For any business with a digital presence – especially ecommerce companies that market and sell exclusively online – driving organic traffic to your website remains a constant challenge and a more integral part of the customer conversion process than ever before.
Developing a product or solution that has value and fulfills a consumer need is obviously a significant part of the success equation. But how do you reach your audience in the first place?
Traditional marketing efforts like email campaigns, affiliate marketing and social media remain an effective way to direct prospects to your blog, landing pages, or to sign up for a demo. But in the world of ecommerce, sometimes that’s not enough.
Ensuring your website is optimized for search engines will increase organic, relevant traffic, and ultimately broaden the top of your sales funnel – a key step in the evolving and competitive ecommerce market.
As 2018 unfolds, here are seven tips to help you supercharge your search engine optimization this year:
1. Develop Relevant, Quality Content
According to Moz, there are generally three types of search queries:
– I want to do something
– I want to know something
– I want to go somewhere
For those new to SEO, when a user enters a query in the search bar, Google will index and rank pages that match that topic based first on relevancy, then filtered by popularity. Whether you’re writing a blog about your latest product, or creating a landing page offering a free trial, create copy that includes keywords specific to your business. Services like Google Keyword Planner or Google Trends can show you which keywords to target based on how competitive it may be to rank for a specific word or phrase, or the size of the search volume.
But remember don’t go overboard with packing as many keywords as possible. You’re writing for your audience, not just for search engines. In fact, Google’s new Latent Semantic Indexing algorithm notes that the relationship between keywords and the overall picture the content frames is just as important as the keywords themselves. So focus on the topic overall and write as naturally as possible while keeping in mind what you want your visitors to do.
2. Lead with a Tight Title and Meta Description
The title and meta description of your page not only have significant impact on index and ranking, they’re also the two items that display for a user when your content appears in a Google search. Therefore, they significantly impact a user’s likelihood of clicking on your website.
For each page, develop a clear and concise but descriptive title that communicates exactly what a user will find on the page. Likewise, note that the meta description is the snippet of text under the title that expands upon what visitors will find when they click. Keep each meta description short (160 characters or less), and use it wisely.
3. Build a Backlinks Portfolio
Credibility remains a key metric by which Google indexes pages. Positioning your website as the authority on an industry topic will get you in the good graces of Googlebots far more easily than sites that seem less legitimate.
Backlinks: Reputable sources linking to the pages on your site will significantly boost your SEO. It shows that other credible sources deem your site credible as well, which Google will use to designate your page as higher-ranking. Pursue sources that have global popularity, are trusted (university sites, non-profits, etc.), post frequently updated content, and maintain thought leadership in your industry.
‘Linkless’ Backlinks: In fact, Google algorithms have become so advanced that even if a source doesn’t link directly back to you – rather it simply names your company or product – it will still have positive impact on your SEO. So have your PR team reach out to thought leaders and reputable tech and software blogs, and start building your link portfolio.
4. Stay Agile By Staying Mobile
According to Google, the popularity of smartphones and tablets has led to more than 50 percent of searches taking place on a mobile device compared to a laptop or desktop. If a consumer is conducting product research, there’s a very good chance they’re doing so from a mobile device.
In fact, Google has hinted at the mass rollout of a mobile-first index, which will prioritize its page rankings based on mobile versions of websites versus their desktop counterparts. Get ready for mobile-first indexing by optimizing the mobile version of your site for design, ease of use, and clarity.
5. Optimize Images
We live in a visual world, and web visitors expect no less. When a potential customer visits your site, they want to see what your product looks like, and how it operates. Not only should you include images on each of your pages, you must also add your keywords into the alt-text of those images.
6. Keep Your Pages Up to Speed
This one’s simple. With as many research options that users have at their fingertips, if your pages load slowly, you can bet visitors won’t stay there for long. Make sure your site is responsive (Google suggests five seconds or less per page load), to keep prospects and customers drilling down and converting.
7. Optimize for Voice Search
Whether Siri, Alexa, Echo or any other digital assistant, Google reports that as many as 20 percent of searches are voice-based. So, how do ecommerce companies optimize for this growing trend? Feature a conversational tone in your web content, include long-tail keywords, and – because voice searches often take the form of questions – design your pages with customer questions adjacent to your company’s answers. For example, a voice search may consist of, “What is the best malware software for my laptop?” versus “Best malware software for laptop.” Then, develop content around how your product fits that criteria in a similar tone.
Because Google is constantly advancing its algorithms to ensure users are receiving the most relevant results for their search queries, SEO best practices are evolving in turn. So, stay educated on these trends to keep growing your organic traffic, and ultimately, your business.