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Advanced Ecommerce SEO Strategies for 2015

Ecommerce StrategyWith the influx of competition, basic ecommerce SEO marketing strategies no longer cut it. You’ll need to be ahead of the competition and introduce new ecommerce SEO and digital marketing techniques that will help your business stand out.

If you’re currently looking for ways to make your mark and progress the visibility of your ecommerce site, check out these advanced ecommerce SEO strategies for 2015.

Schema Markup

Schema Markup is essentially a microdata that makes it easier for search engines to understand what your content means. For example, the word “Sarah Collins” appears in the article – but for the search engine, this is just a random set of words with absolutely no meaning.

Schema Markup makes it possible for the search engine to identify Sarah Collins as the author of the article by placing the right microdata in the code. Now, whenever a search is made from the words “Sarah Collins”, it becomes easier for the search engine to crawl through your site and identify the important words.

Simply put, using Schema Markup helps increase your visibility online. It's far from being a "magical" fix on your ecommerce SEO strategy, but be aware that when combined with proper optimization techniques, schema can help you stand out from the crowd.

More on Schema can be found on Schema.org – and you’ll be glad to know that this project is actually collaboration between Yahoo, Google, and Bing.

Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing is the use of articles, videos, images, and even audio to reach out to your market. In the old day, the basic concept for content marketing is simply: to create something the market finds useful/entertaining.

Today though, content marketing strategy is the buzzword in the SEO community. This is simply a documented, step-by-step plan, on what you plan to say and how you plan to say it. Your strategy should contribute towards a common whole and should include the following components: (1) business plan for innovation, (2) content mapping, (3) persona development of the target market, (4) brand story, and (5) business plan for content marketing.

More great SEO-driven content marketing strategies can be found at the ContentMarketingInstitute.com.

Ironing the Technical and Creative Team

When it comes to content, the typical flow is that the creative team works on the job first and when they’re done, the technical team swoops in and optimizes the system. This is a fairly good process – but you have to understand that the two teams sometimes do not meet eye to eye.

So how do you solve this problem? It’s a good idea to find an overlap between the two – don’t divide the team but rather, help each one find a common ground in the process of their work. This makes it easier for each one to create and optimize content for SEO with a common goal kept top of mind.

If you outsource your technical ecommerce SEO services then you'll want to ensure that there is good communication between this party and the creative team.

Invest in Mobile

This seems pretty basic, but the fact is that businesses aren’t paying as much attention to mobile as they need to. Remember: there’s wireless internet now, and the number of mobile phones in use are marginally larger than computers.

If you haven't heard already, Google has plans to roll-out a mobile search ranking factor that will diminish the rankings of non-mobile-friendly websites. In short, this new mobile friendly ranking signal can have a tremendous impact on your ecommerce site's rankings in Google mobile search. As a result, one of your advanced SEO strategies for 2015 therefore should involve mobile site optimization – specifically, mobile SEO.

Share SEO Information

Lastly, give your internet marketing teams the chance to bond, swap information, and learn from each other. Remember: they’re aiming for the same goal so it makes sense that they’d share information and use each other’s data to achieve results. For example, there’s SEO and PPC. The two might approach marketing in a completely different way, but you’ll find that SEO can supply PPC with invaluable information and vice versa. Ultimately, good synergy between your team will results in successful ecommerce SEO marketing strategies that win in 2015.

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5 Pillars of Successful Ecommerce SEO Programs

Ecommerce SEO PillarsTo ensure your business succeeds when investing in an ecommerce SEO campaign, it is important to desist from the temptation of going for 'black box' or quick fix methods to gain fast traction in the online market space.

In the SEO space (especially ecommerce SEO) it is important to employ a long-term and sustainable approach to the campaign within a well thought out and integrated marketing strategy. Here are the 5 pillars of successful ecommerce SEO programs, which include but are not limited to the following:

Brand Building and Niche Carving

Just like in the outside world, a brand name in the online market space is invaluable. First and foremost, it is important to cut a niche or specialized market for your business before even embarking on an SEO campaign.

