E-commerce SEO: How to Increase Website Traffic & Sales in 6 Months
Learning how to increase e-commerce organic traffic is crucial for any business owner who runs and manages their own e-commerce store. Typically speaking, e-commerce sites have more pages than other types of sites — regardless if the number of products are lesser.
E-commerce sites can have hundreds and hundreds of pages. This fact is applicable when your e-commerce site is in a platform like Shopify. Tons of pages are auto-generated when you add tags to products or articles.
And the future of having this type of sites is exciting:
- By 2040, 95% of purchases are expected to be via e-commerce.
- 13.7% of global retail sales in 2019 will originate from e-commerce retail sales.
- 80% of Internet users in the US have made at least one online purchase.
Ranging from various niches, there are between 12 million to 24 million e-commerce sites existing in the internet. And furthermore, 85% of consumers do their online research before taking the step to purchase.
It takes SEO experts and an entire digital marketing team working together to achieve 4 times as much organic traffic after a website migration.
How to Increase E-commerce Organic Traffic After Website Migration
SEO ten years ago isn’t the same as today. How we do search engine optimization in 2019 is different because it’s fragmented. Nowadays, being number one on search engines mean differently, depending on the goals you have. It could be in the form of:
- Appearing on featured snippets
- Google maps
- Google shopping
- Regularly paid AdWords
- Knowledge panel, etc
SERPs also change depending on the device used and the location of that device during the time of search. What was once traditionally number one is easily drowned out by SERP elements and other ads.
An example of what we’re talking about is an e-commerce site that sells multipanel wall art. The site was once a Shopify site before it was transferred over to WordPress. The previous website design got an average of 451 monthly visits and wasn’t ranking organically.
All that changed, however, after a website migration was done and certain elements have been added to the site to maximize organic search opportunities and improve users’ experience (UX).
Latest end results shows that about 480.17% increase with organic search traffic.
And when you compare it to last year statistics, it shows that organic traffic coming from Google continue to rise. About 500% increase from Google organic traffic alone compared to the previous period.
And as time continued to pass by, the trends for clicks and impressions continue to rise. There’s no dip in the rising interaction.
The top 3 keywords after site migration are: panel wall art, Star Wars canvas, and Star Wars wall art.
But before we jump into the specifics of how they did it, let’s take a closer look at UX even more.
SEO and the Importance of UX
In a nutshell, UX is how a user is experiencing a product, how they feel as they use it. Or in this case, UX is how users feel about interacting with a website that sells panel wall art.
To put it even simpler, if the UX is good, it usually compels people to come back. And if it isn’t, then they highly likely won’t.
So now you’re probably wondering why it’s such a big deal for SEO — for gaining organic rankings on SERPs.
The easiest answer to this is that both UX and SEO have the same goal. And that is to give users what they want.
It’s already common knowledge is SEO is a digital marketing practice that requires integration of other efforts. Think link-building, on-page optimization, content writing, email marketing, etc. And if you’re still having a hard time trying to get search engines to notice you and your website, then there’s a high chance that your site’s UX is what’s keeping you from succeeding.
How did Panel Wall Art achieve the 4x increase in organic traffic?
The answer lies in a site redesign and migration.
We mentioned earlier that this e-commerce site used to be hosted on Shopify. And they found the solution to their problems after moving to WordPress and doing some drastic site changes.
What entails good design for SEO & UX?
A design that puts users first is generally what works for both UX and SEO. It’s the key. And here are a couple of things to remember when designing a site:
- A site that loads quickly.
- Responsive sites that provide awesome mobile experiences.
- Clear headings that help users read your content.
- Focused and attractive to the target audience.
- Clear CTAs and instructions for users’ step-by-step journey.
- Easy navigation and an organized site structure.
How the E-commerce Site was Redesigned
This was how the previously mentioned e-commerce site looked.
Does anything in particular stand out?
No, not really.
The homepage used to be very informational when it came to showcasing the products they sold. And then they have snippets of blog posts when you scroll down further. The footer has the typical information you’d expect to see from an e-commerce site.
