SEO (search engine optimization) is nowadays a “must-do” for public webshop owners. In highly competitive markets, this can sometimes be a challenge. Measuring clicks is easy, but what do you do when traffic or conversion from organic search traffic decreases? Turning on the money tap and hoping for sunshine is not an option, so you look for areas where the biggest profit can be made. But where do you start? What is your investment in SEO?
The 4 SEO improvement areas
During my work as an e-commerce specialist, I have come across several cases where I have ended up in this situation. I recognize four areas in which your webshop can be optimized (in the context of SEO):
- Offer / assortment. In the basis of SEO of e-commerce is of course your offer or assortment. Do you offer the right products or services? Have you researched what your target group is looking for?
- Content / product data. In addition to your offer or assortment, it is very important that you offer the right information about your products and / or services. On the internet you can find plenty of best practices on how to do good content marketing. Do you answer questions or ambiguities that your target group has during their orientation and / or purchase phase?
- Configuration. Professional webshop and website packages have numerous possibilities to better tailor your offer and content to your audience. Setting up permalinks, redirects, taxonomies, tags… the list goes on and on. Do you have all the possibilities of your available tools clear?
- Technique. The most difficult from this list is certainly technique. Where website and webshop packages are already optimized in the field of SEO as standard (“straight out of the box”), every market and every concept requires its own fine-tuning. Think of making metadata available, optimizing loading times and correctly setting up canonical URLs. Always get advice before you enter this (often expensive) process.
The answer to the question in my introduction is usually at the intersection of 2, 3 or 4 of these areas, something that makes the solution complex and labor-intensive. That is why I would like to help you with the following 5-step plan:
1. Learn from your competitors
Do you want to reinvent the wheel? No, of course not! Therefore, look at how your competitors build landing pages, which keywords they use and which products or services they mainly pay attention to.
2. Choose a distinctive strategy
Now that you know what your competitors are up to, it is especially important to choose a different (distinctive) SEO strategy. Learn from best practices (from other markets), choose longtail keywords or get further advice from an SEO expert.
3. Create an integral marketing plan
Make sure SEO has a fixed and clear role in your marketing mix. Prevent channels from “cannibalizing”, for example, make sure that you do not use SEA campaigns on keywords where you already have a good presence. Think of the contribution of each channel in the customer journey of your customer and prevent existing customers from unnecessarily visiting your webshop via (competitor-bombarded) search results.
4. Test and learn with SEA campaigns
Especially new webshop owners experience cold water fear when hearing SEA (search engine advertising). Besides the fact that this is a helpful channel to enter an existing market as a new brand, SEA can also help in analyzing and testing keywords. Which keywords cause a lot of traffic to your webshop and, just as importantly, which of these visitors convert on your webshop? This can contribute to determining your SEO strategy. Investment in SEO therefore starts with SEA.
5. Build authority within your market
Is your strategy worked out and your approach clear? Start building. Produce content that is relevant, distinctive and in line with your brand identity. In addition, make sure that both technology and its configuration do not stand in the way of rolling out your strategy. To ensure that you are seen by your target group as the expert in the field of the products and / or services you provide, you have to get to work.
SEO is a discipline with a relatively long-term effect; it often takes a while before you see real results. But what are the main effects?
- External websites will link to your content (so-called “backlinks”);
- Users on social media share and “like” your content on the various platforms;
- These referrals ensure more visitors to your website or webshop;
- This increase increases your position in search engines (which see that your content is appreciated more and more);
- Due to a higher position in the search results, the traffic to your website or webshop increases even more;
As this list shows, SEO works like a flywheel, with one thing leading to another… but the better your offer, content (content and frequency) and framework, the more you can harvest in the long term. Your investment therefore depends on the role that SEO plays in your resource mix. Based on ‘trial and error’, you will experience the added value of SEO.