The Ecommerce  SEO Guide

for Fun and Profit

Chances are you’ve come across this page because you’re on the hunt for those elusive ecommerce SEO tips, hacks, hidden codes and age-old secrets. To help you in this quest, the experts at Snap have put together this extremely extensive, mindblowingly-awesome guide to nailing your ecommerce SEO strategy. Crush your competitors, see a larger return on your investment and watch your profits skyrocket.

Let’s start the journey, people.

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What You’ll Find in this Guide

Click the toggles to navigate to the sections of the guide

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Ecommerce SEO Starts with Research

Keyword Research

Before you set out to identify keyword ranking opportunities, let’s first take a look at the path to purchase.

A potential customer has a problem. However, they’re not quite sure what the solution is. After some initial research, they become aware of a product that could offer a solution. Now, they need to narrow down the options. Researching further, they select the specific product type that meets their criteria. They’re ready to buy. The customers shops around for the specific product, finds the best purchasing option and completes the transaction.

Sales Funnel PNG Image, SEO for E-commerce in Minneapolis or the Twin Cities, in Minnesota

At first, all that this potential customer needed was information. They didn’t know what they didn’t know. With a potential solution at hand, they decided to investigate further to understand their options. Finally, they were intent on completing a transaction. Wouldn’t it be great to capture this potential customer at each step of their purchasing decision? Do you think it would influence them to buy from you if they landed on your ecommerce site multiple times during this process?

Don’t just dump a list of keywords into a spreadsheet and call it a day. Be calculating throughout your keyword research. Organizing them into three buckets – informational, investigative, transactional – will allow you to identify keywords relative to their level of buying intent, generate awesome content ideas, and generate search traffic for each step of the purchasing decision.

Informational keywords answer the when, where, how and why of your product. They are great idea generators for blog posts, in-depth articles, buying guides, and any other content that is meant to inform the consumer. It’s a great opportunity to find long-tail keywords that address a specific questions in your niche. Examples of informational keywords include: benefits of [product], how to use a [product] or types of [product].

Investigative keywords contain product attributes, such as color, size, weight, etc. These keywords should be used when creating content resources for your consumer as well as category pages. Examples of investigative keywords include: blue [product], mini [product] or used [product].

Transactional keywords indicate a high level of buyer intent by including a specific product (make or model) or obvious indicators such as “for sale”. Transactional keywords can used on product pages as well as throughout your other content marketing efforts. Examples of transactional keywords include: cheapest [product], buy [product] or a search for a product model. 

Our favorite keyword research tools:

For a comprehensive resource on keyword research tools and methodology, check out the keyword research guide by Backlinko.

Trend Analysis

Knowing search volume is not enough. You need to understand whether that volume is going up or down, and if there are growing alternative terms that would be a better choice for your site.

Google Trends let’s you see historical trend data, highlights rising search terms, and make forecasts for multiple queries.

Read our previous post on how to identify trending keywords for your ecommerce SEO strategy.

Competitive Analysis

Know your neighbors. Make a list of close competitors and one industry leader to audit for their ecommerce marketing strategies. The goal of a competitive analysis is to understand what your competition is doing well and where the opportunities exist to provide a better online shopping experience.

The Quick and Dirty Analysis

Using the free website analyzer by Quick Sprout, you can get a quick assessment of your search engine optimization and compare your score to up to three competitors. How do you compare?

 Check Page Speed

A high load time can negatively impact user experience and, therefore, your appearance in search results. Check your load time and get recommendations from Google’s PageSpeed Insights.

 On-Page Factors

Are you implementing keywords on your site properly? Compare your title tags, meta descriptions, URLs, image alt tags and header tags to be sure that you are using relevant keywords when you have the opportunity.

Read Rand Fishkin’s guide for keyword targeting and on-page SEO to learn what a perfectly-optimized page looks like.

 Indexed Pages

The larger the footprint your site has, the greater the opportunity to rank. How many indexed pages do you have compared to your competition? Check Quick Sprout or do a Google “site:” search (i.e. site:www.snapagency.com) and check the number of results.

 Backlinks

When other sites link to you, it conveys to search engines that you are a relevant resource for your search market and you’ll be rewarded with improved rankings. How many inbound links do you have in comparison to your competitors? What linking opportunities do you see based on the sites that a linking to your competitors?

