For many e-commerce brands, their website’s Google rank seems subjective and out of their control. And while Google’s algorithms are becoming increasingly more complex, the good news is that these updates actually work in our favor. Today, search algorithms aren’t just scanning for keywords or code; they’re able to take quality content and user-friendly websites into consideration and connect those with search queries.
This means that brands–even small ones–with a commitment to consistent, valuable content creation and audience engagement are seeing improvements in their organic ranking. This translates to stronger brand identity, higher traffic, and (most importantly) more sales for them. But if you’re one of the brands struggling with your Google ranking, or you find yourself in constant competition with retailers like Amazon who also sell your products, you’re not alone.
It’s still a process, which is why we’re sharing four things you can do to improve your e-commerce website Google rankings.
1. Branded Content to Gain Traction
You’ve probably heard the phrase “Content is king.” Whether or not that’s true depends on who you ask, but when it comes to improving your ranking in Google, it helps to take this approach. Branded content–content that includes your specific product and brand–is one of the best ways to gain traction and increase organic ranking.
You want to get your name out there, and you want to provide content that is valuable. This not only gets you seen in more places, but it builds trust. To boost your website’s rankings–and your brand trust–with content:
- Create relevant, valuable content. Don’t create content just to get something out the door; take the time to understand who your target audience is and the kind of content they want to consume. It may be videos, it may be blogs, it may be images. You need to figure that out and then create a plan that gets it done.
- Create content frequently. The frequency of your content updates triggers search engines to “crawl” new content. If your site is stagnant, it means Google isn’t crawling it, which means your results are getting pushed further and further down in search. Create a better content calendar that includes regular posts or additions to trigger a more natural SERP increase.
- Don’t forget your links. If you’re creating landing pages, blogs, social media posts, or even content for partnerships, don’t forget to link back to your product categories or detail pages. However, don’t just “link stuff” an article to get as many links in a single blog or page as possible. This can get you flagged and your audience is too good for that, anyway.
- Optimize pages and content. We’re talking pretty basic search engine optimization here; nothing too fancy. For each product page, you’ll need a unique:
- Page title
- Meta title
- URL (preferably that matches product title)
- H1, H2, etc.
Each of these need to be unique because each page will register as its own “listing” in Google search results. Also keep in mind that duplicate content gets flagged by Google all the time, which is why unique content and metadata is so important. All of the metadata is what is scanned by Google and displayed in your search engine results page, which is why it’s so important.
2. Social Media to Boost Rankings
The power of social media in boosting search rank is often misunderstood. Likes and follows don’t equate to traffic or sales, which is where most brands go off the rails on their social campaigns. The real focus is on click-throughs, not just likes and comments. Social media click-throughs can increase traffic and engagement, which tells Google that your site is attracting interested visitors, thereby triggering higher search rankings.
To really boost rankings with social media, you’ll need to:
- Promote and amplify branded content. Remember: content doesn’t share itself. When you create content (such as blogs, videos, infographics, etc.), create an overarching campaign to give your content “legs.” This means you should plan to post a link to your blog or video on social media, post images on Instagram or Pinterest, etc. The more platforms your content is seen, the more impact it can have.
- Create social content catered to your audience. More important than being seen on all the platforms, however, is focusing on where your ideal audience spends their time. For older generations, Facebook often offers the best engagement, while most Millennials are engaging on Instagram with businesses. LinkedIn may not be the best place to market your all-natural skin care, while Instagram might not be the best place to market your accounting software. You get the idea.
- Focus on intriguing posts that encourage people to click through. People scroll social media all day long; they’re pretty immune to the generic posts that are obviously scheduled out weeks in advance. This is where unique content and intriguing lines come in handy–especially when using your marketing spend on paid social media ads. Spend time crafting an on-brand, unique message that actually makes people want to click it.
3. Paid Ads to Improve Engagement
Speaking of paid ads… No, paid ads do not increase organic traffic. After all, organic traffic is, well, organic. So why invest in paid ads? They can improve your Google ranking by:
- Improving brand visibility and recognition. Searchers who see an ad may be more likely to click an organic listing in the future. It also improves trust when a searcher sees your results in more than one place. This is why display and social ads often work well together, as people tend to see native ads for the same product or business displayed in multiple places.
- Generating increased links, mentions, sharing, etc. Search algorithms are programmed to look for third-party signals, such as brand mentions, backlinks, and referral traffic to your website. The more reach a display or social ad has, the more people will be interacting with and sharing the content. This can then impact organic rankings indirectly.
So be sure to use display, social, and search query retargeting campaigns available through Google and Facebook. This brings those hard-earned visitors back to your site and keeps you at the top of their minds.
4. Site Performance Impacts SEO
Last but not least, two of the most overlooked elements that impact your Google ranking are site speed and mobile-friendliness. If your site takes too long to load, users tend to close out and move onto the next search result. In fact, recent surveys show that the ideal load speed is less than 2 seconds (Google prefers half a second!).
Google has also switched to the mobile-first indexing, which means that the mobile version of your site is what gets “crawled” first. If your mobile site isn’t up to par, this can have a huge impact on your overall ranking. Even if your site ranks well for content, load time, and traffic, a non-user-friendly site will deter your visitors, which increases your bounce rate. To improve the user-friendliness of your mobile site, avoid too many menus, sliders, non-optimized images and videos, etc.
There are plenty of tools that help you determine site speed and mobile-friendliness, like Google’s PageSpeed Insights and their Mobile-Friendly Test. Also keep in mind that most tools will give you tips for optimizing both your speed and mobile-friendliness, but they make take a little more technical know-how to fix.
Algorithms & Audiences Love Quality
Remember that the quality of what you put out there is more important than the quantity. Today’s search algorithms are advanced enough to register when you’re just pumping out stuff to make noise and when you’re actually sharing quality, valuable content. So are your customers. So take the time to learn where your audiences are, what sort of content speaks to them, and then start creating and sharing it.
The type and direction of the content you create and share will change over time, but the algorithms and audiences will always be there to consume it. Check out our content marketing and e-commerce marketing service offerings if you are looking for a digital marketing partner.