to get for people during the holiday season. Use these to help think of new buying guides that you can create so that you can show up when users search for your products.
Optimize Meta Title Tags and Descriptions
Now that I’ve covered high level ideas for your shop, let’s get into SEO tips that are more tactical and that you can implement today. For example, did you know that in the search results, Google typically shows 50-60 characters in your title tag? This is a lot of real estate that you can use to get people to click your listing and come to your website.
You can use this real estate to add more information about your product, and what people are searching for, into your title to help with your rankings. To demonstrate this, I’m going to use my gym equipment store again.
Since they’re commonly used at the gym, let’s continue talking about kettlebells. Here’s what the search results look like (I removed the ads in the results so we can see just the organic listings):
Looking at these results, can you tell which have some understanding of their user’s intent, and used that understanding in their title tag and description?
Only five of the seven titles are optimized to try to get people to click:
- Kettlebell Kings
- Rogue Fitness
- Dicks Sporting Goods
- Power Systems
Out of the seven, only three have descriptions that are optimized to get potential buyers to click:
- Kettlebell Kings
- Rogue Fitness
Amazon and Wikipedia show up in these results because they have massive domain authority. However, they do not really do anything to capture my attention.
On the other end of the spectrum, Kettlebell Kings mentions free shipping in their title tag. That’s a big selling point for online buyers. Rogue Fitness demonstrates a great understanding of their buyer’s intent. Their description is well thought out with product qualities that people are searching for. It lists what their kettlebells are made from, what weights they carry, the colors they have and more—now that’s good ecommerce SEO.
Look at your product listings. Are they like Amazon where it just says Kettlebells? Or do you take advantage of the 50-60 characters in the title? Note that a meta title tag can and should be different than your product’s title. You don’t want your shop page filled with products with long titles.
Changing the meta title and description tags are usually very simple, depending on your ecommerce platform. On Shopify, there’s a section in the product editor to update the meta title. On WordPress, you can download a free plugin called Yoast, and it will allow you to modify the meta title and description.
Category Pages for Your Ecommerce Site
Category pages are an easy piece of content to create if you have several items from the same category. Plus, if you’ve done your research and understand your buyer’s intent, you may notice that they’re not looking for a singular item, but a variety to look through and choose from.
A lot of ecommerce platforms automatically create category pages if you have defined categories for your product. This is helpful. The issue with these pages is that they are usually very basic and not optimized for search.
Look again at the kettlebell search image above. You will notice that the results are category pages and not specific product pages. This is because the search is broad, and Google noticed that these searchers don’t have a specific product in mind. If the user added specific descriptors such as a cast iron kettlebell that weighs 10 pounds and is purple, then that would return a product page in results.
Amazon’s category page in the example is what a typical auto-generated category page looks like. You have the category name and the site’s brand name. This is not optimized. However, if you look at the other brands, they have optimized their meta title and descriptions with information geared towards people looking for kettlebells.
Once you’ve optimized your titles, look at expanding your page with more information. Typical auto-generated category pages just list the products with images, the product title and add to cart buttons. You can add more information about your products, your brand and other details to the page. This helps Google, and users, to learn more about your products.
A good example of a category page that ranks for the competitive search “exercise equipment” is this page from Dicks Sporting Goods. You don’t have to build something as in-depth and as beautiful as this for your shop. But, it shows that category pages should be more than just a list of products if you want to rank for broad terms.
Think About the Longtail Searches
When someone searches in Google, they’re using a keyword or keywords. A search of kettlebells is a short keyword, but it will return broad results. If you start to add more specific keywords to that query, the search query becomes more longtail.
Longtail keywords are great because they’re more specific and Google will do its best to deliver the perfect results that match the search. Neil Patel was able to generate 20,000 more visitors a month just by considering the longtail.
Earlier in this post, I mentioned a longtail search “cast iron kettlebell that weighs 10 pounds and is purple.” These users aren’t looking for a category page of kettlebells. They’re looking for a specific type of kettlebell. If you have a purple cast iron kettlebell and your product page is optimized properly, then Google should show your site to users.
Here’s how I would optimize the page:
Title: Purple Cast Iron Kettlebell – 10 Pounds | Fast Shipping
Description: This kettlebell made from a high-quality quality cast iron. It weighs 10 pounds and is purple. Perfect for swings, cleans, and figure 8s. Click here to see current pricing.
I mention the descriptors “purple,” “cast iron” and “10 pounds.” I also add “fast shipping” since people want their orders quickly. In the description I included exercises that people use kettlebells for. Then to wrap it up, I add a call to action for users to click my link.
Bringing It Together
Now that you understand user intent, content marketing and how to optimize your site for search, revisit your shop with fresh eyes. What optimizations can you make? How can you repurpose your content so you can get more viewers and links for your site?
When you find winning pieces, don’t be afraid to put some money behind it. You can use Facebook ads to promote your content to new audiences. Make the content work for you.
With content marketing and SEO, there’s a lot to manage. You need stay on top of everything that’s going into your campaign or you will forget pieces. ProjectManager.com is a cloud-based software that manages your projects with real-time data, online Gantt charts for scheduling and great collaborative features to keep everyone on the same page. Try it today with this free 30-day trial.