A sound Ecommerce SEO and a professionally designed website are the cornerstone of ecommerce success. While one cannot go without the other, it is generally understood that even the best looking, most professionally designed website will inevitable fall by the wayside if no effort is made to make your website known to the public and encourage visitors to come and check it out.
Traffic is the key. And this traffic has to be highly qualified, targeted at visitors who are truly interested in what your website has to offer.
Search Engine Marketing has changed over the years
Once upon a time, keyword stuffing was considered to be the way to go in order to draw favor from the powers that be, the search engines of yesteryears so that they might list your site at the top of their ranking on Search Results Pages (SERPs).
And then one day, google entered the fray…
And everything changed.
Why? Because google makes an average of 500 yearly updates of its search ranking algorithm, all designed to give the user the best answers to their questions. It is fair to assume that a large number of these updates are designed to weed out SEO optimizers’ bad habits, whether they be intentional or coincidental.
If there’s one thing savvy search engine optimizers can agree on, it is the realization that while it is impossible to look under the hood of google’s famed and secretive algorithm formula, it is possible to draw deductions based on past updates and understand how these have affected website rankings.
SEO updates affect the SEO industry directly. Website owners who are ignoring them do so at their own peril.
One thing is sure: Google doesn’t like black hat SEO and it is possible to venture a hypothesis that most of their updates are designed to fight the black hat community.
One such update, for example, targeted the practice of bulk linking from link farms, sites of relatively low authority, or, heaven forbid, spammy sites. The result was that, at best, thousands of websites lost their rankings and, at worst, found themselves “sandboxed” in google’s own version of online hell.
With that in mind, how do you combine good website design with sound SEO practices for your ecommerce site?
Firstly, it is important to have realistic expectations. Here is a thought most of us have probably had in our head when drawing plans for a new website idea:
I have a brand-new site and I want 100K google visitors per month within a year and all these visitors must be organic!
As much as this would be an ideal situation for any small to mid-sized business website, you will need to evaluate the size of your industry. Getting thousands of visitors per month (and more) is the goal of most people but you need to ask yourself the following question:
Is my market big enough to sustain that kind of traffic?
The truth is that not all niches have the kind of audiences that can sustain that kind of traffic.
Irrespective of the size of your market, in order for you to position yourself above your competitors in terms of search engine rankings, you will have to rely on sound SEO strategies.
SEO is not all that hard. However, it requires real and sustained hard work, and most people aren’t ready to put this kind of effort.
That being said, here what you could do to get the ball rolling:
1) Write excellent quality articles.
The key here is to write extensive articles of the highest quality that are more detailed and more thoroughly researched than those of your direct competitors. If you can write your own articles, so much the better, but if writing is not your forte, there are excellent resources online where you can hire a writer to write the articles for you.
Remember: you get what you pay for. Writing a well-researched article is an art and takes time. So, stay away from those $10 article offers out there. Remember, the article is going to be a cornerstone article in your website, one which has the potential to generate substantial traffic to your site. When your traffic does eventually get to the thousands of visitors a month per article, you will find the initial cost of the article to be money well spent.
2) Do on-page optimization. There are many resources that give information on what on-page optimization is and there are several plugins that analyse the content of an article and make on-page optimization suggestions.
3) Ensure that the article you’ve just written is visually appealing, has images and or videos to support its content, and fits within the context of your site image.
Do remember, when designing your pages, that the brain takes a fraction of a second to determine if a page is worthy of being explored and that determination is made by the visual cortex, the part of the brain which relies on visual signals exclusively. In other words, a site that is not visually appealing to the visual cortex will have serious consequences on whether a visitor stays on your page or not.
4) Find high ranking articles from your competitors. Try to find the highest ranked urls who specialize in your exact niche.
You can find those quality, high metrics websites by going to sites like buzzsomo, majestic or hrefs and querying those portals with the topic of your article. Drill down to a site with high metrics and check who is linking to it.
You’ll want to gather a list of really high metrics websites who only offer high quality content and who are linking to your competitor’s article. Stay away from poor sites with poor and spammy content.
5) Get ready to manually contact each and every one of these websites. You will want to try and get the owners of these websites to look at your own article, agree that yours is also a high-quality article which they might want to link to.
This is a labor-intensive process but many marketers shy away from it. It is important to remember that incoming links from high quality sites can have a huge and very positive impact on the sites they are linking to. They can increase the metrics of your own site, push impressions up, and improve rankings.
This process takes a lot of time and effort but the good news is that there are places where you can hire people to this work for you. And they are a lot more affordable than you might think!
6) Go on a “freelance for hire” portal like Upwork where very competent freelancers can be hired for a fraction of the price you might have to pay in the US and get them to do the outreach for you.
7) Get the freelancer to start building an SEO template. Excel is perfect for that.
You will want him or her to make a list of all the quality websites you found on the above portals. Here are columns you might want to have in your document:
- The title of the linking article
- Its url
- The anchor text used
- The url it is linking to
- The contact email address
- Name of the webmaster
- Email address
- Email text
- Date sent
- Reminder date sent
- Verification (your verification as you might want to check the email text for grammatical or other types of errors)
8) Once the template is completed, personally verify that the emails templates make sense and are grammatically correct. Approve each line accordingly and get the freelancer to start emailing all the prospects on that list.
9) For that you will need a Gmail account which your freelancer will use to contact all of the websites listed on the template which you will have approved.
Doing business online has become a lot more competitive. Websites have to be visually appealing, well-constructed, and, most importantly, be rich in high quality content. If you have such a site, then bringing traffic to your site is the next step in your website evolution and the best way to do so is through Search Engine Optimization. SEO provides exposure to the search engine and as a result generates powerful boosts of rankings in terms of organic search.
The more visitors you get to your site, the more likely you are to make a sale and at the end of the day, this is probably the number one reason why you spending so much time and effort on your ecommerce site, isn’t it?