As you begin to build or look to grow your eCommerce website, there are a multitude of avenues you can go to help expand the growth and reach of your business. You could invest in a new website build, or work with an agency on a redesign. You could also spend large sums of revenue on Facebook advertising, Google Ads, print materials, and even video production. But what if we told you you didn’t need to do that, and could get continuous marketing exposure for free? If it sounds too good to be true, we promise that it is not.
One of the easiest, and most-effective ways to establish a long-term marketing strategy is to utilize SEO otherwise known as Search Engine Optimization. While it may seem like it’s magic, knowing the basics of SEO can help you achieve success with the only investment being your time, resources and staff members (if you have them). SEO can be confusing, and a lot of so-called “experts” can claim to get you number one in Google’s search results immediately as if it is magic. If you’re not familiar with the terminology, tactics, and what truly needs to be done to have your site rank well, you can quickly start feeling overwhelmed.
Fortunately, our team has put together this helpful guide which goes through common SEO terminology, frequently asked SEO-related questions, and who you should work with to optimize your site if you’re ready. We will be consistently updating this guide with more information, so make sure to bookmark this page for the future!
We’ll get started with the basics; SEO terminology.
Commonly, you will hear confusing acronyms thrown around, and it will sound like a confusing language when an SEO is describing SEO. Our goal in this section is to help simplify these terms, and prepare you to have better, more meaningful conversations with your agency partner (if you have one), or your internal team.
For more SEO-related terms, we recommend checking out this helpful article from Moz.
To put it simply, not investing in SEO is lost revenue for your business. It is so important to invest in an effective SEO strategy and to optimize your website, because it helps drive more traffic and business to you organically. Most consumers will look to Google to find, “the best auto parts store near me” or “gourmet cheeses in Atlanta.” If you are not optimizing for keywords of the products you sell, or the services you offer, your competition will, and earn more business. This ends up leaving your business in the dust.
Another key importance of SEO is the long-term effects of your investment. Yes, it will be overwhelming and daunting to start, but effective SEO is a free, long-term marketing tool that you can essentially set and forget. What do we mean by this? We mean that if you write a blog post about the “Best Jeep Parts to Buy in 2022,” this can drive traffic to your website for years and years to come. The important thing to remember when working on a page on your website, blog post, or really any digital content is that it will not rank number one on Google’s first page immediately. You can expect to see results in several months, and will need to continuously promote it on social media, and enhance it as needed. With just a few tweaks annually, you’ll have a great piece of content that drives traffic and establishes you as a leader in your industry.
Using an example of our own, we published posts in 2019 that are still getting consistent traffic to our website. By investing in our own SEO strategy, we’ve been able to drive traffic to our blog posts regularly, and for no cost. The only investment is our time to make enhancements when needed.
It may seem self-explanatory to start with an audit, but it is the best way to kickstart your SEO strategy and growth. No matter if your site is in great condition, or needs a lot of work, having the baseline of your first audit is absolutely crucial for gauging growth, and if your strategy is moving things in the right direction. To get started, we recommend using free tools such as:
These tools again are absolutely free, and are a great way to start your SEO audit. There are other tools that are paid, but to be completely candid, these are better-served for after your initial audit.
Setting goals is great, but it is important to remember that starting too large can make things discouraging quickly. For example, if you’ve noticed that one of the keywords your site is ranking for is on page four of Google’s search results, aiming for page one in a few weeks isn’t feasible. Making the goal of going from page three, to two, to one over the course of a year is a more-realistic goal. By setting SMART goals, and doing check-ins on performance, you will be able to enhance your site’s performance in no time!
While we said SEO can be a “set it and forget it” marketing piece, we don’t mean that literally. One of the most-important things about an effective SEO strategy is keeping on top of the trends of your industry and refining often. We recommend that every 60-90 days evaluating your website, and your ongoing campaigns, and making changes as necessary. Whether it’s industry-specific changes, or a campaign that isn’t working, making refinements will help your overall success in the long-run.
