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In this guest blog from Visiture, Chief Marketing Officer and Co-Founder Ronald Dod covers six components vital to creating optimised content that earns consumer clicks and long-term trust.
For all ecommerce retailers, content is a critical component in search engine discoverability. After all, visibility is the first step in earning customers and ensuring brand loyalty.
For sellers to get shoppers to their store’s pages, on-page ecommerce SEO best practices are indispensable. By pushing ecommerce content to the top of the SERPs, retailers earn the positioning needed to drive qualified leads and score more sales.
However, the days of plugging in keywords and phrases in every applicable nook and cranny of a page are long gone. Since the introduction of Google’s RankBrain, the search provider has become increasingly sophisticated in its ability to present information that matches the user’s intent, as opposed to merely a word-for-word pairing with the searcher’s query.
Therefore, the necessary on-page SEO elements for creating content that captures clicks and conversions require retailers to implement the following six optimisation components.
Section headings (H1 – H6) are an essential element in helping search bots to understand the structure of a webpage. The plain fact is that neither site visitors nor search spiders want to read through massive walls of text.
By utilising the proper heading components, retailers can break pages into smaller bits that allow each of the aforementioned entities to digest the information more easily.
This concept applies to both ecommerce blogs as well as product pages.
Speaking specifically to blog content, retailers should apply the <H1> tag to the content’s title, while using the <H2> and subsequent tags for the sections to follow, applying sub-headlines that clearly describe the content below.
Not only does this help to make the content more consumable for all parties, but it also provides a better user experience, which does impact search rankings.
When implementing these tags, bear in mind that roughly 92% of long-tail keywords tend to receive less than ten searches per month but are also much more likely to convert than broad head terms that often do not indicate a clear user intent.
For ecommerce content to be of any value, it must provide genuine value to consumers (even those who are not yet customers) and fascinate audiences.
An excellent example of an online retailer achieving this goal is BarkBox’s aptly-named blog, BarkPost. This ecommerce company elevates content marketing to the level of art with its various content offerings and mediums that teach their audiences everything they need to know about dogs.
While some may not recognise this as an on-site SEO tactic, consider the implications. Genuinely useful content that fills a need for the audience and resonates with readers and engages them in an authentic way. This type of content:
In the case of BarkPost, the company is optimising for audiences researching the best chew toys, doggie vet advice, breed information, pet-oriented apps and tons of other topics that pull searchers onto its blog pages.
Additionally, certain blogs on the site integrate a prime on-site SEO tactic for better content: User-generated content.
User-generated content (UGC) is a prime methodology for retailers to employ within their content offerings given that these posts are as authentic as it comes, offer shoppers the necessary social proof, highlight products in ways that a brand cannot and help to increase customer loyalty and retention rates significantly.
The reason for the hike in loyalty provided by UGC is that when customers see that a company places such importance on its buyers, customers intuitively understand that their experience matters to the business. Additionally, the reciprocation of the brand prominently displaying its customer’s content showcases a back-and-forth dialogue between the store and its audience.
User-generated content is usually pulled from social media posts, thereby automatically turning satisfied customers into brand ambassadors. This dynamic drastically increases the trust of new consumers in a business.
In terms of conversions, by encouraging written and photo reviews from their most loyal customers, Pulse Boutique saw a 39% uplift in returning customers and a 19% increase in average order value.
While loyalty and conversion rates both impact a site’s SEO performance, UGC also has the added benefit of being keyword rich. This content not only adds more keywords to a piece of content but also gives retailers insight into how shoppers talk about their brand and which long-tail keywords to begin applying to various pages for optimisation purposes.
User-generated content provides so many SEO benefits to retailers that not implementing it is a massive flub.
Internal linking is vital for ecommerce websites as this helps to provide structure to a site, passes SEO link juice to other pages and enables shoppers to move through a store more fluidly.
However, merchants should not create links solely as a means of passing juice between arbitrary pages for SEO success. For the most beneficial results, retailers should link product pages to other complimentary items, related pages and other supplemental resources that make logical sense. After all, blogs that inform a consumer all about the practicality and utility of an item are more likely to convert when a link to the item is present.
Such links not only aid in earning sales but also boost time-on-site and pageviews.
Moreover, be sure to utilise the proper anchor text for a given link as the relevance of the words used to link to a page does matter.
When speaking to external linking, implementing external links is a necessity for optimal SEO performance.
Linking to external domains and receiving links from outside sources is one of the most heavily weighted ranking factors for organic search. Therefore, retailers must understand how to build better backlinks to climb the SERPs effectively.
However, there is no silver bullet or magic rule for obtaining authoritative backlinks. As the SEO discipline is continually in flux, so are its best practices. While tactics such as creating exceptionally valuable content and conducting outreach campaigns never seem to go out of style, retailers are wise to adhere to Google’s Official Quality Raters Guidelines for linking to and generating native expert, authoritative and trustworthy (E.A.T.) content.
Failing to meet the standards outlined by Google might result in a penalty that could undo much of a merchant’s hard work.
While high-quality images are a necessity for any product page, these assets are also essential to integrate into content offerings.
Images, much like some of the other elements listed here, can have a positive impact on dwell times as users are more likely to find a piece engaging. Additionally, the use of visuals within content enhances the user experience by breaking up content, helping to explain the topic and making the subject easier to consume, while also boosting its shareability.
However, what is most important here is that visual content is producing progressively more SEO value for retailers.
More than ever before, visual search is becoming a viable and increasingly used alternative to the traditional mode of text. This method of search is gaining such steam that Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann stated that, “. . . the future of search is going to be about pictures instead of keywords.”
If this weren’t substantial enough, research from Moz and Jumpshot revealed that, as of February 2018, Google Image searches accounted for more than 25% of all web searches.
Therefore, it is critical for retailers to employ SEO-friendly images that enable them to surface in the visual SERPs. There are some specific tasks that merchants must do to secure this potentiality.
Firstly, unique, high-quality images are a must. If a retailer opts to employ the manufacturer’s product images for the items sold on-site, visual searchers could end up on a multitude of different stores that feature the same pictures. By generating exclusive and engaging photos, consumers are more likely to be drawn toward those pictures.
On the more technical side, to get the most SEO value out of images, sellers must integrate targeted keywords into the image’s title and description as these fields provide Google with the necessary information to surface the picture in relation to a query.
Retailers should write these fields with customers in mind as this information serves both bots and consumers.
Moreover, merchants should optimise the image’s alt tags as well. These serve as a vital supplemental source in providing context about an image to search engines and can help them rank an image appropriately.
Page speed, while often mentioned, should not be overlooked.
In today’s era of instant gratification, users demand that pages load at lightning speed. Even Google states that ecommerce pages should load in two seconds or less or users will bounce.
To ensure this doesn’t happen, it is vital to employ tactics that increase a site’s speed, such as compressing files, leveraging browser caching or implementing Accelerated Mobile Pages.
Crafting the perfect ecommerce content requires much more than attentive keyword research and a basic understanding of one’s audience. There are a variety of exceptional tactics and technical implementations that can drive a site’s content to the top of the SERPs.
Put the elements outlined above into action on ecommerce blogs, landing pages and product listings and the probability of a page earning higher rankings, increased clicks and heightened conversions multiply substantially.
About the author
Ronald Dod is the Chief Marketing Officer and Co-founder of Visiture, an end-to-end ecommerce marketing agency focused on helping online merchants acquire more customers through the use of search engines, social media platforms, marketplaces, and their online storefronts. His passion is helping leading brands use data to make more effective decisions in order to drive new traffic and conversions.