Online stores are heavily reliant on organic traffic when it comes to driving sales. As SEO becomes increasingly multifaceted, the scope of ‘doing ecommerce SEO’ widens — now including disciplines like content marketing, digital PR, and UX (user-experience).
Here are some crucial SEO developments that you will need to factor into your 2018 ecommerce strategy — whether you are building a new store, or helping an established brand go multichannel.
If you are looking to next year and thinking about how to increase your chances of ranking with ecommerce SEO — you have come to the right place. At the same time, SEO is just one part of the wider digital mix, and you will need to ensure that you have all bases covered — from web development to social media. Other sources of web traffic like paid search and social advertising efforts should always run concurrently with your SEO campaigns for maximum benefits. If you are renewing your web design for 2018, ensure that your online store’s migration is managed from an SEO perspective in order to conserve rankings and traffic.
What happens to search when you remove the need for written text? As smart devices like Alexa and Google Home become popularised, we are seeing an increased emphasis on voice search and natural language queries.
At the same time, there is also an ongoing focus on local searches, especially on mobile. Brands need to implement structured data to ensure that their products and stores are coming up for these richer, more detailed, searches.
SEO in 2018 is also going to be about leveraging the data that others have submitted about your brand — including local reviews, images, and brand mentions. There is a growing community of online curators who are constantly uploading images and content, and answering local queries that could affect your business (especially if you have a retail outlet).
Content marketing and SEO have officially grown up — and you’ll need a content strategy to reflect that. One of the best ways for ecommerce stores to build trust and rank for long tail searches is to invest in user-generated content. Why? Content that has been created, edited, and curated by a community of customers is more compelling than a polished ad.
If you are using social media for UGC (and you definitely should), create a gallery page or subdomain to maximise SEO benefits. UGC is a great strategy to leverage when dealing with influencers who like to be promoted by brands.
Accepting reviews on your store? Ensure that users can comment on and react to each other’s reviews — this is a surefire way to create a sense of community (it’s worked for the big players like Amazon). Ask users questions about product size and fit — these are always big concerns for online shoppers.
Search engines are becoming better at dealing with clunky content management systems, but that shouldn’t be a reason to accept subpar coding. A thorough web development strategy should include auditing your code from a search engine perspective, and fixing any issues that are likely to inhibit indexing.
You need to prioritise speed when it comes to your online store — speed and an awesome UX that can handle even the smallest of screens. Demanding smartphone users are accessing stores on smaller and smaller devices and are expecting a speedy shopping experience 24/7.
Audit and test your site on a variety of devices to get a feel for how it reacts and shape-shifts — don’t let you or the team become ‘desktop blind’.
Increasing your referring domain count is important for new ecommerce stores, as it helps build trust with search engines.
The new way to link build? Positive brand experiences, PR, influencer marketing, and quality content. You need to drill down to your brand story and think about the different ways in which you can add value to the online community.
Cool and quirky digital PR campaigns can have a hugely positive impact on brand awareness, and are a great way to launch yourself into the online marketplace with a bang.
The old static product page is morphing into an audiovisual experience. You need to factor in videos and imagery into your store design, as well as include fast ways for customers to get in touch with you and send an enquiry.
You can be 100% accountable when it comes to ecommerce SEO thanks to easy measurement and tracking. Keep your eye on organic revenue throughout the year and compare it to last year's’ figures. Have you been able to increase traffic and rankings?
Gareth Simpson – Technical SEO & Startup Founder
Gareth is an SEO pro with over a decade in the industry. Now based in Bristol, his specialisms are outreach and creative content. You’ll find him at his desk, drinking green tea and working on his latest campaign.
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