Know your market, know what they want and come up with effective and efficient ways of getting them what they want. Once this has been done, build a brand that’s anchored on high quality, good content, reliability and timeliness. Always keep in mind that building a brand is usually the easiest part, maintaining the brand name is by far the most difficult aspect of any SEO strategy.

Website (Technical) SEO

Search engines such as Google need highly accessible sites which it can index and crawl. Technical SEO broadly does involve dealing with a wide array of issues such as pagination and indexation, page load and site speed times, keyword research, structured data rich snippets such as mark-up and micro data, meta tags, URL structure as well as site management are some of the technical aspects that require constant attention.

Using Google Webmaster Tools or dashboard management for technical SEO comes in quite handy in this regard. Use Google PageSpeed to measure both inner and home page speed or Yahoo’s YSlow Plug-in. It is also advisable to use Schema to structure your content.

Content Marketing and Outreach

One of the most powerful pillars of SEO is content. Creating and promoting high quality content that aligns with your service or product offering is bound to help you increase overall sales figures. It is important to think of ways of offering complementary content both on and off site.

For an ecommerce store's SEO program, it is advisable to consider running various forms of content; it should not only be in form of text. Good content can be consumed as podcast (audio), webinars, guest blog posts, info graphics, competitions, white papers, email newsletters, mobile apps etc. it is important to get a good content marketing strategy that supports your brand. Promoting your high quality content does encourage bloggers, users and publishers to link to your site and discuss your content.

Provide Unmatched User Experience

For any SEO campaign to succeed, it is important to create and develop an intuitive and accessible website with your target market and other users in mind. Make a site that’s easy on the eye, easy to navigate and access or retrieve content. For an ecommerce site, make sure there is a secure and easy mode of payment as well.

Come up with ways to make the average user spend more time on your site and reduce the bounce rates. These are important engagement indicators which you need to take into consideration. Always keep in mind that user experience is an on-going, never ending process. Come up with a responsive web design and have image and video driven content for a good start.

Social Media

As one commentator aptly put it, "Content is fire, social media is the gasoline" people are currently spending lots of hours on social media, the platform chosen notwithstanding. Facebook, Pinterest, Vine and Twitter are some of the leading platforms where people are constantly discovering and engaging with brands.

Any SEO campaign that doesn’t include a strong social media pillar is bound to fail in meeting its target. Any company that’s not already using Google Authorship is losing a great deal. Authorship does assist Google in assigning credibility to a site’s content, resulting in higher search engine results. Make sure you give users great content which they would want to share and while at that, ensure you give them tools such as social media buttons which make it easier for them to share this content.

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How to Conduct an SEO Backlink Audit

Ecommerce SEO Site Audit SEO has now become one of the most important marketing channels in generating quality website traffic and cultivating a strong online presence. Most forms of SEO involve a number of technical details, all of which are important to consider if you want to build a strong SEO-friendly website.

One of these technical details is backlinks (or inbound links, external links, or just plain "links.") Backlinking is one of the most important aspects of SEO and determining high ranking websites. From a technical SEO perspective, a backlink strategy entails a process of analyzing links that are directed to a website.

The Importance of Backlinks for SEO

Alternatively, it is the owner or the analyst keeping track of how many redirections from other sources divert to his or her own webpage. In terms of importance, this is a key indicator of the particular website's popularity through external or indirect sources.

This is because the number of quality backlinks leading to your website is a factor that influences the ranking of the website in related search results. In the end results, backlinking is an ingredient to the popularity of the webpage.

Conducting an SEO Backlink Audit

An SEO backlink audit can be viewed as the “house cleaning” of your backlinks. It is a review of your current situation and an opportunity to move forward with a better plan. This link analysis, when done right, brings about valuable information regarding the performance of your website.

