Long-term e-commerce SEO Strategy isn’t as straight forward as it used to be. There’s more at stake, there’s a lot more competition, and you just have to put in more now than ever. Ashley is back with a comprehensive post on tips for your long-term eCommerce SEO Strategy.
SEO used to be very straight forward and less complicated until 4-5 years ago. The landscape was not very competitive, and getting some basic practices right meant quick gains could be made.
Now, with Search Engines constantly rolling out updates to their algorithms and ranking systems, and SEO getting more competitive with every passing day, every brand needs a solid long term SEO strategy to not just get to the top but also to sustain their gains.
You can’t take the short route when it comes to e-commerce SEO. Organically ranking your webpage higher takes several months and require patience. Search Engines are getting smarter at identifying unfair practices and penalizing those who use them.
As an e-commerce business, you are in it for the long haul, which means you should aim to achieve higher rankings for a sustained period. You can do this with an in-house team or with the help of a credible SEO agency.
You need to constantly learn and adapt
Search engines are constantly changing their algorithms to improve the quality of search results. This means that if businesses want to stay in the game, they need to match the pace.
E-commerce businesses need to stay on top of these changes and quickly evolve their strategy as new changes are rolled out. This is only made possible by placing long term emphasis on SEO strategy and keeping it at the forefront of all online decision making.
Better page speeds
One of the most important factors for SEO is page loading time. It is crucial for e-commerce businesses to focus more on improving the user experience.
Around 40% of users leave the website if the page takes longer than 3 seconds to load. By designing pages that load faster, e-commerce businesses are not just helping their rankings but also holding potential for longer, increasing their likelihood of conversion.
This makes having fast loading pages a perpetual business goal for any e-commerce business.
Mobile friendliness of webpages is one of the major factors affecting SEO. No e-commerce website can expect a good ranking if all their pages are not optimized for mobile users.
By 2021, nearly 54% of all e-commerce shopping will be done on mobile phones. No serious e-commerce business can afford to ignore their mobile user base.
Businesses that constantly optimize their websites for mobile, and make it a long term goal, ensure they tap into the growing m-commerce segment and maintain a good search ranking.
Get a higher number of visitors
Every e-commerce business wants to attract new visitors to their website. One of the best ways to achieve this online is by ranking higher for search queries, relevant to the products they sell.
When it comes to users’ searching online, nearly all of the traffic goes to the results showing on the first page of the search engines. Even, on the first page, the top 5 get nearly all of the traffic.
Inevitably, e-commerce businesses that intend to stay in the business clan shouldn’t consider SEO as an afterthought.
Owners of physical stores can see how many customers visit their stores, at what time they visit, and how they behave in the store.
For e-commerce stores, websites are their storefronts, and it is critical for them to know how people are engaging with their website.
E-commerce stores that follow good SEO practices also closely monitor user traffic and user engagement pattern on their websites.
By using simple and free tools such as the SEMrush SEO Toolkit, for instance, you can achieve keyword Analysis, Backlink audits, competitive analysis, site audits, and so much more.
This gives them useful insights related to different sections of their websites, conversion rates, and see what is working and what isn’t.
Over time, this information is used to improve the website according to visitor preferences and increase conversion rates for desired actions. This can only be achieved by continuous observation and having a long term view of web analytics.
Consistently maintained good SEO practices can position new entrants next to already established players in the market within a few months of starting operations.
Generally, the older businesses show up more often on search results. As a result, they also get higher visitors translating into higher sales.
Any e-commerce business that is interested in increasing its sales and market share must implement sound SEO practices over the long term to ensure it stays among the top players in its relevant product ranges.
Better ROI than conventional marketing
Conventional marketing practices like print, radio, and television aren’t cheap. Double-trouble comes when you fail to attract your target audience. Surely, when you go for conventional marketing, your message gets heard by masses, but you never know whether they are interested in your product or services or not.
On the contrary, when you choose ecommerce SEO over conventional means of marketing, you save your financial boat from sinking. With the help of SEO, a business can show itself to the exact people who are searching for their products.
This ability to target the right customer at the right time means the returns on investment are much higher for e-commerce businesses that effectively leverage SEO for their websites.
Take advantage of product snippets
Search engines like Google are continually rolling out new features that impact websites’ traffic and ranking. The Products Snippet by Google shows the most relevant products from e-commerce stores that the user’s search query shows interest in.
These snippets are shown prominently above all results and get more hits than any other organic results on the search results page.
