How can you boost the ROI of your content marketing initiatives? First, create a documented strategy; 60 percent of companies with one had success with content marketing. Create resource articles, which are king.
Leverage content upgrades in your articles. For one thing, use email. Email content drives conversions. You can offer subscribers incentives to get them to sign up. These content upgrades are relevant and help users transact with you immediately. Also leverage content upgrades in your guest posts. If you offer bonus incentives that readers must sign up to receive, you’ll get good results.
If you’re in SEO, “gaming” Google is what you do. The good news is, there will never be an easier time to use SEO than right now. Over time, it’ll be harder to reverse-engineer ranking factors. The reality is, you must engage in SEO to do well in a competitive niche. You must write for users and search engines both.
Keyword density isn’t a reliable metric by itself any longer. A page has to be useful, and has to semantically earn the right to be on the front of the search results. Make sure your page is truly deserving; review ranking pages and related phrases and look for patterns. High quality content and links will help you earn your position.
It’s almost the make-or-break season for most e-commerce brands, and preparation is key. About 60 percent of brands will start promotion in September, with 29 percent doing it earlier than last year. After all, 74 percent of businesses say holiday sales account for 20 percent of their annual take.
Amazon gets 50 percent of sales in the U.S. for retailers. Brand websites come in at 23 percent, and third-party marketplaces that aren’t eBay or Amazon get 10 percent. Paid search gets seven percent. Black Friday is the most profitable day for most businesses, with Cyber Monday not far behind, and 82 percent of e-commerce brands are expecting sales to grow.
If you have a need or aspiration to grow your ecommerce website, SEO is surely a great way to gain more traffic. The cornerstone to ecommerce SEO is doing keyword research. And although the keyword research process seems straightforward and simple, there are a few things that one must know to get the most accurate results.
Ecommerce SEO is becoming more and more competitive by the month. For this reason, choosing the ideal keyword targets is paramount for success. In this post, I will give you three essential tips to help steer your ecommerce keyword research in the right direction.
Understanding the 3 Keyword Match Types
An important aspect of doing keyword research for ecommerce SEO is knowing the three keyword match types. These match types are Broad, Exact, and Phrase match, and although the primary purpose for each match type is for keyword bidding (via paid search advertising,) understanding the differences between each match type is imperative for search engine optimization.
Take a look at my example below regarding some research I was doing around “triathlon shorts.” Each match type is shown for the keyword “triathlon shorts;” however, each match type offers very different search volumes.
The reason why the search volumes for each match is so different is best understood by defining each match type:
- [triathlon shorts] (exact match) – search volumes accounts for only the two-word phrase triathlon shorts
- “triathlon shorts” (phrase match) – search volumes include exact matches, as well as variations with supportive outlier words (e.g. cheap triathlon shorts, triathlon shorts with butt pad, mens triathlon shorts)
- triathlon shorts (broad match) – search volumes account for all keyword searches that include similar semantics (e.g. tri shorts, womens shorts for triathlon, marathon shorts)
As you can see, the match types for broad and phrase match can seem very inflated from a SEO perspective. Broad match in particular is just too ambiguous to accurately account for the keyword’s traffic potential. When doing keyword research for ecommerce SEO, I strongly suggest de-selecting the broad match filter, and selecting the exact match option. This option is available in the left-hand navigation of the Google Keyword Tool.
Applying the Advanced Filter Options
In most cases when using the Google Keyword Tool in AdWords, you’ll need to adjust some of the advanced filter options. These settings enable you to set both the location and language parameters of your keyword results.
You can also modify the results to display search volumes based on the device people use to search Google. This information can be of value when creating mobile-specific search campaigns.
One setting that I strongly suggesting using is the filter option to “Only show ideas closely related to my search terms.” This check box is located just above the Advanced Options and Filters link.
The fact of the matter is, the Google Keyword Tool can provide search results for a lot of ideas that are broadly related to your initial keywords. This helps to keep your keyword research more focused while pinpointing those long-tails more efficiently.
Plug-in Keywords in Groupings
This next tip corresponds with the latter concept of keeping your research focused by using the filter options, especially the option to only show closely related ideas. Here you’ll want to use the Google Keyword Tool repetitively for select keyword groupings. That is, plug-in only a few keywords at time that are similar in context.
Based on our previous example, I’ll probably use this keyword grouping: triathlon shorts, tri shorts, triathlon short, shorts for triathlon. Next I might want to look at keywords around specific brands, variations (e.g. “tri” versus “triathlon”), and gender.
SEO for ecommerce requires thorough organization and planning. Organizing your keyword research in related groupings helps organize your thoughts. A segmented approach is optimal to generate cohesive strategies for SEO.
