Developing The Correct Content To Drive Online Sales And SEO21 January 2015
Written by Roland Oberdorfer, Chief Architect of SingPost eCommerce
The Role of SEO in eCommerce
According to a study by GE Capital Retail Bank, 81% of online shoppers research online before making a purchase. The study also found that 60% of consumers start their research with a search engine before heading to a specific online store. This behaviour presents both a necessity and opportunity for brands and online retailers to optimize their webpages and secure more customers.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) involves the use of various techniques to increase the visibility of a site or webpage on a list of organic or unpaid search engine results. By utilizing SEO techniques enabling the indexing of content, providing unique content that includes popular keywords, businesses can secure a higher rank or earlier position within the list of search engine results and ultimately drive more traffic to their online stores.
Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising is another popular technique to boost website traffic. PPC leverages advertising programs provided by all major search engines and is, as the name implies, a paid advertising service. These can be cost-intense campaigns which often result in low conversion rates if not planned strategically. At SingPost eCommerce, our team of performance marketing experts support our clients to develop strategic campaigns based on the client’s objectives and costing considerations leveraging both paid and unpaid digital advertising techniques.
Prior to implementing SEO as part of a digital marketing strategy, an eCommerce Manager must identify their target audience and the search engines they are more likely to find success in using. Considerations should be made to what type of search they want to target with their optimization (such as general, image or video search) and tailor their approach accordingly. By driving more traffic through their sites, businesses can increase engagement with brand and product content and maximize conversions.
Businesses need to seize the opportunity to engage with their target audience before competitors do. Trends of rising internet usage from mobile and increased social media traffic on sites such as Facebook and China’s Weibo present an opportunity to increase a business’ website traffic. By focusing on the development of unique, easy to use and shareable content companies can appear in more search engine results and for a higher ranking. Amazon, for example, have undertaken unique content from user reviews, long product descriptions and updating content to build their strength and be successful in the search engines. Unique content also needs to target certain key phrases to ensure the search engines relate this content back to a search term.
Keywords Are The Foundations of Your Strategy
Researching and utilizing the right keywords and phrases that appeal to the target audience is crucial for any business seeking to pursue SEO as part of their digital marketing strategy. Knowing the keywords that appeal to your customer base enables businesses to forecast changes in customer demand for products, services and content, respond to the dynamic eCommerce marketspace and provide content and offerings that meet the demands of active site visitors.
To determine whether a keyword is of value, eCommerce Managers need to:
- Consider how relevant the keyword is.
- Decide whether this would drive site visitors to the parts of the site that would maximize conversions.
- Trial the keyword through the use of a sample paid campaign to test the volume, frequency and viability of the keywords (using products such as Google AdWords).
- And utilize the data through an analytics program to determine factors such as the search volumes from impression data, level of engagement through high click-through rates and conversions generated for the site.
eCommerce Managers should aim to target long tail searches, which comprise 70% of total web searches. As these long tail searches involve the use of longer and more unique search phrases, profitable conversions are more likely to be made as customers are at the later stages of the purchasing cycle. For example, a customer searching for an item of clothing may specify a brand name, item name and size when searching, thus creating a unique long tail search phrase. Therefore businesses should aim to include the most common keywords from these long tail search phrases on their offering and content pages in order to increase the volume of traffic and overall sales.
In order to maximize the success of SEO through keyword targeting, primary keywords should be used throughout a businesses’ website. One of the key areas to focus on is the URL, within the earlier half of a webpage’s title and on the heading of the webpage itself. The factors of SEO rankings are not static. Past approaches to keyword targeting which involved using key phrases and search terms at a high frequency have become ineffective as search engines changed their ranking factors. In today’s landscape ranking factors are determined by the importance that Marketing professionals focus on creating more relevant, in-depth and unique content so that a higher search engine ranking can be achieved.
Considerations For Your Content Strategy
For a successful overarching content strategy, produced content must be consistent with the targeted keywords that have driven traffic to the businesses’ site or specific webpages. Utilizing keywords in unique ways throughout the webpage (such as through image, video titles and descriptions) enables greater content relevancy to be detected by search engine algorithms. As users are seeking specific content, reinforcing the theme of their search phrases through the aforementioned techniques enables site visitors to have a positive user experience. This consequently increases the amount of webpage traffic and generates an earlier ranking within a search engine’s listings which ultimately increases profitability for the business.
