There's no question that ranking higher than your competitors in search results is a must. But how can you ensure that your ecommerce site is the one that rises to the top. We caught up with Will King, SEO Manager at online gift store Findmeagift.co.uk to talk about the SEO challenges that ecommerce businesses face and how they can increase organic visibility and, in turn, sales.
Find Me A Gift is a UK based online gift retailer. We sell about 6,000 gifts targeting as many occasion and recipient based market sectors as possible.
As SEO manager, I’m primarily responsible for maximising and maintaining our organic visibility across search engines such as Google and Bing. Being a gifts company, it’s essential we have strong organic visibility during seasonal periods such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, so a lot of our day-to-day work revolves around preparation for the upcoming peak.
Preventing any negative impact from search engine algorithmic updates is more of a challenge than it used to be. Google make changes to its search algorithm every day and a poorly maintained website can easily experience a reduction in organic visibility. Managing your website's relationship with Googlebot to ensure healthy crawling and indexation is a huge challenge, especially on massive ecommerce websites with thousands of pages.
The Google search engine results page has evolved way beyond the 10 blue links it used to be. More often than not, Google can answer a searcher's query through the featured snippets on the SERP without them ever having to leave. PPC ads also take up way more of the SERPs than they used to, especially on mobile. This naturally reduces the visibility of the organic listings and reduces the likelihood of a customer seeing and clicking them.
I see a lot of websites with poor Google Analytics set-ups. Every ecommerce website should take the time to configure their analytics to ensure they get clean, accurate data, and are able to get the most value from it. Quick wins include excluding local traffic, macro and micro goal tracking and dedicated views for each source/device combination.
It’s clear Google are placing huge importance on content quality. Ecommerce websites in particular need to pay close attention to this, and make sure the content they make available to Google for indexing is high quality and provides value to users. With products continually being added and discontinued, a process needs to be put in place to ensure legacy pages are dealt with.
Most ecommerce websites allow users to browse through categories and apply ‘sort by’ and ‘category’ filters. A strategy needs to be put in place to ensure this doesn’t cause indexation bloat and that the right page is indexed on Google.
Additionally, managing 301 redirects on a huge ecommerce website can easily go wrong. It’s common to redirect users from page A to page B when it makes sense for the user experience, but too often the redirect is set-up incorrectly. A common error is not redirecting directly to the final destination page, which can result in users hopping from page to page. This can result in a loss of page rank.
It very much depends on the goal of the campaign. For a common content marketing campaign the initial metrics will focus on coverage, link acquisition and brand mentions. We use a range of tools for this, such as Ahrefs.
Longer term, organic traffic growth and online visibility are measured using tools such as Pi Datametrics.
Profit should be the primary SEO metric. It’s no use investing time and resource to bring traffic to your site if it doesn’t convert into profitable business.
Organic traffic is more important to us than keyword rankings. Rankings are influenced by factors such as location and personalisation, so we pay less attention to them. Finally, we monitor our aggregate organic visibility using various tracking tools such as SEMRush, Search Metrics and Pi Datametrics.
If you want help optimising your ecommerce site, get in touch. Ad-Rank has years’ of expertise in the field, so we can help you get the sales your business needs.