With a targeted, long term strategy, e-commerce stores can optimize their pages for product snippet results and get the bulk of all traffic every time a user searches for their products.
SEMrush has a lot to offer inside, but we are on the clock here so we’ll head straight to the backlink audit tool.
However, before you do that, just create a project for your own site (or for a client if that’s what you want to do).
With the options you’ll be presented, pick the backlink audit option.
Click on Backlink audit and you’ll be presented with a dashboard with all the links pointing to your website, your overall toxic score, referring domains, the number of backlinks analyzed, and domains by toxic score.
Each backlink is awarded a “toxic score”. You can choose to keep (whitelist) the links pointing to your website or delete the links.
When it comes to deleting links with SEMrush, you’ll have two options:
If you choose to click on delete and disavow, the link in question is added to your “disavow list” (seen in a separate tab in your backlink audit dashboard).
You can later upload your list of disavowed links to the Google Disavow tool manually or through the Google Search Console.
With all the hype on the Internet, it’s clear that SEO is overrated. Here’s what you should do instead:
There’s no SEO without Content. Get that.
There are shady agencies that promise you the moon but have nothing much to show for it. Did you know that some agencies and freelancers still do bat shit crazy stuff like adding your website to general directories, producing keyword stuffed 550-word blog posts and articles, submitting articles to article directories, and more?
None of that bat shit crazy stuff works. Just get over it.
There’s no SEO without being able to produce content that makes a difference to your readers. But if you thought you’d be fine with producing marginally good content, it won’t do.
The first thing you’d really need to do with SEO is not exactly ‘SEO’.
It’s what is called a simple SEO Audit. You’d need a way to quickly get your bearings and see how your website stacks up on various parameters that’ll affect your efforts when it comes to SEO.
SEMrush allows you to quickly do an SEO audit for your site, all by yourself. This is your opportunity to look for structural SEO issues on your website such as broken links, missing Alt tags for images, missing h1 or h2 tags, duplicate content, broken links, and so much more.
The SEMrush Audit report provides you with a quick view over several thematic metrics, issues, notices, warnings, and more, depending.
In my case, I scored 72% with more than 100 crawled pages.
Most of the duplicate content issues came up because of the subdomain https://academy.fetchprofits.com. But you can see how quickly you can get a bird’s eye view of how well your website is optimized for search.
The audit report isn’t cast on a boulder. This report is for you to get your bearings and make improvements, one issue at a time.
You need to keep making changes (as recommended by SEMrush) and then keep checking on this report regularly — like a pilot checks his airplane before flying and like a good driver always checks his car before heading out to the road.
While you are at it, you can also quickly use On-page SEO checker, link building tool, content ideas tool, and more.
Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest (for quick checks on volume and keyword difficulty). Free to use
Of course, if you want to dig deep. There are even more tools than you know what to do with.
If you ask me, using too many tools is an overkill. You might even delude yourself thinking that you are investing when you are actually overinvesting in your marketing stack.
Integrate SEO into your content marketing workflow
It’s a fancy way of saying that you should put all your efforts into actually “creating content” and then try to optimize each piece of content for SEO.
Just the basics.
Like, if you are using WordPress as your CMS, just use Yoast SEO plugin, pick one keyword that you think your blog post does justice to (don’t overdo it, don’t stuff keywords, and don’t bother with Keyword density).
Follow all those tips that Yoast SEO plugin will instantly present to you while you are publishing your blog post.
In the end, be sure to get that little green button glowing.
That’s it. For most purposes and given that we all have constraints, that’s all the SEO you ever need to do.
Least to say, it was scary. So, I had to clean that up. Read more about how I used the SEMrush Backlink audit tool to improve my backlink profile, remove toxic links and brought down my overall toxic score.
The best kind of link building or backlinking you can do is when you go out there and hustle.
Go out there and hustle with cold outreach emails. Just be sure to do it right and don’t be greedy, selfish, self-centered, and act bratty. Even if your company name is Apply, Facebook, or Microsoft, I’d never take shit from you.
If you get decent traffic to your blog, a few things will start to happen.
Bloggers, writers, and others will start linking to your content. This is healthy link building, and it’s old school. Truly, this is what you should be hoping for.
All kinds of marketers, outreach managers, SEO agencies, and everyone else will start sending you email requesting you to link to their content, to mention their marketing tools, or to mention their brands. This is good too, except that you need to think about whether or not you want to link.
The second point here is important: Should you link to other companies, brands, blogs, and other content because you’ve been asked to?
You may. You may not.
Depends on what you do.
