Your ecommerce SEO ROI can be a tricky thing, and if you’re new to the ecomm game, there is a ton of essential information from the experts that you need to keep close, so you don’t get sidetracked by false promises and mediocre results.
If you’re a seasoned ecommerce website owner and you’re looking to grow your ecommerce ROI, stick around because we have a thing or two that can prove invaluable for your SEO efforts and your online store in general.
In this article, we will talk about SEO ROI in ecommerce, when is the best time to perform SEO for your store, why you shouldn’t always focus on web organic search traffic, the on-page optimization essentials you must not miss, how to develop a landing page that achieves maximum ROI, and how long it will take before you can harvest the fruits of your SEO labor.
So, let’s get started.
What is Ecommerce SEO ROI?
Ecommerce SEO ROI is basically the measurement of your search engine optimization return on investment as you use the data from Google Analytics and other relevant tools.
Yes, there is a formula that will help you calculate ROI for ecommerce; it is:
(Profit - Investment) / Investment x 100
Let’s say, for example, that you had a whopping $50,000 profit from your SEO investment of $10,000. The computation of your ROI from SEO would be the following:
($50,000 - $10,000) / $10,000 x 100 = 400%
That would be terrific, right?
But how much is the typical SEO pricing should I decide to invest in search engine optimization? I’m glad you asked.
You see, SEO is such an exhaustive task, and it branches out to several other areas, such as on-page SEO, off-page SEO, technical SEO, and local SEO (if you also have a physical store other than your ecommerce store).
So, depending on the amount of work that you want done to get your website ranking on top of your competitors on the search engine result pages (SERPs)…
…so that you will get more clicks and organic traffic to your site, more sales, and basically make even more money while you sleep, the package price for SEO services varies from less than $500 to $10,000 per month.
When is the Best Time to SEO Your Ecommerce Website
I understand that most people only think of putting up an ecommerce store because they have good stuff to sell, which will help them make money online. That said, not many website owners think about digital marketing strategies, such as search engine optimization.
So, more often than not, business owners only realize the importance of SEO when they can’t see their website ranking anywhere near the first page of Google, especially for the search terms that are highly valuable in their niche. There is no shame in this, though. After all, you’re a business owner and not a digital marketer (unless you’re both, so good on you).
The truth is, the best time to do SEO on your ecommerce store, or the right time to consult an expert is before you launch your site. This way, your SEO team can audit your website and determine if you have everything set up properly, such as the following:
A good site architecture
Detailed structured data
Complete on-page checklist
Fast load time
Great mobile responsiveness
Optimized product images
An overall positive user experience
And heaps of other things to make sure that your online store is ready to be crawled by the search engines “spiders” and to be visited by your potential buyers.
However, if you have launched your online store already without the watchful eyes of a seasoned SEO team, don’t fret. Search engine optimization in itself is a continuous process, mainly because search engines, such as Google, keep on changing the rules of the game, a.k.a their algorithms, so that website owners also keep expanding and improving their site.
Always Remember: Your Ecommerce SEO Should Not Be All About Organic Traffic But Also ROI
Landing on Google’s rank zero or acquiring its most coveted featured snippet is not the real measurement of your SEO for ecommerce success.
That said, getting more traffic to your site does not guarantee more sales or an increase in your conversion rate. I know it’s a bit daunting (not to mention also a bit disappointing), but it’s one way to get you ranking on top of the SERPs, it’s another way to get people to click on your online store, and it’s also a different story to convince your visitors to make a purchase.
Although these are directly and indirectly influenced by your SEO efforts, you have to remember that there could be a lot going on when a visitor navigates your site. After all, when you walk into a department store, you don’t always buy something from the store, right?
The same logic applies to your online store—your visitors do not always turn into customers. This is because not all visitors are your ideal consumers. Just like how some physical business locations attract window shoppers, some search terms that you target on your web page content also attract online window shoppers.
So, it’s best to not only focus on organic search traffic but also on your conversion optimization. Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) and SEO work hand in hand to bring you the best results for your business, especially when it comes to your ROI in digital marketing.
Now, one of the most effective ways to maximize your ROI in SEO is to find new profitable keywords to target—search terms that have high SEO value in terms of specificity in your niche, usage by your quality target audience, and less overall competition.
Then, follow these on-page optimization techniques to improve your revenue even better:
Turn your informational web pages, such as your “About Us” page, into a page that can both inform your audience and sell your stuff. A great example is adding a call-to-action (CTA) order form to these informational pages so that your customers can request for contact after they learn more about your brand.
Split test two or more different website designs—your website design can massively impact your ROI for ecommerce. The funny thing is “ugly” websites often make more sales than stylish online stores. So, it’s best to split test several web designs and choose the one that brings in more revenue. Visual Website Optimizer is such a useful tool for A/B testing.
Focus on getting more traffic from your existing search impressions. Most often, you can do this by tweaking your web page title—most Google AdWords experts admit that your page’s title in the search results can hugely influence the number of clicks you get from the SERPs. For example, adding power words, such as “FREE,” “50% off,” and “DISCOUNT” can help you boost your click-through rate (CTR).
