Onsite SEO - Getting Ahead Of Google (And other Search Engines, but basically Google..!)
If this blog has made its way to your screen it’s likely you either have a website (hosted or self-built), or are planning on getting one. You will have heard of the importance of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) but may not have grasped its relevance or implementation fully. You see, without investing in your site’s SEO, you can’t expect to ever appear highly on the all-important Google rankings. Without impactful/purposeful/deliberate SEO efforts, it’s safe to say you’re doing half a job.
There are a multitude of practises, activities, tips and tricks to aid your SEO efforts, both on your website (on-site SEO) and through other channels (off-site SEO). At Goldilocks Creative we offer packages to cover all, or few, of these aspects, but if you’d like to give it a go yourself, here are our top tips for winning at on-site SEO. (See our “Off-site SEO” blog for help there too!)
On average a website has 3 seconds to grab someone's attention, and hold it. It needs to showcase why you are the best of the bunch.
A homepage that is impressive in terms of design and usability goes a long way in converting visitors into customers. A/B testing is advisable to test your homepage design elements; what works with your audience and, more importantly, what doesn’t.
Does your home page load slowly? Have a clunky interface? Is it too busy and hard to follow? If so, you will almost definitely lose prospective customers, no matter how fantastic a product you’re offering.
Keep your product images up to date, and ensuring you have the most recent offers and releases visible from your home page will stand you in good stead for SEO purposes. The new season must-haves, the technological upgrades, and the revolutionary inventions, are all irresistible USP’s to consumers.
Having at least one call to action on your visitors first landing page is essential. Digital shoppers want to be able to shop quickly and easily, being able to buy options from the home screen or get to the section they need right away will increase sales. Potential customers should not have to work to hunt down the option they want.
An effective product page will not only generate more sales revenue, but it will also prevent as many product returns, reducing costs.
Pricing is almost always going to be the deciding factor for someone making a purchase. Contrastly, a common reason online shoppers leave a site without completing their purchase is often down to unclear or misleadingly low pricing. Having exceptionally low prices per item, but ramping up the costs in shipping is a sure-fire way to lose a sale! This type of deceiving pricing breaks shoppers’ trust, and once you have lost that they will not buy from you, fact.
Clearly displayed and fully inclusive prices on your product pages, with shipping costs detailed alongside the listing, will mean your potential customers stay engaged and informed.
One of the biggest challenges for online retailers is the lack of senses available; you may well sell a physical product, but your customers can’t see/touch/smell/taste/hear it prior to them deciding to purchase. As the retailer your product descriptions are how you can provide clarity, aiding your sale. Including short paragraphs and bullet points of specifications allow concise and an easily understood summary.
Your product descriptions need to be detailed and compelling, while also incorporating your brand’s personality, making it unique and relatable. Your product copy should be written to reflect the specific needs of your ideal customers, speaking to them as individuals, from you. Simply taking the manufacturer’s copy and dumping it verbatim alongside a product image will not suffice, in fact it could well damage your SEO ratings as Google will consider it duplicate content.
Providing robust product descriptions (with complete item specifications, dimensions and other technical details) will ensure less returns, as the more informed the customer is the more likely they are to be happy with their purchase.
Return policies are often expensive and rigid. If you can provide a straightforward and free (if possible) returns policy, your visitors will be more inclined to shop from your website, they’ve got nothing to lose!
Similarly, if you offer a ‘price match’ guarantee customers will lean to you rather than your competitors as this enhances their trust. Being able to demonstrate that your store is customer friendly and trustworthy is one of the cornerstones to winning at eCommerce!
Keyword and keyphrase research takes some thought and planning but is the ultimate winning component for making sure your site ranks highly. Search Engines love it when you use the most relevant and frequently searched keywords for your product page’s title, description and headings.
It’s important to note here however, that simply plying your copy with your chosen keywords and phrases does not fly with Google, they can spot manipulative attempts a mile off, so organic, authentic writing is the key.
Not sure how to decipher your keywords? There are a plethora of free, and paid for, tools guiding you in the right direction. These are very helpful, but it’s also a great idea to just sit with a notepad and pen; what are your prospective customers typing in and how could they find you? Geographical locations, product descriptors, business and industry specific terms, etc will all help here.
Now you’re ready to get writing, but what other ways are there to optimise your pages?
You need to stand out from your competitors so your product labels need to be enticing to your viewers. Accurate information, perhaps with character (business specific), will reassure your potential customers that clicking on your link will not be wasting their time!
Within your website there are differing levels of text. We highly recommend ensuring your key phrases are in all levels; Header, Sub Header and Body Text. In addition to this, one of the most overlooked aspects of SEO is with Alt Text, utilise this feature by inputting relevant text to all of your tags - it can count as much as your anchor text!
