If you own a stylish e-boutique, optimising your website for Google is one of the best ways you can turn your website into your number #1 salesperson.
But much like it takes time to train the right hire to meet KPIs, it also takes time to tackle every component of e-commerce SEO. And when you feel overwhelmed, it’s easy to close the tab and scroll through Hayu in such dire times. No judgment – it’s hard out here for us all.
After you’ve recovered from the malaise that mastering new technology can spur, the best place to start is you e-commerce SEO journey is with some simple tactics. They can have a profound impact on their own, and a compound affect when used together.
To make search engines work for you without feeling overwhelmed, try one tip at a time. Once you’ve completed one task, move on to the next e-commerce SEO tactic.
Set up Google Analytics (GA)
Want you don’t measure, you can’t improve, especially when it comes to tracking e-commerce analytics.
And I get it – Google Dashboard isn’t as exciting as Dior’s new lipstick. But it’s just as essential (for helping your website looking good online!).
Why? Without GA set up on your website, you have no way of telling:
- What products your customers love the most
- Where your traffic is coming from
- How long your customers spend on your website
- How many potential customers you have every day
As with a lot of SEO tips, setting up GA isn’t as hard as you think.
Here’s a video which walks you through every step of the process. In this video, the author refers to WordPress websites. If you’re not in charge of your CMS, ask your website manager to set it up for you.
After you’ve set up GA, creating custom reports and dashboards can further help you quickly access key metrics. Your dashboard and your reports are where you're able to see all of that invaluable data easily.
By creating custom reports and dashboards, you’re able to ‘drill down’ on data, which means you get to explore very intricate and often fascinating user behaviour.
And guess what – you’ll barely have to lift a finger to install the best dashboards around.
Explore this post here from Practical Ecommerce. I've imported several of these dashboards to my own GA account.
Sumo is one of the best analytics tools on the market for small businesses, as it gives you rich insights into how users are behaving on your website. If you’re a visual person, you’re going to enjoy using Sumo. Best of all? A lot of its features are completely FREE.
- Tell you where exactly your users are clicking with heat maps
- Tell you how far down a page a user will scroll, indicating what information might be worth cutting or moving
- Integrate easily with Google Analytics so you don’t have to switch between tabs, making reporting quicker and easier
- Help you grow your email list with sign-up boxes and welcome mats
- Add social media sharing widgets to your website, allowing users to easily post your content to Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest
- Expand your reach on Twitter with the Sumo Highlighter. When people highlight a phrase on your site, a box will appear asking them if they would like to tweet it.
Add and verify your website with Google Search Console (GSC)
Previously known as Google Webmaster Tools, Google Search Console is a free service that lets you learn more about your website and its users. Sound familiar? GSC does share a lot in common with Google Analytics (GA). While GA focuses more on who is visiting your website – traffic, sessions, source acquisition, etc – GSC puts the focus back on your website's data. This includes displaying information on which websites link to your website, and which keyword queries people are using to find your website.
Adding your website to GSC is easy, especially if you’re set up GA yourself. To get access to the Search Console, you have to verify that you own your website.
a) Log in to GSC.
b) On the next page, enter your website’s URL in the box provided.
c) Click Add Property.
d) Next, you’ll be asked to verify your website.
e) There area a number of ways to verify your website, including adding an HTML tag to <head> section of your website. Once you’ve added the code to your <head> tag, go back to SC and click ‘verify’. Google will then scan your website’s source to confirm the code has been inserted.
Link GSC and GA
To get the most of out of both services, it’s best to link GSC and GA. When you do this, you’re able to access additional reports that are only displayed once the two services are linked.
a) Once you’ve set up both services, go to your GSC dashboard.
b) Click on the site you’re trying to connect from the list displayed.
c) Click on the gear icon in the right corner underneath your profile picture, and click Google Analytics Property.
d) This will bring you to a list of GA accounts associated with your Google account. All you have to do is choose the desired Google Analytics account and hit "Save." Easy, right? That's all it takes to start getting the most out of GSC and GA.
Optimise your product pages with unique content
Once you receive your products from your suppliers and upload them to your CMS, it’s easy to copy and paste their product descriptions. Why reinvent the wheel, right?
The problem with copying and pasting these product descriptions is that they’re never really written that well, and you’re using the same content as other websites who stock the same product.
And if you want to stand out in the online marketplace, you can’t do what everyone else is doing.
It’s important to talk about duplicate content here, as it’s a common SEO myth that receives a lot of lip service online.