Always remember that genuine ROI on SEO is more than just getting as much organic traffic as possible—it’s how you convert the traffic and how much revenue you get that really matters.
Note these 8 On-Page SEO Essentials for Achieving Maximum ROI for Ecommerce
On-page optimization is one of the easiest tasks you can achieve among all other search engine optimization efforts. Also, your conversions and sales happen on your web page. So, it’s only fitting that you ensure each page on your ecommerce store is highly-optimized.
Here are the eight on-page essentials that you must not miss in order to drive the ROI of SEO to your online store:
Optimized Page Titles
These should be descriptive, keyword-focused, and promise value to your target audience.
Click-Worthy Meta Descriptions
Encourage your target audience to click on your result in the SERPs by adding action words like “enter,” “learn more,” or “click here” in your meta description.
The Right Keyword Density
Gone are the days of keyword stuffing. In fact, you may get poor optimization results if you include target or primary keywords excessively. A free tool that can help you check your keywords density is Word Counter.
Usage of Relevant or Complementary Keywords
To avoid keywords stuffing, using relevant or complementary keywords is a huge help to convey your message to your target audience naturally while still getting Google’s attention to index your page and rank you.
So, when you do keyword research, list the search terms that are related to your primary target keyword.
Enough Number of Words
Your web page’s content should have at least 800 words so that Google and other search engines will know that you have something of value to offer. If you are trying to rank for such a highly-competitive keyword, aim to write over 2,000 words.
Images, Videos, and Other Visual Assets
Written texts are not the only element that turns your visitors into buyers. You need to include enticing product images, demo videos, and other engaging visual assets, too, such as infographics.
Tags and Categories
Post tags, image alternative texts/tags, and categories are descriptive words about your page’s content—these are several other areas in your page that you can optimize for keyword-driven terms.
Linking to a different yet relevant page on your ecommerce site can boost your SEO in the process.
For example, you are selling different kinds of mattresses; you have a general category or landing page for beds, but you also have other pages dedicated to hard, medium, and soft cushions. It’s important to link them to each other so that your customer will know that you have far greater options, thereby boosting your chances of selling more.
Develop an SEO-Friendly Landing Page to Help You Generate Higher ROI
Since all of your sales and conversion happen on-page, it’s only fitting that we also talk about how you can develop a highly-optimized landing page to generate higher ROI for your online store.
Follow this list of on-page SEO strategy so that you can gain as much revenue as possible:
Create Dropdown Content
So, if you do not want to bore, or worse, scare your customers away from your landing page due to the dull or daunting blocks of text, take advantage of the dropdown content design.
Include Recurring Calls-To-Action
Adding recurring calls-to-action on your text-studded landing page paves a way to an easy conversion or sale. This is ultra-useful if your page is trying to rank for a competitive keyword, and you need to include around 3,000+ words to help it rank, but it might bore your customer away. So, employing recurring CTA buttons can save the day.
Utilize Google Adwords’ Quality Score Tool
Google Adwords’ Quality Score tool will determine how useful your landing page’s content is, and maintaining a useful, high-quality content is an SEO strategy that you should bank on to boost your organic search traffic as well as return on investment.
Enter your target keywords into the tool, and if you scored at least 8 over 10, that means you have a good landing page. However, if you score below 7, consider making substantial changes to your content.
How Long Does it Take Before You See Your SEO ROI?
The short answer is within six (6) months to several years.
Unlike display advertising and pay-per-click promotions that reach large target markets speedily depending on how much you are willing to pay, search engine optimization can offer a far greater ROI despite its longer wait time when it comes to seeing your return on investment.
That’s why marketing experts say that SEO is more like a marathon than a sprint.
So, don’t panic if you see little to no progress within the first 6 months. You can rest assured that your money will not go to waste.
In fact, there are three (3) common stages of SEO success, and each stage typically has its own time frame when it comes to ROI:
Long-Tail Keywords Ranking
Long-tail keywords are search terms that have three or more words in it—these keywords typically don’t have high search volume, but they are easier to target and rank for. You may see significant progress within six months.
Major Search Keywords Ranking
Major search keywords are usually one to two industry terms that have hundreds of thousands of search volumes in a month. Reaching the first page of the SERPs can be extra challenging, and ranking on the second page, at least, may take within six months to two years.
High-Value Keywords Ranking
High-value keywords are search keywords that don’t only bring in tons of visitors but also people who are ready to buy from your ecommerce store. If you target high-value keywords, you will need to invest in a highly capable SEO agency and practice lots of patience because it can take years to rank on these search terms.
Having a well-rounded SEO strategy is vital to achieving not only ideal organic search traffic but also a desirable ROI for your ecommerce store. And if you have started your online store without the guidance of an optimization expert, don’t fret because there is always a way to catch up and rank better on the SERPs.
And always remember that your optimization efforts should not only focus on ranking well and getting organic search traffic but also gaining massive ROI for your ecommerce site.
Follow the actionable on-page optimization steps outlined in this article and wait for your well-deserved ROI. It may take months and even years, but it’s all worth it.
Lastly, don’t hesitate to get in touch with digital marketing experts to do the nitty-gritty work for you.
