To outsiders, owning and running an E-commerce store can seem like a dream job. There’s the potential to make big money, sell products you’re passionate about, run a business the right way — and best of all, be your own boss! What they don’t see is the vast quantities of time you have to pour into the business. While they’re enjoying time with the family and romantic dates, you’re sat at your desk, desperately trying to think of new ideas for your newsletters and Instagram posts.
You love social media, chiefly Instagram, as it allows you to be creative and build authentic relationships with your audience. But, it’s also like having another child. You have to continually feed and nurture your account — if you want to keep generating site traffic, sign-ups and sales. On top of this, Instagram are changing the rules of the game and making your posts less visible — sure it still drives awareness and engagement, but not like before.
Isn’t it Time You Invested in Another Marketing Channel?
A channel that:
1) Generates shoppers and customers while you’re at the beach
2) Isn’t dependent on another companies (ever-evolving) platform
3) Attracts people looking for your products
Well, let me introduce you to Google search. I know you’ve heard of the world’s favourite search engine before. But, so have all the people in my Facebook group — our community is for people building fashion brands. I outline the steps for starting a fashion brand in a recent post on the Bright Arts blog.
I polled group members on their choice of marketing channels — and I was shocked to learn that only 16%, use Google Search to drive traffic and sales. Which brings me to my first SEO mistake that E-commerce owners make…
Mistake #1 Failing to Realise the Value of Search Engine Traffic
Are you in the 84% of e-commerce business owners, yet to embrace the virtues of Google Search? I hope not. But if you are, you’re missing out on thousand’s of high-intent website visitors — that’s people who are looking for products like yours — people ready to buy! E-commerce owners who see the value of search traffic, are reaping the rewards. They also have part of their marketing working on auto-pilot — that means more Pimms and fewer posts!
How do they get organic traffic to their stores?
By optimising their sites for search engines — Search Engine Optimisation. Now, I know what you’re thinking…. It’s impossible to feature on the 1st page of Google for search terms that matter to my business. But, that’s not true. Or at least a gross oversimplification. Some search terms are highly competitive, others require a little work, and others you can rank No.1 for with the minimum of effort. As a general rule of thumb — the more specific and niche your products and categories, the greater your chance of getting to the top of Google’s search results. Regardless of the ranking difficulty — if you want to get your products shown on Google, you need to optimise your product pages. Which takes us to our next mistake…
Mistake #2 Poorly Optimised H1 Headers and URLs
All too often, I see these SEO fundamentals badly executed on product pages. Let’s start with the H1 title. I know it’s boring, but your H1 header shouldn’t be something random like ‘Yellow Bang Bang’. Your H1 should describe your product using popular terms, for example: ‘Yellow Cotton Swim Shorts’. Why? Well, nobody’s searching Google for ‘Yellow Bang Bang’ and expecting to find swim shorts. However, they are searching for ‘Yellow Swim Shorts’ or ‘Cotton Swim Shorts’.
Google’s in the business of serving relevant results to searchers — by giving Google these clues, it will understand your page’s topic and show it ( but not necessarily on page 1 ) when someone searches for ‘Yellow Swim Shorts’ or ‘Swim Shorts’.
You should also update your URL’s.
You URL’s shouldn’t be: www.website.com/TVBRT#SCKKL# or www.website.com/cat1/yellow-bang-bang. They should be something like: www.yourwebsite.com/mens-swimwear/yellow-cotton-swim-shorts. Some people will say URL’s no longer matter for SEO. But, that’s not true for E-commerce brands. Shopping pages are light on content and you need to give Google as many clues as possible. Which brings me to my next problem with E-commerce sites…
Mistake #3 Underwritten Product Pages
Many E-commerce sites have inadequate amounts of copy on their product pages. And not just any old copy, but good old fashion sales copy — prose that focuses on the emotional benefits and extensive feature set of the products at hand. In-depth copy, not only helps your shoppers choose your products, it also give you additional opportunities to feature in search results. Why? Search engines also love additional information — they use it to connect your page with lots of related keywords and search queries. Every keyword that Google associates with your brand, is a chance for your business to feature in a search result. And the more searches features in, the more shoppers you’ll have looking at and buying your products.
Exercise Idea: Jot down every word you associate with a given product or category on your site. Rewrite your description with this list of words. Aim for between 250-300 words.
After reading my article, I hope you appreciate the importance and potential of SEO for your business. You also have actionable tips that’ll help you optimise your pages and fix those costly SEO mistakes. Want to get your website on page 1 of Google? Check out my in-depth SEO guide.
Best of luck with your store, Andrew.
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