Web entrepreneurs have a vision of scaling their business to earn thousands or millions of dollars and to sell their business so that they will get the freedom that they desire. This dream becomes reality for some. For many others, the dream never materializes.
One of the reasons the dream never gets realized is because the business owner uses the wrong system to grow and scale their business. While it is possible to make money with content and advertising business models, eCommerce is the model that brings in the big bucks. And scaling with eCommerce SEO can grow your business’s revenues exponentially.
eCommerce SEO allows business owners to earn free leads, which have a high probability of converting into high-value customers. Once it is implemented successfully into the business’s eCommerce system, the business simply needs to scale through a combination of new product lines, content publishing, and web promotion.
The eCommerce SEO specialists from Digital Next have worked with several eCommerce businesses and implemented an eCommerce SEO strategy to transform their business from 6 to 7 figure businesses within 24 months.
The team has shared the following steps to help other eCommerce businesses scale through their SEO channel so they too can become 7-figure businesses in the next 2 years.
Develop an SEO-friendly web infrastructure.
Success starts with the infrastructure of your eCommerce website. There are several CMS platforms that offer an eCommerce solution, however, all of these have their own set of benefits and disadvantages.
There are two things that you must consider:
- The eCommerce CMS (Content Management System)
- The eCommerce theme or framework
What do you need to consider when choosing a CMS for an eCommerce business?
Scaling the website.
Your website needs to have the infrastructure to scale in a way that organizes the accessibility to the content across the site through the website architecture. Most eCommerce platforms will have the infrastructure to support this. However, themes that are developed for those platforms might present some coding or structural issues for the site.
There are a few things that should be kept in mind when deciding which theme to select for your eCommerce site.
Scaling the cost.
Ideally, there should be a diminishing cost as your eCommerce website scales in its growth. The platform that offers the most cost-effective option is WordPress when the WooCommerce plugins are added to the site.
There is an upfront cost for the development with some ongoing annual subscription fees. However, the costs for publishing and managing more eCommerce pages and web traffic remain the same. This differs from Shopify who charges a recurring monthly fee of $29 per month to over $2000 per month (Shopify Plus) if an eCommerce business scales.
SEO plugin costs need to be considered as well.
On WordPress, there are several plugins in the WordPress repository that are free and well developed. Most of the premium plugins also offer a one-time development fee or a fairly-priced annual subscription fee.
Shopify on the other hand offers plugins developed by third-party developers that incur a monthly subscription fee. Some of these plugins may cost $10 a month. However, once 10 plugins are added, that’s an extra $100 a month in your business’s bottom-line costs.
In the screenshot below, you can see an example of the structured data plugin from Shopify’s repository, which incurs a monthly subscription fee.
Managing the website.
Shopify has certain management functions that are automated, such as the stock, inventory, reviews, and email marketing when it is set up properly. As an eCommerce store, it will eventually grow to a point whereby the options to manage the success of the store need to be scalable.
Some factors to consider with a Shopify eCommerce store include:
- Live web pages that are orphaned.
- Invaluable web pages or URLs that use up the website’s crawl budget.
- Navigation menu management
- Managing the site’s architecture (Pages, products, and categories)
You will need to invest in technical help or software, or a combination of both to help you manage these at scale across your Shopify store.
Fixes and repairs.
Not all platforms can have their backend easily accessed and amended. Especially when amends, changes, or customization is required. Different platforms incur a different set of skillsets, which incurs different pricing.
Below is a table that shows the estimated costs for web development across different CMS platforms.
|Platform||Estimated web development cost|
Source: Upwork Talent
Before deciding on a CMS framework for your eCommerce store, compare the features and benefits of each, and understand the operating and maintenance costs that are required and how they into your business’ eCommerce model.
Why opt for an eCommerce SEO strategy?
Traffic and conversions target a direct response audience.
An SEO eCommerce strategy allows a website to expand its reach across SEO keywords quickly. Unlike a content marketing strategy, the SEO eCommerce strategy focuses on direct response to conversions. So the visitors that land on the web page have a high intent to convert into customers.
For an eCommerce store to be successful with this strategy, the following needs to be implemented.
Publish SEO-friendly product pages
The product pages on your eCommerce store need to have the information well structured on the web page. A good eCommerce product page template will help you tick all of the SEO boxes so that your product has the best chance of ranking well in organic search.
The information that should appear on the product pages include:
- Keyword relevant description in the title of the product page.
- Keyword relevant description in the meta description.
- Images of the product and descriptive text written in the images.
- Reviews or testimonials of the product (And having them formatted with structured data or schema)
- Add product videos
- Add an information table about the product.
- Create long-form sales copy for the product landing page.
A good example of an eCommerce template can be seen on the Mr Pool Man site.
Organize the product pages into SEO-friendly categories
The product pages need to be organized in relevant categories so that it is easy for people and search engines to find what they are looking for.
The category web pages shouldn’t display any more than 100 links to relevant product pages.
The category pages can be split by pagination and filters, however, the canonical tags will need to be added to avoid duplication issues that could affect the website’s SEO performance.
Link to the pages and categories from the menu
Links to the categories should appear in the main navigation menu. These can also appear in the footer navigation as well. Depending on how many products the site has, these can be added into the navigation menu as well.