Surely, you learned by now that putting your products online is not enough to increase ecommerce sales. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be interested in reading this article, right?
Let’s face it: increasing ecommerce sales nowadays can be a pretty challenging feat in this digitally-competitive world, especially since the CoViD 19 pandemic sort of swept the whole world off its feet, and now, people are flocking online to buy stuff.
“Welcome to the era of contactless, safer, and easier shopping.” e commerce marketing experts often say.
Now, with tons of people capable of setting up a website and selling the same products that you sell, not to mention several online marketplaces that somehow compete with your site, you need to take the steps necessary to not just stay afloat in the sea of ecommerce competitors, but also thrive and build a bigger, stronger, and faster ship.
In essence, an e-commerce website that doesn’t just sell items online, but also ranks better in the search engine results pages (SERPs) and converts faster as you build your empire.
So, today, let’s talk about a few powerful ways to increase your ecomm sales, and ultimately improve your ecommerce sales strategy.
Let’s get started.
Here are the Top 10 Ways to Boost Ecommerce Sales in 2020:
The following list details how to increase ecommerce sales in 10 powerful and actionable ways.
Feel free to bookmark this page, so you can read on later if you’re quite busy right now, or just save it so that you can come back here whenever you need some useful info about increasing your online sales or if you want to improve your approach to marketing in e commerce generally.
1. Bank more on your brand awareness.
As you may already know, your brand can impact buyer trust, repeat buyers, and even search engine optimization (SEO), and these factors thereby impact your ecommerce sales.
So, the more people are aware of your brand and put trust in it, the higher your online sales will grow. Hey, I know that is cliche, but it’s too crucial not to take it into account, right?
So, to increase your brand awareness, make sure that you focus on quality:
Ensure that you sell high-quality products.
Publish ultra-relevant and useful pieces of content on your website.
Make sure your team delivers top-notch customer service.
Be everywhere by partnering with other industry businesses.
Ensure that all of your web pages are improved by ecommerce SEO(more on this later).
Consider paid ads and be active on social networking sites (more on these later, too).
2. Know your customers better & develop buyer personas.
Creating and targeting specific buyer personas can mean the failure or success of your ecommerce marketing strategy, which massively impacts your ecommerce sales.
In fact, if you do not have detailed buyer personas, you won’t get to where you wanna go in terms of increasing your online sales.
So, to develop or improve your buster personas, get to know your customers better by doing customer research:
Communicate with your customers more by mining your company and item reviews.
If possible, do a few user tests on new products with free shipping to jumpstart orders and increase sales.
Follow up with your customers at every stage of their buying journey (don’t just send them a request-to-leave-a-review email).
Run polls on your ecommerce store or your social business pages.
Think from their POVs when it comes to pain points, purchase friction, and where they hang out online.
Do they like customer service on live chat or phone calls?
Talk to your customers about your products, understand them so that you can provide more products that they will love, create compelling ads, and produce content that will pique their interests.
3. Rank well on search engines and improve user experience with ecommerce SEO
SEO for e-commerce is one of the vital steps that you need to take to ensure that your products and your ecommerce site, in general, get the visibility they deserve, especially when it comes to ranking on top of the SERPs on Google and Bing.
Search engine optimization can help you not only rank on top of your competitors but also improve the experience that your customers have when navigating your e-commerce store—give them such a trustworthy and pleasing experience so much that they buy your products on the spot (okay, this may not happen every time, but you get the point).
Now, ecommerce SEO can help you with tons of factors to increase sales in e-commerce, but I am sharing the top-most benefits when you perform SEO for e-commerce:
Increase in Organic Web Traffic
As you may already know, organic web traffic comes from search results that are not paid for. Meaning, someone decided to click on your web page without the influence of paid promotions.
Now, remember that every time your target audience lands on your e-commerce website from an organic search, you are saving a lot on paid ads. This alone is such an essential factor that makes SEO worthwhile.
Better Mobile Responsiveness
To increase sales in e-commerce, you have to make sure that your online store looks good and works well on mobile devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops.
Did you know that there are over 167 million mobile shoppers in the US alone? And mobile retail ecommerce sales in the United States has reached $338 billion in 2020. This goes to show that a mobile responsive online store is vital to boosting ecommerce sales.
Site speed is one of the ranking factors of Google. Therefore, your website must load fast enough to keep potential buyers engaging on your site.
Also, did you know that 53% of your customers will abandon your store if it takes more than 3 seconds to load? Even Amazon, the current largest e-commerce website globally, found that a mere one-second delay in load speed costs them $1.6 billion of sales every year!
You can check if your website is loading fast enough by running a test on PageSpeed Insights by Google.
So, if you have a slow loading online store like the one shown in the sample image, you better get it SEO’d by the experts.
How much does SEO cost? I’m glad you asked.
The truth is, the price of SEO is nothing compared to the value it will bring to your website, especially when it comes to increasing your ROI, which often exceeds the average SEO cost that typically ranges at $500 to $2,500 a month.
Improved Website Security
Let it be known that no one will ever buy from an e-commerce website if it looks sketchy. So, one of your top priorities must be making sure that your website is secure—a task for your ecommerce SEO team.
Typically, a secure website would display HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) in the URL.