You may find it useful to conduct a backlink audit if: you want to identify your competitive edge as well as your faults, you want to improve your backlink building strategy, you want to understand your competitions' strategies, and more. In these cases, you will find that analyzing the current backlink situation may be of importance.

Why? For starters, this analysis is critically important as a general assessment tool. In any project, assessment is a key tool. It allows the management to zero in on potential opportunities and close up on their shortcomings.

Pinpointing Poor Quality Backlinks

It is an improvement strategy that requires a thorough analysis of the current situation in order to plan a way forward. A website that undergoes backlink auditing is likely to avoid any potential damage control which may result in penalties. This auditing process diverts this potential mishap by locating and exposing low quality and inappropriate links that may attracts those penalties. After locating them, the process of elimination follows, which keeps the website safe from penalties that may decrease the website's popularity in ranking.

Additionally, the audit gives important insight regarding where the website is doing good. For instance, which websites are linking to yours? Finding out such information is key in adopting an appropriate and strategic SEO to attract more visitors both directly and indirectly. This also allows you to try different tactics, preferably SEO, to improve your website's ranking.

At the end of the auditing process, your website has undergone a health check that is imperative to its survival. Ridding of unwanted links that may potentially bring down the website and improving on the faults is one way to ensure that you are running a well functioning website. Alternatively, identifying strong and quality backlinks gives insight into what to do better in order to improve ranking and increase traffic to the site.

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Website Optimization: The Technical Side of SEO

SEO is divided into off-site SEO (i.e. link building, social media, etc.) as well as on-site SEO (content development, technical SEO, etc.). On-site refers to SEO techniques that are visible without looking at the source code of the website. Technical SEO refers to the techniques that are only recognizable after seeing the source code of the website. 

Website Optimization SEO

Examples of technical SEO strategies are focal to site load speed, crawler access, JavaScript and IP detection or redirection, and fluid crawling and indexing. These technical SEO components center on a practice known as website optimization, which improves technical site performance, SEO, and usability. Read on for more technical website optimization SEO techniques and their expected effects.

Faster load speeds

There are a number of technical SEO techniques that can be conducted to make the website load faster. A website with a high site speed is able to rank higher in the search engine results. Moreover, it is easier to use and allows for more customer conversions.

To increase site speed, the following activities are conducted in the website. One of them is to have a high performance server hosting your website. A super fast server allows the search engine spiders to crawl through your pages faster. As such, it ranks higher in the search results.

The pages in your website should also be designed so that they load quickly. There are design formats that allow websites to load very fast. These can be incorporated in the technical SEO initiative for your website.

Enhanced usability

Technical SEO activities can be used to ensure that the Flash content in a website promotes easy usability of the website. People who visit the website should know all about your website and your products and services in the landing page.

As such, you can implement some Flash elements in this page. The attractive elements are bound to keep visitors interested and promote the chances of converting them. When optimizing Flash elements in your website, be careful not to make them too many. This is because too much Flash in a website will lead to some search engines struggling to find content in your website.

Conversion rate optimization (CRO)

You can implement some technical SEO strategies for conversion rate optimization (CRO) in your website. One of the ways to do this is to appeal to the emotions in the people who visit your websites.

You can set your website code such that it recognizes the exact location of the visitor and shows them advertisements with products that solve problems they can relate to. By communicating to the visitor that you are concerned about them, you are likely to convert them into a customer.

Better search engine rankings

To improve the search engine rankings for your website, you can ensure that the Universal Resource Locators (URLs) for your internal pages are also search engine friendly. Ensure that the URLs of your internal pages follow a logical pattern that is very closely related to the URL of your main page. This will help search engines to find these internal pages and improve site rankings.

SEO is series of strategies and techniques that are conducted on (and off) a website to increase Google search engine rankings. If a website increases its ranking such that is is visible in the first page of results, then more people will visit it, it will become more popular and the company that owns the website can experience an increase in brand awareness and revenue.

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