Content Marketing Secrets to Improve Online Store Visibility on Search Engines
Top quality products, quick delivery, and impressive returns policy may make shoppers fall in love with your ecommerce marketplace. But they will not make it rank on Google’s first page for relevant search phrases. To make that happen, you need to work on a number of factors and CONTENT is the biggest of them. Sure, domain related details (location specific extension, TLDs, gTLDs, etc.) and ONpage work (Meta details, tags, etc.) are crucial too but little can be achieved without evolving a superior content marketing strategy and marketing plan.
In the past decade, I have worked closely with my team of content analysts and SEO experts to give online stores the benefit of super content strategy. Here are the points that form the base of our content planning, plus tips and content marketing ideas to generate added benefits.
Website Content Planning
Online stores are showing preference for a visual homepage. That’s not a bad strategy but such an approach will deprive you of search advantage. That said, content planning for the homepage is a troublesome affair. Too much content and you will ruin visitor experience. Too little and you will lag behind in search results.
Keep the below points in mind to get the balance right:
Keywords – There is no point in adding content that doesn’t have the right set of keywords. Undertake detailed analysis to see which keywords are relevant for you. Also spend time in checking which keywords your competitors are targeting aggressively, and spend time to figuring out which ones they missed.
Content location – Shoppers want great products rather than your written promise of great products. Hence, it doesn’t make much sense to keep big content chunks in first fold. The best way is to keep it at the end of the page. Jabong is a fashion store that does the same and gets search engine benefit.
Location factor – Are you an online store that caters to a specific region or country only? If yes, then, add location related phrases in your homepage content. This will help you target location specific search queries and generate relevant traffic too.
Focus on main product categories – In addition to location, there must be some products that matter more to your target audience. For instance, if you are dealing in electronics, then, names of top brands ought to be present in the homepage content.
Wondering how some stores manage without content on homepage? They invest big on paid marketing and social media. Over time, they develop authority and get search mileage as well.
People search for specific products on Google with queries like ‘buy XYZ online’. This means optimizing only your homepage won’t to the trick. Top ecommerce stores pay special attention to content on product pages as well to make them responsive to relevant searches. Here are some points that are highly critical:
Product headings – It tells what the product is all about, and helps search bots make sense of the page. So, it is important to name the products correctly. If you are selling electronics, say smartphones, use the complete name along with model. Dealing in branded fashion clothing? Name the designer as well. Like this:
Detailed description – There is enough play room in product descriptions as it is up to you how much you want to explain the product in text. Add relevant keywords and terms to optimize the description for search engines. If you are dealing in electronics, there is enough to elaborate on. Also update the description when product updates happen.
FAQs section is next only to a blog when it comes to free play of words. It can be helpful to target unique search queries and consolidating the optimization work done in other areas. While there is no dearth of ecommerce stores that have deployed FAQ section, Revolve Clothing have handled the section interestingly:
Keep the points below in mind to make the most of your FAQs section:
- Target specific queries with FAQs. Don’t shy away from writing in detail.
- Spend time to study what is bothering your shoppers. Write about that as well.
- Plan keyword centric FAQs.
Everyone has a different opinion about reviews. While small ecommerce stores are still apprehensive about them, most big marketplaces embrace them to help shoppers make informed decisions and promote transparency. But reviews can accomplish a lot more. They also act as a source of fresh content which is frequently updated and improve page authority.
I personally recommend clients to integrate reviews, and go for moderation driven platform to keep a check on abuse before reviews go live. MVMT Watches has done something unique with Reviews section by adding Questions along with it.
While points below will help you put your ‘ecommerce store’ out there, they require their share of content planning. So, you are not mistaken if you think these points also qualify for the planning category. But marketing obviously is the bigger goal here.
Ask any ecommerce store owner how she adds fresh content on her site, and the answer will be the ‘blog’. Blogging is a widely accepted medium to add new content to websites and market them but most don’t approach it in the right manner. Here are some ideas to get you started in the right direction:
User focused posts – Just writing a tiny post every other day will not give your search mileage. To grab Google’s attention and get recognition as a credible knowledge source in your industry, plan posts keeping customer queries and doubts in mind. Top Shop is doing pretty good at this.