It looks like this:
4. Widen your market share by selling more and selling elsewhere.
With lots of online marketplaces coming up everywhere around the globe, the competition can get really tough. So, aside from making sure that your site gets better each day, you can increase online sales by selling more of your products elsewhere.
The first thing you can do is think of better ways on how to sell your products, whether by piece or in bulk (e.g., a teeth whitening gel vs. a teeth whitening kit). If you give your potential customers great choices, such as a bulk discount, they will most likely buy them over single items.
Now, if you only sell your items within your comfort zone of existing customers, usually within your website visitors or social page followers, you are not really widening your market share.
Consider joining online marketplaces that are relevant to your business or the products that you sell. If you can’t beat them, join them. Most often than not, you will find a considerable number of buyers from popular online marketplaces.
5. Use high-quality product images ONLY.
There’s a saying in retail that goes, “people buy with their eyes.” That said, your product images are arguably the second thing that your potential customers will see on your web page. What’s the first, you ask? Your headline.
So, make sure that you invest in high-quality images because appearance is vital to how your buyers perceive your products and your brand in general.
Whatever you may sell, ensure that you include top-notch quality of your item images (hire a professional photographer and graphic artist if you must). Don’t settle on poorly lit shots and tiny thumbnails.
Also, remember that people would love to see every angle of your item, especially when it comes to gadgets and clothing. So, include a wide range of photos on your product page.
6. Leverage short yet catchy videos for product demos.
Consumers nowadays love videos—it’s a great way to educate them about what you sell while entertaining them.
Also, videos will help you keep a potential customer longer on your website, thereby reducing your bounce rate and increasing your site engagement as they click on your videos for product demos.
See this sample from SportDOG short video—featuring the features and benefits of their inground dog fence system.
Now, product demos on videos may not necessarily work for all products (e.g., making a video on how to put on a shirt does not make any sense).
However, if you can think of ways on how to showcase the features and benefits of your products, especially if there’s a unique functionality, a product video is a great way to convey your message easily.
7. Make sure that your sales funnel is driven by trust.
Another way to increase online sales is to ensure that your sales funnel is driven by trust—when a buyer is about to make a purchase from your ecommerce store, that buyer’s journey will most likely look like this:
Clicks on an organic search result or an ad
Views the product page
Go through the checkout process
Now, making sure that each stage of the sales funnel is driven by trust, you’ll definitely increase sales.
So, how do you come up with a trust-driven sales funnel? Here are a few tips:
Include product reviews on the product page (don’t forget that reviews are like social proof).
Install live chat on your ecommerce site (offer excellent customer service).
Add some testimonials on your checkout page.
Consider adding “trust badges” throughout the checkout process.
8. Perform email marketing (build your email list)—old but gold.
Email marketing for e commerce is a great way to stay engaged with your customers. You see, online marketplace and social business pages may get taken down, and you can’t do anything about it because you don’t own such platforms.
However, you always have control over your email list because you own it (as long as you use it responsibly, then you won’t have a problem).
So, seek to grow your email list continually with quality leads. You see, e-commerce sites are almost always at the mercy of Google, Facebook, and any other platforms. And once these platforms make significant changes to their algorithms and policies, you may often find your e-commerce store taking a toll on such changes.
Also, sending occasional promotions to the email address of your customers won’t only help you make them buy something from your site but also entice them to repeat similar purchases, especially if you have planned your email marketing very well.
9. Leverage social media marketing.
Social media marketing is one of the surefire ways to drive more visitors to your store, especially new customers. Your social posts can warm them up to become paying customers. Then, you can use your social media pages to re-engage your buyers to buy even more.
Also, social media retargeting is surprisingly the lowest-hanging fruit that e-commerce brands are not leveraging.
Take Facebook Pixel, for example, it can help you bring back 98% of your target buyers. And yet, many ecommerce site owners do not have it completely set up in their online store.
Moreover, make sure that you add several elements on your social business pages, such as Add to Cart and Visit Online Shop buttons.
10. Make sure there are plenty of payment options & keep your checkout process simple.
Providing many payment options can definitely help you with boosting your sales. A few years ago, online stores could only take credit cards for payment, but things have changed for the better, and there are a bunch of payment methods that your target market uses.
A few examples of these payment options besides credit and debit cards are the following:
And even Cash on Delivery (COD) and Cash on Pick-u (COP)
By adding more payment methods, you are making it easier for your buyers to give you their money and for them to buy even more items from your store, thereby increasing your sales.
Most importantly, make your checkout process simple. Consider giving your customers an option to sign up or not (e.g., a check out page asking your buyers to either check out as a returning customer or a guest customer).
Most often than not, the “guest check out” option smoothens the checkout process and improves your conversion better than the “returning customer” sign in.
Do everything in your power to lessen the friction that your buyers encounter on your checkout process, so they don’t get tired and abandon your site. Remember that making a sale is more important than filling in a database for your site.
So, allow your customers to take a smooth route when buying your products.
Bonus: Save more time, energy, and money in the long run by leveraging the expertise of ecommerce SEO experts and marketers.