Overall, the look feels very generic…
It’s not bad. It’s not great either. There’s nothing in the site’s homepage structure that stood out or would set it apart from its other competitors.
So here’s the step-by-step process this site took to rebrand themselves and achieve organic rankings after site migration.
#1 Homepage CTA & the Hero Image
The need for branding is crucial for SEO — that fact’s well-established.
But aside from branding, it’s also crucial that you establish your authority and knowledge from the get-go. This is important for homepages. CTAs coupled with the hero image has to be visible immediately — for both desktop and mobile. That’s why for homepages, it’s ideal to place them above the fold.
Visual content plays a crucial role as human beings respond better to elements that they can see, and ones that capture their attention completely.
For instance, in the e-commerce site’s case right now, the CTA and the hero image seen above the fold is the ongoing sale they have — which is a great idea since it tells customers to take advantage of the low prices while they’re still that way.
The CTA and the hero image showcased on the site receives 80% more clicks than usual, and there’s an increase of 50% in sales because of it.
#2 Brand message
How you communicate your brand’s message in the homepage speaks volumes about how you interact with customers. It’s not bad to be as informational as possible in the approach, but be too methodical and include a bunch of jargon, and you can lose your customers completely.
In completing any task your site would require of them, they’ll always be asking, ‘what’s in it for me?’
And when you respond with something technical and something they can read from a brochure printed back in the early 2000’s, you can’t expect much of a response.
To succeed at clearly communicating your brand’s message, you need to be conversational in your approach throughout the content in your website.
There’s another way you can do it, aside from adding clear visual content about your products and services. Another way of communicating your brand message is to let your past clients and customers speak for you and your products.
Our sample e-commerce site did this via the inclusion of customer reviews below the visual product catalogues and above the featured and recent blog posts.
By showcasing reviews, the site builds itself a reputation, and encourages new customers to put their trust on the e-commerce platform when it comes to providing high-quality wall art.
#3 Footer Contact Forms
The footer was reorganized and modified a bit. But for the most part, it’s remained similar to how it’s been formatted.
The drastic change lay in moving the opening hours information, along with the phone number, and email address above the fold. This is so customers can immediately see and take the appropriate action based on their needs.
Instead of contact information, the footer has a summary of the About section, a Help Center, a brief description about what the site is about, and the list of recent blog posts. And underneath each section are all the links that lead to specific tasks that the e-commerce site can do for their customers.
There are links to terms and conditions, privacy and return policies, tracking order status, FAQs, the user’s account, how to care for purchases, the Contact Us option, etc.
#4 Changes in Layout
The previous layout for this site’s e-commerce store already did well with visual elements. But it lacked the visual appeal that it has now.
Here’s a side by side example of how they showcased wall art collections in the past versus now.
Instead of just flat pictures of what’s in the canvas, the new collection showcases how the images are printed and stretched on actual canvases instead. In addition, the new layout is also spearheaded with clear offers of gift coupons and wall art sales — something customers would appreciate.
There are reviews showcased in the homepage, but there’s also a sidebar that provides meticulous customers with the chance to read more customer reviews. And at the bottom right of the screen, you have the option to start a live chat with one of their customer agents.
#5 Interactive Pop-ups
Another well-known tactic that needs to be applied to every website redesign is the inclusion of more interactive forms of content. They drum up better engagement and lets your customer build bonds with your brand. In addition, it’s also one great way of setting your brand apart from the others.
Good products and services are pointless if nobody’s bothering to use them or investigate them further for better information.
Implementing interactive elements into the website UX is a great step forward for increasing customer retention, encouraging interaction, and meeting conversion rate goals.
Three examples of interactive elements that this e-commerce platform implemented was the inclusion of a spin wheel, exit forms, and the use of Beeketing to generate sales pops.
Spin wheels are reminiscent of those old game shows we saw on TV, where you, well, spin the wheel and win a prize. Panel Wall Art made use of this tactic by offering a chance to win at spin wheels when users enter their email to be a part of the brand’s email marketing.
Another method that was included was an exit pop-up.
