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Welcome back! In this third post of her Q & A video blog series, Heather addresses the oft-asked question: How can I make my e-commerce site better for the search engines? Many smaller to mid-sized e-commerce companies are now striving to make their sites as good as they can possibly be, after suffering the fallout of Google’s Mayday and Panda/Farmer updates.
Over the past financially-stressed year, many e-commerce companies simply lacked the resources needed to produce high-quality, original content. So they’ve been hurt by Google’s Mayday and Panda/Farmer updates. But there is a shiny silver lining to this setback, as Heather explains:
Common E-Commerce Issues:
- Mayday Update: Many SMB’s without the financial resources to invest in content generation were “downgraded” by Google because they simply duplicated the product descriptions from the original manufacturers of the goods offered.
- Farmer/Panda Update: Those businesses without the money for content creation were also hurt due to “thin” and/or “low-quality” content. These folks may have tried to build out keyphrase-laden pages to drive traffic, or were stuck with the same old products pages with no fresh or original copy.
Whatever the circumstance, these smaller e-commerce companies are at a huge disadvantage right now. But the silver lining is that this setback presents a fantastic opportunity for these businesses to give their e-commerce site a complete “make-over.”
So here’s what to do (over) if you find your e-commerce site hurting from Google’s algorithm changes:
1) Figure out what’s working, and what’s not: Seize this opportunity to delve deep into your analytics and look at things like bounce and conversion rates. The information you glean can provide you with a road map as to what to do next. For instance…
2) Are you using the right keyphrases? Upon entering the e-commerce world, you may not have completely understood what keyphrases were or how to work with them. Or your original keyphrases may have brought in traffic at the start, but may be not the best, qualified traffic. Again, this is a great opportunity to go back to the beginning and re-evaluate. You may well discover other keyphrases to focus on and leverage for SEO.
3) Messaging: Do you address your prospect’s primary question of what’s in it for me (WIIFM)? Revisit your benefit statements: do they explicitly tell your reader what’s in it for them? Are the tone and feel of your site targeted to your perfect customer? Are you bringing out the best benefit statements that you can? This is a golden opportunity to make your site as tight and wired to your customer as possible.
4) What else can you “tweak?” Consider what other elements could be improved to help make you money. For instance:
- Do you need to change your page Titles? Probably. See what you can tweak to increase both your ranking and conversions.
- Could you add customer reviews? This is a great way to build out original content on your products pages.
- Can you build out different types of content (video, podcasts, other types of descriptive content)? Ideally, your product page content should be unique – not just a reiteration of the original manufacturers’ copy.
- How can you leverage your blog to help you with sales? Your blog presents an ideal venue to “soft sell” and link to your site’s product pages. It doesn’t have to be “sales-y,” and in fact shouldn’t be. Written deftly, your blog content can go a long way towards supporting sales.
5) Checking your analytics, determine what your top-performing pages are and start re-writing those first. Look at the top 20-percent of your site’s highest-performing pages, and begin your copywriting do-over with these.
Yes, this website “do-over” does mean an investment of time and money, but the silver lining is that once you’ve gone through the process — taking the time to do it right — then everything else will fall into place: your site will be well-optimized for the search engines, will better serve your customers, and you’ll see a greater return on your investment!