Search engine optimization (SEO) is a key concern for any site owner, yet it is arguably those aiming to boost e-commerce sales that have the most to gain from making improvements in this area.
Here is a look at the role that SEO plays in e-commerce and the options that shopping sites have for boosting their search rank.
Search visibility leads to sales
Even in an age when social media’s influence over online sales is increasing, most visitors will still find your site via a search engine like Google.
For this reason alone, tweaking your site to make sure that it rises through the ranks and appears high up on results pages should be a priority.
The more visible your site is on SERPs, the more organic clicks it will earn and the more sales it will generate, which will further perpetuate and solidify its position.
Achieving this is easier said than done; for example, very competitive keywords are almost impossible to crack if you are a smaller site, since the big players will have them pretty much sewn up. It is therefore better to turn your optimization efforts towards long tail keywords, which allow you not only to boost your site’s visibility across relevant queries but also to target a more specific niche, thus appealing to customers who will be more likely to click through and complete a transaction.
Other roots to customer engagement exist, such as leveraging web scraping with Selenium or running paid ad campaigns to get into the promoted positions for your chosen keywords. However, the long term benefits of organic SEO cannot be overstated in an e-commerce context.
SEO is cost-effective
While there is a price to pay for impactful, tangibly beneficial site optimization, it can be easily argued that this is by far the most affordable digital marketing strategy at your disposal, in terms of the value it generates over time.
Perhaps most importantly of all, your SEO efforts are the easiest to track and assess, since the powerful analytics tools available to you will let you see precisely how your changes have impacted on search rank, site traffic, bounce rates and other major metrics. Meanwhile the more nebulous promotional options available, such as influencer marketing, are tough to assess from an ROI point of view, which could mean that you are throwing cash at a problem without actually getting anything in return.
Competitors can be overtaken
SEO is not a process which you should undertake in isolation. Rather it should be seen as a means to give you the competitive edge over other e-commerce sites that are targeting the same niche as you.
Thankfully you can turn to keyword research to see which terms are being leveraged by your closest rivals, and also to see whether or not it makes sense to go head to head with them over specific phrases, or to plough your own furrow.
Looking at the authority of competitor sites is worthwhile in this context, as this will clue you in as to whether they are more likely to outdo your site in terms of search rank. Lower authority sites can be overtaken more easily for target keywords than those with a higher authority rating, for obvious reasons.
You can handle SEO in-house, or work with third party agencies to bolster the profile of your e-commerce site. The main thing is to be proactive about this and always aim to optimize sooner rather than later so that your site does not fall victim to the successes of a more enterprising rival.