Exit pop-ups appear on a user’s screen when they attempt to leave the site. Simply speaking, it’s a last-ditch effort to keep your customers on the page, or browse through what else you have to offer.
How it works is when their mouse hovers over the X button in the corner of the browser, the exit pop-up appears. It can take up a large part of the page, or appear like a slider modal. Of course, pop-ups can be annoying for a lot of people, but when you do it right, your user can forgive you.
The trick is to make your exit pop-ups non-intrusive.
Generating Sales Pops
Sales pops are influential selling tools that boost your sales while utilizing the strong concept of social proof. What it does is display purchase activities on the e-commerce platform via real-time notification pop-ups.
What sales pop notifications do is bring brick-and-mortar feel to a site, and shows evidence of happy customers already buying products even as other customers shop. In addition, it also adds a human feel to the site.
Increasing Organic Traffic After Migration
Organic traffic plays a significant role in the success of your e-commerce business. It is the gateway to sales and when you lead your customers down the right path and treat them well, organic traffic easily becomes an accomplishment of sales conversion goals.
In a nutshell, what’s so important about organic traffic?
- Securing rankings: Even if you invest in paid traffic, interest dries up if consistency in promotion is nonexistent to draw traffic to the website. Ranking a site through organic techniques make it hard for your competitors to outdo performance on search engines.
- Real human traffic: Organic SEO ensures acquiring real visitors and traffic from actual human beings and not automated crawlers or visitors.
- More valuable to Google: Largest amount of internet traffic comes from Google. And a site that has valuable content for the public earns Google’s favor.
- Your customers are online: The majority of customers these days turn to search engines to look for services and products they need. A reliable and trusted online presence lets your customers locate your e-commerce platform faster.
This is how the e-commerce platform did their organic traffic reclamation after website migration.
#1 E-commerce keyword research
How you do keyword research for e-commerce SEO is different from the other types of SEO. A simple note to remember is that you aren’t selling keywords. You’re selling services or products. And that’s where you start when doing your keyword research.
You can begin by creating a list of products and services that you’re selling. This can either be broad or specific. Remember that each page should target only one search term — considering each product page is different in it’s own way.
After creating your list, you need to rank those items according to your priorities. Arrange them by order of importance; whether that’s what you want to profit off of, or one you want to sell the most.
And afterward, with that in mind, it’s time to make use of keyword research tools (Ahrefs, BuzzSumo, LSI Keywords, Uber Suggest, etc) to get the right ones that you need.
Remember to take note of keyword information when deciding on which keywords to use and which ones to disregard. Consider search analytics like:
- Broad ranking data
- CTR (click-through rates)
- Clicks from the SERP
- Impression data
#2 Site Speed
The importance of site speed is largely apparent, and nobody needs to talk about how important it is in regard to the atmosphere of today’s digital landscape.
A few tips to help speed up your website:
- Use Cloudflare for DNS hosting.
- Use PHP7 for WordPress.
- Smush your images with WP Smush or some other similar service.
- Make use of a caching plugin. We recommend W3 total cache.
- Disable plugins and tracking codes that aren’t being used.
- Forego the transition effects, fadeins, softloads, and other fancy things your theme has. It simply contributes to delay in site rendering.
#3 Competitor Research
My team makes use of Ahrefs to find what competitors are doing and to track which keywords they’re ranking for and using. But in doing this, it’s also important to be careful, because it is possible that your competitors have less of an idea in what they’re doing.
The purpose of this action is to find the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors within the market.
#4 Content Writing for SEO
A proper e-commerce store without the right content marketing strategy is counter-productive. And since you’re selling products and services and not keywords, you need to ensure that your site content fits in with what the e-commerce site is offering to its customers.
Some questions that you need to ask yourself before putting fingers to keyboard are:
- Do my products or services solve a customer’s problem? If yes, then what are those problems and how do I provide solutions to them?
- What should the customer know about the product before they even order?
- Will my customers know how to use this product immediately?
These questions are especially relevant for products that average over $100. People are going to ask questions and ensure that they’re getting the most out of what they’re buying.
Understanding how you can better sell to customers will help you grasp where they’re coming from. This information will help you guide them throughout their sales journey. In addition, you can match their user intent better.
