• How to build your e-shop’s visibility
• What to start with when your e-shop is not the leading brand on the market
• How to use the full potential of AdWords, SEO and Social Media to promote your business
Anna Antczak, SEO Specialist w MakoLab
Aleksandra Mazur, Copywriter / Social Media Specialist w MakoLab
Małgorzata Pietrzak, SEM Specialist w MakoLab
Your e-shop will not be able to bring in revenue when users have no idea of its existence. That’s why you need to take into consideration SEO/SEM & Social Media promotional activities from the very start of your project – in order to build your brand awareness and cater to your website’s future traffic.
When planning your e-commerce promotional activities, one of the key elements to focus your attention on is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). This term embraces a number of activities that can be effectively exploited to enhance your e-shop’s position in organic search results – particularly Google, given its significant popularity. Where AdWords campaigns can bring about immediate effects, SEO activities may run for months on end before any effects are even noticed. Don’t let this fool you, they are definitely of long-term value and worth all the effort that is necessary from the beginning of your e-shop’s implementation.
The next questions then become: What to start with? Which tools to apply? And how to measure their effects? Firstly, you will need to get acquainted with a simple but useful Google tool – the Keyword Planner. The tool provides us with valuable information on the type and frequency of keywords searched online and their monthly monetary value. Such a set of data allows you to not only optimise a website but also to estimate the likely traffic. The Keyword Planner tool also checks the popularity of each keyword according to both country or language specifics.
Image 1 Google Keyword Planner Tool
Source: Google Keyword Planner
Image 2 Google Keyword Planner Tool
Source: Google Keyword Planner
Let’s assume that we run a ski boots e-shop. Image 2 shows us that users start intensifying their search for the “ski boots” phrase as early as October (with around 8,100 searches that month). Then, quite obviously, the ski gear craze takes over in the winter months: January and February (another 18,100 and 14,800 searches respectively). In this way, the Keyword Planner tool not only shows data on specific phrases but also suggests other popular keywords relating to the original phrase. For example, in addition to “ski boots”, the other popular phrase of “men’s ski boots” is highlighted– which thus gives a huge impetus for the phrases use in the e-shop’s content.
The wide, data-based knowledge of keywords search gives a solid foundation for website content optimisation. The aim is to manage the keywords within the website elements in a way that will make Google’s robots understand what the site is about and, consequently, serve the users with websites best matched to their entered queries.
Web elements worth optimising:
1. Website title (<title>…</title>)
- It should include the keywords to which the website is designed to be optimised with;
- The best practice is to assign one phrase to each page (2-3 is the maximum – only if they’re synonyms or similar, but less popular phrases).
2. H1 heading (<h1>…</h1>)
- It’s recommended to construct this with the use of phrases similar to those used in the title – in order to keep the website coherent.
3. H2, H3, etc. headings (<h2>…</h2>)
4. Website content
- Whether a home page, category page or a product page – it is good practice to watch the competitors positioned higher in the search results for inspiration e.g. for content length;
- The pieces of content should be unique, high-quality and bring real value to the users – that’s why it’s worth taking some more time and planning to deliver the users value-added content.
5. Website description (<meta name=”description” content=”…”/>)
- This should be catchy enough to encourage the user to visit the website.
6. Alt tag (<img src=”… ” alt=”…”>
- a piece of text describing what a specific image is.
Keywords: women ski boots (popularity: 880 search/month), ladies ski-boots (popularity: 390 search/month), ski-boots for ladies (popularity: 390 search/month), comfortable ladies ski-boots (popularity: 10 search/month).
Website title: Women ski-boots – comfortable and top-fashion models | Ski-shop.com
H1 heading: Women ski-boots
Website content: Looking for comfortable and top-fashion women ski-boots? Ski-shop.com offers a wide selection of the best models available on the market! We sell ladies ski-boots from such top brands as Salomon, Rossignol and Atomic. Our boots are not only safe for your feet but also light and warm. They work both for the female beginner skiers as well as the more advanced. Many of the ski-boots for ladies interior is fur-finished, which additionally increases the comfort of use. Click to go shopping!
