5 Best eCommerce practices to follow
Higher rankings in Google translate to more sales. But actually getting your site ranked is not as easy as it once was. Competition is fiercer than ever as businesses compete for the same keywords. And algorithm updates also threaten to push your rankings further down the search results. Implementing an SEO strategy is key to staying ahead of the competition.
|13 December 2015
Best eCommerce Marketing Practices to Follow
Proven Tactics to Grow Your Ecommerce Sales
Higher rankings in Google translate to more sales.
But actually getting your site ranked is not as easy as it once was.
Competition is fiercer than ever as businesses compete for the same keywords. And algorithm updates also threaten to push your rankings further down the search results. Implementing an SEO strategy is key to staying ahead of the competition.
According to data from Advanced Web Ranking, the first five results in the search results account for 67% of clicks while the second and third page accounts for a measly 5.59%:![Proven-Tactics-to-Grow-Your-Ecommerce-Sales](//images.ctfassets.net/u2krgyt7bvx0/14F8mAGChEgBNuTogSGIHm/8c239d6dff350fc93f8cf59787e1f068/Proven-Tactics-to-Grow-Your-Ecommerce-Sales.png)
What does this mean?
If your site is not ranking, your business is losing out on traffic and sales.
The goal of SEO is to optimise your site and build authority for the keywords you are targeting. It is a proven process but it also requires a long-term outlook as the strategies involved takes time to implement. The good news is that it is not too late to get started. In fact, it is in your best interest to do so as a better-optimised site is more likely to rank.
With that said we look at six e-commerce SEO best practices that will help your online store attract more traffic and sales.
1. Target the Right Keywords
Targeting the right keywords can mean the difference between struggling to rank and traffic figures that show steady growth.
One mistake that we see business owners make all too often is going too broad. For example, keywords such as “running shoes” or “digital cameras” attract a good amount of traffic. But they are also incredibly competitive which means it could take years to rank for them. These are exactly the type of keywords to avoid at least until your site is more established.
A better approach is to target long tail keywords which actually drive more search traffic than their shorter counterparts.![Target-the-Right-Keywords](//images.ctfassets.net/u2krgyt7bvx0/fdOBE11XJ2CwP9T4hmE78/b5a6f1e131453b4e88a48f3bdfa405b5/Target-the-Right-Keywords.png)
Examples of long tail keywords include “discount Nike running shoes” and “best digital cameras for beginners”. They are not only much more targeted, but they also have less competition. Google’s Keyword Planner is an excellent tool to identify keywords you can target.
2. Optimise On-Page Factors
People use search engines to find information.
So it makes sense for content to be one of the most important ranking factors. If your content is lacking or not properly optimised, your pages still little chance of ranking. Start with optimising the following on-page factors and ensure that your target keywords are in these strategic locations:
- Title tags
- Meta descriptions
- Product copy
- Image ALT tags
Another important factor is your content.
Manufacturers typically have short descriptions of their products listed on their site. The problem though is that hundreds of other resellers are also using these same descriptions. Create your own product descriptions to combat duplicate content. Remember to include your target keywords and craft your copy to entice visitors to click the buy button.
3. Make Your Site Easy to Navigate
Site navigation is another key structure that often gets overlooked.
Visitors will not hesitate to click the back button if your site is not user-friendly.
Anyone landing on your site should be able to find the exact product they are looking for. The best way to do so is to focus on a “flat architecture” meaning that categories and subcategories are only a few clicks away. Here is an example of how Target structures their site:![Make-Your-Site-Easy-to-Navigate](//images.ctfassets.net/u2krgyt7bvx0/6hagRB0nbNGcUPrYYzOm0C/7f55c5fca4872eabf1675722b94ba459/Make-Your-Site-Easy-to-Navigate.png)
Categories make it easy to organise related products together.
If you sell appliances, here is how you might structure your site:
- Refrigerators > French Door Refrigerators > Samsung
- Microwaves > Convection Microwaves > Whirlpool
A little bit of planning can really go a long way to take this step seriously as it can be difficult to change your site structure later on.
4. Increase Website Speed
Each second counts.
And each one that passes while your site is loading could mean losing the sale.
Consumers have very little patience and expect sites to load quickly whether they are on a desktop or mobile device. Speed is also a ranking factor so your pages could be lower in the search results if they are too slow to load.
Use the PageSpeed Insights tool to see how your site stacks up. You can see how your site performs on both desktop and mobile, and suggestions on improving both:![Increase-Website-Speed](//images.ctfassets.net/u2krgyt7bvx0/1sObCwgogSjcxu60MZTYY8/552b34de61d347051a7b1d16fe97525f/Increase-Website-Speed.png)
If your pages are taking longer than a few seconds to load, you could be losing sales.
Here are suggestions to speed up your site:
- Minimise HTTP requests
- Reduce server response time
- Enable compression and browser caching
- Optimise image sizes and their format
- Use a content delivery network
Every second counts so take these steps to improve your site speed.
5. Invest in a Mobile Friendly Design
Mobile traffic has now overtaken desktop traffic.![mobile-friendly-design](//images.ctfassets.net/u2krgyt7bvx0/4DsMWwmDqyTFlmoaRbQ26H/3139ae41cd6ca2c3e8141b0eb81e375c/mobile-friendly-design.png)
More consumers are now using their smartphones to shop online.
But the reality is that there are still many sites that are not optimised for mobile devices. So consumers are forced to zoom in and shop from a site that was meant for a much larger display. To combat this, Google released a major update to its algorithm that makes mobile friendliness a ranking factor. Which means that your site could be ranking a lot lower if it is not properly optimised for mobile devices.
Here are the steps to make your site mobile friendly:
- Visit the mobile-friendly test tool: Google has an excellent tool that lets you check if your site is optimised for mobile devices. Enter the URL of your site and click on the Analyse button.
- Choose a mobile configuration: A site that has responsive design means that the site dynamically changes to accommodate any display resolution. Responsive design is actually Google’s recommended configuration and has a number of benefits in terms of SEO.
- Follow all best practices: This means avoiding the use of uncommon software such as Flash, ensuring that text is readable without having to zoom, and placing links far enough apart so the correct one can be selected.
Mobile matters and absolutely needs to be a priority from an e-commerce standpoint.
Investing in SEO is an investment for your business.
Higher visibility in the search results equates to more targeted traffic and sales. But simply having a site is not enough as the competition is stronger than ever. Even if you implement all the best practices outlined here, SEO is not a one-time ordeal. Google is constantly changing its ranking algorithm so you need to stay on top of the latest update and adjust your approach accordingly.
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