Small businesses operating their own online stores have to use SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to drive traffic, convert visitors into customers and make money online.
But, most traditional small businesses don’t have the time or resources to implement a sustained SEO campaign, or pay a good SEO company to drive traffic on their behalf.
Without a steady flow of qualified traffic (that comes from SEO, social and Internet marketing), operating an eCommerce (online store) site may not be financially sustainable.
Regardless of whether your comapny has SEO experience or not, the following five easy-to-implement SEO tips will ensure that potential customers find your content and start buying. These great SEO techniques can be used by any type of business to drive more web traffic, whether you’re a butcher, baker or candle-stick maker.
1. Add content. Add content. Add content.
I regularly come across business people who are frustrated with the Internet as a medium for business. “Why does a defense attorney need twitter followers?” “I have to work on my actual business. Why should I waste time writing online?”
The answer is this:
Adding content increases online visibility. The more people who happen across your content, the more likely you are to make a conversion and gain a sale.”
Sure, there are other considerations, but that’s the basic formula.
What drives traffic? Content. Lots of relevant and engaging content. Make sure that your blog content is setup to guide people to your store or products so that they can convert into customers and generate revenue for your business.
SEO Tip: Try and get everyone in your company to add content to your website on a regular basis. It could be relating the story of how you satisfied a customer’s need, it could be a story of how you had to drive across town to get some mushrooms for a special dinner (if you’re a caterer). Whatever. So long as you keep adding content.
2. Personalize SEO content with Google Authorship
By implementing Google authorship, you give a face to your content. That’s important for consumer trust. It’s not just another article by someone ‘out there’ – it’s by Joe from “Joe’s Deli”, or Alice from “Alice’s Wheel balancing”. You get the picture.
One of the most important factors in getting people to buy from your online store, is credibility. I am far more likely to buy from someone I feel I know, or know something about, than a faceless unknown business.
To implement authorship:
Create a Google+ account
Link your Google+ profile to your content
Authorship may take a while. Google is pretty slow on showing author information next to its results. Don’t hold your breath, but keep checking every week or so.
3. Improve your online store’s technical SEO performance
If none of this means anything to you, then it is likely that you can improve your SEO performance by upgrading your performance related SEO. You will probably need to speak to someone with web development experience who also knows SEO.
SEO Tip: Read this article entitled “Improve your SEO and compare the SEO of five leading SEO sites”
SEO Tip 2: Don’t be seduced by promises of instant SEO magic. Subsequent to Google’s Panda and Penguin updates, businesses that use cheap, unethical SEO contractors are paying the price by disappearing from search results.
4. Localize content for better SEO performance
Google has started to favor local results over more general ones. To appear higher up in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) for customers in your area, you have to make sure that your content has localization information.
If the majority of your store’s sales come from a specific location (i.e. a town or county), then you’ll probably want to implement these three super SEO localization techniques:
- Target users in your area using Webmaster tools. Select the relevant option from “Site configuration >> Settings >> Geographic target”
- Use localized SEO keywords in your content. Instead of writing an SEO page heading like “Baking the best muffins”, you could write “Baking the best muffins in New York City”
- Add your business to Google maps
- Use “Location coordinates” META tags in your page content (This is slightly more technical, so you might need to get in touch with a good SEO consultant or firm to help you out)
5. Implement regular SEO and ROI analysis
SEO is nothing without the ability to monitor the results. Ensure that your website is integrated with Webmaster tools and Google analytics.
Without analytics it is difficult to improve your store’s ROI (Return on Investment). Analytics will allow you to see precisely which content is driving traffic, what customers are doing on the site, and give insight into how you can maximize conversions and traffic going forward.
Check out these two quick ROI calculator apps:
- Return on Investment (ROI) calculator for blog and business content
- Content revenue calculator for bloggers and businesses
SEO Tip: Use analytics to see which keywords are driving traffic to your website. If these keywords are driving traffic that is converting, keep using them. If not, think about other keywords that might drive interested customers and start using those in your online store’s content.