Successful online stores rely on high volumes of quality traffic. This is usually achieved through various marketing and advertising methods such as social media, paid social media ads, and paid search engine ads.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is often overlooked as a crucial part of an ecommerce business’s marketing strategy. This is usually because other methods offer business owners and marketers a more predictable and immediate source of traffic.
However, there are several benefits of SEO that make it equally, if not more, valuable than other marketing and advertising methods. In this guide, we’re going to give you the rundown of the benefits of executing SEO for your ecommerce website.
What Is Ecommerce SEO?
Before we dive into 10 of the biggest benefits of SEO, let’s define exactly what we mean by Search Engine Optimization in ecommerce.
Search engines such as Google rank their results based on the perceived value of the website in answering the query. The exact algorithms that Google uses are a closely guarded secret, however, there are several tried, tested, and widely accepted methods for boosting your search engine rankings. These include posting high-value content, using the right keywords, and ensuring that your website is user-friendly.
SEO is the process of following these methods in an attempt to boost your website ranking on search engines, and in turn generate more traffic to your site.
We’ve already discussed how there are several options when it comes to driving traffic to your website. Methods such as paid social media and search engine ads can drive large volumes of visitors in a relatively short period.
However, maintaining that level of traffic via paid methods can be expensive. You’ll need to keep paying the ad provider, and over time you may need to pay more to drive the same volume of traffic as competition increases.
When you invest time and energy in SEO you create a much more sustainable level of traffic. Most of your SEO investment happens at the beginning of the process, with long-lasting results. You need to keep content up to date and your website running smoothly to continue seeing the same levels of search engine success.
Keyword research is a huge aspect of search engine optimization.
Typically this involves seeking out short and long-tail keywords that are highly relevant to your ecommerce store. If you can find these keywords and target them successfully you will see high volumes of visitors who are looking to buy your products.
For example, say you run an ecommerce store that sells house plants. You might target a search term such as ‘buy cheap house plants’ and work towards getting your store ranking highly for that keyword.
This helps to increase the number of visitors to your store, and also helps you find visitors who are ready to buy your products. The more niche your keywords are, the more relevant traffic you can generate for your store.
Not only does ranking highly on search engine result pages drive traffic to your site, but it also ensures that your brand is always part of the conversation when a buying decision is being made.
Even in cases where someone selects a competitor from the list of results, when they see your website in the same list of results they will subconsciously register you as an alternative. This is a powerful position to be in, especially if your competitor falls short of customer expectations – because hopefully those customers will come straight to you!
Ranking high up in search engine results also makes you easy to find when your customers are looking for you. This is especially important if your URL is a little tricky to remember, when it isn’t an exact match to your brand name, or when it’s easy to misspell.
Being at the top of the rankings when your customers search for you reduces friction and increases the chances of them buying from you. In fact, only 0.78% of users click on websites listed on the second page of Google’s search results, so ranking on the first page of Google is a must!
Even when looking for a specific store or brand, a significant number of people will head straight to Google, rather than typing in the URL, so good SEO is vital for helping customers find you online.
Unlike paid social ads or search engine ads, following SEO best practices earns you a great source of traffic without the need to pay big upfront costs.
However, it is true what they say – “nothing in life is free”.
The good news is, you don’t need to directly spend money on SEO. However, it can be a big investment in time and energy. Plus, employing others to help you such as content writers, editors, and website experts can drastically speed up the process of boosting your search engine rankings – but will cost you money.
One downside to online selling compared to brick-and-mortar stores is the fact that it is harder to build customer trust. Yet it is essential for customers to trust your business, or they may never feel comfortable purchasing from your store.
There are lots of things you can do to boost customer trust in your online store, and one of them is boosting your search engine rankings. First of all, Google ranks websites it trusts, which is a great signal to users searching for businesses – the higher up your site appears in search results, the more trustworthy it appears.
For example, if you’re looking to hire a lawyer, would you click on the top result, or on the last result of page two? The higher you rank, the more trustworthy your website appears!
Ranking highly in search engines also signals to customers that you are an established business that is most likely trusted by others.
So far in this guide, we’ve spent a lot of time highlighting how undertaking SEO can increase your traffic and help you develop customer trust. The combination of these two will have a more direct and positive impact on your business – more sales.
After all, there are three things you need to do to run a successful online store:
- Offer great products at a competitive price
- Let people know about what you offer
- Gain trust to a level that encourages potential customers to buy
SEO won’t do much to improve your products or price but it can contribute a lot to the exposure and trust needed to drive consistent sales.
Remarketing is a powerful tool. It works like this:
- You put a smart piece of code on your website that collects data
- When a potential customer visits your store their data gets added to a list of visitors
- You can then use that list to retarget visitors to your store
For example, if you run a store that sells office stationery, you may collect data from visitors who spend time on a page for a particular type of pen, but then leave without buying anything. You could then serve ads for that pen to them on other platforms such as Facebook to attract them back to your store.
SEO can help you drive more interested visitors to your product pages, which in turn helps you build a bigger and more relevant audience to remarket to.
If done correctly, SEO can drive an incredibly high Return On Investment (ROI) for your business. Of course, what that ROI will be depends on your industry, the products you sell, and the profit you make from each sale.
However, some statistics suggest that the average ROI for SEO efforts in ecommerce equates to $2.75 for every $1 spent.
Good search engine rankings put your ecommerce store in the conversation at the right time. More and more consumers are turning to search engines such as Google to help them research the best products to fulfill their needs.
When you rank highly for your given niche, you give your store the best chance of being discovered during the research process and being considered as a legitimate option. This is especially true if you have published helpful and insightful content to support customers’ buying decisions.
There are a huge number of benefits to conducting SEO for your ecommerce website. Some of the biggest of these include increased traffic, developing customer trust, and ensuring that your store is part of the conversation during the customer research process.
SEO can be a free way to drive relevant and quality traffic to your website. There is also a whole range of other benefits that investing time and effort in SEO can bring to your business.
Ultimately, SEO can be a free and powerful way to grow your ecommerce store.