Use the free backlink tool by Open Link Profiler for this research.

 Domain Authority

Domain authority (DA) is a measure of trust that search engines have for your domain. Alone, it doesn’t tell you much. But, when you compare your DA to your competitors, you can get a good understanding of how search engines value your site.

Now that you have this information, you should strive to match, then surpass, your competition in the above key categories.

User Experience

Providing a better user experience than your competitors is your best strategy for generating more organic search traffic and more conversions. Spend time using your competitors websites. What do you like about them? What do you not like about them? Make note of the following:

Page Layouts

Laying out site elements properly has a huge impact on whether or not a visitor is sticking round. Mark the location of the logo, navigation, contact information, shopping cart, key messaging, imagery and body content. Is anything difficult to find? Due to evolution of web design best practices, visitors have an expectation of where key page elements should be located. Take a look at the wireframe below.

Navigation

Menu and Sub-Menus. What do you see in your competitors navigational areas? An uncluttered, intuitive navigation will make it easier for consumers to find the product they’re looking for.

Clicks-to-Cart.Cutting down on extra steps improves conversion rates. Pick a product that you wish to “purchase”, then back all the way out to the homepage. Using the website’s navigation, how many clicks does it take to add the product to the cart?

Checkout

How long does it take to add product to the cart and get through the checkout process? What extra information do you request from your customers that the competition doesn’t? What payment options are offered that you don’t?

Check out this awesome audit of the checkout processes for some of the largest ecommerce companies in the world – including Zappos and Walmart.

Site Messaging

Unique Value PropositionsWhat are your competitors bragging about that makes them unique? What distinguishes your ecommerce company that is not being promoted on the current website?

Calls-to-Action. CTAs consist of text or imagery that directs site visitors to take a specific action. What are your competitors doing to encourage visitors to buy? Where are they placing these CTAs?

Risk Reversals. Risk reversals reduce the consumers perceived risk of purchasing your product. Do your competitors market money-back guarantees or free shipping? How does your return policy stack up against theirs?

Content

What resources are your competitors providing to their site visitors? It may be blog posts, whitepapers, video tutorials, infographics, and more.

How are your competitors communicating with consumers? Note their social, email marketing and PR initiatives.

Audit Your Site for SEO & Ecommerce Best Practices

So at this point, you’ve looked at the search landscape and your competitors. It’s time to turn your attention to your website. Using what you’ve learned from your research, how does your site stack up in these key areas?

Site Architecture

Great site architecture balances business goals with user desires. It should lay out an intuitive path to checkout while encouraging users with the information they need to move forward. Your site architecture also determines how quickly and efficiently search engines can crawl your site.

Start by creating a visual representation for your site in the form of a sitemap. Define where each page lives in the hierarchy that is your website.

example of a sitemap hierarchy

Next, define the purpose of each page. Does it exist for navigation, information or conversion? Navigation pages direct visitors to the next step, such as a category page. An information page does exactly what it sounds like – it informs the visitor so that they can make a future purchasing decision, like a blog post or article. A conversion page is where your visitors make a purchase, submit a form, download an asset or perform any other activity that you would define as a conversion.

Now, look at each page and answer the question: what would it take for a visitor to take the next step? For example, what would encourage a consumer to go from a category page to a product page?

This will help you determine where pages should be in the hierarchy of your sitemap and how they should be linked to one another to keep visitors on the path to conversion.

Here’s a great walk-through of the steps you need to take to get your website architecture right.

On-Page Optimization

Search engines measure the relevancy and value of your website for placement in SERPs. A website that effectively positions key on-page elements for search engines will be deemed relevant and able to capitalize on an ongoing digital marketing strategy.

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URLs

URLs describe a site or page to visitors and search engines. Keeping them simple, accurate and keyword-dense is essential for ranking well.

Good
www.example.com/mens/shoes/running-shoes

Bad
www.example.com/category1/productid=1234

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Page Titles

Title tags define the title of a page. You may be familiar with how they appear in search results, as the blue hyperlink text.

What you may not be familiar with, is how you write one for search engine. Take a look at the snippet of code below to see how we wrote this page title for our SEO Services page.