A lot web-savvy business owners believe SEO is something that can be handled in-house. While we respect their ambition and actually have faith in that belief (to some extent,) there are some contexts where search engine optimization requires the resources of a professional SEO provider.
Ecommerce is one of those contexts. SEO for ecommerce sites demands the services of an experienced company or team of providers.
I’ll give you two primary reasons:
- Ecommerce search marketing, in any almost any product niche, is going to be competitive. In short, there’s typically a handful of big fish spending a lot of money on SEO and Internet marketing.
- Time = Money. Ecommerce SEO is a long-term endeavor that can take a long time to see results. And because ecommerce sites are so deep, the SEO process is much more cumbersome and time consuming.
Additionally, Google’s search algorithm is constantly changing. Automated link building networks (a service that ecommerce SEO’s could thrive upon) is no longer as effective as they used to be. Staying abreast what’s working and what’s not is a part-time job in itself.
Google has cracked down black/gray hat SEO services, making quality content (such as top notch articles, videos, and blog posts) the gateway to SEO success.
Parallel to creating great content is sharing it with a relevant audience via social media. This has also made social signals (such as Google +1’s, Facebook likes, Tweets and Re-Tweets) more pronounced in Google’s search algorithm.
So not only does an ecommerce SEO service package need to include a properly-optimized website, it also should integrate quality-focused content creation and social media marketing (on an ongoing basis.)
This, my friends, is the new breed of SEO providers. Below are a few characteristics that define them and reinforce their position in the ecommerce SEO arena.
Empthy-Driven Content Creators
All solid SEO providers are empathy-driven. That is, they get an acute understanding of their target audience’s perspective and overall intentions.
A quality SEO provider will learn and absorb the nature of the ecommerce market just as well as the site’s marketing personnel. This analytical sense of market research, paired with creativity and planning, enables the creation of highly relevant and captivating content that can be optimized for search.
Resources and Capabilities
But what’s more than becoming enlightened is having the capacity to get it done. Ecommerce SEO demands an arsenal of resources and skill-sets, such as:
- Authoritative blogs and content publishing platforms (for link building)
- Video creation and optimization capabilities
- Social media marketing know-how, especially in Google+ and Facebook
- Both creative copywriting and SEO copywriting talent
- SEO-friendly web design and website optimization specialties
That said, ecommerce SEO service providers are often teams of niche specialists. You have your techies, your designers, your copywriters, and ‘SEO overseers.’ Each role is essential for the many projects involved in ecommerce SEO.
Ecommerce SEO Can Yield Incredible ROI
There’s a reason why ecommerce sites pursue search marketing so heavily. It’s highly effective and can offer incredible return on investment. Of course some product categories are more competitive than others, but the general idea is when ecommerce SEO is successful, it pays dividends.
A lot of research, immersion, planning, and execution goes into search engine optimization. Some of the most elementary decisions (namely, choosing the right keyword targets) can mean the difference between a profitable and a wasted investment. It’s thus important that for ecommerce, SEO should be managed in the hands of a professional.
In essence, there’s just way too much going on, man.
A good SEO consultant can help any company develop link building strategies that get their main page and specified keywords well-ranked with major search engines; and some companies assume that the works stops there.
In reality, a company focused on selling online needs to find ways to ensure that their product description pages (PDPs) are receiving links in order to help increase e-commerce conversion rates. To achieve this, the company needs to work with a reliable Atlanta SEO company on its Deep Linking SEO strategy.
Here are a few ways to increase Deep Linking SEO potential for any ecommerce site:
1) Solicit Product Reviews
It’s simple – if a company sends a reviewer a free sample or trial product and asks for a review, they’ll almost always receive a deep link in return. So long as the product is of a decent quality, a free sample encourages reviewers to be unbiased and fair in their analysis.
2) Guest Posting
Companies can begin the process of deep link building by making guest posts on other relevant sites. A sports clothing company might be able to guest post on a marathon running site about new technology in the world of sportswear and, in turn, include a link to their PDP in the footer of their post. This strategy is very strong for Ecommerce SEO campaigns.
3) Current Customers
A company can also ask for testimonials and links from current customers and those consumers who love the product. Many tech-savvy users have their own websites or blogs, and can help in the deep linking seo process.
Give away a free trial, phone app, or video, and make sure to put it on the PDP. People will come for the freebie, but see the product on their way through.
Deep linking SEO is in many ways more of an art than a science. A tailored Atlanta Link Building program of deep linking strategies can go a long way to increasing e-commerce conversion rates and boosting overall e-commerce sales via ecommerce search engine optimization.
Each new year presents its own challenges for companies looking to get ahead in the search engine optimization market. As advertising providers increase costs, customers become more savvy and social media continues to rise, a business must ensure that it is prepared for the coming of the new Search Engine Marketing year.