Add variety – You can do a lot more with your official blog. Introducing new products, writing how-to posts, publishing guides, season collections, and sharing interesting updates will keep your readers hooked as well as informed. Posts dedicated to specific products can also push up sales.
User generated content
Publishing high quality blog posts and content is a full time job, and sometimes it becomes hard for young online stores with limited resources. If your customers love you and your brand is distinctive, then it won’t be tough to play the card of user generated content.
Guest submissions – This one works perfectly if you find it hard to come up with new post ideas. Invite your readers to share their insights and knowledge on your blog. This will not only bring new thoughts and add variety to your blog but also improve blog reach.
Look sharing – This can be part of the blog but can also become a standalone marketing feature. The easiest way to handle this is through images complemented by content. Social media functionality can also be exploited to generate better engagement. Asos is a fashion store that has benefited greatly from this.
Offsite Content Marketing Plan
One can only do so much on an ecommerce marketplace. So, give your store the firepower of offsite content marketing strategy. This will play an equally important role in generating traffic and making it rank on top search pages. Check out the most important points:
Social media channels – Maintain active social media profiles to churn out images, interesting posts, and share blog updates as well. Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram are widely used to generate traffic and even sales. Below points can also come handy while managing social media activity:
- Twitter Cards for ecommerce websites
- Facebook OG Tags
Guest contributions – These guest contributions are for third party blogs and websites that are relevant for your industry. This will introduce you to a new audience who can turn into buyers in the near future. While thinking of guest contributions, we can also:
- Connect with industry influencers to request guest post or site coverage.
- Explore contextual marketing
Media coverage – Entrepreneurs with unique ecommerce ideas can turn to tech media to put their venture under the spotlight. The content angle will be handled by the publishing team only. This will directly push website traffic. Unique ecommerce startup HijUp surely benefited from its Mashable coverage.
Balance visuals and content – We have emphasized a lot on content but this doesn’t mean visual media is insignificant. Get the perfect balance of content and images to generate maximum benefit. Don’t forget to optimize images.
Content strategy is not just about ideas to add more content to your online storefront. It is also about discovering:
- What’s working?
- What’s not working?
- What can do better?
Tracking performance of critical website pages, blog posts, and social profiles is equally crucial. Start with funnel setup!
Ecommerce Funnel Setup
Setting up goals helps you gather data on the basis of which critical site and marketing related modifications can be made. But most ecommerce store owners only set up goals for Buy Now buttons and lead generation forms. Make better use of analytics by creating multiple goals.
The sign-up page, add-to-cart button, and thank you page can be great options to begin with. The set-up will look like this:
Most social media channels have their own Analytics to check performance, engagement, and traffic parameters. Don’t forget to dig into them. Use Google Analytics and Google Search Console to discover non-performing posts as well.
BONUS – Rank higher with effective SEO
Meta details – Product title and description are crucial for bots but do you know what’s more important? The answer is Meta tags. Plan them carefully for better targeting.
Handling similar products – In ecommerce stores, developing unique content for almost similar products is a big problem. Use relevant tags to handle this. Check out this post for more insights about ON-page tags.
URL planning – No one, not even search bots, like URLs that are groups of undecipherable alphabets, numbers and symbols. Spend some time with your technical or SEO team to plan meaningful URLs. This is vital from UX point of view as well.
Considering the brutal competition in the market, effective content and marketing plan for new ecommerce marketplaces is highly crucial. Either that or you should have a huge marketing budget to make your ecommerce store talk of the web-town.
Got any questions about content marketing and planning? Post them in the comments section and I will be glad to answer them!
Images: ”Author’s Own“
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Manish Bhalla is the founder and CEO of FATbit Technologies - India’s leading e-commerce web development and digital marketing agency. He has piloted several roles directing development, analytics, design, communication and management at FATbit. He is better known as an e-commerce expert with more than a decade of experience and has helped numerous startups capture essential traction with turnkey and consumer driven solutions. He is a firm believer of giving back to the society and helping other build a better life for themselves.Read Full Bio