What I’ve noticed over the years is that the world is selfish. Outreach managers, SEO agencies, freelancers who do SEO, or brands want you to add links but they usually don’t reciprocate (they don’t mention).
Like selfish, self-centered brats, they just ask you to link (and they say that it’ll add value to your readers).
Stop doing favours for them. They aren’t asking you for links because they love your content.
When you are requested to add links, assuming you get a reasonable request for linking to good brands or content do this:
If you are a blogger, the minimum you need is to have them link back to some of your older content. Or you can monetize the opportunity and ask them to pay you XXX for the favor.
If you are a brand or a business, check to see if the link request isn’t from your competition. If the link belongs to your competition, just say no. If not, either link back assuming the deed is reciprocated or get paid for the link.
There will be negotiations. Some people might never get back to you again. But that’s alright. Whatever you do, don’t sell yourself short.
SEO might be overrated but that doesn’t mean you should just forget about SEO. I am lazy and I don’t care about SEO at all. Yet, 79% of all my traffic comes from Google and that’s when I am the last person who’s even interested in using SEO at all.
Imagine what you could do if you were slightly more interested? Go ahead, pick out all your tools like Google Keyword Planner, Ubersuggest, and SEMrush and start doing what you need to do now.
At the time of writing this, SEO is going through a strange phase. SEO isn’t dead; it’s thriving, but it’s also changing.
SEO is different today than how it was several years ago.
Tons of websites exist that discuss SEO but most of the content you see online is the equivalent of used plastic bags — trash.
The real experts are out there if you look closely enough and I decided to spoil the fun that comes with self-discovery since given below are 7 astounding, simply priceless, deep and informative websites that have plenty of information you can kill for on SEO.
Brian Dean of Backlinko is a monster when it comes to SEO and his blog is one of those things you can’t help but not read. Brian knows his stuff, and each of his blog posts could have been worth thousands of dollars (but he won’t sell; instead he’ll give it all away just like that).
He is so good at SEO that he even made his Youtube Channel — with very few videos — popular already with 127,000 subscribers and millions of views at the time of writing this.
Emulating success stories is often the regularly dispensed advice on how to become successful online. But then, where on earth would you go looking for inspiration? How about learning from 25 Brilliant Examples of Facebook Brand Pages and doing the same for your Facebook Marketing efforts? Do you run a corporate newsletter?
Wouldn’t you like to know How to Write a Successful Corporate Newsletter? Econsulting is an incredibly rich resource for digital marketing or Online Marketing Professionals. I’d say this should be your first stop for anything to do with Online Promotions.
I had to subscribe to Econsulting the first time I saw it and that’s because:
You have access to templates for Internet Marketing which makes my job incredibly easy and perhaps makes most of Internet Marketing much like pushing buttons at cashpoints or ATM.
You will be the first to know if there are any jobs within the sphere of Online Marketing Industry.
You will be among the first to be alerted to various seminars, conferences and meetings held on specific subjects of Interest pertaining to E-commerce.
The reports published on the site ( which could be purchased individually or accessed through a yearly membership) are pure gold.
If needed, you could special training and gain access to a world of resources to put your online marketing on steroids.
Search Engine Land
Video is the best way to force-feed yourself to success –albeit easily and effortlessly– and the Video Archives of Search Engine Land is bustling with knowledge of various sources and experts.
If you are the reading type and prefer to sip a cup of coffee while reading reams and reams of pages, you can access a mind-boggling array of information off the digital shelves of Search Engine Land’s Libray Index.
Search Engine Land is a resource to die for if you are looking for authentic, tried-and-tested tactics as far as SEO/SEM is concerned.
I have been reading the Moz blog for as long as their were publishing and I just can’t have enough of it. Their blog itself is worth a membership and then they have more — a plethora of SEO tools that you could kill for and a handful of expertly written guides all on the subject of Search Engine Optimization.
There are a few free ones for the free members but the really good stuff comes if you are willing to pay for it. Depending on your needs, I highly recommend going for one of their paid plans.
The coolest part about Moz is their “Whiteboard Fridays” feature on their blogs where some of the best information is dispensed each week.
You’d stone me to death if I didn’t include this classic of an SEO blog by Aaron Wall. It is purported to have more readership than that for Google’s Matt Cutts (that’s probably because he tends to walk off the tangent sometimes and starts to talk about his return from climbing atop Mt.Kilimanjaro)
You can bet there’s more to take from that one blog alone.
