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Table of Contents:
- Why does every online store need an individual SEO strategy?
- How to build a positioning strategy yourself?
- Optimization as a basic element of the positioning strategy
- SEO techniques thanks to which your store will gain even more customers
Each online store positioning strategy must be prepared in such a way as to build the visibility of the website on the web, while acquiring customers. Developing a comprehensive SEO plan requires an in-depth analysis not only of your own website, but also of competing domains. An effective positioning strategy is one that results in an increase in both organic traffic and conversion.
Why does every online store need an individual SEO strategy?
All online stores – just like company websites or other types of online services – require an individual positioning strategy. Each site on the web has its own characteristics and needs. SEO must be tailored to the specific industry and the situation in which the online store is located. Often times, online business owners decide to invest in positioning only after some time, when they notice that without SEO it is difficult to reach new customers. In this case, your website may already be expanded, so it will take more time to optimize it. Individual online stores need personalized positioning activities – the first stage is always an SEO audit, then you should move on to competition analysis, optimization and creating valuable content. Seemingly, the purpose of positioning is to improve the position of the online store in the Google search engine. However, these effects must translate into more traffic and customer acquisition, which ultimately leads to conversion. This phenomenon will only take place when the SEO of the online store is implemented on the basis of a comprehensive positioning strategy tailored to the individual needs of a specific online business.
How to build a positioning strategy yourself?
According to the report “E-commerce in Poland 2020”, in Poland approximately 73% of Internet users shop online. A high position in the search engine is therefore important because it allows you to attract potential customers. According to an analysis by WebFX, only about 25% of users go to the second page of the Google search list. Therefore, the SEO strategy of the online store should be built in such a way that the website can be displayed on the first page of the search list (TOP10) in Google.
# 1 SEO audit and competitor analysis
Each positioning strategy starts with an SEO audit. The purpose of the survey is to indicate which elements within the site require improvement. Additionally, an analysis of the competition should be performed, especially in terms of key phrases, traffic and external linking. An SEO audit is a check of:
- Content on the website – is the content long enough? Or maybe they are not there at all or they have been copied,
- Page titles – that is, meta title. Each subpage must have a unique tag with a keyword,
- Headings – the body should contain H1 and H2 headings. If the content requires it, also add H3 and H4. You can implement keywords in them, but in a natural way,
- Page loading time – Google’s algorithm, like users, does not like to wait. If the domain is loading too long, its position will drop with the conversion,
- Graphic – were they not copied without the consent of the author? Do they have an alt attribute to describe their content?
- Sitemap – add a sitemap to Google Search Console. If you have already done so, check that the file is still up-to-date
- Redirects – have 301 redirects been properly implemented (if any)? Or maybe the pages are returning a 404 error?
- Canonical tags – that is, canonical tag. This is an element that indicates which subpage is original and should be displayed on Google, and which is similar, but should not be indexed. Verify that canonical is implemented correctly. Perhaps it excludes from the index a subpage that should be displayed in the search engine.
- External and internal linking – external links are treated by Google as “recommendations”. Strong and natural links should lead to your domain. Also take care of the internal structure of linking.
Specialized tools should be used to analyze the competition and audit the store. Without them, it is impossible to carry out both of these activities. Useful software is: Screaming Frog, Ahrefs, SEMSTORM.
# 2 Choosing key phrases for subpages
After the audit is completed, proceed to the preparation of the selection of key phrases. It is a combination of words that are matched to a specific subpage. The wording should be selected for a specific URL, and should also be searched regularly by users. The website owner has to select the traffic phrases that will then lead to the conversion. This stage is extremely important in the context of SEO activities because it can affect the effectiveness of the positioning strategy. Achieving satisfactory results on Google for phrases that will be of little value will not have a positive impact on traffic, visibility and conversion. You will use tools such as Senuto or SEMrush to search for words. Assign phrases to subpages and stick to your plan strictly. Otherwise, you will lead to keyword cannibalization, which will negatively affect the conversion. Prepare your selection, for example, in a spreadsheet – this data will be useful throughout the positioning period.
Source : own study
# 3 Optimization
SEO audit and competition analysis along with the selection of key phrases are the stages that prepare for the implementation of the positioning strategy. After taking these steps, you should move on to practice, i.e. optimization. It is fixing bugs, removing shortcomings and improving the overall functioning of the store. When optimizing, a previously performed audit is useful – the data contained therein indicate which elements require improvement. Preparing a positioning strategy yourself and implementing it can be a bit complicated, so it’s worth setting a priority list, especially when the website owner works without anyone’s help. Usually, in e-commerce, categories and strategic products that can significantly affect business revenues are given priority. It is these parts of your website that you should optimize for the first time. Then move on to the next subpages, optimizing meta data, creating content and reducing its loading time. Also remember about positioning when adding new products to the store – you should prepare the appropriate title and description with key phrases. After creating new subpages, add their URLs to the previously prepared selection to avoid cannibalization in the future. Regularly monitor the health of your website in Google Search Console to react immediately to any errors or threats. For optimization, you will use those tools that are useful when auditing a website. After creating new subpages, add their URLs to the previously prepared selection to avoid cannibalization in the future. Regularly monitor the health of your website in Google Search Console to react immediately to any errors or threats. For optimization, you will use those tools that are useful when auditing a website. After creating new subpages, add their URLs to the previously prepared selection to avoid cannibalization in the future. Regularly monitor the health of your website in Google Search Console to react immediately to any errors or threats. For optimization, you will use those tools that are useful when auditing a website.