If you think that marketing and SEO is not your strongest set of skills, if you want to focus on other essential aspects of your business, it’s time to get in touch with SEO and digital marketing experts and learn from them as they help you increase your sales and grow your business.
Increasing your online store sales is not easy, but with the right methods and tools, your ecommerce business will thrive. Just remember to follow through these actionable ways of boosting your sales (and improve them in any way possible):
Strengthen your brand awareness.
Develop detailed buyer personas.
Ensure to implement effective ecommerce SEO.
Sell more and sell elsewhere.
Use quality product images.
Create product videos.
Make sure that your sales funnel is driven by trust.
Strive for excellent customer service and add a live chat option on your website.
Grow your email list with quality leads.
Do social media marketing.
Add more payment options for your customers and lessen the friction in the checkout process.
Get in touch with the experts in digital marketing and SEO to get an unfair advantage in ecommerce.
As Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread across the country, business leaders in all industries – like us – are looking for ways to adapt to life under siege of this infectious virus.
While experts are still estimating what the effect of the virus will be on the economy, there are several key things every business can do to mitigate the impact of this crisis on their livelihood. Here are a few strategies you can adopt to keep your business, your employees, and your customers prepared for what’s ahead!
Plan For The “New Normal”
As COVID-19 continues to spread, it’s a good idea to start putting safeguards in place to protect your business and your employees for the months ahead.
Now is the time to develop a clear and concise plan for how you will maintain business operations in the event of lengthier closures, and whether your business goals will change in relation to the new normal.
Apply For Federal Relief Programs
As COVID-19 is dramatically affecting every business in the economy, taking advantage of federal relief programs can provide your company with relief during this heightened time of uncertainty.
You may want to consider taking out low-interest disaster loans from the federal government. These government loans are supported by the Small Business Administration, and are designed to assist you with expenses like payroll expenses and accounts payable.
Additionally, the US government will also be offsetting mandatory costs of paid leave for businesses with an employer tax credit.
If you’re a small business, you can apply for the SBA loan here.
If you have many people on payroll, PPP, or Paycheck Protection Program, may be better for you as it is a bigger relief package. You can find more information about it here.
Communicate With Employees
The most essential thing you might have to do during this crisis is to connect with your employees. Many of them will be concerned not just about their health, but their careers as well.
It’s vital that your communication strategy should include an instructional guide to educate and inform your employees about the virus and how they can avoid it. You should also personally reach out to them and reassure them of your commitment to keeping their livelihood going.
Implement Work From Home
If your business doesn’t currently have a flexible work from home policy, now is the time to create one. As COVID-19 is rampant in every state of the US, businesses everywhere are seeking alternative work environments to avoid contact and prevent employees from contracting the virus.
If possible, consider implementing a work-from-home policy that also includes rules and guidelines for temporary remote work.
Use Free Teleconferencing Services
Don’t be a stranger! Use technology such as Skype, Google Hangouts, and Zoom to keep in touch with your team and check up on how everybody is doing.
Teleconferencing is a great way to reinforce the human connection, as well as conduct real-time collaboration so your business can sustain productivity.
Stay Close With Your Customers
It isn’t just your employees who will be waiting to hear from you, but your clients as well.
As a business owner, you will want to make a conscious effort to reach out to your customers and keep them engaged during this time. Even a brief note saying that you’re still open for business will go a long way in keeping their support!
Bliss Drive President Richard Fong recently appeared on Bright Ideas Podcast to discuss his success as a digital marketer. Sharing his methods and ideas with host Trent Dyrsmid, he shined a light on the tools, tactics, and strategies used by today’s leading entrepreneurs.
Bliss Drive President Appears On Bright Ideas Podcast
Ranking at the top in search engines doesn’t happen overnight. If you’re starting at the beginning of your SEO journey, it can take up to two years or more to start ranking at the top of search engines. If done correctly, you can outrank big names like Amazon and Wal-Mart
Once you’re ranked highest, you don’t have to put as much money into your SEO strategy.
When you rank at the top, you’re getting much more organic conversions that your competitors are since people tend to buy based on organic searches because they trust Google.
Always do your keyword research. Take a look at all of the products you offer and narrow down a couple of categories that have good margins. Using tools like A-HREFS will show you a good range of keyword volume and difficulty and let you know what your competition is ranking for so that you can compare.
Make sure your keyword appears in these 5 things:
Title, or title tag
Body copy: Use 1%-2% of the keyword density for the focused keyword in your content.
Off-Page SEO Is Just As Important As On-Page.
Off-page SEO helps build your reputation and authority in your industry, which will help boost your website’s overall ranking. The more backlinking you do, the better your chances of Google believing that you are an authoritative source who should rank higher.
Stay Active On Social
Active social media pages allow you to link back to your site for more traffic while allowing you to easily and personally engage your customers.
Read the full transcript:
Trent: Hey, what’s up everybody? Trent Dyrsmid here; welcome back to another episode of the Bright Ideas Podcast, thank you so much for joining me today. We’re here to help you discover what works in e-Commerce by shining a light on the tools, the tactics and the strategies that are in use by today’s leading entrepreneurs. Speaking of joining me on the show today is a fellow by the name of Richard Fong. Richard. You can see him on the screen to my left or right, one of the two.