Page titles are opportunities to use relevant keywords and reinforce your brand. A well-written page title is unique from any other page title on the website, will entice a searcher to click and stay within the 70 character limit.

search result page title for seo services

code for a page title about seo

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Meta Descriptions

Meta descriptions are a short summary of the web page. You see them most option as the descriptions in search engine results pages. Like page titles, they should be unique, use relevant keywords, and be under 156 characters.

highlighting a meta description in serps

snippet of code for a meta description on seo

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Canonical Tags

Canonical tags communicate to search engines so that you get credit for original content and don’t get penalized for duplicates. This is especially important for ecommerce sites, which oftentimes have duplicate product information on multiple web pages.

snippet of code for a canonical tag

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Image ALT Text

Do you want your products to be showing up in image search results? ALT text also informs search engines of the context of an image. It’s another opportunity to use relevant keywords and earn placement in search results.

ALT text is included in the <img> tag and used to call up images. A great tip for crafting quality ALT text is to pretend like you are describing the image to someone who is blind (which was its original intention). Don’t force a keyword if it’s not relevant for describing the image.

Promark Offroad winch

example alt text for promark utility winch

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Schema Markup

Schema markup helps search engines understand the purpose of content on your web pages and display better results in the form of rich snippets. This means that information about recipes, addresses, movies and more can be display directly on the search engine results pages. For ecommerce sites, items like product reviews, pricing, and availability should contain schema markup to improve click-through-rates from organic search.

For more information on what Schema is and how to use it on your website, check out this FAQ. Use Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool to test if you are implementing rich snippets correctly.

example of rich snippets

Here’s a sample of what the HTML code looks like to call out these elements.

example of schema markup

Content Issues

A website’s content has the greatest influence on its visibility in organic search results. By adhering to certain best practices, you can position your content for success in search engine results pages.

Duplicate Content

Duplicate content is content that appears on the Internet in more than one place. Search engines prefer not to display multiple results containing the same content. Instead, they’ll seek out the original or omit duplicates altogether. Eliminating duplicate content issues will prevent your site from being penalized.

Thin Content

To search engines, thin or low-word-count content can be associated with poor quality. To demonstrate the value of your website’s content, we recommend that you provide sufficient content on your web pages. We recommend a minimum of 500 words for each page that you would like to appear in search results.

Internal Linking

Linking between relevant internal pages creates a good user experience and allows search engines to associate pieces of relevant content to better understand which search terms you should be ranking for. Having “dead ends” on your site impede the progress of search engine robots and signify poor site structure.

Resolve any issues where pages are returning error codes and create links between key site pages.

External Linking

Don’t be hesitant to link to external sites when an outside resource is relevant to one of your web pages. A common misconception is that by linking to external websites, site visitors will exit your site and you will lose SEO value. However, research has shown that linking to authoritative sites can improve your site’s SEO and allow search to correctly associate you with the keyword categories.

Usability

Site Speed

Navigate over to Google’s PageSpeed Insights and plug in your homepage URL. What you’re hopefully seeing is a lot of green, what you’re likely seeing is a lot of red. A speedy site improves usability and positively impacts search engine rankings. Common fixes include:

  • Minify Javascript, HTML and CSS files

  • Use browser caching

  • Compress imagery

  • Reduce server response time

Navigation

Keep menu items limited to the key actions that you want visitors to take. Move everything else to a sub-menu or the footer. While it may seem to provide a better user experience if you give visitors many options for exploring your site, it actually overwhelms them.

Check out these resources before tackling your site’s navigation:

Mobile Compatibility

Consumers are getting more comfortable shopping on their mobile devices. If your website doesn’t cater to this segment, you’re missing out on some serious revenue.

  • All page elements should fit the device’s screen resolution. That means scrolling should only be up and down, not left or right.

  • Make sure that tap targets aren’t too small.

  • Use font sizes that are legible.

  • Ensure that any plugins you may be using work on mobile devices

Checkout

Keep your checkout process simple. On average, two-thirds of ecommerce shoppers add items to the cart without completing the transaction. Move your customers through to purchase quickly and efficiently to avoid high rates of cart abandonment. Jump the the section on checkout best practices.