# 4 Building content
Content creation along with optimization are fundamental to the effectiveness of an SEO strategy. The phrases contained in the texts are information for Google robots indicating what exactly is at a specific URL. Keywords placed in meta description and title may be insufficient – subpages without valuable content have a low chance of achieving high positions in the search engine. Therefore, during the implementation of SEO activities, descriptions of categories and products are created. It is also recommended to create blog articles – with the appropriate selection of topics and internal linking, they can be a source of traffic leading to conversion. The SurferSEO and SEMSTORM tools are useful for building content.
# 5 External linking, i.e. link building
Backlinks, i.e. external links leading to a website, are a ranking factor that is important when determining the position by the Google search engine. Links must come from high-quality domains, preferably thematically related to the positioned website – then their value is high. Before the algorithm was updated in 2012 (Penguin), the number of external links was the most important. Today, link building is more complicated and requires more calculation. Obtaining links from spammy sites will end up lowering you, not increasing your rank. Use tools such as Ahrefs or MajstecSEO to analyze linking.
Optimization as a basic element of the positioning strategy
In the book “Strategies in E-Business. Positioning and Social Networking in Online Markets ”is a study that optimized a website in 2011/2012. The mere building of content, the improvement of internal linking and meta tags for relevant key phrases caused that the audience increased from about 1.5 million to about 2 million users per month. Before optimization, organic traffic accounted for almost 36% of all recipients. After the implementation of the changes, there was an increase of over 11 percentage points.
Source : “Strategies in E-Business. Positioning and Social Networking in Online Markets “
Performing an SEO audit and comprehensive optimization of your online store can bring a positive effect in the form of increased traffic. Then the recipients should be encouraged to buy a specific product as much as possible. In this context, content marketing is helpful, which additionally supports SEO, as long as the content contains key phrases. In e-commerce, an appropriate positioning strategy becomes a generator of income and a medium for acquiring new customers. Correct optimization will make Google display the information on the website using featured snippets (recommended snippets with the answer). Additional information may also appear next to the links in the search engine to your website, which will encourage the user to open the store. To do this, use structured data.
SEO techniques thanks to which your store will gain even more customers
There are many SEO techniques through which an online store can build a search engine position, then acquiring customers. The basic ones are:
Reducing the loading time – the shorter the site loads, the better. The waiting time is a ranking factor and affects the position in the search engine. In addition, this element is important in the context of conversion – through the loading time, the store makes the first impression of potential customers. If a site keeps waiting too long for itself, there is a good chance that the user will close the browser window and then go to the competition. Sites with a loading time of less than two seconds tend to have the highest conversion rate. A test conducted at the Glasses Direct store shows how the conversion rate is presented in terms of charging speed. After about 2 seconds, the conversion rate began to decline, dropping 6.7% with each additional second.
Source : “8 Principles of User Optimization That’ll Increase Your Search Rankings” by Neil Patel
SXO (Search Experience Optimization) – these are activities based on the synergy of SEO and UX. Although it is not only a technique, but a long-term strategy, its elements can be used when building a positioning strategy yourself. According to SXO, the online store must be in a high position (SEO) and be tailored to the needs of the recipients (UX). This builds better visibility, more traffic, and ultimately a higher conversion rate as well, so your customer base grows. The implementation of SXO is especially effective in e-commerce, however, the strategy can be adapted to each website.
Long tail phrases – these are expressions with the so-called long tail. Long tail phrases have low competitiveness and close matching, therefore they very often lead to conversion. They usually consist of four or more words. For their effective use, a blog with thematic articles is useful. Then, using internal linking, the traffic should be redirected to the appropriate category in the store or a subpage with the product. Each website can use a long tail to build visibility and acquire customers.
Content pruning – a technique based on the continuous updating of content is known as content pruning. It is most often used in the context of blog articles that may become obsolete over time. You should take care of your content so that it is always fresh and reliable. Such updates allow the content to reach higher positions.
All online stores need an individual positioning strategy. The plan must be tailored to the needs of a specific website and its recipients. Even two similar sites in the same industry will require separate SEO efforts. While there are some universal techniques and rules, they need to be adapted to your specific online store. The right positioning strategy allows you to turn your visibility into traffic and conversion, which will positively affect the profitability of your online business.
- “Strategies in E-Business. Positioning and Social Networking in Online Markets ”Ignacio Gil-Pechuán (2014) – http://ndl.ethernet.edu.et/bitstream/123456789/71993/1/54.pdf
- “15+ SEO Statistics From 2021 That’ll Transform Your Strategy” WebFX (2021) – https://www.webfx.com/internet-marketing/seo-statistics.html
- “8 Principles of User Optimization That’ll Increase Your Search Rankings” by Neil Patel (2015) – https://neilpatel.com/blog/8-principles-of-user-optimization-thatll-increase-your-search-rankings/
- How structured data works. SEO for advanced “Google Search Central – https://developers.google.com/search/docs/guides/intro-structured-data?hl=pl
Appropriate website structure, errors on the page, correct URL addresses – such issues significantly affect the effectiveness of positioning, therefore the skillful creation of redirects on the website should be one of the important elements of the positioning strategy. However, you should remember about moderation – the lack of redirects is a serious problem, but their excess can also weaken the website. Correctness and optimization of implementation are important in developing User Experience. The smoother, more convenient and easier a given user browses a website, the more time he or she will spend on it and the more likely to return to it. Redirects affect not only website traffic, but conversion as well. Consider online stores – each time a potential customer encounters a 404 error, the chances of it being that he will decide to continue browsing the assortment and the final transaction. It is worth regularly monitoring the operation of the website and checking if all redirects are functioning flawlessly, then we increase our chances of quickly detecting any errors and fixing them before it has a negative impact on the operation and effectiveness of the website.
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