4 Biggest Missed SEO Opportunities in Ecommerce
It was meant to be so easy….
- Build a store,
- Add content and optimize meta-tags,
- Set up social profiles, and
- Get some links.
And the traffic’s just going to roll.
But… there’s nothing.
You get an odd visit from the search engine, that’s all.
What the …. ?!
You’ve followed every SEO advice you could find and did everything by the book.
So, why you get no results?
For one, because, in spite of all you’ve done, you’re still not using SEO to the full.
And in this post I’ll show you 4 of the most commonly missed SEO opportunities in ecommerce.
Targeting Too Generic Product Keywords
It’s an easy mistake:
You conduct a thorough keyword research, spot a very popular term relating to your product and jump right in to optimize the page for it.
For most part, those highly popular keywords are also:
- Highly competitive. There might be hundreds if not thousands of other sites trying to rank for them, and
- Too generic to drive converting traffic. Many customers use those keywords only at the early stages of the buying cycle.
And thus, in spite of seeming like a great opportunity, these keywords will be extremely hard to rank for and might still bring little conversions.
Let me show you how it works.
There are 4 types of keywords that relate to different stages of the buying cycle:
These are keywords usually covering a very broad topic. Searchers use them mainly to find information or answers but rarely to find products they’d be interested in buying.
Users typically use them to find information about a particular brand or company. If you also operate a brick and mortar store, for instance, they might be of use to you.
Otherwise, navigational keywords present little opportunity for online stores.
These keywords help customers find and compare solutions before buying. They are often generic and include generic category or product name (i.e. “desk lamp” etc.)
Commercial keywords might bring conversions but generally, customers searching for them are still early in the buying process.
These keywords however receive high traffic and are ideal to use on home page or generic landing pages.
Transactional keywords on the other hand lead straight to purchase. Customers use them when they’re ready to buy. These keywords often include terms like “buy” or “for sale” etc.
They attract lower traffic volume compared to commercial keywords but achieve a much higher conversion rate.
When selecting keywords to optimize product pages, go beyond just commercial keywords and focus on transactional ones as well.
Firstly, it might be easier to rank for them. And secondly, they might help attract more converting traffic.
Ranking Not Enough Content
Even though they are the first content you try to rank, product pages aren’t the only content that could attract traffic from search engines.
When promoting the site in search you should be focusing on customers at different stages of the buying cycle:
Product and landing pages could cater to customers already looking to buy.
But blog posts, explainer pages, product usage cases and many others could help you attract prospects who are only considering purchasing what you sell.
Here, let me show you how it works:
Customers typically search online with one of those three intents:
1. Intent to Learn
These searchers look for more information about their problem. In fact, many of them don’t fully realize its full extend yet. For instance, a person might notice that their laptop is slow, the system takes twice as long as normally to load etc.
And so she begins to search for what might be the reason.
2. Intent to Compare
Searchers with this intent already know their problem and are looking for solutions. They evaluate available alternatives to pick the one that’s best for them.
That’s the buying stage during which they might land on your product or landing page.
Intent to Buy
Lastly, these searchers already know what they want to purchase and are looking for the best place to do so.
And depending on their intent, these searchers will have different content needs.
Customers with the intent to learn will first seek information about their problem. For instance, someone whose laptop is working slowly might be looking for information about what’s causing the problem.
And thus, they will seek out blog posts with information and advice on the problem.
Customers with the intent to compare already know their problem and are familiar with available solutions. But they don’t know which one to get. And thus, they evaluate every one of them.
Creating and ranking such content as comparisons, videos, presentations and many others could attract them to your site and convince to purchase your solution.
Lastly, customers with the intent to buy are ready to make a purchase. These are the customers you should target your product and landing pages at.
But b focusing only on one the last group you’re missing out on a huge search traffic opportunity.
Map your customers’ entire buying journey and create content to target them at every stage of the buying cycle.
Not Encouraging the Customer Involvement
User generated content is often the simplest way to inject large amounts of original and keyword rich copy onto your pages.
But what is user generated content (UGC) anyway?
Wikipedia defines it as:
“[…] any form of content such as blogs, wikis, discussion forums, posts, chats, tweets, podcasting, pins, digital images, video, audio files, advertisements and other forms of media that was created by users of an online system or service […]”
In Ecommerce, the most common form of UGC is reviews.
Customers leaving reviews for a product in turn, extend its product page with additional, fresh and unique content for the search engines.
What’s more, because these customers describe the product, they enrich the page with highly relevant keywords.
And since these come directly from customers, they would be the exact terms your audience would use to find similar products.
They also improve your rankings for such terms as “Product name” + Review. In turn, this would help attract customers with the intent to compare as well.
Reviews also make your site trustworthy. According to one study, 63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a site that has user reviews (source).
Poor Category Pages
Typically category pages include nothing more but:
- A category’s name,
- Thumbnails and some basic information of products within a category,
- Basic T&Cs or links to other, related categories.
That however isn’t enough information for such page to rank.
There is a huge opportunity in converting standard category pages into landing pages targeting category related keywords.
Here are some ways to achieve it:
Add introductory information
Expand the page’s content by adding a proper headline and copy introducing the category. Explain the benefits of these types of products, highlight their main use and syndicate some of the best sellers’ reviews.
Include your main USP
Even though it’s typically short, USP will also extend the body copy plus provide value and proof why a person should consider buying from you.
Interlink to those pages too
It’s common for online stores to interlink to product pages alone. And yet, directing users to category pages might provide them with additional value of discovering all available alternatives to a solution they’re seeking.
Plus it will help pass authority to those pages.
Creative commons image by hobvias sudoneighm / flickr