Ecommerce Web Design & Conversion Optimization

Shopping on an ecommerce store offers many opportunities that shopping in a retail store doesn’t. On the Internet, it’s easier to cram a lot of information into a small computer screen. Now, you don’t want to disregard design by overloading the consumer with information, but you definitely want to display the most important aspects of your company and website immediately and clearly.

You want to make sure your encompassing all design best practices on your ecommerce website. Injecting buzzwords into your calls to action and copy will help motivate the consumer to adopt your brand. Using reassuring terms, like “guaranteed” and “lifetime warranty” will instill trust in the shopper. Making sure your content matches your design scheme is important as well. If you’re writing about monster trucks, you probably don’t want to be using cursive font and a lot of pink in your overall design.

Data shows that about more than half of all shoppers will not return to a website if they don’t like the overall aesthetics. On top of that, you only have about 3-5 seconds to impress the visitor before they decide to bounce. Many shoppers will form their opinion of your site based on the design aspect alone. Just like a brick-and-mortar store, you want to make it easy for them to navigate to the checkout line.

It’s important to note that 93% of consumers consider visual appearance and color above all other factors. That seems obvious, considering you can’t really smell, or touch an ecommerce store, but it just reiterates the fact that a great ecommerce web design strategy for your business is what will draw the consumer in.

Understanding the Conversion Funnel

You can please everyone all of the time. Studying your site’s conversions funnel will teach you that. However, you can optimize your website to please most people, most of the time. As the visualization below demonstrates, there are many causes as to why a visitor might exit your site.

Poor traffic, usability, calls-to-action and forms are just a few. Why are these seemingly minor issues worth addressing? An increase in conversions by just 1% can make a huge impact on an ecommerce site’s bottom line.

How do you identify and resolve these issues? First, you bring your site up to best practices. Create an experience that is familiar to your visitors and they’ll be more apt to stick around. Then, test, test and retest.

Ecommerce Checkout Best Practices

The average cart abandonment rate is around 67%. Auditing your checkout process to make it a faster and more trustworthy experience can reduce the amount of customers that drop out before purchasing and bump up your ecommerce conversion rate.

 

Most Common Reasons for Cart Abandonment



33%

Extra Cost (shipping, tax, fees)

23%

Forced Account Creation

18%

Credit Card Trust

18%

Complicated Checkout Process

7%

Payment Methods

Source: Baymard Survey, June 2013

There are many reasons for cart abandonment, but there are also very simple fixes that can be made to alleviate the common issues with the checkout process.

The Dos and Don’ts of Ecommerce Checkout

 Don’t bombard a customer who is already likely to purchase with additional suggestions and upsells that might only distract them. Keep checkout free of clutter.

 Make guest checkout the most prominent option.

 Only require necessary information to complete a transaction. Do away with extra inputs.

 Auto-populate billing information with their shipping address.

 User clear error indicators for improperly filled fields.

 Make the primary button (i.e., “Next” or “Purchase”) stand out over all other options.

 Include security badges to reassure customers that their personal information is protected.

 Hide site navigation during checkout.

 Use a one-column layout.
Clearly show the number of steps in the checkout process and where they currently are.

 Be transparent with pricing through each step. Extra costs near the end of the process is the number one reason for cart abandonment.

Check out this study on cart abandonment for the full list of checkout best practices.

Color & Buying Psychology

Of course you understand that color plays a huge role in brand recognition. Coke, McDonalds, Facebook, BP gasoline. You immediately know the color those brands are associated with. Red, yellow, blue, green. Associating your brand with a consistent color will give you an 80% boost in brand recognition.

In terms of consumer buying psychology, the colors you choose will affect people in different ways.

For example:

    • Blue is associated with trust, loyalty and pride.

    • Green is associated with the environment and wealth.

    • Red stimulates and injects energy into whatever it touches – think: “FOR SALE”.

    • Yellow is attention grabbing and optimistic.

    • Orange is aggressive and good for your calls to action.

    • Pink is for the ladies, especially younger girls.

    • Black is powerful, luxurious and modern.

    • White is rather boring, but it represents cleanliness.



pie chart with color and buying psychology

Pay close attention to your color scheme. Choose warm colors for your calls to action and things you need to draw attention to, and use cool colors for facts, figures and large chunks of text. Your choices in color may be the deciding factor in whether a potential buyer will be drawn into your ecommerce website.

