Are you looking for specific SEO Strategies that lead to success?
One of the problems with SEO is there is so much “stuff” that gets done, an online company can’t help but wonder which activities are getting results and which are just busywork. At a strategic level, every e-commerce SEO campaign has certain must-do activities, and other nice-to-do-if-we-can-afford-it-and-and-have-time-to-do activities. Here is a rundown on the three most important must-do activities:
1. On-Site SEO Audit
The very first step of a successful SEO campaign, even before keyword research, is to run a complete, technical SEO audit of your e-commerce website. If your website has fundamental SEO problems, Google will not be able to crawl and properly rank your website pages no matter what else you do.
Typical problems uncovered in an e-commerce website audit include duplicate content, a poor internal linking structure, poor URL structures, improper/un-optimized title tags, insufficient/un-optimized/improperly optimized content, and a poor inbound link profile.
Certain problems, such as duplicate content, can be fixed by setting up canonical URLs fairly easily, before the SEO campaign is launched. Other problems, such as a poor inbound link profile, must be addressed as part of the ongoing campaign; the audit reveals how much work needs to be done, and how urgent it is to complete it.
2. Strategic Keyword Selection
The universe of keywords an e-commerce company can potentially optimize can easily run into the millions. However, most e-commerce companies don’t have the budget or bandwidth for a campaign targeting millions of keywords. Selectivity is a given, and the actual keywords selected is going to make or break the success of the campaign. Considerations of paramount importance include:
- How competitive is the keyword? How many high-volume keywords can we afford to optimize?
- How relevant is the keyword? If search engine users click on our organic link, will they be taken to a Web page that offers what they are looking for?
- Longtail SEO strategies. Rather than target a small number of high-volume keywords, targeting a large number of longer, more descriptive keywords (i.e., longtail keywords) can be a winning SEO strategy. Which longtail keywords have promise?
- User intent. Optimizing for keywords with low user intent, such as “health food, “may generate tons of traffic but very few conversions: someone using that term could be looking for nutritional information, writing a term paper, or who knows what. Keywords with strong buying intent, such as “organic nuts under $10,” should deliver far more conversions per click.
Once the target keywords are selected, high-priority keywords must have website pages specifically created or modified to support them. It’s difficult to optimize a Web page for more than a handful of closely related keywords, so keyword research could drive a lot of on-site content production and editing during the initial phases of the campaign. It is time and money well spent towards SEO strategies.
3. Apply CRO Best Practices to the Website
One of the most critical components of a successful SEO campaign is not directly part of SEO at all: conversion rate optimization (CRO). CRO is a set of Web design techniques aimed at turning website visitors into customers. For instance, good CRO puts as few clicks as possible between the visitor and the “submit order” button — the easier and more intuitive the shopping experience, the more visitors complete the ordering process.
An SEO campaign without CRO may drive tons of traffic to the website, but may not generate actual revenue. Companies fail to prioritize CRO when they fail to identify conversions, rather than traffic, as the real purpose behind SEO. For an e-commerce firm to judge its SEO campaign successful, it must produce ROI; without revenue, SEO will never be fully successful, even if it drives a million visitors a week.
The bottom line strategy here: Never conduct SEO campaigns in a vacuum. Internet marketing of any kind must be integrated marketing to achieve success.
What do you feel are the best SEO Strategies for 2015? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments section below!
Guest author Brad Shorr is the B2B Marketing Director of Straight North, SEO firm serving middle helping ecommerce websites with search engine optimization. You can read Brad’s work on SEO on the Straight North Google + page.