Yes! Local SEO is an absolute must for your SEO strategy and marketing planning for the future. With the surge of searches for “air conditioning repairs near me,” “best pizza place near me,” and any/everything in between, making sure the content on your website fits this format is an absolute must. One of the best ways to start your local eCommerce SEO reach is to claim your Google My Business profile. Let’s say you’re an automotive parts seller, and are based out of Atlanta. If someone searches for “automotive parts seller in Atlanta,” you want to make sure you appear in the search results, and in Google’s local three pack. We’ll use our own business as the example below:
In this image, the panel to the right is our Google My Business profile. It includes all the information about 121eCommerce, our hours, and how to contact us. If you’ve not yet claimed your profile, simply visit https://www.google.com/business/, and you can begin the process online. Once you’re familiar with your business’ profile, you can dive deeper into posting regular updates and information about your business here.
In the below image, this is the local three pack for Magento developers in Cleveland, Ohio. Typically, when users see someone in the local three pack they will reach out to the first one they see. However, this isn’t always the case! Some larger corporations can pay to be the first result in the local three pack, and it will indicate as such on the panel.
Let’s tactically discuss how you can optimize your website for local SEO. For this example, let’s say you are selling auto parts in the Cleveland, Ohio area. Rather than stuffing “near me” everywhere, and having sentences such as, “if you’re looking for auto parts near me, and brake parts near me, look no further,” we recommend using phrases such as, “the best auto parts dealer in Cleveland.” As Google’s search algorithm continuously changes, investing in local SEO is a great long-term marketing strategy and will help you stay ahead of the curve.
Do they have to be? No. Is it better if you do? Yes!
The way we approach SEO, is that anything you can do to help your site rank on Google the better. By optimizing your product pages, these can also start to rank for hyper-specific searches such as, “Bake Shed Luxury Caramel Brownies,” and assuming your competitors have not done that, you will start to outrank them, driving more traffic to your business. In addition to driving more traffic, having SEO-optimized project pages will also create a better experience for your users. With the URLs being clear for your products, and avoiding URLs such as yourwebsite.com/22577-config in favor of yourwebsite.com/brownies/bake-shed-luxury-caramel-brownies, your users will be able to find what they are looking for easier, driving down frustrated customers leaving your site. When we build sites for our customers, we use plugins such as Amasty’s SEO plugin to help make friendly URLs and other SEO enhancements just the click of a button. When it comes to having an effective product page, we also recommend adding in product images, product descriptions, and of course categories to help sort your products out. All of these are ways you can optimize your product pages.
If you’ve been asking yourself the above, allow us to help!
If you’re just starting out on your SEO project, we strongly recommend working with an agency to help you. We don’t just say that as an agency. We know for SEO to be done correctly it takes a large amount of work and expertise, and if you’re just starting out, it can get overwhelming fast. Plus, if you’re not familiar with the terminology, and how to do your own SEO homework, you could be going down a path that yields zero return for your business. To be transparent, most businesses no matter how large or small work with an SEO agency to help start a new campaign, or to determine where to start.
The benefit of working with an agency on your site means that they will help guide you through the process from start to finish, and do the legwork to help you find the lowest-hanging fruit to optimize your site. Their expertise can also help you learn more about SEO, and be able to tactically apply it in the future. When you first start working with an agency, they will start with an audit, and provide you with detailed reporting and an action plan to optimize your site. You will be able to grant their team access to complete the updates for you, or you can work with your in-house team to complete them. Depending on what your businesses’ needs are, you will most-likely meet with your agency partner at least monthly, but the cadence is ultimately up to you.
The alternative to working with an agency is hiring someone internally to work on your website’s SEO. When looking for the right fit, it’s important to look at their qualifications, see if they have any certifications, and most-importantly, see if they have real-world examples they can share.
If you’re concerned about diving head-first into hiring someone full-time for your staff to work on SEO, you may want to consider working with an intern, or even hiring someone freelance to do the heavy lifting for you. Whatever you end up choosing, it is what will have the most impact on your business long-term.
We would be doing ourselves a disservice to not tell you that we are here to help in any capacity when it comes to your website or SEO efforts. Our full list of marketing services are located here, and you can contact us at any time via phone or email.
We hope that you found this to be helpful when starting your journey into SEO! Below are some links to blog posts, and helpful resources:
SEO Terminology and Definitions
Why is SEO important for my eCommerce site?
What are the 3 most-important components in SEO strategy?
Is Local SEO important for eCommerce?
Do my product pages need to be optimized for SEO?
Should I optimize my site myself, or work with an SEO agency?
We’re here to help!