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The eCommerce industry is becoming exponentially more competitive, with ambitions currently running at an all-time high. At the same time, there aremore than 200 million U.S. online shoppers for digital retailers to cater to, let alone those from foreign destinations.
While the competition may be fierce, opportunities are still abundant.
Given the tremendous amount of potential facing online retailers, merchants must become intimately familiar with and deftly capable of applying today’s best practices for eCommerce SEO.
On-page SEO is the bedrock for a successful website.
While sellers can spend money on PPC campaigns, costs can add up quickly. Despite social media’s power, incessantly posting to such destinations produces increasingly diminished returns as sites like Facebook make it progressively harder to reach the right audiences without throwing down a big wad of cash. And this says nothing of the investment of time.
However, by building a search optimized webstore, retailers can pull in the traffic necessary to compete in today’s eCommerce marketplace. According to the now-infamous Optify research:
“Websites ranked number one received an average click-through rate (CTR) of 36.4 percent; number two had a CTR of 12.5 percent; and number three had a CTR of 9.5 percent. Being number one in Google, according to Optify, is the equivalent of all the traffic going to the sites appearing in the second through fifth positions.”
Given that eCommerce sites are primarily comprised of product pages, these are vital to optimize to the fullest.
Here is how retailers can use on-page SEO techniques to trick out their product pages and engender heightened results in the SERPs.
For consumers to conduct a transaction which requires them to hand over their name, address, credit card information and other intimate and sensitive details, it is beyond critical that retailersmove stores to use HTTPS protocol.
Not only is this protection a must for most consumers, but Google also views it as a necessity as the company considers this implementation a ranking signal and labels those not using HTTPS as “Not Secure” in the SERPs.
Good luck getting clicks with “Not Secure” slapped on your site’s link.
The bottom line is that if retailers want their pages to reach the top of the SERPs, HTTPS implementation is inevitable.
Integrate Buyer Intent Keywords
While keyword power has diminished over the years astechnologies like semantic search have pushed to the fore, keywords are still relevant. However, things have changed a bit.
More general, product-oriented keywords are still obligatory. But now, smart sellers place particular emphasis on weaving buyer intent keywords into their on-page SEO strategy.
Purchase intent keywords are those which indicate that a searcher is actively looking to buy something. For instance, if someone searches “best wireless headphones,” they are clearly still in the research phase. Alternatively, if that same person searches “Sony WH-1000XM3 best price,” it is clear they are in the market to buy.
As valuable as they are, product descriptions are one of the single most neglected on-page SEO elements.
Not only do product descriptions serve as prime real estate for targeted keywords (as mentioned above), but they also help to convince prospects to convert. Supporting this claim isa report from the NNgroup which detailed a startling conclusion:
“In our e-commerce studies, we found that 20% of the overall task failures in the study — times when users failed to successfully complete a purchase when asked to do so — could be attributed to incomplete or unclear product information. Leaving shoppers’ questions unanswered can derail a sale or even worse, make shoppers abandon not just the purchase, but the site as well.”
One of the most widespread ways that retailers neglect product descriptions is by employing the manufacturer’s wording. Not only is this lazy, but it creates two significant problems:
On-page content should not be added simply for the sake of having content. To fully optimize on-page SEO efforts, it is necessary to craft unique, purchase-oriented wording that sings a product’s praises.
For instance, the ever-clever bathroom fragrance makerPoo-Pourri describes its flagship product by stating, “We care about your health, your toilet, and this precious world we poop in. That’s why we use NO synthetic fragrance, parabens, phthalates, aerosols, alcohol, or formaldehyde—ALL stink-fightin’ good stuff (oh, and a pinch of magic). Proudly made in the good ole’ U. S. of A.”
Have fun with it and generate a product description that sells with audiences and search engines.
Deploy Product Videos
Visuals are more likely to draw and keep a consumer’s attention than mere text alone. Moreover, by utilizing video content on product pages, retailers can combat the dreaded ROPO (research online, purchase offline) by giving customers a closer, more in-depth look at items.
While the use of video is likely to increase sales, it also boosts the time consumers spend on a given page, thereby sending signals to Google that the page is valuable.
Video is essential in today’s digital age. Just remember to integrate the necessary keywords in the video’s title, description and tags to get the most on-page SEO value from its presence.
Make Meaningful Meta Descriptions
Meta descriptions, while not a ranking factor, do impact SEO performance peripherally. The way meta descriptions play into search engine optimization is that they increase click-through rates, which then sends signals to search engines indicating that a page is valuable to searchers and should be subsequently promoted.
Creating meta descriptions that earn click-throughs is more of an art than a science. Aim to be as concise and compelling as possible.
Promote Product Reviews
Social proof is powerful stuff.
Coined by psychologist Robert Cialdini,the social proof theory states that, “a person who does not know what the proper behavior for a certain situation is, will look to other people to imitate what they are doing and to provide guidance for his actions.”
Product reviews provide a trifecta of benefits to on-page SEO efforts.
Firstly, touting positive product assessments helps to increase the odds of a sale. When this happens, a customer’s search typically ends, indicating to Google that the page proved relevant and worthwhile. Secondly, product reviews tend to naturally include a boon of pertinent keywords which aids on-page SEO effectiveness. Thirdly, new reviews get Google bots to return to a site regularly and continue to index it, increasing the chances of a promotion.
The plain facts are that product reviews are helpful to consumers, websites and search engines.
However, reviews shouldn’t be merely relegated to product pages.
Employ Review Snippets
While reviews on product pages are essential, what might be even more helpful to on-page SEO is the implementation of review snippets.
Review snippets, enabled by schema markup, allow search engines to crawl and pull specific information from a website to display within search results, thereby creating a better experience for users.
Merchants can utilize structured data to allow search engines to pull and employ on-site data todisplay star-ratings via review snippets, in addition to other click-enticing data such as product prices, availability and similar components.
Much like meta descriptions, review snippets don’t impact on-page SEO directly. However, those who utilize the feature tend to see upwards of a62 percent increase in click-through rates, which absolutely enhances SEO performance. Moreover, if a site has properly optimized its on-site experience, it can potentially earn a sale and end a user’s search, thereby sending positive signals to Google.
Enhance Load Speed
On-page SEO is, in many ways, reliant on a site’s ability to load quickly. Not only can a slow site undo much of the work outlined above, but for those tactics that rely on clicks, they will be all but crippled by slow load times.
When a potential customer is dissatisfied with their experience with a webstore due to its speed, or if they abandon a site before ever seeing it, retailers can be assured that they have probably just lost a customer for life.
For merchants to ensure that they do not fall victim to this all-too-common pitfall, it is vital toincrease an eCommerce site’s speedby working with development teams to secure lightning-fast load times.
Given that Google says that eCommerce stores should load in under two seconds or less (and that’s a relatively high bar to meet), retailers must deploy a variety of tactics and tools to produce image- and video-heavy product pages quickly. Such strategies include:
Content delivery networks
Premier hosting services
Optimized server configurations
The faster the site, the more effective the on-page SEO strategy.
With so many eCommerce retailers fighting for visibility, clicks and sales, merchants must do everything they can to optimize their on-page SEO approach as this is what will help to earn the commodities mentioned above.
While on-page SEO certainly takes a lot of work to perfect,a skillful eCommerce SEO agencycan minimize the burden and implement a game plan that optimizes a webstore for clicks, conversions and SERP rankings that lead to more of the same.
If you’re ready to elevate your pages in the SERPs and impliment a tacical strategy that boosts SEO, reach out to Visiture to get started expanding the scope of your search strategy.
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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.
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