He runs an SEO agency in Orange County California and he helps e-Commerce business owners beat out the big companies like Amazon, Wal-Mart and multi-billion dollar brands in the organic search rank. And he’s been featured on Forbes and entrepreneurs magazines Websites.
He’s married with a one year old son so we know that’s a full time job because I used to have one of those. She’s a little older now and he is an avid salsa dancer. So Richard, thank you so much for making some time to come and share your wisdom with my audience, it’s a pleasure to have you on the show.
Rich: Hey, thank you for having me; it’s great to be here.
Trent: So in reading your bio, did we miss anything? Is there any other important details you think the audience should know about you before we jump into talking about SEO and how e-Commerce business owners can use it to increase revenue?
Rich: I think the only thing people may not know is that I was actually born in China, Shanghai and then I came over to the United States. I was actually in Kansas; I grew up there you know since eight to college and then went to UCI University of California Irvine up from there. Yeah. So you know I’m I speak some Mandarin not fluent but you know and then I’ve lived in the Midwest.
Trent: All right well, let’s dive into it. So, let’s start off with because we’re going to talk extensively about your expertise in SEO particularly how it pertains to running an e-Commerce store. So hopefully you have some kind of incredible results, a story for a client perhaps that you did that we can talk about and how your expertise played a role in achieving that result, so what comes to mind for that?
Rich: Yeah I do. So couple years back and we’re still working with this client. We helped them— There were a whole seller, they wholesale to distributors mainly and they knew that consumers were buying this stuff directly right. So they wanted to develop a website where they could sell to consumers directly and kind of circumvent the distributors.
So what they did was they built out a website and then once they had the website, they had no SEO, no ranking, no one could find them. Now if we go and look for them, if we look for it like say Bill shareholders or sign holders, they’re ranking number one the company name is displays and holders and we’re out ranking Amazon, Staples, Office Depot, Wal-Mart all those brands for very big keywords that are getting thousands and thousands of search forums every month.
And so right now, when they first hired us they were getting about three sales a day, right now they’re getting if you go check on a website. He made a testimonial video too, they’re doing about 20-30 orders every day. So we essentially grew a profit center for them out of nothing and that’s all based on e-Commerce sales direct to consumer.
Trent: So what’s the average order value for them?
Rich: A couple hundred dollars, it’s small, it’s like a brochure holder or sign holds about a couple dollars a piece. So sometimes they order you know several and sometimes they have bigger volumes.
Trent: Okay, so this is a meaningful amount of revenue if you’re getting 20-30 of those orders a day. [Oh yeah] How long did it take you to get them from essentially nowhere to where they are now? Was that a year exercise or a couple of months ago?
Rich: To gain number one ranking, it didn’t happen overnight for sure right, essentially we got them on the first page within the first— It’s been a couple of years now but within the first 6-12 months around that time range certain keywords were popping up on the first page but from the first page, you could be on the middle of the first page where the bottom the first page going up to the top three of the pages is kind of– it’s like a Richter scale.
It’s exponential in terms of difficulty because everybody wants to be on the top and then they’ve been building a lot of authority for the guys on the top three. So you have to do extra amount of— it’s much harder from like from page 10 to first page, than from 10th position to the first position, it’s ten times harder actually.
So from there, it took another— I would say another year before they actually got to the top three. So all in all it took about 2 years. And then in between that time there were times where the algorithm updates where we fall off back to the middle of the page and then right now they’re back on just because we figured out what the algorithm does and you know it’s constant off and on but consistently they’ve been on the top three for a lot. And if you look there actually they have two positions on the top three, number one and number two.
Trent: Ballpark, how much money have they had to spend with you to build to accomplish this particular result?
Rich: Tens of thousands, I wish they were spending millions but they’re not you know.
Trent: But even if it was 30 grand, given the volume of orders that they’re receiving now they are away…
Rich: Oh yeah, the authorized definitely estimate. Yeah. After email, SEO is one highest are why there right. Because once you’re there, you don’t have to keep really paying and then you don’t have to keep competing with your competitors on cost per click, you’re just there and a conversion on organic is much higher because people trust it. If you if you’re doing pay per clip right, the best click the rate you get is about 2%-5%. If it’s on each play maybe 10%. That means what 90% are not even going on an ad; they’re going straight to the organic where they’re preferring what Google has to offer.
So if you’re on the top three that gets about 50%-80% click through rates; so you’re getting majority the traffic and then the conversion is higher because they trust that what Google is serving up for them. So people tend to buy more based on organic.
Trent: Yeah, makes perfect sense; okay so now that we’ve established a result let’s unpack it and let’s walk through the process that you use just and obviously in the time that we have, we can we’re going to go in as much detail as we can but we’re not going to be able to explain absolutely every last little thing. So let’s— at the beginning where did you start? You met with the client, they said, “Hey, these are the keywords we want to rank for” and you started to do some research?
Rich: Yeah, in the beginning they just knew that they wanted more sales online data and we really know you know what keywords were or anything. They were very SEO novices if you will; they’d never work with SEO company before.
