When it comes to the expansion of e-commerce and online shopping, you and your business are dealing with a double-edged sword. “Wow, Jason. Thanks for the cryptic statement…” you’re probably thinking. What I mean is this: it’s easier now more than ever to get your business online and to provide customers with an online shopping experience, but that means your competitors are likely already there too. What we tackle in this article is how to use organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to improve your domain ranking and to provide a smooth buyer’s experience for your lower funnel customers.
Inspired by an interview with BigCommerce Editor-in-Chief and CEO of Doris Sleep, Tracey Wallace, you’ll find insight into how a small business can compete with the ‘big guys’ (meaning they’ve got money to spend) using theories revolved around SEO, product pages, and what Google takes into consideration when ranking your website.
Product pages are the ‘new’ landing pages
This practice can improve conversion rates AND increase time spent on your website (which increases the value/ranking of your website). There was a time where your landing page experience was the most important aspect of your online business, but data shows that if your interface is too complex or if it requires multiple clicks to actually purchase your product, you can lose out on customers. It’s important to make it as easy as possible for your customers to purchase what you’re selling.
That’s where your product page comes into play. If you treated it like a landing page, what would you include besides just the product and description?
‘How to’ content
Social Proof (other publication reviews)
Aside from video (of which I’m sure Tracey is working on!), a strong product page has all of these components. If I ever had a question about a printing service for my business, I can look at this page because it answers every and anything I would ask regarding what kind of printing service best suits my needs.
A huge added bonus to this additional content is that your potential customer is on that page for so much longer (rather than clicking 2-3-4 times to navigate your site), essentially telling search engines that this page is valuable to people searching for that specific product or service. Ultimately, this should increase your ranking.
The ‘big guys’ and how to beat them and their budget
Above you learned how to keep people on your site longer and to improve conversions once they are there. Now we discuss how to show up in searches organically. Larger companies with more money to spend have a distinct advantage because they can afford to pay for those big keywords. In our Workonomy talk, we used suits as an example. Likely, a big company can put up a lot of money on the keyword search term – “suits” or “men’s suits”.
Fine. They can have it.
Those kinds of searches likely mean this person is in the beginning process of buying – or – the research phase. I would classify this as your upper funnel – in general, not as eager to purchase right then and there. You want your product page to show up when the buyer has a good idea of what they want and are likely to search for more specific keywords. For example, instead of “suits”, it’s now “blue 3-piece suits” or “business casual suits”.
That keyword phrase will cost much less than trying to contend with a large retailer paying for the word “suits”.
An eye-opening exercise to improve your keyword rankings
Tracey Wallace shared an easy exercise that will give you a better idea of what keywords and phrases are important to your business.
Search a general term for your business
Scroll down to find related search terms
Go after THOSE search terms (blog, do video, FAQ pages, etc.)
For the sake of clarity, when I searched for “office furniture” on Google, I found Office Depot among the top three hits. When I scrolled down and tried one of the related search terms – in this case “used executive office furniture sets” – I didn’t find us at all on the first search page. What I did find were smaller companies at the top with blogs that point to their products.
Try it for yourself with your business. It’s really an eye-opening exercise when it comes to organic SEO.
Better organic = less money you need to spend
The better you are at SEO, the less you can spend on PPC or pay-per-click, because your business is more visible.
How to get started
I’m not going to lie. This takes a lot of work and can take some time, so you must be both patient and passionate.
Start small – identify your top-selling products and start building those product pages out first. And remember to test to see if your work is paying off or if you need to calibrate!
Check your analytics – where is most of your traffic going? Blog about what your audience is looking at most on your website (and your competitors for that matter).
FAQs are a source for content – build out your blog posts to address the questions your audience asks about most.
When blogging, doing video or putting out any kind of content, it’s important to keep in mind that you are providing free value, in-depth information and have the consumer in mind. Your goal, if you’re not actually getting a buy right at that moment, is to earn their trust through your passion and expertise.
“Have them leave thinking the site was pretty, easy to navigate, I learned what I needed to learn - I’ll be there again.” – Tracey Wallace
About the Author Jason Eisenberg is the Community Program Manager for Office Depot, specializing in small business and entrepreneurship. Based in one of the most exciting cities for startups — Austin, TX — Jason is plugged into the business community, often connecting with thought leaders, entrepreneurs, and strategists to help identify and find solutions to common pain points all business owners share.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is,” and neither the author nor Office Depot warrants the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions, or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
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