SEMClubHouse Blog — From KeyRelevance
One of the other truly respectable sources for insights about online marketing in general but more specifically about SEM(Search Engine Marketing) is the SEM Clubhouse from the folks at KeyRelevance, headed by Christine Churchill.
I remember learning a lot from her articles at KeyRelevance and her seminars, speeches and webcasts on sites like Search Engine Land, Search Engine Strategies and WebMasterWorld.
I devour posts from White, the moment they hit my Feedly and I’ve really learnt a lot from this blog alone.
Tad Chef is a busy blogger and blogs on 3 other blogs as far as I know so he literally has his days filled with some intense blogging.
Each of those blog posts on SEOptimise are filled with priceless information on everything to do with SEO, SEM, Adwords & PPC marketing, Web marketing Metrics and Analytics. For instance, check out 40+ Advanced Web Analytics Tools For Business Use
Subscribe to their feeds now.
What are your favourites when it comes to learning SEO? Did I miss any important links here? Tell me about it.
Have you been checking the web for guest posting opportunities? Did you honestly think that guest posting — for SEO, traffic, branding, or whatever it was that had you convinced — is the best strategy for your business?
Clearly, SEO is too hard to deal with and guest posting has no apparent ROI to show for it.
Imagine this: you spend hours and hours just trying to come up with relevant titles only to write in what most people already know. You’d then want to publish only on authority blogs and publications and most of them don’t even allow guest posting anymore.
Assuming they do, the ROI isn’t that great.
But why does everyone, including my neighbor’s cat “Pummy” want to do guest posting? Why, oh Why?
The Power of Transference: Why Guest Posting Is Popular?
Apart from well-known influencers who became well-known partly because of guest posting (those were the days), most others fail miserably after marathon sprints writing themselves to death.
But why? Because of what is known as “Transference”.
Sigmund Freud “Transference” was one of the greatest discoveries in human psychology.
It’s a concept that’s not well-understood outside of clinical psychoanalysis. But this the finding that explains why:
* We choose spouses who are just like our parents.
* People behave the way they do in organizations.
* We are influenced by others in so many ways
* bosses sometimes choose to promote other people instead of someone else (while this “someone” almost thought he or she was the best fit for the new role).
Transference, according to Michael Maccoby of HBR, is the underlying essence of leadership. It explains why people stay glued to their leaders (among many other behavioral repercussions).
It probably also explains why Donald Trump was elected.
But my reason to bring up transference is specifically to do with prevailing SEO practices and Guest Posting.
You do guest posting — and you think, believe, and feel — because people like Danny Iny, Neil patel and anyone else who’d have got to fame with guest posting.
They are leaders. They practice what they preach. They became famous for what they did and it’s very inspirational.
For every blogger who just launched, these are the stalwarts they look up to.
Guess what? They’d just follow.
That’s bad because the results aren’t pretty. You’d just need to read Tim Soulo’s beast of a post that shows you what happened to the show after 273 posts on sites like Inc, HubSpot, Entrepreneur, and Business Insider.
If Guest Posting Is a Numbers’ Game, What’s The Point?
Carly Stec of HubSpot thankfully curated a list of stats for native ads, banner ads, and paid advertising.
1. Native ads are viewed 53% more than banner ads. (Source: Dedicated Media)
2. A retargeting campaign from Magoosh Online Test prep generated $58,608 in attributable revenue. At a total cost of $11,000 the campaign resulted in an ROI of 486%. (Source: Retargeter)
3. Users who are retargeted to are 70% more likely to convert. (Source: Digital Information World)
4. Heineken Light reached 54% of audience — 35 million people — in just three days using video ads on Facebook. (Source: Facebook)
5. Airbnb achieved an engagement rate of over 4% for one of their Promoted Tweets. (Source: Twitter)
6. 32% of consumers said they would share a native ad with friends and family, versus 19% for banner ads. (Source: ShareThrough)
7. Native ads that include rich media boost conversion rates by up to 60%. (Source: Social Times)
8. Julian Bakery saw a 35% increase in conversions and a 330% increase in impressions on the Google Display Network. (Source: Google)
9. 71% of publishers received no major complaints from readers for featuring native ads, while 29% received minor backlash. (Source: Digital Content Next)
10. After one year of leveraging Targeted Status Updates on LinkedIn, ADP’s Company Page followers doubled to 85,000. (Source: LinkedIn)
And we aren’t even getting close to the real power of PPC:
Here’s some data from live campaigns we are working on right now (last 30 days data)
Client 1: Spent $1,342 in 30 days. A total of 4010 clicks and 57 conversions (sales). Client 2: Spent #207.23 in 30 days (low search volume business) and got 8 leads. 75% of them converted (since this business is more like search and rescue thing).