What is Going to Happen:
1) Social Media is not Going Away
Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter – the list is almost endless, but many social media websites are gaining in popularity and advertising power with each passing day. Recent studies have shown that most consumers will come in contact with Facebook advertising in some form during their buying process, even if the Facebook link is not the last one they click on.
2) Advertising Will Cost More, Customers Will Pay Less
Estimates put cost per click for Pay Per Click advertising increases at anywhere from 12-15% in the coming year, driving the amount a business must pay for advertising upward. At the same time, consumers, burned by the recent recession, have begun to use the Web as a tool for searching, rather than buying. Multiple searches are conducted for products and reviews analyzed, and companies need to be prepared to deal with this new reality.
3) Bing! Microsoft May Be a Winner
Despite coming late to the party, the Bing search engine has seen steady growth over the last year and is predicted to continue this upward trend into 2011.
4) Mobility May Mean Money
The marketplace has been crowing for years about the supposed age of mobile e-commerce, but very little aside from Web browsing has happened in the last half decade. Now, with Google working on a credit-card replacing phone and with start-up companies on track to make e-commerce viable, 2011 may just be the year of the mobile money-maker.
What Companies Need to Do About It:
1) Diversify search engine marketing strategies. Businesses need to use Facebook campaigns, viral marketing, and make sure that all of their advertising eggs are not in one basket.
2) Optimize effectiveness. Companies need to have SEO that is viable, straightforward and that generates targeted traffic in order to convert searches to sales.
3) Invest in Bing marketing. Google is still the big fish in this ocean, but Bing cannot be ignored by savvy companies. A good SEO Company should advise that Bing marketing dollars be increased.
4) Do not ignore mobile. This might not be the year it goes big, but waiting an extra 12 months could mean significant lost sales. Start testing the waters using the Google AdWords platform and see what comes up.
2011 will continue the trend of increased SEO diversity and it’s important for your company to understand on how to capitalize on these growing search engine marketing trends in the new year!
In 2006, Twitter was launched and the site now has over 175 million users generating 65 million “tweets” per day. Tweets are short messages created by users that have a maximum of 140 characters and are, by default, available for the public to see. They are intended to convey specific, relevant information; and it has long been speculated that the site’s growing popularity would have an influence on search engine rankings, a fact recently confirmed by both Google and Bing.
A number of websites have now taken up the cause to see just what impact tweets and the Twitter universe have on search engine rankings overall. Some sites have gone so far as to create two separate linking pages: one promoted via Twitter only, and one via “normal” link building methods in an effort to see which type of advertising – social or traditional – would have a greater impact on Ecommerce SEO. Though long-term data is not yet available, the Twitter-based page in one example was able to easily out-distance its link-based competitor in the first few days the experiment was run.
What Does This Mean for E-commerce Companies?
This means that ignoring social media is not an option. It is a near-certainty that the link and tweet-based pages will begin to overlap and influence each other, eventually leading to a stronger search engine ranking for both. This then means that companies must find Search Engine Marketing providers that are able to not only simply create viable organic keyword SEO ranking sets and generate traditional links, but also create targeted tweeting and other social-media driven Internet marketing campaigns.
Opinions matter, especially those given in the moment, a fact that Twitter has capitalized on to substantial effect. In order to compete in the new e-commerce marketplace, companies must get more involved in social media and be prepared to tweet!
Holiday Marketing is Crucial to Increasing Online Sales
With the holidays fast approaching and the rise of such pre-holiday events such as Cyber Monday, companies are advised to tweak their online marketing strategies. According to statistics gathered after 2009’s Cyber Monday sale, peak buying times saw over 7 million visits to sites per minute. With the proper advertising and marketing, these visits can translate into big sales numbers.
There are a number of simple holiday marketing strategies that can be employed by any business to increase both targeted traffic and ecommerce sales during the holiday season.
1. Web Design and Display
As soon as Halloween was over, retail stores have Christmas trees up and Carols playing on the loudspeakers. While an online business may not need to jump so early, adding holiday web design touches to a website can show consumers that the site is up to date and has specials for the holidays.
Along that same line, make sure to use those expectations for specials to showcase best-selling items and ones that are actually in stock. Whatever is getting sold should be around to ship out.
2. Pay-per Click (PPC)
Start early with Pay Per Click strategy by designing PPC ads with holiday marketing wording and special deals. Keep track of which PPC ad performs the best and use variations on it for the rest of the holiday season.
Google AdWords does a great job of retargeting, which is the science of showing people who has stopped by a website but not bought anything from the ads for that same website when they surf somewhere else. This IP-based technology involves dropping a cookie into the user’s Web browser, and can be a very worthwhile investment for holiday marketing campaigns.
With the right holiday marketing strategy, online retailers can significantly increase both traffic and sales on their website.