Going live with your website is only the beginning of your eCommerce journey
Some retailers make the mistake of thinking that developing and launching their website is the most important step. They “go-live” with their new site, stop putting in the continued effort, and then expect the sales to start coming in.
If only it were that easy.
While a user-friendly website is a must for every serious retail business, it is just the first step in building a successful presence on the web. To take your integrated eCommerce platform to the next level, you will have to invest time and energy towards mastering the ever-changing field of SEO (search engine optimization). Ongoing SEO and continued efforts within these best practices is the ultimate key to selling online.
Learn how you can boost your online sales with this crucial weapon.
Why is SEO so Important?
The most common way an online business finds new customers is with the help of Google, which is the internet’s number one search engine. As of May 2017, Google accounted for 62.6 percent of all traffic referrals. In comparison, Facebook only accounted for about 6 percent. Trends suggest that Google’s stranglehold is unlikely to weaken.
SEO is constantly evolving and with Google’s commitment to AI (artificial intelligence), its evolution will most likely become more dramatic. A strong omnichannel retail presence will depend on your ability to stay on top of the changing landscape in search engine algorithms. Though Google isn’t the only search engine, it owns nearly 75% of the overall search market which makes following its recommended guidelines essential. And as a tip, if and when you are paying to advertise with Google in a PPC (Pay-Per-Click) marketing campaign, Google is your friend. When you are looking to gain traction in organic (or free) keyword positions, it becomes much more difficult.
SEO Myths and Pitfalls
Backlinks, which are incoming links to a webpage across the internet, have always been critical to high keyword rankings on results pages- but not all backlinks are equal in the eyes of search engines. This is where knowledge of the different types of relevancy could help a company develop a powerful SEO strategy. It was once thought that links from sites that shared the same niche were more valuable than others, but we now know it’s not necessarily the case. If a page is outside your niche links to your website, the effect could still be substantial if that page has useful information on your niche or subject matter.
Business owners should be wary of falling into innocent-looking pitfalls. For example, Google places a lot of weight on the age of a webpage. That means if you begin a strong content-driven online campaign with an emphasis on obtaining quality backlinks, you might not produce results for weeks, or even months. Budgeting resources for such long-term goals will help you maintain realistic expectations.
And to reach the very top of the search results page, other factors besides backlinks will play a role. To deliver the best search results to its users, Google measures how fast pages are, also known as load time. Google also tracks how long users stay on a page, how nice they look on mobile, and how many visitors actually convert on your pages. Learning about how to optimize for the end-user could be just as important as targeting for keywords and creating favorable backlinks.
Poor SEO Strategy
A website equipped with the latest retail technology and lots of beautiful product pages might not be obtaining the backlinks it desires. This is because most links created on the internet will be aimed at helping users discover valuable and relevant information, which many times is also free. That’s where the creation of quality content comes in. The word quality will ring empty if a company has not investigated what kinds of content are considered to be of interest to the users. Keeping up-to-date with SEO news and trends will allow you to understand what kinds of content and pages you need to create so that others link to your business.
SEO Next Steps
In short, if you want your new eCommerce website to succeed, it’s important to understand that going live with a fantastic website is only one part of the puzzle. A truly successful website must be complemented with an ongoing dedication to SEO.
As we have seen, organic search is the primary source of website traffic, and the most commonly-used search engine is Google. SEO builds trust and credibility, and improves the customer experience by allowing searchers (better known as potential shoppers) to compare and contrast.
With the web’s top referrer, Google, constantly changing its algorithm, and eCommerce becoming the most convenient solution for customers, you cannot afford for SEO to be a weak link for your company’s online shopping experience.
There are so many companies out there that specialize in SEO services, and in some cases your own eCommerce provider may offer ongoing SEO services as well. Perhaps there’s someone in your business who has the knowledge and time to dedicate to your SEO goals. Whichever route you choose, as an online retailer, the most important thing is that SEO doesn’t get ignored.