The cost of online advertising is only going in one direction (clue: not down). So, whether your ecommerce business is quite new, or you’re looking to manage spiralling costs, following the guidelines below will help you grow your organic (from unpaid search results) and earned (referrals) traffic. And bonus – it will make for a better customer experience for your existing site visitors too.
Step 1. Research and select your primary keywords
Do your keyword research to find the phrases your target audience searches for and to discover the most popular keywords you may want to rank for. There are a number of tools that can help with this discovery process – Moz’ Keyword Explorer or Google’s Keyword Planning Tool are both good options. Once you have your complete list, assign one primary keyword or phrase per page on your website. Optimise each page for the selected term. Avoid targeting the same keyword on more than one page, which can lead to keyword cannibalisation.
- Use the primary keyword throughout the text but keep the language natural (it’s been said thousands of times, but bears repeating – write for your audience, not for a search engine). Use your keyword naturally, and at all costs avoid keyword stuffing. It’s spammy, will do more harm than good to your SEO efforts, and will make your audience hate you.
- Use the primary keyword in the page title when possible and in the page’s URL.
- Get to the point quickly! Use your primary keyword in the first sentence or two of your copy.
- Use your primary keyword in titles and sub titles (not just helpful for SEO, but impatient users will know at a glance what the page is about and get the gist of the content with a quick skim read)
- Don’t forget the meta-data. Use the primary keyword in the meta-title and meta description (which display in search results) to increase the click-through-rate from SERPs.
- Finally – use your keywords on image alt tags, which impact SEO and are used more practically for users with visual impairment or who for other reasons cannot view the images themselves.
Step 2. Deliver fresh, original content
This is not a quick fix or a one-time deal. To get consistent results, you will need to put consistent effort into your content. So, put some time aside each week and start creating high-quality, relevant content. Get to know your audience, and write about things that matter to them, and that link back to your brand and product offering. There are no hard and fast rules on word count, but obviously delving a little deeper will provide you with more opportunity to hook your audience and provide something valuable they can’t get elsewhere. You’ll also naturally get more keywords and related terms in, if you cover a topic more thoroughly. Whilst good evergreen content may continue to provide value (in organic search traffic and referrals) long after it’s published, you do also need to refresh and publish new content on a regular basis. To search engines, this signals that your website is current and active and can help improve your ranking. AVOID DUPLICATE CONTENT. Sorry for shouting. If you have to re-use content in more than one place, use a canonical tag on the duplicate content, to point search bots to the original copy and avoid penalties for the duplicate content. This includes visible and ‘invisible’ content – so make sure you use original metatags on all pages too.
Step 3. Create and execute a link-building strategy
The number of relevant, high quality sites that link back to your website is a major ranking factor, so thinking about how to attract high quality links to your site should be a significant part of your overall SEO strategy. Of course, creating fresh, original, shareable content that people WANT to talk about will automatically help with this (see point 2). But to really scale the number and quality of backlinks to your site, you will need to use a structured content development and influencer outreach strategy. There are a few content marketing frameworks that are tried and true and can form the basis of your plan – think white papers and definitive guides, roundups (where you aggregate and publish input on a topic from multiple relevant experts), comparison-based content where you present different alternatives and encourage debate on the relative merits of each. Content format is also important. As we cruise towards 2019, video content is more important than ever. We love consuming video across all online channels and using the format may even boost the visibility of your posts on social media platforms.
On the flip side, it’s equally important to avoid links from spammy or low-quality sites to your website. NEVER pay for links to your site and run a mile from an SEO who says they can significantly increase your backlinks quickly, easily or cheaply! Use tools to periodically review the sites linking to yours. And if you do encounter some of questionable quality, send them a polite request to remove the link, and if that fails, use Google’s Disavow tool, which lets Google know they should ignore links from certain sites when ranking your website.
If you want to delve deeper into your SEO performance and potential improvements, talk to us about our SEO Website Audit.