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How to Increase Conversion Rates For E-commerce SEO Campaigns

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:

  1. Optimizing your product pages’ content
  2. Optimizing your navigation
  3. Optimizing your shopping funnel
  4. Re-targeting using precision based remarketing lists
  5. 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:

Keyword + Landing Page Data 637x282 How to Increase Conversion Rates For E commerce SEO Campaigns

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:

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

Navigation Optimization

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.

In Page Analytics Google Analytics 637x296 How to Increase Conversion Rates For E commerce SEO Campaigns

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.

For example, if you have a step in the check-out process that is not 100% necessary, like entering your email address and opting in to receive email notification, you may want to try removing that step to see if it decreases the funnel abandonment rate.  Another popular method is to incentivize the visitor to complete the purchase. This can be done by opting shoppers into a prize raffle in the steps before entering payment information or offering a loyalty program.

Google Analytics provides you with great actionable data within the goal conversion reports when you apply funnels to them. If you have a goal funnel setup in Google analytics, you should be analyzing the data see which step in the funnel has the highest abandonment rate. If it happens to be the 2nd step in the funnel, you should analyze that page and see what you can do to improve the page. Sometimes, changing the presentation or content on the page with the highest abandonment rate can greatly increase the overall conversion rate of the website. Perhaps your website does not appear “trustworthy”, do you have any industry certifications? BBB logo you can use? Satisfaction Guaranteed? Free Shipping? Ensure shoppers feel they are at one of the most legitimate websites for your product.

funnel visualization reports 637x349 How to Increase Conversion Rates For E commerce SEO Campaigns

Screen shot taken 3/19/2014 on analytics.google.com

Whatever the changes that you make to your funnel may be, you can always use the funnel visualization reports in Google analytics to see what kind of response you get from your implemented changes. For more information on how to use Goal Funnels I encourage you to read Google’s support page on the subject here.  A video below is included to illustrate how you can use the comparison date ranges to measure your funnels performance.

Dynamic Re-marketing With Precision Based Audience Lists

Dynamic remarketing involves serving ads to visitors that have previously entered your website but did not convert. The difference between dynamic remarketing and standard remarketing is that you are able to serve ads that are relevant to the types of products or categories that users were showing interest in. With dynamic remarketing you can serve an image ad that is focused on one particular product, brand or category, the audience list that you use for that image ad can include visitors who showed interest in that particular product but did not make a purchase (abandoned the funnel). This is a really effective way to help increase your conversion rate by re-marketing to those visitors who were close to making a purchase but ultimately did not.

To setup a dynamic remarketing campaign you will need to follow a few steps and I have put together a great list of resourceful links that you can use to set up your first dynamic remarketing campaign!

Once you have your remarketing code implemented, you will need to create your ad groups and image ads. The ad groups need to have their own remarketing lists  as I mentioned before. The ad groups should focus on one particular type of brand, category or product so that the image ads for that ad group can be relevant to the products, categories or brands that the audience showed interest in.

Setting up the remarketing lists is the most crucial part of the set up, you will need to really spend some time understanding how to setup remarketing lists in the most optimal way. The most common ways of doing this involves creating rules for your audience (i.e. such the visitor had to visit at least 3 pages, and out of the three pages, one of them had to be about a certain product page and last but not least the visitor did NOT visit the conversion page [aka thank you page]). You can then choose to use that ad group and assign image ads that are related to that brand or product so that your targeted audience only sees ads that are very relevant to the brand they are interested in.

Creating the image ads for the ad groups is a piece of cake, you just need to follow the requirements which are outlined by Google here. Google has a pretty cool tool call the image ad creator which allows you to pull images and content from your website’s pages and it will automatically put together image ads (which you can modify easily) directly in the Adwords interface as shown in the snap shot below.

First you will just need to click on create a new ad, then enter the URL of the page you want to get ad ideas from and Google Adwords will scan the page for a brief moment as shown below:

image ad creator How to Increase Conversion Rates For E commerce SEO Campaigns

Screen shot taken 3/19/2014 on adwords.google.com

After Google Scans the image you will get something like this in return:

image ads created with Adwords ad builder 637x394 How to Increase Conversion Rates For E commerce SEO Campaigns

Screen shot taken 3/19/2014 on adwords.google.com

You can easily edit these ads with the built-in ad editor which is very easy to use. It is also worth noting that each of the 6 ads presented will come in many sizes, you should be editing the variations because they can come out kind of sloppy using the automated software. A little TLC on the editing side will go a long way here.  A video on how to use the image ad editor is found below:

Targeting Long Tail Keywords Organically

Last but certainly not least on my list of recommended strategies for increasing conversion rates is to target long tail keywords based off of your product data in your eCommerce reports. If you take that spreadsheet I showed you how to create when explaining how to optimize your on page factors, you can start to do some off page SEO on the products or category pages that are most profitable for your store. Typically, ranking for product specific keywords like “[product name] +for sale” will be a lot easier to rank for when compared to a category specific keyword like “air conditioners for sale” because it is not as broad. I recommend always trying to rank your product pages for product specific keywords because from my experience, the visitors you get to your product pages organically will convert at a decent rate.

