E-commerce is an essential part of any retail business plan as consumers become more online shopping orientated and their confidence in the safety of online transactions grows. With over 50% of all web traffic in the UK now coming from mobile devices, even high street shoppers are turning to e-commerce when they are physically inside a store to ensure they’re getting the best deal. They will often complete their transaction online there and then.

A successful online store is no different to running a successful bricks and mortar shop in many foundational aspects. You need a strong brand, competitive pricing and an attractive and trustworthy store that’s easy to shop. It’s all fundamentally the same.Selling onlineWhen it comes to one absolutely vital consideration – footfall – there is no difference at all. You need customers in store to make sales. To get customers in store you need them to be able to easily discover you.

In the physical world, we’d say it’s all about location, location, well you get the point. What’s important to recognise though, is this mantra can also be applied to e-commerce stores. The need for location is the same in the digital space, albeit a little more complicated. If you want a prime store location in the physical world, you open a flagship in the middle of Oxford Street. If you want a prime location online, you need to earn yourself a piece of the internet’s most valuable real estate. Page one, ranking position one, for the most popular search terms for your industry on Google.

Google represents the vast majority of online searches in the UK and generally speaking, most online journeys also begin with a search engine.

The reason that search engines are so valuable even in direct comparison to virtually all other digital marketing channels, is that search is the only truly ‘reactive’ digital media form. When a consumer makes a search query, they are actively looking for something and off the back of this, will have an action in mind.

If a person searches for an electric razor, for example, they’d likely be conducting product research, carrying out a price comparison and have an intent to buy. If your e-commerce web development is complete and your online store open for business, capturing this user from their search represents a good chance of earning a sale or, a future consideration for a sale.

You have to be present for this consideration to benefit you. If your brand doesn’t appear high up on Google, that chance will go to a site that does.

Unlike paid for media such as pay per click (PPC), display advertising or paid social media, getting your website to the top of Google organic rankings can’t be bought. For that you need to put your time into a specialised SEO approach, tailored specifically for an e-commerce website.The biggest difference in paid marketing channels and organic search is that paid media is essentially rented traffic. As soon as your budget runs out, the traffic stops coming in. Organic search rankings work differently. They are not bought, but search for e-commerceGoogle rank websites via a series of mathematical algorithms which draw on more than 200 unique signals to determine whether or not your site and a specific page within your site is the most relevant result for a particular keyword.

The basic considerations for SEO are:

  • Quality technical website build
  • User-friendly website design and functionality
  • Highly relevant, unique, high-quality content (which regularly grows)
  • Online industry-specific credibility and external presence

The key to SEO performance is a combination of business strategy intertwined with you as a business investing in your e-commerce website on a continual basis.

Not just on day one when it’s built and launched but on an ongoing and ideally accelerating basis to show growth and expansion. SEO success is not a one-off fix but a long term, ongoing process. That said, it’s well worth it, as it remains for many businesses the absolute most successful and cost efficient digital marketing channel available.

Want our SEO experts to give your e-commerce site a review? Contact us and we’ll schedule a face-to-face meeting – and see exactly how we can get you found. You can also stay up to date with the latest in e-commerce and online marketing by subscribing to our mailing list – you’ll receive a monthly recap of our most popular articles!

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Posted by Katrina Starkie