A/B Testing your Ecommerce Pages

A/B testing for you ecommerce store is a great way to find out which specific marketing tactics are working on your existing traffic, and which aren’t. Are you curious as to whether the orange CTA worked better than the blue one? Maybe you want to know what headline works better for a product page. Whatever it may be, A/B testing allows you to measure two versions of the same element and discover what works best for your store.

On your ecommerce website, you want to ensure the shopper has the best experience possible, and that you are doing all you can to motivate them to buy your product. Let’s start with something simple, like the color of your “Add to Cart” button.

You start with your current version, version A. Let’s say it’s green. You think you can make more conversions if you change it to orange. So, you build the same page, this time with an orange CTA, instead.

Using a tool (there are several if you Google, “A/B Testing Tool”), you can split live traffic between the two pages and see which one performs better. Depending on how traffic acts, you now have solid data backing why you should chose one color over the other.

Colors aren’t the only thing you can test, though. Almost anything on your site, from navigation to headers, to images can be tested. Other items include:

  1. Navigation

  2. Search bar

  3. Social buttons

  4. Media mentions

  5. Awards

  6. Content placement

  7. Headlines

  8. Sub headlines

  9. Body copy

  10. Testimonials

  11. CTAs

  12. Links

  13. Font type

  14. Images

a/b split testing results

Here are some resources to get you started:

Content Marketing

B2C Content Marketing Spending

Over the next 12 Months

B2C Content Marketing over the next 12 months

SEO depends on content marketing because it drives people to your site and creates memorable interactions for the consumer and your brand. For effective ecommerce SEO, you need to integrate the production of valuable and targeted content into your overall digital marketing strategy.

Content Marketing has exploded over the past year. This year alone we’ll see marketing teams spend more than $135 billion dollars on digital marketing collateral. And, with more than 50% of businesses already conducting their own content marketing strategies, it’s time to jump on the bandwagon so you can play with the big boys.

Build A Memorable Ecommerce Brand

Branding is the most important thing you can do for your ecommerce business in today’s digital marketing landscape. With visuals flying in from every direction, whether it be social, PPC or even display ads, consumers are being bombarded with product information now more than ever.

The need to stand out amid the noise is more important to you as a business now, than ever.

First, drill down to your brand.

What do you promise to your customers?
How does the brand want to portray itself?
What’s the problem this company solves?
What discourages consumers from purchasing?

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Next, define the audience.

Who are you talking to? Build 3 archetypes.
1. Student
2. Business Owner
3. Young Parent

Why will they listen to you?

List all unique value propositions (UVP’s)
1. Custom design
2. Highest quality
3. Free shipping

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Where are they located?

List relevant online communities.
1. Industry-related forums
2. Niche social channels
3. News outlets

Remember, people don’t buy from brands, they buy from people. Branding is as much about building memorable collateral as it is building human relationships. You want to enhance the human element of your company by targeting a specific audience and building content centered around them and their online habits.

Offer Your Audience Something Unique to Your Brand

A great opportunity for you to further your brand and its ideals is to create content specific to your business and audience. Maybe you have some keen insights from data that you received from a project from a few months ago. Or, perhaps you hear a question about a service or product over and over again. Build content centered around answering that question, and then reference it as a resource the next time it’s brought up.

Producing and publishing high-quality and informative information for each unique product you offer will set you apart from the competition. It may take an investment in time, but if you’re offering informative content for each of your products, you come off as much more trustworthy to consumers, and they’ll be more likely to make a purchase.

Types of content you can produce:

  1. Whitepapers

  2. Newsletters

  3. Email blasts

  4. Blogs

  5. Guest blogging

  6. Ebook

  7. Statistic breakdowns

  8. Videos

  9. Podcasts

  10. Webinars

While optimizing your brand is a must for any business, in order to motivate people to visit your website, you’re going to need something more than just a cool logo and tagline. You need to be actively driving people to your website.

Blogging for Your Ecommerce Business

Blogging has been a cornerstone of great SEO strategy for years now. It’s one of the easiest (and fun) ways to get people to interact with your brand, content and website.