Meta description: Check out our wide selection of women ski-boots on Ski-shop.com. Find out how comfortable skiing can be!
High-quality and attractive content is definitely worth the time and money it takes– users especially value content that brings added value, such as blog posts, tips & tricks and guides for the present and future clients. Before a user takes the final purchase decision, they often need information or data that will convince them that they need specifically your product or service. Blog content ideas might be already be delivered based on results from the Keyword Planner; however, it’s also useful to check what the competition writes about and which topics are hot or missing that might be desired by your customers.
Apart from content optimisation, another thing to take care of is for the site to be search engine robots-friendly. Whenever there is a technical block, it may result in website positioning problems. That’s why it is necessary to verify:
• whether the high-value pages are tagged <meta name=”robots” content=”noindex”> – which can block indexing,
• whether the website loads smoothly on desktop as well as mobile (less than 3 seconds is optimal),
• whether the website is responsive
• whether the website contains duplicated content or there is content copied from other websites.
All the above factors may greatly affect the website’s evaluation by Google and so it’s important to handle all the technical elements properly for your platform.
Another area worth paying attention to while managing your e-commerce store is the running of your link building activities, i.e. whether users are linking to your store or sharing your content, how you are obtaining links – cooperating with other entities/websites, etc. Such link building activities help to build the e-shop’s trust and prove that the website is worth being presented higher in search results.
SEM first steps
Keyword Planner – as part of the AdWords platform – is available after account registration and login. Visit www.adwords.google.com and follow the intuitive manual to become a fully-fledged user. Owning the AdWords account licenses you to use not only its tools but also run advertising activities with almost no timing or budget limits.
How to succeed in AdWords?
Whenever a keyword is entered in Google, all advertisers focusing their viewing on that particular phrase take part in a sort of competition. The positioning winner will be the one who – at a specific moment – has a perfectly matched advertisement, has a sufficient budget to cover the costs for clicking the ad, has a high-quality website/page with the product that was searched for, etc. Does a high position guarantee that users will enter the e-shop and make the purchase? When a client gets what they’ve really been searching for and when the ad contains content supporting their decision process that highlights the outstanding features of the offer, there’s a high probability of success. Whether the purchase conversion is actually realised – this is very much a matter that revolves around the customer’s journey on the site.
How to promote in AdWords
AdWords has a diversified offer for e-commerce: direct advertisement of a product including its relevant image and price presented in the search engine (Google Purchase-like campaigns), text ads, visual ads or a video targeted at specific portals, keywords, interests or returning visitors. To compose a highly effective promo communication, you need to remember to direct it to the specific target group, use the tone of voice and language used by the group (taking into consideration differences – a different kind of communication will apply to a group of business professionals than to a group of beginners, not to mention the differences between the B2B vs B2C communication or the age of users).
Even excluding the specific factors of the target group, accentuating attractive added value in your e-shop’s offer ad can make your statistics skyrocket. A high discount or preferential treatment can lure more customers than nearly any other technique. Creative incentives for visiting your website and making a purchase, campaign keywords well-matched to the target group, attractive and unique graphics or videos can all help to attract an online audience at a relatively low cost. However, having a wider knowledge of AdWords brings with it skills to analyse the effects of your efforts more properly. It’s time to mention another massively useful tool available for free – Google Analytics. Linking it with an AdWords account creates great opportunities to thoroughly analyse your own promotional activities as well as your users’ behaviour.
Social media is a crucial arena for building brand awareness. We may even say that it accounts for the most relevant brand calling card. Within e-commerce, it is also an effective marketing tool for reaching customers, defining their needs and – as a consequence – increasing sales.
Each social media platform reaches for its own specific group of users, thus providing distinct promotional opportunities depending on the platform used. Let us have a look at those which offer the biggest benefits for e-shop owners.
FB has 43M users in the UK, so owning a company or branded Facebook account is practically a must. In order to make an outstanding proposition amongst many similar profiles, you need to raise the user’s interest with diversified content (visuals, videos, albums, photo carousels, linked articles, theme cycles with your own #, polls, competitions, etc). Posts may also include tagged products (displayed together with the price under the visual/video – in the form of a smaller carousel).