So, what we did was we went ahead and took a look at all their products all their offerings did keyword research to see what volume there are fake products just so you know we’re not tackling something that’s not going to drive a lot of volume for them. And then from there we kind of narrowed down to a couple of categories that we knew had good margins for them and had good volumes for them.
And we knew that we could get some traction and from there we went ahead. So let me backtrack, that’s the research phase right. Essentially with SEO you want to determine two things you wanted to determine that on page and you wanted to determine the off page. Okay, so once we figured out what keywords were what categories they wanted to go to.
We then focus on the page itself to make sure (a) is categorized correctly, the URLs are you know you has the keywords in the URLs they have products, most e-Commerce stages have product listing with pictures, very light descriptions. So we added a thousand words to the product category that’s very important, a lot of e-Commerce miss that.
Trent: Let me interrupt you there because we’ll get there to —- and I want to back up to the keyword research, what tools what tool or tools did you guys to help you figure out which keywords you should even be going after?
Rich: Yeah, so we use a couple of tools at the time and this was a couple years ago, Google keyword tool, what it’s actually good. They actually gave you days that’s not the case right. They give you a big range. So if I had do it right now, we would use ‘A-HREFS’. A-HREFS shows you not only what you’re doing but also what your competitors are doing.
So it’s a really good aggregator of your competition and it shows you a good range of keyword volume and the keyword difficulty of how difficult is it to actually rank for that keyword.
Trent: I actually love that tool, I had the CMO on the show I’m just looking out for the episode number and I’ve been using the tool since it is absolutely. So, I had him on, in case people want to listen, it’s episode number 264 on brightideas.co/264.
Okay, so you used A-HREFS and I’ll put a link to that in the show notes; so you used it to identify of all the keywords in the universe we should really be focused on. How many did you pick by the way to begin with?
Rich: We actually— so when we pick keywords, we don’t just pick like a couple of keywords, we pick categories or topics if you will. So for example, they’re ranked for brochure holders but they’re also ranked for like acrylic holders, all variations of brochure holders. That makes sense? So, we’re not trying to just go in and just rank for one key word because you will over optimize it, you wouldn’t make a lot sense. You want to allow the LSI semantic indexing. So you want to have a lot of variations that those keywords in that same topic category within that page, that’s what we did.
Trent: And in the show notes as well they have some really great videos that explain how to use their tool. I’ll make sure that I am. So for the audience I’ll embed some of those videos.
So now, you’ve you figured out these are the key words that we want to rank for, so the next step in your SEO process you’d mentioned earlier that there is on-page elements, there off-page elements, I’m guessing then you went and dealt with on page elements because that’s a relatively short amount of time to kind of get that right and then off-page takes a whole lot longer.
Rich: So once we figure out what the focus is, what the focus your URL is then we really evaluate the on-page yourself. So, on-page we actually have a 80 point checklist. There’s a lot of things we go through but I’m just going to give you the top maybe five things that we should let you know anyone should really look at to make sure they’re doing the right thing what they’re on-page.
Number one is the ‘Title’, so title is the title tag or whatever it’s showing up on your browser; if you don’t have the keywords in the title at least, you’re not going to rank Google doesn’t understand you if you don’t have that into it. And then but you don’t want to over stuff it, you don’t want to like over optimize it where you we in the same word but you at least want to have it one time into the title itself.
Number two as a ‘matter description and matter descriptions also very important because that’s what you see after the title, that’s the actual two sentence blurb that you would see. So you will want to have a variation or that keyword is actually for what you’re trying to rank as well and you want to write it in a way where it’s compelling for the user. Essentially a part of your ranking factor is the click the rate of that listing when they list you. If you write a very like robotic type of stuffing keyword, users may not click on it, Robots might read it but if they’re not clicking on it, the users you’re still not going to rank very high because Google will want to serve up what’s best for users. So title, matter description.
Number three is your H1 tag. So H1 tag is essentially your kind of your title when they visually see it. So the title and the map description the visitors don’t really see it, they just see the listing that’s for the Google search engine results. And then so the H1 is actually where you show the actual title itself. It doesn’t have to be huge it’s just a tag. So, when you are on the pages notice what that is. If you don’t have the keyword where variations of those keywords in there, you’re going to have a trouble, you’re going to have some problems listing it.
And I would go as far as H2 tags, I don’t stop there I go as far as H2, so those are kind of your subtitles and go ahead and get those within some key words of what you want. And then I would inject about a list a thousand fifteen hundred word of content. So, most e-Commerce, that’s where they like say oh wait wait, No I’m you know my store is all product based, I wanted to look simple and beautiful I can’t put a thousand words in my category, in my page.
So, what I recommend is typically visually have your product laid out the same way just put the content at the bottom. Okay, so if you don’t want a long piece of content, what you can do is you can use accordion style content. So you’ve seen those where you click the button and then the content adds up. So you could do like frequently asked questions, just have the subtitle and then as users are you know if they’re interested in the topic, they’ll click on it and then the content would open up. But for the search engine part, they read everything. So to them it’s their food to understand what your website’s about and then you have to have like if you don’t have it– most e-Commerce sites don’t have a lot of descriptions especially on their category pages. That’s why Google bots don’t understand what the contents about because it’s all scattered with different products et cetera.