SEO best practices states that every piece of content published should include no fewer than 300 words. Of course, the top 10 performing blog posts, both in the SERPs and among consumers, across all industries, utilize 2,000+ words per post.

word count of snap's best blog posts

Snap’s best performing blog posts average nearly 2,200 words.

But, if you’re a pro in your field, either of those shouldn’t be too hard to accomplish.

Another key to blogging for ecommerce SEO is consistency. You don’t want to treat your blog like a New Year’s Resolution. No, you want to be blogging at least once a week, if not twice. All the while, maintaining those quality and brand standards that people find attractive.

Create a content calendar to keep you organized. Content calendars give you a visual schedule of content creating, publishing, repurposing and managing. At first, try a bi-weekly calendar, and then build up to a month from there. Get a few ideas down on paper, and then schedule one day for creation, one day for publishing, and then farther down the road, revisit the post to see if there’s anyway to repurpose it.

The type of ecommerce business that stays organized and centered around a planned strategy is poised to capture more conversions from SEO.

SEO and Content Marketing

Content marketing and SEO do not compete with each other.

If SEO is the technical side of digital marketing, content marketing is its human counterpart. You can optimize content all you want behind the scenes, and that will be fine for the Google robots, and you may see yourself rise in the SERPs. But to actually get consumers to visit your site and convert, you need a calculated content strategy, with relevant content that will convince them why you deserve their time and attention.

The more content you can produce that’s relevant to your audience, the more visitors you will capture. The more visitors you capture, the more your SEO score will rise. The more your SEO score rises, the higher you appear in SERPs. The higher you appear in SERPs, the more traffic you acquire. The more traffic you acquire, the more conversions you’ll end up making. So it works in a cyclical cycle. A cycle that starts with SEO and ends with stunning content assets that drive traffic.

A combination of both technical SEO and content marketing is needed for a successful digital marketing strategy. Make sure you aren’t ignoring either as you build up both your backend technical SEO and your consumer-facing content.

Remember, your main goal with any digital marketing strategy, is to gain inbound links. The days of door-to-door and cold calling are over. In the 21st century, you want to make the consumer come to you. That’s done through a combination of building content and distributing it to the right channels.

Social Media

We all know the importance of social media marketing in today’s ecommerce environment. Facebook has over 1.2 billion active users per month, and 215 active Twitter users (don’t forget the best social channel for ecommerce), giving you a large audience to promote your content to.

In today’s ecommerce world, businesses are now their own publishers. And what’s a publisher without a platform to publish on? Social media is your tool to getting your content out to the right people for consumption.

But, people act differently on social media than they do on regular websites. When they’re on social media, it’s their free time to relax, catch up with friends and chat with their peers. They’re not actively looking for the next best deal offered by your business. That’s why you need to catch the attention of the consumer through a targeted content strategy.

By centering your social media outreach around your audience, you will have a better chance of gaining shares and building links. And, you just may hit the lucky formula and hit internet gold by going viral.

Content Strategy Process

A content strategy to formulate your ideas around is imperative to your success in digital marketing. you want everything you create to have a focus and potential audience. The content strategy is an important aspect in achieving this. A content strategy is an in-depth document, detailing four things:

our content strategy process

  1. Framework

The framework of your content strategy. What mandatories does your brand and target market have and why? This drills down into your own business’ current campaigns. It also drills into your audience to know what they like, dislike and will ultimately pay attention to. Remember: you want to throw a spear and hit the bullseye, not cast a net and hope for the best. Speak to people who want to listen.

  1. Workflow

The workflow of your content creation process. How will ideas be generated? There is great opportunity in a brainstorm if you have the team for it. If not, give it a shot yourself. Use commonly asked customer questions, or highest selling products as jumping off points. Transform these into compelling content, and people will pay attention.

  1. Distribution

Distribution is how you will reach your audience. Where will you share your content? If you have an analytics tool, you can see your top performing reference sites, and create customized content for that specific channel. Also, remember organization. If you have a publishing platform on a site such as WordPress, make sure you control who can access and post.

  1. Management

Management and oversight may be the most difficult aspect of your content strategy. This takes place after the content has been published and performing well. What’s next is analyzing the data, finding new opportunities and repurposing, or reworking, each piece of content. Having an individual in your organization who is responsible for this may be necessary for standardization and success.