Client 1, for example, has an ROI of 108%. The client’s campaigns run even without them ever having to bother with writing a single blog post or guest post. The client, in fact, has zero SEO strategy.
Guest Posting Is a Timesuck, Without ROI
Most entrepreneurs and bloggers don’t even take “time” into the equation.
All those snapshots of results you saw — of Neil and Ryan — just take into account a few blog posts published elsewhere, and the resulting traffic out of that effort.
They then measure how many email subscribers they got (but no one tells you how many of those subscribers actually converted into sales).
All that is fine and dandy, but what about the time it takes to publish, say 273 blogs like Tim of BloggerJet did?
A typical Guest blogging process:
Identify host blogs with good DA
Reach out to bloggers with topic ideas and pitches
Follow-up with bloggers who don’t respond.
Write up “Epic Shit”.
Edit, proof-read, and Edit again.
Send the post to the host blog.
Wait for the blogger to publish.
If a typical blog post itself takes hours, days, weeks, or even months (as in Tim’s case when we wrote his 6000-word beast of a post that examines Guest posting ROI), how much time did you really spend in total?
Assuming this is an ongoing exercise for your business:
Identify host blogs with good DA: Everyday, 1 hour.
Reach out to bloggers with topic ideas and pitches: Everyday, 2 hours.
Follow-up with bloggers who don’t respond: 30 minutes per day.
Write up “Epic Shit”: 5 hours per post.
Edit, proofread, and Edit again: 1 hour per post
Send the post to the host blog: 10 minutes
Wait for the blogger to publish: Unknown (but we can leave this out of the equation and presume that the blog will be published eventually).
The actual cost (in hours) for a single blog post: 9 hours 40 minutes.
Round it off to 10 hours.
If your hourly price was even $30 per hour, you spent $300 for a guest post?
The Cost of 50 guest posts would then be $15,000 in total.
You better be selling a couple of Boeing Business Jet 2 A.K.A “the Flying Hotel” to make this work for you.
I am not throwing guest posting out with the bath towel. All I am saying is that you should stop obsessing about Guest posting in particular, SEO in general.
Anyway, it’s never a good idea to put all your eggs (and time, and hope, and your business) around one, super-hyped marketing channel
I hope you have a better way to spend your marketing dollars.
Local marketing is almost untapped, as is. It’s, however, one of the biggest opportunities for businesses today. It just makes sense for businesses to be positioned in such a way that they are easily found when customers seek. The trends are telling. The opportunity is here. As a business, you don’t need to lift boulders or run marathons. You’d just need to show up.
The signs are all here.
Work on the wrinkles
It’s time for a little housekeeping on your website. The number one negative local search ranking factor is “Incorrect business category” and “listing detected at false business address”, according to Local Search Ranking factors report by Moz.
Get the NAP (Name, Address, Phone) right, remove the presence of any malware on your site (or get good hosting), stop stuffing keywords in, and get glowing reviews on your Google+ page.
It’s plain common sense: users won’t whip up their mobiles and “search” for your business out of boredom. They do it with intent, local intent that is. These people, according to Google’s new study, are ready to buy once they are in your store.
Consumers seek a variety of local Information. Give them that
It’s not just “Which store, where” intent that comes with local search. Consumers look for a variety of information such as business hours, directions, address, availability of products, reviews, and more.
Their decision to purchase grows stronger if they knew they were close to a store, if they could get to the product quickly, and if they see a reason enough to believe that pricing was better.
Make ads relevant to local search
Be it search optimization, content, or PPC ads, keep the ads localized. The more the ads are optimized for customers’ location, the more effective your ads are.
About 32% of customers who clicked on optimized local ads visited stores or made purchases. Another 19% made unplanned visits to the stores.
Use location optimized ads, build landing pages matching these ads, keep the flow going, capture the lead. Period.
Those extensions matter
Help customers find you. Make it easy for them to look up your information online (and on mobile), add location extensions, provide a number for them to call, have them “click to call”, and provide a map for directions.
If you are using paid local ads on Google, use radius bidding or locale-based bidding to reach customers near stores to build an attribution model for local searches.
Have Multiple locations? Flaunt it
Some fortunate businesses have multiple locations nationwide or even globally. Use that to your advantage. Bring in a tool like BullsEye Locations which makes it easy for you to setup a store locator in minutes.
If you have multiple offices, a dealer network, or a directory of agents working out of various locations, put that to good use.