The provision of unique content increases customer engagement, as customers will often linger on sites that provide more specialized content that they cannot find on competitors’ websites. A decrease in the overall bounce rate (the number of visitors that return to the search page from the businesses’ website) signifies greater content engagement and a higher likelihood of conversions being secured. In addition to this, fresh content often generates a higher ranking on a search engine list, particularly if that theme is experiencing an increased amount of traffic from visitors (for example, in relation to Cyber Monday online sales). By utilizing keywords that link to these particular search themes, businesses can temporarily increase their rankings, boost traffic to their sites and convert more potential customers.
Tracking the Success SEO Strategy Implemented
After the implantation of an SEO-driven digital marketing strategy, it is important that businesses track the success of the SEO techniques they have adopted. Various programs such as Google Trends, Google Insights and Microsoft Ad Intelligence can be used to run key metrics that determine a businesses’ SEO performance. The following metrics should be utilized in order to analyze the impacts of a businesses’ SEO strategy:
- The Share of Visitors Generated From Each Traffic Source – this enables the business to understand the importance of the traffic channels and what resources need to be applied to each channel for success.
- The Share of Visitors Generated By Each Specific Search Engine – though Google is the dominant search engine in most markets, it’s important to look across all search engines for different markets (Baidu in China, Naver in South Korea, Yahoo in Japan), it is important to determine how best to increase visibility on these search engines and have a program in place to address them.
- The Volume of Visitors Generated By Specific Keywords And Phrases – tracking this enables changing trends in keyword demand to be monitored, as well as the identification of key phrases that are potentially being under-optimized. This would enable businesses to develop content to address users changing needs and attract more SEO traffic.
- The Conversions Gained From Each Specific Keyword Or Phrase – by determining which webpages contain keywords that lead to the most conversions, a business can focus on enhancing these landing pages and their rankings within search engine listings in order to maximise conversions.
- The Amount of Pages Receiving One or More Visits From Search Engines – tracking this enables site-wide SEO performance to be measured. This would enable a business to track if any of their pages and/or content is not being indexed by a search engine and address any issues to correct this. Analysing this data will also enable businesses to assess which parts of their SEO strategy is performing and optimize accordingly.
- Content needs to be engaging – thanks to the tools that social media platforms provide like sharing and commenting on content this is easy to monitor and measure. By measuring these social metrics for each content piece writers can find out which type of writing generated more social buzz than other. The goal should be to publish content that has the potential to go “viral”.
- Relative ranking of keywords through SEO tools like SiteOlytics.com or Moz.com – these tools determine on which position a website ranks for a set of keywords. Furthermore these tools provide you insights to what can be improved on the site to achieve higher rankings.
- SEO Log – another important aspect of SEO is to maintain a log of activities and events that might impact SEO. Changes to the site often do not have an immediate impact. It takes time for the search engines bots to visit a website and detect what has changed. Once a change has been detected the search engine algorithms have to determine the new ranking caused by the change. Since there are hundreds of ranking factors this can often take several weeks to happen. By keeping a log of actions and events it is easier to analyse the results.
By employing and tracking the performance of different SEO techniques as part of a digital marketing strategy- such as keywords that appeal to the target audience and providing visitors with unique and meaningful content- a business can increase the likelihood of a positive user experience. This ultimately leads to improved trust and engagement with target audiences, increased conversions and greater profitability within the highly competitive eCommerce marketspace.
How SingPost can help?
At SingPost eCommerce, we have a passionate Performance Marketing team backed by years of eCommerce experience. As part of our Full Service eCommerce solution, we provide brands and retailers with an end-to-end search engine optimization and marketing service – from research, to execution, to continuous data measurement and analysis.
Roland Oberdorfer is Chief Architect of SingPost eCommerce and Managing Director at SiteOlytics.com. Prior to his current role Roland was the CTO of HP’s consumer direct organization and the General Manager for Web and eCommerce at NVIDIA.