It’s no secret that e-commerce websites are booming in today’s modern age marketing world. In 2013, approximately $262 billion was spent on e-commerce websites which is about 13.4 percent higher than the year before, according to Internet Retailer. These numbers have been constantly increasing at a very aggressive pace and it’s encouraging entrepreneurs throughout the world to build new shopping sites in hopes to get a piece of the “quarter of a trillion-dollar pie”. The opportunity to earn great revenue from an online store is very real and I wanted to share my thoughts on how you should go about optimizing your shopping website to increase conversion rates. I also would like to shed some light on how to increase your website’s organic presence to drive high quality traffic to your online store.
Whether you have an online store that only has a few products or a huge online store with over 100,000 products, there are some basic things that you can do to spruce up the performance of your online store.
5 Tips For Increasing E-Commerce Conversion Rates
Lately, a majority of the clients we have been acquiring are e-commerce website owners partially because we have been optimizing our site to show up for keywords like “e-commerce SEO company” and other related search queries. Needless to say because of this we have been learning a lot of great ways to optimize the performance of these types of campaigns. While there are hundreds of things you can do to optimize your site and its many dynamic components, I feel that there are a few things that apply to any scenario which are:
- Optimizing your product pages’ content
- Optimizing your navigation
- Optimizing your shopping funnel
- Re-targeting using precision based remarketing lists
- Targeting long tail product intrinsic keywords.
There are many ways to go about performing some of these tasks but today I am going to share the methods that we use at The Miami SEO Company. These are strategies that an advanced SEO can appreciate as well as a newbie, they are effective and not very difficult to accomplish.
Optimizing Your On Page Factors
If you are new to SEO, I recommend you start off by learning what on page SEO consists of by reading Google’s interpretation of what good SEO consists of here. For those of you who already know a thing or two about SEO, you are probably well aware of how to optimize your sites on page factors from head to toe.
If you have a large shopping site, optimizing the titles, descriptions, image alt tags, and content for each page is going to sound like a very daunting task. But don’t fool yourself, taking the time to manually write your own unique product descriptions goes a long way and it is well worth the time. Hopefully you have a CMS like Magento that offers some sort of way to easily update your typical on page factors. I recommend focusing on the products with a higher profit margin. Ultimately, what I try to do is figure out which products or categories are the most valuable to the business owner so we can help promote those products accordingly.
If your profit margins are the same for all products or if you don’t really have a way to identify which products are more important than others, you may want to rely on Google Analytics data to choose which pages to start optimizing first. You can always check into your e-commerce data to see which pages have higher conversion rates or traffic that performs better according to non-e-commerce data like time on site, pages per visit, etc.
Below is a snapshot of how you can use Google Analytics e-commerce reports to see which products are performing better than others. The easiest way to figure out which pages and keywords are performing well would be to run a keyword report with landing page as the secondary dimension. You can apply filters to only include organic search traffic or CPC traffic only by using built-in advanced segments and you will have a clean-looking report like the one below:
Screen shot taken 3/19/2014 on analytics.google.com
Once you have a list of your most important products pages or category pages, you should begin to start optimizing those pages one by one manually to ensure that you are doing a quality job. Below is a quick outline of the best practices when it comes to on page optimization, as referenced by Google:
- Include relevant and descriptive title tags with appropriate focus keywords.
- Optimize your URLs by including focus keyword in the URL of the page.
- Image alt tags should contain relevant focus keywords.
- Page content should be unique, compelling and relevant to the product or category.
- Internal links to sub categories or related pages. (i.e. related products)
- External links to relevant sources where needed.
Assuming you have basic knowledge when it comes to these rudimentary SEO tasks, this should be a cinch. If you need an explanation as to what these things mean, I encourage you to click on the links in each bullet point to learn more about them.
Optimizing Your Website’s Navigation
Creating an intelligent website navigation is the most fundamental practice when it comes to online marketing. Not having an intelligent navigation can lead to a high bounce rate and it could detour potential buyers from making a purchase on your site. You should be doing things to optimize the navigation of your website so that you can guide your visitors to perform certain tasks like purchasing highly profitable products.
Google Analytics offers in-page analytics reports as shown below which allows you to see where most people navigate to when visiting your website. You can use this actionable data to optimize the lay out of your website in an educated way.
Screen shot taken 3/19/2014 on analytics.google.com
In the snapshot above, we can see that 2.7 percent of the traffic coming to the home page will click on the first button in the top navigation and 4.4 percent goes to the button just below it. According to this data, it looks a majority of the visitors that come to the site seem to just want to click on the first buttons that are available at the top left. This is a pretty consistent thing to see with large website and I personally feel that it’s because people are lazy and culturally trained to read from top to bottom, left to right. The top navigation can be optimized by placing the most profitable product categories in top navigations most popular spot and seeing what kind of increase in ROI you would get by monitoring your Google Analytics revenue data.
There are many other great ways to optimize your sites navigation for the sake of increasing your marketing performance and ROI.
Shopping Funnel Optimization
Another easy way to monetize from your already existing traffic is to optimize your conversion funnel. This can be done in many ways but one of the easiest ways to do this is figure out how you can reduce the number of steps it takes to complete a purchase.