Content Marketing Checklist

Now, hopefully you understand the importance of integrating content marketing into your ecommerce SEO strategy. Content marketing is an in-depth process and requires research, creativity, skill and a little bit of luck. But if done right, is the most effective way of marketing your ecommerce website.

Make sure to keep this checklist handy when implementing content marketing for your online business.

  1. Find out who will care about your content.

  2. And why will they listen.

  3. Make sure you have a clear focus around a strategy.

  4. Offer unique information.

  5. Distribute your content appropriately.

  6. Determine the value visitors will receive.

  7. Analyze your data and conduct testing.

Tracking & Reporting Your Ecommerce SEO Strategy

A successful site is dependent upon the collection of data as it relates to the “ABC’s” (Acquisition, Behavior and Conversions), and making adjustments to the digital marketing strategy as a result. We recommend using Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools for measuring site activity.

This section provides a very brief overview of some key web analytics concepts. Check out the resources at the end of this section to dive deeper into Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools.

Acquisition

Every user has a source from which they originated. Acquisition refers to how you acquire your users. Understanding the origins of traffic to your site helps you make decisions about where to focus your SEO efforts.

  • Organic: Users that originate from search engines
  • Paid: Users that originate from advertising campaigns
  • Direct: Users that visit your site by typing in or bookmarking a specific URL
  • Referral: Users that originate from an outside domain
  • Social: Users that originate from social channels
  • Email: Users originating from an email marketing campaign

From the Acquisition > Channels page, you can see the visits, behavior and conversions from each source.

google analytics acquisition

By tying your Analytics property with your Google Webmaster Tools, you can feed in search appearance data under Acquisition > Search Engine Optimization.

Impression Data

Impressions are the number of times your web pages appear in search results for a given time period. Impression data is used in an digital marketing strategy to assess relevancy in keyword rankings, identify ranking opportunities and identify missing keyword categories.

google analytics search query data

Your average position is where your web pages ranking in search results for a given keyword. An average position of 1 through 10 is a first page ranking.

Tip: Find Low-Hanging Keyword Opportunities

  1. View Acquisition > Search Engine Optimization > Queries
  2. Click the blue “advanced” link below the graph to set up a filter
  3. Filter by Impressions greater than 100
  4. Filter by Average Position greater than 10
  5. Filter by Average Position less than 40

google webmaster tools filters

This will produce a list of keywords that you are seeing impressions for, but rank just outside of the first page. If you’re not seeing any keywords, adjust the Impression filter first, then expand the upper limit of the Average Position filter. Focus on improving content for the pages that target these keywords and create new content to support these pages.

Click Data

Click data shows which keywords are sending organic search traffic to the website and their effectiveness.By assessing click-through rates for keywords, you can identify opportunities to improve appearance in SERPs.

Look for keywords that have a high impressions, but low click-through-rates. This is a great way to find out which of your web pages could use a new page title and meta description for better appearance in SERPs.

Behavior

Once we have an understanding of where your website’s traffic originates from, we look at visitor behavior. Monitoring how your visitors interact on your site will help you improve the content on your site to meet the needs and expectations of your users.

screenshot of google analytics behavior

By comparing bounce rates, pages/visit, average time on page and other behavior metrics you can make adjustments to your site that improve user experience. Look at your behavior metrics by traffic source to understand how your site serves the different segments. For example, if you see that referral traffic has a significantly higher bounce rate than other sources of traffic, perhaps you need to change where this traffic segment lands on the website or modify the messaging to what they’re expecting when they hit the page.

Take a look at behavior metrics by device as well. Simply having a mobile or responsive site may not be enough to accommodate these traffic segments.

Conversions

A conversion is the completion of a specified action on your site. They represent the actions that you want visitors to take, such as a purchase, newsletter signup or contact form submission. Conversions depends on effectively sending search traffic to the most relevant pages, encouraging action, and measure results.

Enable ecommerce tracking on your Analytics account. Conversion data can viewed in a variety of different places on the dashboard: by source, by device, by product and more.

Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools Resources

Use these awesome resources to improve your ecommerce tracking and reporting.

If you’re on the hunt for ecommerce SEO services or simply have a question about something in this guide, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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