SEO isn’t easy and TBH it’s not for everyone. But, if you’re committed to making your site your primary selling platform, it IS possible to grow your organic reach through meaningful content:
Produce meaningful, thoughtful content your customers will love
Get creative with your content and your landing pages
Audit your site on the regular
Reach out if you need more help about site optimization, a quality content strategy, or creating product pages both Google and your customers will reward you for.You’ve launched your e-shop and even hired someone to set up your SEO for you. Shouldn’t you be able to sit back, relax, and watch the organic traffic roll into your site bringing you new sales?
You’ve launched your e-shop and even hired someone to set up your SEO for you. Shouldn’t you be able to sit back, relax, and watch the organic traffic roll into your site and bringing with it new sales?
Unfortunately, it’s often not that simple. Even with a great SEO strategist helping you launch your website, there are a lot of reasons why you’re still struggling to see the organic traffic you expected. Here are some things to watch for and some tips for addressing content problems as they arise.
The reality is that it takes time (not to mention some TLC) to start ranking meaningfully on your top keywords. This is particularly true for new sites that haven’t yet established domain authority. It’s very common that new, 5-10 page websites just don’t have enough content and authority yet to rank.
Connect your website to Search Console to make sure your website is running smoothly and that there are no problems with your page structure or indexability.
Connect your website to Google Analytics and assess your current monthly traffic and primary traffic sources so you can begin tracking MoM changes.
If you have a brick and mortar store, make sure your site is optimized for local SEO.
Start a blog. If you’re impatient and need results now, this is an excellent way to bring new, fresh traffic to your site. Just be prepared to keep it going once it’s live!
Invest in a social strategy: Start posting, building a community, and drawing traffic to your site regularly from Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.
Consider some PPC or social ads to reach new users and further experiment with your keyword targeting. COVID-19 continues to change shopping behavior, making for a stronger online customer presence and new lows in ad spends.
Reach out for media write ups, guest blogging opportunities, and release press releases to generate buzz, traffic, and hopefully some backlinks to your site.
Audit the content you do have for appropriate outbound link opportunities, which help you build brand authority. Try to cite domains that have the most authority, like .edu, .gov, and .org.
By far the most common challenge for e-commerce businesses, the amount of content you have on your site is directly proportional to your ability to rank on keywords and be ranked by Google. It’s just not possible to have a holistic keyword strategy without enough content coverage.
I’m guessing you already know if your site doesn’t have enough content. Do you have fewer than, say, a dozen pages? If so, you’ll likely need more, although the number of pages you need is going to vary quite a bit based on the length and breadth of your current content.
Even in e-commerce, there are ways to add educational and substantial content to your site.
Do some keyword brainstorming to see what is popular in your product space.
Make a list of topics that would address these queries. Can you address these topics well in a resource or guide?
Consider how your brand story speaks to wider topics. Are you GOTS certified, do you source your materials from a particular factory for a particular reason, or are you vegan and cruelty free? All of these warrant a standalone page about why your product is unique.
One of my current favorite products is by Life Elements, who makes CBD-infused skin and body products. Their page on CBD is informative, adds value to their products, and gets at some of those high-value keywords that can help them get found by prospective customers.
It’s a balance, for sure, but you want to publish content that is both meaningful and long enough for Google to understand the context of the page and to engage your readers. While there’s no set word requirement, most top ranked articles and blog posts are at least 2,000 words and are meaty enough to cover a topic (and its related topics) thoroughly, attract backlinks, and engage users on social media.
Ok, you might be saying, but my site doesn’t have articles. It has products. It’s true that you may not have 2,000 word product description–and that is ok–but try to be as thorough and complete in your descriptions as you can.
When in doubt, strive for producing meaningful content that your prospective customer would want to read.
Run a free audit on UberSuggest and you’ll see that it will flag pages with less than about 400 words. This is a good starting point.
Now, run your top 1 to 2 competitors and see how their product descriptions measure up.
Take a look at similar products that you find using a Google search (pull from the first page of results). How much longer are their pages than yours? Challenge yourself to writing more than they have.
To add additional content to pages that are too short or that lack content altogether, here are some tips:
Consider adding product specs, customer reviews, testimonials, your brand’s about story, and the product’s origin story to your product description. This is meaningful content that new customers will want to engage with and it gives these pages more substance to better stand on their own.
Beauty By Earth does this so well, with product pages that front load all the right information for a more seamless checkout: reviews, product descriptions, FAQs, ingredient list, and a how to are all right there on the page.
Consider how you can add more value to underserved pages like category pages, shopping landing pages, and the homepage. These are important pages that typically draw more traffic; don’t waste an opportunity to sell your brand. Frank and Oak does this well, with custom and beautifully designed category landing pages.
Combine several shorter pages into one with a redirect. For example, instead of having 3-4 pages in an About section, pull them together into one robust page that more completely tells your company’s story and mission.
Homepages are tricky (understatement of the century) but they are arguably your most valuable real estate. If your current homepage is clocking in at under 500 words, you are likely missing an opportunity to shine here. Think of your homepage as a directory that guides all types of visitors to the information they want and surface prominent links to different types of products, your about section, current deals, and your best-selling products.
Reformat your existing content into new mediums like videos and visuals, and embed them on your site. Include transcripts for your videos.
Over time, our websites evolve and can become, well, messy. Just like renovating a house, if you want to push your kitchen out and add a second floor, you’ll need to first secure the foundation. Every new page you add to your site needs to be optimized for on-page SEO and follow the overall organization and structure of your site.
Crawl your website with a full report from Screaming Frog. It’s free (up to 500 pages) and will give you a full map of your site, including your meta titles/descriptions, header structure, and indexability. If there’s a problem, you’ll spot it fast.
Check for lost pages, orphaned pages, or pages that need a redirect
Add title tags and meta descriptions
Use proper header structure
Check your site speed
If your site is well established but is steadily losing traffic, one possible solution is that your old content needs a fresh coat of paint (I’m crushing it with these house metaphors today, amiright?).
Pull the Pages Report in Analytics, and set your date range to the last month or two. You should see a full list of your pages, their core stats, and a roundup/average of your stats.
Pay close attention to pages that have the highest bounce rate, lowest dwell times, and exit rates.
Select the top offenders (usually 4-6 pages) and then expand your date range to compare those pages YoY: have they dipped? These are the pages that aren’t currently serving your site (or your customers, for that matter).
Low Dwell Time: This usually means the content on the page isn’t accurate, is too short, or is different from what was expected. Try adding more content, refreshing and expanding on the current topic, and reformatting your page.
High Bounce Rate: Your page did not meet expectations. Try adding visuals, rearranging headers, and making sure the content is still relevant.
High Exit Rate: This could signal a disconnect between what people see on a results page versus what they find when they reach the page. Take a closer look at both your on-site funnel (CTA, prior page links) and your meta data to make sure people land on the page at the right stage of the customer journey.
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