Sales are front and centre when it comes to measuring the success of your eCommerce store. However, in an increasingly competitive online space, it is becoming more and more difficult to get noticed. Many site owners look towards paid campaigns in their mission to drive traffic to their website – but what if you’re on a budget?
Luckily, there are ways that you can organically increase the number of visitors to your online store that don’t require huge advertising budgets. With everything from the traditional email marketing tactics to leveraging eCommerce SEO, here are seven tips that will have you boosting your rankings in the search results and driving up your sales figures!
1. Leverage SEO and use relevant keywords
A surefire way of driving traffic to your eCommerce store is to ensure that it’s ranking highly in the search results (or ‘SERPs’). In order to achieve this you need to adopt a process known as ‘search engine optimisation’, or ‘SEO’ – a means of improving a site’s visibility when a user enters a particular query in a search engine like Google or Bing.
A key part of this is finding the relevant terms, or ‘keywords’ that users search for when trying to find your product or service. You may think you already know these but you need to do some further research to see if there are any that you’re missing. There are a myriad of tools to discover the right keywords – at Tillison Consulting, we tend to use Semrush and Google Keyword Planner.
So how do you know what terms you should be targeting? There are two key metrics that you should be paying attention to – the search volume (or average monthly search) and the keyword’s competition. The terms with high search volume and low competition are the ones that you should look at incorporating into your eCommerce store’s content – as long as it’s relevant to what you offer.
Caption: Keyword suggestions for ‘trainers’ using Semrush’s Keyword Magic Tool.
Keywords should be added throughout your site’s copy, page titles, URLs and meta descriptions. For your product pages, they should be incorporated into product titles and descriptions. There is a slight caveat to this, however. You need to ensure, when adding keywords to your pages, that you don’t overuse them. Search engines will pick this up as ‘keyword stuffing’ and your site will be penalised – leading to a drop in search rankings.
2. Improve page speeds
Also important for your eCommerce store’s SEO is its page speed, which is one of Google’s over 200 ranking factors. So, if your site isn’t loading quick enough, you will find it slipping down the SERPs. However, it isn’t just the rankings you have to consider. You could be ranking in poll position, but if the site is slow, users will quickly log off and it’s very unlikely you’ll get them back. We’ve found that even just a 0.1-second improvement in page loading speed increases conversions by 8.4%!
So how do you discover how quickly your pages load? There are a number of tools to test page speed. We test the page speed of all of our clients at Tillison Consulting using Google’s PageSpeed Insights. This tool gives you a solid measure of how your site is performing on both mobile and desktop. It also provides recommendations on how you can go about making improvements.
Caption: BBC News website in PageSpeed Insights
3. Social proof
Social proof is a concept that most people will be familiar with but perhaps don’t know the name of. It’s a psychological and societal principle that people tend to ‘follow the masses’. Most people will look to others for influence and will conform to what peers or others who have influence do. So how can you leverage the concept of social proof to drive organic traffic to your eCommerce store?
Did you know that people are four times more likely to buy when referred by a friend? Referral marketing is a method of making it easier for existing customers to refer to your business – along the same lines as ‘word of mouth’. It encourages people to talk about your business and creates more exposure for your brand. Referral marketing can be carried out across a number of platforms or different media.
Many eCommerce stores like to offer coupons as a means to both attract new customers and encourage existing ones to share the site. Gift cards incentivise these people to take the desired action as they will be rewarded for their efforts. It’s a fantastic way to generate new business as well as to build up a pool of repeat shoppers.
90% of customers read online reviews before making a purchase – they are a hugely influential part of the buying process. They are also a great way of building credibility and brand awareness. Not only will you want to make reviews stand out on your website but also be honest. It’s a sad truth that no matter how awesome your product is, not everyone will be satisfied. By having a mix of positive and negative reviews, you are establishing more trust.
Did you know that Google actually sees reviews as a ranking signal and they can actually appear in the SERPs? Also, sites such as TrustPilot actually tend to rank high in the search results so you should incentivise your customers to leave a review.
Caption: Google reviews as seen in the SERPs
4. Think mobile
Online shoppers are increasingly looking to their phone in order to make a purchase and search engines like Google know this. With how well a site performs on mobile another one of the ranking factors, it’s important to optimise it for these devices. You need to consider the following features and how important they are to consumers nowadays;
Of course, you need a tool to measure how mobile-friendly your site is. Luckily, Google has its Mobile-Friendly Test to see how well your eCommerce store performs.
Caption: Tillison Consulting website in Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test
5. Introduce a blog
Did you know that 77% of internet users read blogs? That provides you with the perfect opportunity to reach a wide audience. Blogs are a great way of attracting potential traffic to your website and ultimately directing potential customers to your online store.
When done correctly, blogging is also fantastic for your SEO efforts. This is because, as you produce more content, the more links you can build to your online store. By having these in place it’s not only potential customers you’re directing to your sales pages, but also Google’s crawlers. These are bots that navigate your website, access its content and determine where it ranks in the SERPs. Internal link building – the process of linking one page to another on the same website or domain. Each internal link acts as an endorsement for the page you’re directing users towards. You are stressing the importance of this page to Google, making it more likely to rank well in the SERPs.
Think of it another way. Without any links to a sales page, how are users going to find it? The same is true for search engines. This is known as an ‘orphan’ page – and it is very difficult to find.
Caption: Having multiple pages linking towards one sales page demonstrates its importance and passes ‘SEO authority’ through.
6. Utilise social media
In 2021 everyone should know the power of social media – each platform offers the chance to build a community and generate traffic to your website. Offering content that’s fun and insightful goes a long way in being able to grow an audience – it needs to be something that your followers find engaging. Some eCommerce stores will do something as simple as post a funny meme or share a news story. In moderation, it’s okay to encourage followers to share your content to help grow your social media following.
Of course, you will also want to post promotional content on your social channels – but this isn’t what your followers are following you for. It’s absolutely fine to do occasional posts about your product or service but just be wary that, if done too much, you may find your social media audience shrinking.
7. Remember email
Email is still a very powerful tool you have at your disposal. Through online sales alone, you should be able to build a pretty good mailing list. However, it also doesn’t hurt to offer incentives to help grow it – perhaps by offering exclusive offers or news. Look at running promotional campaigns as these are very effective at building loyalty and make your customers feel they are special – they are a great way at encouraging them to come back for more.
How easy is it to drive organic traffic to your eCommerce store?
While running a paid campaign may be tempting, looking for ways to generate more organic traffic to your eCommerce store will yield the best return on investment. By implementing a sound SEO strategy, you’ll give your priority sales pages the best chance of ranking highly in the SERPs. Looking at the more technical aspects of your website such as its page speed and how well it’s optimised for mobile will improve user experience. As a ranking signal, this will also boost its SERP rankings but it will also encourage visitors to stay on your eCommerce store and lead to more conversions. The traditional methods of social media and email marketing are still very much in play – both fantastic methods of driving traffic to your site.
It’s a fair amount of effort, but by adopting common best practices you will see your site’s ranking in the SERPs skyrocket, more traffic to your store and ultimately more sales.
Author bio: Oliver Griffiths has a passion for film, video games and technology. He can be found at Tillison Consulting running a number of clients’ digital marketing campaigns across all sectors and platforms.