I usually recommend starting with a few product pages at a time unless you are going to out source your work to an SEO company that has experience with eCommerce websites. Typically getting product pages to rank well requires a coherent SEO strategy (i.e. blogging, back linking, social media optimization, etc). So the best place to start is to gather your most important products and putting together a plan to generate SEO friendly content related to those products. I recommend blogging and internally linking to those product pages as well as building some high quality links on third-party sites which also link back to your product page.

As a general rule of thumb, when you are creating links (internal or external) you want to maintain relevance. In other words, if you write a blog post on a third-party site that all about a certain brand or product, then you should include a link to the page on your site that represents that product or category. This is what make search engines realize you are a relevant result and they will consider placing you in the top ranking positions when people search for those products. You should always think like the consumer and try to use “buying keywords” like “[product name] +for sale online” or other keywords which show that the searcher is interested in making a purchase. The point is to get relevant traffic to your product pages that will convert at a higher rate which will ultimately lead to an overall higher conversion rate.

Tracking Your Conversion Rate Increase

The only thing that is left to do now is compare your conversion rate to what it use to be with Google Analytics after making all these sweet changes to your website! What you should do prior to making any of these changes is benchmark your ROI using Google Analytics reports.

Hopefully after following my recommendations you will notice an increase in your conversion rate. I encourage you to leave comments if you have any questions. Feedback is also greatly appreciated.

 

Featured image created by author.

 How to Increase Conversion Rates For E commerce SEO Campaigns

Sergio Aicardi

Director of Operations at The Miami SEO Company
As a search engine marketing specialist and blogger, I truly enjoy sharing my insights with those that are interested in learning about the mysterious world of search engine optimization. Unlike what most people think, SEO isn't difficult, you just need to "think like a search engine". If your SEO strategies benefit search engines users by providing a good UX and relevant content then you will succeed every time.
 How to Increase Conversion Rates For E commerce SEO Campaigns
 How to Increase Conversion Rates For E commerce SEO Campaigns

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17 thoughts on “How to Increase Conversion Rates For E-commerce SEO Campaigns

  1. Nice Content, Today i have learn how to increase conversion rates for E-commerce website, your all the tips more helpful for us. Thanks for sharing this useful information.

    1. Hey Ravi, I am glad you liked the post, I will be providing more post in the future related to Ecommerce SEO and PPC.

  2. As the competition in the online world gets tougher, it’s very important that we know the right strategies on how to get noticed and rank higher in search results. Thanks for sharing these tips Sergio!

  3. This is really useful information for e-marketers, especially the part about optimizing the shopping funnel. I would love to read about the way you approach video SEO.

  4. Thanks for this article, Sergio. It’s difficult to find helpful information regarding ecommerce site optimization and conversion. I’m particularly grateful for the info in Google analytics and how to use it!

    1. I agree that it is one of the most important factors. It is also a very easy way to increase your organic traffic, especially if you’re selling products that are unique.

  5. Thanks Sergio very informative post. I would like to add one more point in optimizing meta tags and that is making rich snippet for product pages using webmaster data highlighter. This will increase the ctr by twice. Looking for more such tips for e-commerce sites

    1. Hello Junaid, thanks for your comment. I am going to write a post about using rich snippets for products pages in the near future. Keep an eye out for it! :)

  6. Very helpful article although the prominence of ‘not provided’ in my Keyword reports is now proving problematic, did you filter out the not provided for your example above? When targeting the long-tail would you place the ‘for sale’ or ‘for sale online’ within the title tags or meta description?

    1. Hello Pete, yes I almost always filter our not provided and not set with a simple regex filter in the quick filter search bar. Click on advanced and it will open up the option to create advanced filters with regex as an option for matching.

  7. The online world is shaking and many small companies are changing the way they are working. We need to implement these awesome strategies for our clients to provide more values to them.