Ever thought about how your images are labelled? Optimise your alt text by naming your images to include relevant keywords or phrases! Put it like this; how often do you use an image search to find the product you’re after? Exactly!
Optimising your product pages with precise key phrases is one of the best tips of the ecommerce trade. Expanding your keyword database to include ‘long tail’ keywords (product specific phrases with 3 words or more) will help those who search long phrases. These people are your premium audience as they know exactly what they are looking to purchase. The conversion rate from visitor to customer is much higher.
The user experience of your website relies heavily on its structure. If your site is tough to navigate or has complex categories and drop-downs, users will simply look elsewhere for your products. Online consumers want ease, convenience and rapid response.
In 2020, far more items are purchased from a mobile device than a desktop, therefore having a mobile-friendly store is essential. The mobile user experience of your website needs to be equally as good as the laptop version; consumers have a zero-tolerance attitude to anything less. Visitors expect a responsive, easily understood layout, ensuring this will equate to an improved mobile conversion rate.
Your menu items on both mobile and desktop should display the range of product/service categories concisely; not so overwhelming that it’s impossible for shoppers to find what they’re looking for, drowning in a sea of potential purchases.
Blogging; that word you will have heard repeatedly from marketeers and SEO specialists! Not only does it enable fresh content directly from the horse’s mouth, which search engines love, it’ll also keep your consumers engaged with your brand.
Blogs become a touch-point, allowing you to express your business values, processes, releases, promotions and events, all of which consumers may miss otherwise. Use-queries and detailed posts about individual products/services will also give the audience reassurance and support for their purchases.
You can choose to share your blogs and/or vlogs via email or on social networks, this increases the organic reach of your store, directing target audience traffic to your website, without you needing to actively market this content, it’s free!
Vlogging has fast become the new media phenomenon. By including entertaining and engaging video content to your marketing strategy, you are increasing your brand awareness and reach. Consumers want to get behind brands, and when they do, they want the world to know about it.
Little known online fact; YouTube is now the second most utilised search engine, see our offsite SEO blog for details of how having a YouTube channel and using it to power your website blog and social media can really ramp up those click throughs.
As you may have noticed, the digital arena within your local town, industry and/or realm has become highly competitive. Contributing to your very own blog or vlog has become an essential aspect of successful marketing campaigns.
Over 50% of all visitors who abandon their e-basket do so because it’s too complex or too slow a process to get to the finish line and purchase.
If your visitors have managed to find your website through your various SEO and content efforts, you then want the best conversion rate to a sale!
Probably the most simple and straight-forward way to improve your conversions is to simply reduce the steps it takes to buy a product. Here’s a few tips:
Exit pop-ups are a brilliant way to improve sales and to increase sales referrals within your web store, this can be done in one of two ways.
People love what they consider to be a bargain; if you have an exclusive deal for them they’re more likely to continue with their purchase. Presenting this discount when your visitors are navigating away will entice them to stay on and purchase.
The second method follows a purchase. To keep the user actively engaged in your brand, it’s good practise to add promotional offers such as discounts, referral bonuses, freebies and prizes to encourage the user to shop again and/or refer a friend.
Many site designers overlook the ‘Thank You’ page, however, from an optimisation point of view, it’s a gem! Customers love gratitude, especially when they see their purchase as a personalised item, and research indicates that the chances that this customer will buy from you again are doubled.
Gaining loyalty from a customer is one thing, but when that person uses your suggested referral discounts on their social media platforms with friends, your prospective client base widens also.
It’s important to note here, that a “Thank You” page is a fantastic tool where Google Analytics are concerned. You’re able to track your website visitors and therefore their buying journey. This data provides you with information about how and where your customers came from, what they eventually purchased, how long they were on your site, which pages they viewed, the list goes on!
Many shoppers will religiously read consumer reviews before they buy something online; it provides them with faith in the listing, showcasing what peers thought of its quality and instils all-important trust in the brand.
Providing relative reviews alongside product descriptions is one trick that aids Amazon in winning the most sales. A simple quote, a star-rating, or a detailed customer review could do wonders for your sales.
Etsy do all of these fantastically with their image, product descriptions, instant checkout, shipping costs and reviews all displayed within view.
So there you have it, it’s not simply about your keywords! All these elements will boost your ratings bit by bit; it could be the difference between page 1 line 1, and page 3 line 6 on Google. If it all seems a bit overwhelming, and looks a lot like something you don’t really have the time to do, the various website and SEO boosting packages at Goldilocks Creative could take the task off of your hands.There are a multitude of practises, activities, tips and tricks to aid your SEO efforts, both on your website (on-site SEO) and through other channels (off-site SEO). At Goldilocks Creative we offer packages to cover all, or few, of these aspects, but if you’d like to give it a go yourself, here are our top tips for winning at on-site SEO. (See our “Off-site SEO” blog for help there too!)