Is your store lagging behind projections? While it may seem daunting, there are many easy eCommerce optimization techniques you can employ to give you the edge you need. From connective strategies to SEO to basic UX fixes, small adjustments can go a long way.
There are quite a few benefits of eCommerce SEO:
- It drives brand awareness.
- Keeps you competitive and visible.
- Decreases advertising costs from other avenues like PPC.
- Allows customers to find you with ease.
- Keeps the competition from securing spots on search engines that should go to you.
This article will shed light on some tips that can help you formulate an eCommerce growth strategy so you can also harness these advantages.
First, let’s talk about setting up prices.
Pricing: Should You Build a Connective eCommerce System?
Connective storefronts and eCommerce sites are a bit of a trend nowadays, so it might useful to talk about them. Connective eCommerce refers to an online store setup that minimizes risk and cost for the entrepreneur by utilizing standard marketing and web design tools. The advocates of this style of commerce eschew high prices that are typically required to create a store in favour of the less costly digital marketing tools, web design platforms, and even inventory strategies.
Basically, this would be like building a site on Wix, using local/rented vendors or warehousing as inventory, and using the barebones basics like the Google Suite to do all your marketing, for example. It seems like a neat idea in theory, and there have been some minor successes with it.
However, this form of eCommerce is not without its detractors. Notably, this mode of working convinces people that a few success stories mean that this is a technique that works for everyone. While we can’t speak to the veracity of inventory techniques (they do seem either dubious or unscalable), we can say that trying to cheap out on digital marketing is a fool’s endeavour.
We recommend going the traditional route and getting your money’s worth. Your website is the hub of all your eCommerce operations, so it stands to reason that you need to avoid cutting corners. One breakdown can set you back permanently in many cases.
eCommerce Website Development & Optimization Tips
The first step to eCommerce optimization is to understand your own digital marketing through an audit. Here are the steps to performing an eCommerce SEO audit:
- Make sure you have the right tools to check your SEO. Each eCommerce platform has in-built tools but you can also use additional tools like SEMrush or Google Merchant Centre.
- Ensure that your eCommerce site has a valid XML sitemap, and contains only main canonical versions of URLs that don’t contain any URL parameters.
- The URLs you want indexed should not have “noindex” meta tags and shouldn’t be blocked by robots.txt.
- Enable automatic updates for when pages are added or deleted from your site.
- Set up response codes such as 4xx responses for broken pages.
- Add tracking details in Google Analytics, manage your product sorting/filtering, and display minor product variations where the rest of the product content is identical between pages.
- Pagination can be important, i.e. splitting long categories of products into manageable chunks so everything doesn’t overwhelm the visitor or the search engine crawler. Avoid having paginated pages with “noindex” tags or canonical tags pointing to the main category page.
- Make sure your navigation menu contains all the most important pages and categories.
- Have basic features like the site search or multiple languages/regions.
- Monitor your page speed with appropriate tools like Google Suite or web.dev.
- Keep track of your content, keywords, H1/H2 tags, and structured data (tools like WordLift can help with schema and other structured elements).
eCommerce Link-Building & Domain Authority
If you’re looking to improve your store’s authority, here are some eCommerce link-building tips:
- If you have a physical business, list it on Yelp, Google Maps, and Google My Business for extra authority.
- eCommerce SEO packages and services can be useful if you have the money for them but do not have the manpower for content.
- You can pay blogs to do advertorials and link to your deals or events.
- Keep track of your keyword targeting by trying to differentiate product pages so that they aren’t competing with each other for the same searches or categories. Employ unique, long-tail descriptors for products.
To make the best of your customer engagement you need a proper set of customer outreach. At this point, you need to have every aspect of the funnel covered and mapped onto an operational touchpoint map. To further explain, have a look at the eCommerce conversion funnel:
Each step of the funnel should be accounted for in a customer touchpoint map:
eCommerce PPC Management & Optimization
Here are a few suggestions for creating functional PPC ads on Google Merchants:
- When creating your Google merchant account consider which eCommerce platforms you are leveraging, how many products will you upload, and how many product variations with individual SKUs will you upload.
- Organise your product details on a merchant account and on any peripheral platforms.
- Update your product feed regularly because they remain active for 30 days.
- Use specific product descriptions and long-tail keywords for better results.
- Be clear about pricing, shipping, and return policies.
- With a manual bidding strategy, pay attention to conversion volume and the result of conversion value over cost.
- Experiment with different ad types (like product listing ads vs. text ads).
- Leverage ad extensions to give ads more context.
- Add pricing to ads for a competitive edge.
- Test different campaign structures and categories.
- Run A/B tests on your ads consistently.
Crucial eCommerce KPIs for Growth
- Conversion Rate: The rate of how many people you are converting to a sale.
- Conversion Rate Per Traffic Channel: Get more specific conversions for channel optimization and decide where to focus resources.
- Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV): How much value do you gain from each customer and how will that impact the types of customers you go for?
- Customer Retention Rate: Find out how many customers are returning for seconds and decide whether you need a strategy that emphasizes returning customers or growth.
- Average Order Value (AOV): The level of average orders from the customer base can also be a valuable indicator of how well your products work together or how well recommendation algorithms are working.
- Net Profit: Great to measure the level of profit after your expenses.
- Cart Abandonment Rate: If people are abandoning before the final purchase there may be something turning customers off (extra fees, unclear shipping terms, etc.).
- Checkout Abandonment Rate: Similar to cart abandonment.
- Add to Cart Rate: How often are people checking the store and adding things?
- Orders Per Active Customers: the average number of orders that active customers make over a specific time period.
- Return on Investment (ROI): When you invest in marketing, it’s important to know what is and is not effective. Here are a few important ones:
- Influencer ROI
- Return on Ad Spend (ROAS)
- Return on Marketing Investment
- Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)
To best optimize your eCommerce store you need to:
- Gather the right tools for your scale of operations, especially with regard to analytics and tracking.
- Add tracking to Google Analytics, Merchant, and GMB (if you have a physical store).
- Optimize website UX and apply the correct metrics to optimize those places that have high abandonment.
- Optimize the site, URLs, XMLs, and structured data.
- Create a proper customer touchpoint map for every interaction point with your customers.
- Analyze the right metrics you need for your scale of operations.
If you’d like to read more, here’s another eCommerce SEO case study that highlights the benefits of storefront optimization where we discuss work we did for an electronics reseller in Eastern Europe. You can also check out our article in collaboration with the eCommerce platform Verbolia.
If you’re looking for Shopify, Magento, or eCommerce Development Services, consider us. We provide everything from advertising to content to storefront optimization.