Paid Facebook promotion via the Facebook Ads Manager/Power Editor enables the very precise targeting of ads that take into consideration the age, sex, location, interests, profession and even online behaviour of your users – e-commerce can especially realise value from the category regarding engaged buyers (Image 2).
Image 2. Facebook Ads targeting options
An interesting option available to e-shops are dynamic ads – they can be directed to people that bought or browsed for products in a given period of time. One of the newer ad formats worth highlighting is the visual ad collection option , which is especially attractive to mobile users.
This most vibrant platform becomes especially powerful with female customers (there are 17.2M Instagram users in the UK and 56% of them are female), e.g. in the fashion industry, beauty, home & décor – wherever high-quality graphic content comes in handy. This platform has time and time again proved that investment in professional photos/videos can really pay off. The function of product selling via Instagram is still limited in many countries, but the carefully planned use of hashtags , tagging, adding interesting Insta Stories (displayed only for 24h yet still highly popular) and finally – paid promotion all work for increasing brand awareness and interest in a given product.
Due to the increasing interest in video content across all social channels, your own video-blog presenting tips & tricks/guides/manuals content for your area of interest might manifest as a more cost-effective solution than a traditional WordPress website. However, for the content to receive a high number of views, your channel first needs to be optimised. So: the titles should be as short as possible, showing the essence of the content presented in the video, including – of course – keywords (see: Keyword Planner); this increases the chances of your video to be viewed among the promoted material. Video descriptions should also be short (a user sees only 100 words and then must click for more – most of them stop at this step), the end of the video is worth filling it in with the links to your other social channels, which will enhance your e-shop’s identification. Once you are effective at this (i.e. you get 10,000 views minimum), you can start pursuing the option of monetizing – which means generating income from the adverts accompanying your videos.
This mobile app, geared mostly towards younger users, is suffused with pure entertainment content: videos, photos with characteristic effects and filters, short text messages. As snaps quickly disappear from view, the platform might not seem attractive to e-commerce owners; however, it has proven to be highly effective for both events and single promo activations – especially targeted at young users (up to 24) that are accustomed to less conventional forms of communication . One of the great ideas to come out of such advertisements is the equipping of the snap content with a password/code which can later be entered on a store’s website to generating a discount. Alternatively, activation competitions/quizzes that use snaps to provide users with hints to get the right answer can be a great way of increasing engagement.
5) Other platforms
• Twitter is the most opinion-forming social medium – it works wonders for the niche industries that can use it to build their position through expert tweets and opinions.
• LinkedIn is worth applying in order to build your professional identity – setting up a company account is recommended once the company starts actively searching for new employees.
• AdWords bid is the set amount of money you are ready to pay for the click from the user who entered a given phrase.
• <meta name=”robots” content=”noindex“> is a tag or heading that totally eliminates the website/page from Google search results, even if it’s externally linked.
• SEO – Search Engine Optimisation is a set of activities undertaken for a website to reach the highest possible position in search results for particular phrases/keywords. The expected result is an increase in website traffic and an improvement in its viewing in Google search results.
• AdWords means paid Google search results. This is a comprehensive Google promotional system that enables the viewing of sponsored links in search results and the websites cooperating within the Google AdSense programme.
• Link building means acquiring links on external websites. This promo activity is aimed at building the site’s reputation and reliability, thus improving its position in search results. A link might be connected with a piece of text (anchor text), a graphic element or simply stand as the URL.
This article was initially published in E-commerce & Digital Marketing Magazine
How to tag a product? Manual: https://www.facebook.com/business/help/1232322776800466
Facebook Ads Guide: https://www.facebook.com/business/ads-guide
More on dynamic ads: https://www.facebook.com/business/help/1132465490107046
More on ad collections: https://www.facebook.com/business/learn/facebook-create-ad-collection
More on Instagram formats: www.socialmediatoday.com/news/the-evolution-of-instagram-ads-infographic/507628/