It's easy to get intimidated by search engine optimization (SEO), especially if you're a first-time entrepreneur without much experience building an online business. But, no matter how busy you are with getting your company off the ground, you really can't afford to overlook SEO. It will have a huge impact on whether your eCommerce business thrives or struggles in both the short and long term.
With all that in mind, here's a brief guide to help first-time entrepreneurs understand eCommerce SEO and how to turn it into a strength.
What is SEO?
First and foremost: What is SEO?
To put it simply, SEO represents a strategy designed to improve your website's search rankings in Google and other search engines. The better your SEO, the earlier your company will show up when someone searches for a keyword or search term related to your business.
If you're an eCommerce entrepreneur, the value of ranking highly on Google searches should be obvious. This is an excellent, and frankly essential, way to establish your brand and gain the attention of consumers who are searching for the products and services you offer.
If you're not convinced, perhaps these stats will change your mind:
Searches are the single biggest driver of website traffic, outpacing social media by more than 300 percent, according to an Outbrain study.
Three-fourths of users will not continue on to the second page of results upon conducting a search, according to imFORZA. This means if your website doesn't show up on the first page, 75 percent of consumers won't see it.
The close rate for SEO leads is 14.6 percent, Search Engine Journal found. For direct mail and other outbound leads, the close rate is only 1.7 percent.
Google and other search engines take many factors into account when determining their results and rankings for any given keyword or term. SEO efforts are all about developing and implementing a strategy that recognizes and accounts for these factors.
Making SEO Work For You
How can an eCommerce entrepreneur actually take advantage of SEO to improve his or her search results?
Here are a number of key steps to consider:
Focus on keywords: Keywords play a major role in any SEO strategy. By using well-chosen keywords throughout your website's various pages, you'll significantly improve your results. To this end, you need toconduct some research as to which keywords to focus on, as KISSmetrics contributor Chris Kilbourn highlighted.
Balance quality with quantity: While you want to incorporate keywords into your site's content whenever possible, you need to do so in a way that's natural and logical. Otherwise you run the risk of engaging in "keyword stuffing." This practice used to be an effective SEO tactic, but Google has begun punishing sites that use it with poor rankings. Instead, you want to follow the recommendation of Sean Works of KISSmetrics who asserted in a separate blog that business leaders should ensure their eCommerce stores feature detailed product descriptions consisting of "quality descriptive content." This means no copying content from other websites or relying on vague generalizations.
Encourage reviews: Customer reviews can have a big, positive impact on SEO. Customer reviews inherently generate new, unique content, which Google and other search engines value highly. Reviews also naturally lead to the creation of long-tail keywords and organic links, which can further boost search results.
Test and test again: Finally, it's imperative that you regularly test your SEO efforts to see what's working and what isn't. Only ongoing, diligent attention will lead to an optimized eCommerce site.
By following these beginner steps, you'll be well on your way toward an search engine optimized eCommerce business, and that should lead directly to more attention, more traffic, better brand awareness and, ultimately, a better bottom line.
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