Note – Please make sure that you are using a web theme that supports adding categories and products in a UX-friendly way in the navigation menu.
Identify your market niche for your eCommerce store.
Before you start doing any kind of SEO eCommerce work, you must identify your niche market, where the product that your web business is selling solves the problems, desires, or needs of that market.
The solution must be specific.
Without the right product-market fit, the site won’t convert its web visitors into customers.
The eCommerce SEO strategy should have you conduct market research to identify the product-market fit, content gaps, USPs, and pitch angles so that your eCommerce website will have the maximum chance for success.
The video below can be used as a starting point for identifying your pitch angle.
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Should content be a part of the strategy?
Definitely! A website that implements the right content marketing strategy can expect exponential growth in its site’s eCommerce SEO performance. The image below shows the growth of an eCommerce site over 18 months that implemented a blogging strategy to build trust, links, and authority to their website.
In this case, the site consistently published at least 2 pieces of content per month and promoted the content across the web. The content focused on publishing topics that answered their questions or that aroused enough interest to share across other platforms on the web.
How long does it usually take to see an impact?
The “low-hanging fruit” keywords can start to have an impact between 30 to 90 days. However, it is common to start seeing an uplift in organic search traffic 6 to 9 months after the content marketing campaign has started. The key is to trust the process and be consistent with publishing content that will generate an SEO impact. And when the content starts performing, to track the commercial impact through the eCommerce revenue reporting.
How can link building be applied to eCommerce websites?
Improving the search engine positions of the products on your eCommerce website will require link building and outreach activities. Link acquisition strategies require creative approaches.
Some of the link-building tactics that can be applied include the following.
Find websites that publish product roundups for audiences in your niche. Collect the names, website addresses, and contact details of the websites and the authors that are responsible for publishing the product roundups.
Create an outreach email asking how to get products included in future roundups. In some cases, it is sufficient to send a link with information to the product. In other cases, the publishers will require samples to help them write about their experience with the product.
Influencers can promote your products and brand to their audience and trigger the online sharing of your eCommerce store’s content. The key is to find the right types of communities on the web that have relevant and scalable audiences that will share your site’s content.
Some of the influential platforms include the following:
- Review websites
- Personal blogs
- Facebook pages and groups
- Reddit groups (Sub-reddits)
- Pinterest pages
- Instagram accounts
- Popular Twitter profiles
- People or platforms with large email lists.
- People with a large database on video sharing sites (YouTube, Tiktok, Twitch.tv, Instagram video, Snapchat)
Focus on building an influencer network that can maximize your audience reach. The higher the number of relevant people that you can reach in your influencer audience, the more shares and links you should be able to acquire to your eCommerce store.
Guest blog posts
Guest blog posts are one of the most scalable and controllable tactics that can be scaled when doing SEO for eCommerce sites. If done well, the site can get featured across several websites to showcase its product, as well as its eCommerce platform and marketing activities.
Search for websites that have traffic or buyers on their platform that would be interested or incentivised by the product or pitch offer.
Should you pitch the product, you must ensure that there is a good “product-market fit” to maximize the relevancy between the site and the content that is on the product page.
Many guest blog opportunities tend to shy away from product promotions. However, webmasters and editors can make exceptions if they see value in the offer that’s presented.
There are several different types of discussion threads where you can subtly mention your eCommerce products as a solution. Participate in discussion threads, such as:
- Blog comments
- Forums or discussion boards (Conduct a keyword search on Boardreader)
- Fan pages
Ideally, your business will be able to create and own these types of online communities, which will allow you to promote your business’s eCommerce products and services, without the risk of getting expelled from the community.
Competitor backlink analysis
You can review the backlinks of other eCommerce businesses that have backlinks going to their site. Ideally, a paid backlink tool such as Ahrefs will provide you with an extensive list of backlinks and similar domains where you can harvest backlink data.
These backlinks can be qualified and then uploaded into a tool such as Buzzstream to collect the contact details of the web publishers. This can be followed up by outreach efforts to publish their link on the website.
The insights from Ahrefs will also show how often content topics get shared online via referring domains, and also through the “Top Content” tab, which shows how many times the content has been shared across social media. Additionally, the backlink report also shares the estimated traffic of the linking URL.
Focus on building your eCommerce prospect database from SEO.
Traffic leads from SEO can be converted using content marketing and retargeting funnels. eCommerce SEO can convert users that are seeking a direct response, as well as people searching at the “Top of the funnel” for broad general interest keywords that can be converted in the future.
The eCommerce website needs to capture visitors into a database, such as:
- A social media remarketing pool
- Paid search and display remarketing pool
- Email database
Additional revenue can be assisted by the SEO channel, with the final click attribution for conversions occurring in a different channel.
SEO in eCommerce is an awesome way to attract search traffic leads that have a high intention to convert at a low cost. When implemented correctly, the sales through your eCommerce store can increase 2 to 10 times or more. Take advantage of the tactics highlighted in this post to start growing your SEO eCommerce performance today!
Nathan Elly is the branch manager for Digital Next, a digital marketing agency based in Melbourne, Australia. When he isn’t busy optimizing web marketing campaigns, you can find him supporting his favorite football team or enjoying a friendly game of futsal.