#5 Employ the Basics of CRO
The easiest way to get ahead with the basics of conversion rate optimization is to find out what your customers want when they visit your site. And then, of course, you need to deliver in those wants.
Here’s a basic rundown of the CRO elements you need to take note of.
- Complete your contact details: Make sure it’s clear that your customers know who you are, what you do, why they should choose you, and how you can help them.
- Make sure your site responds well across all devices: In light of Google’s mobile-first index, then you know how crucial it is that your site is responsive to every mobile device out there.
- Optimize the contact page: Your contact page is a business card, and you need to make the most of it. Display your address, postal address, phone numbers, embed a Google Map, make your brand name loud and clear, email address, and include a CTA that says, “Contact Us!”
#6 Proper Email Marketing with Abandoned Cart Emails
We send abandoned cart emails when shoppers fail to finish a process. This happens all the time, and an email is your chance to give your customers a gentle nudge towards finishing what they started.
However, there is a correct way of taking care of abandoned cart emails. Avoid bombarding your customers with sales offers. That would be like chasing after a customer in real-life as they leave the store and blabber about coupons and deals — further causing irritation to a customer.
Here’s an abandoned cart email template that is a good reference for treating prospects like actual human beings.
#7 Guest post Outreach
There’s a lot of talk about the effectivity of guest posting when it comes to increasing organic search traffic for a site — especially after huge changes brought about by circumstances like migration.
It took a lot of work and loads of communication with loosely-related blogs in the background. In this strategy, there were lots of rewrites, edits, rejections, and of course, published posts while earning backlinks.
Write high-value niche content
There’s a niche group of people that are searching for content to help them solve a problem, and that’s where you come in, talking about how you can help them. You need to find where your target audience is lurking, and then make use of keyword tools like Ahrefs to come up with content suggestions.
Creating a convincing pitch
Experts advise people to brainstorm a list of topics that the target site would be interested in before sending an email pitch. If the prospect has a favorite on the list, you can avoid wasting time. In general, an email for guest post pitches is structured as follows:
- How you found them, your name, and the reason for you contacting
- List of topics
- Closing line
Automating the email outreach process
The trick to having an effective guest post is to be able to write a piece that satisfies the blog owner, and will allow you to include relevant links in it. But after gathering all these emails and lists of relevant blog sites together, how are you going to reach out to each and every one of them with pitches and proposals?
Figuratively speaking, that’s going to take a million years.
For this reason, it’s advisable to approach the email outreach process with the use of automaton software. There is a way to make cold emails personal while still implementing the use of technology.
Tools like Mailshake are great for this specific task…
By using well-crafted templates with the right opportunity for personalization through tags and merge fields, you can personalize your emails. From names, publications, companies, recent articles, etc. This is so you can create a customizable template to fit your guest posting prospect.
The best part about Mailshake as a tool is the lead catcher. It keeps all the leads in one place, so you don’t have to sift through a hundred emails trying to find the blog owners who’ve replied to your queries.
Correspondence, history of clicks, and the number of opens are in plain sight, so you can easily craft a customized reply. This way, you take the warm leads off of the automated list and into the manual list.
Aside from the evident increase in organic traffic, guest posting has also paid off in several published posts and a couple of well-earned do-follow backlinks.
Remarketing is the process of placing an ad in front of previous visitors to your website. The ads pop up no matter where they are on the web. It’s also really good for conversions.
#9 Ensuring Seamless Checkout
The checkout process for your e-commerce store should always be seamless. It’s a simple and trivial fact that is a part of shopping online, but how often do site owners even check back on that?
If the goal is to generate more organic traffic and convert better, then you need to make sure your checkout process is easy and hassle-free.
SEO and UX are completely different approaches, but they have the same goals: To identify a user’s problem and provide solutions.
If it helps, think of SEO as a means to help your customers find you organically. And UX is what keeps them anchored to your site. Both of them are working towards the same goal.
Don’t make the mistake of launching one without the other. Make sure you have them together. Release your site with SEO and UX combined.
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January 16, 2019
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