Here’s the thing: duplicate content and Google penalties are a myth. Google will not banish your website from search engines if you publish the same article on two different websites. However, duplicate content does nothing for your website’s SEO if you’re not ranking highly already.
Google will just display whatever domain they think has higher credibility and value, depending on how else that domain has optimised their website.
I have a whole post on the various ways you can optimise your product pages for conversions over here.
Create category pages
When you go to a department store like David Jones, you generally find a list of sections on display somewhere near the elevator or escalator. Categorising your product pages provides the same journey for customers, directing them to the right section of your website to find what they’re looking for.
Ideally, your category pages should contain keywords that are useful for your customers. For example:
Don’t create too many categories, and don’t keyword stuff. If you’re unsure about how to create categories, it’s best to speak to the person in charge of your content or building your website.
Register your Google My Business listing
Does your business have a bricks and mortar shop front? It’s essential you create a Google My Business listing for local customers. I work with clients all over the world, but many businesses are after a copywriter in Melbourne. For this reason, I’ve created my own Google+ Business listing. This ensures that my business is displayed as a local business for my potential Melbourne clients.
There are few steps involved to register your business, and it's crucial you actually have a physical location as Google will mail you a unique code to verify your location. Aside from waiting for postie, it's fairly straight forward when you follow the steps over here.
I once worked with a client who refused to check out his competitors as he believed they weren't important. Although I admired his confidence, I don’t believe you can be that short sighted in any vertical. Studying your competition and learning their techniques is not a matter of spying and becoming a carbon copy, or admitting that your business is sub par.
It’s a matter of learning what works for others businesses, what works for their customers, and what opportunities you might find in learning all of this information.
For example, every time I take on a new client, I look at a few competitors and key areas of their website and content strategy to find out what works for them.
I pay attention to:
- Meta data – what keywords do they use? Do they define their SEO title, meta description, image alt tags?
- Tone of voice – how would I describe their tonal personality? Does their copy exude excellence, authority, humour or helpfulness?
- Who is linking to their domain? To find out what link building strategy a business has, using Open Site Explorer is the best place to begin. This is a Mozscape-powered app, used to identify back-links and research link-building opportunities.
- Blogging frequency and quality – are they creating unique content that resonates with their audience, or generic, look-book type content? Do they publish once a week, once a day or once a month?
I’ve stressed before how important it is to create content that resonates with a reader’s needs. It’s critical to boost your Google ranking, as participants in my SEO Copywriting Workshop find.
But it’s also critical that you create content which influencers and other authorities will want to share. This is called link building.
Think of it this way: there’s several slices to the SEO pie. Optimisng on-page content is one tactic, and having a link building strategy is another.
What is link building?
Growing a portfolio of links refers to ensuring your website is linked to from external sources. There are a number of ways to build your links, and these include:
- Advertorials, where you pay a website to be featured in an article on somewhere else on their website.
- Listing your website and business in high quality directors, like Business Chicks or the League of Extraordinary Women.
- Natural editorial links, where you’re quoted in an article for your authority. A great way to take advantage of this is to sign up to SourceBottle as a source, and respond to call-outs from journalists.
- Guest posting, by contacting other websites, authorities and bloggers who have a similar audience to yours. For example, I generally guest post on websites that cover a broad variety of marketing topics, who have an audience of small entrepreneurs who are more often than not, female.
- I’ve guest posted for Blogger Boss, It’s the Now and Daily Bread Mag, just to name a few.
Create a blog. No, really.
I’m a huge advocate for running your business like a magazine, providing quality articles that inspire, educate and build your authority within your niche. But when I talk about creating content, I specifically refer to quality over quantity, and approaching your content with a strategic direction in mind.
Because at the end of the day you’re not operating a hobby blog. You’re operating a business, and your aim is to make a profit by using your content to push a prospect further down the sales funnel.
Types of content include:
- Lifestyle articles, like this post I wrote on coffee alternatives for writers
- Guest posts from other experts, like this post on conversion rate optimisation for e-commerce businesses
- Interviews with experts, like this interview with Sarah Von Bargen
- How to posts, like this post on
Putting all pieces of the SEO puzzle together is key to making search engines work for your business goals.
And this July, I’m hosting two workshops to help you do just that.
The SEO Copywriting Workshop is running again on July 8, where you’ll learn how to optimise on-page content with keyword research and content that converts.
And in my NEW class, SEO Workshop: Growing Popularity and Links, you’ll discover how to create an effective link-building strategy using the content you’ve already created.
Come to one, or come to both. They're beginner-friendly, and designed to help you implement a few core SEO tactics in real-time.
Any questions? Feel free to email me. I'd love to see you there!