Trent: But if you had like that to be clear you’re right you’re attempting to rank the category page on which there are multiple products you’re not doing right for every single product page.
Rich: So, let me back up for e-Commerce, you typically want to do it for a category page and here’s why. A visitor comes in, guess what’s going to happen, visitors is going to go and click through to the product and see what the product is about they have a lot of options they can go ahead and click through the products. What Google registered is, “Oh, they’ve found what they’re looking for”
They went ahead start engaging, if you start ranking for a product, user come, they see the product they see the players they don’t like it they’re back out. Guess what Google wasn’t. They didn’t find what they like, so we’re not going to serve this very high, does that make sense?
So what you want to do is you want to serve up a kind of a category page where you can funnel them through to your channel, to your products or to other categories. So that to Google it’s highly engaging, you got like 5-10 clicks on the website so that oh at least we’re serving up something that people want and you’re engaging your users are creating a long time on your Website because you’re showing them something that they want. So that’s why you want to use category of pages.
But back to the content, you definitely want to have the keywords in the content. But a lot of times, amateurs or novices who would try to do SEO on their website, they think of the keyword they want and then they overstuffed it. That’s a newbie mistake because Google’s algorithm they’re onto that back in the 90s, you could do that, you know people just write the same thing over and over and then they get on the first page, you can’t do that anymore.
So then once there’s 1%-2% of the keyword density for the focused keyword that you’re going after. So say for a thousand words article, you only want about you know 10-20 of that keyword within the article. I wouldn’t have it the same exact verbatim phrase; I would mix it up right. It just mixed up the keyword as much as you can have a couple maybe five, that’s exactly the same what you want and that way it’s natural and organic for Google to see.
Trent: Does A-HREFS, once you’ve done your on-page SEO, do they score it at all? Does the tool give you feedback?
Rich: We don’t use H-REFS to score the on-page, I’m not sure if they do or not, I’ve never used it, if they do.
Trent: How did you come up– You’ve got your 80 point checklist that you’re using for on-page, how did you come up with what is on that checklist?
Rich: So there’s a lot of– I mean there’s checklists out there that you can kind of look at. So, these are just very simple things for someone who hasn’t done any SEO to kind of get a handle on. There is also data structures, there’s schemas, there’s site maps, there’s internal links which are gets a little bit more advanced and complicated.
You can do schemas where you can essentially give your self-reviews, a risk snippet schemas of your products based on other people’s feedback and then Google will actually read it and give you the five stars using those and in product sometimes in Google rankings where you see five stars on listing. So that’s something you can totally control on-page wise as well.
So those are some of the things that we can add into the page itself on-page wise to make that appear. So it gets more technical and more complicated. But I just want to go over something that’s very simple for someone who has really looked into so much but that’s something that they could look into it once they figure out how much volume is in that key word they say, “Okay, let me go into my page and kind of just tweak these things after you tweet these things” you’re going to get results within like a week or two very quickly.
Trent: So when now that you’ve gone on-page complete now, the bigger and the more laborious and the more long task is the off page SEO link building.
Rich: That’s essentially yeah. That’s where SEO is at the end of the day right. So I tell my clients like you know on-pages, it may sound complicated but actually everything is very duplicate able.
So meaning that you can look at your competitors and see exactly what you’re doing on-page because Google is bots have to read it. So it’s actually visible to us as well. We can just do, “Oh do you see what is up?” so you can copy each out there, you can copy your competitor, your competitors can copy you at the end of the day, if everybody is copying each other, how is Google going to know how to rank one about the other?
The way they determine that is through the authority of the website, the domain itself and authority is established from back links other websites linking back to your website. This is how Google’s algorithm like start beating out all the other search engines because of this algorithm calculation, other links linking back to your website as a calculation for votes.
So with that, there’s a lot of strategies out there, there is a lot of ways to do back link building; the way we approach it, we approach it with the philosophy of how do we make our website look like a big brand? Because that’s what Google ultimately wants to rank high is they want a brand– you know even if you’re not Coca-Cola, there’s a lot of niches out there; they want to brand within that niche.
So, you have to think in terms of, “How do I look like a brand and not like a scummy affiliate type of deal?” So the difference between a big brand and affiliate was say okay, number one a brand a real business will probably have an address. If you don’t have an address you’re not verified on Google, Apple or bing, you’re probably not a real business in Google’s eyes. So the first thing we want to do is verify yourself on those three assets and then build the citations to those local addresses your name address and phone number even though if you’re not a local business, “Hey, I’m not a local business, I’m not trying to go for why I don’t need citations” but it does help because it allows Google to understand that you’re a business at a physical location. Okay, so that’s number one.
Second layer are social signals were media signals, so any brand would promote themselves. If you’re not promoting yourself it’s kind of like you’re not really active as a business. So that’s just a signal that what they looking at. So you want to have an active Facebook, Twitter, social media accounts, YouTube account. What we typically do is we have a blog and then we build RSS feed to the social media sites and then so whenever we post something on the blog, you actually post out to the social media sites itself and feeds back because it has a link to our specific focus pages.
Trent: You could do that but just by using buffer as well; someone’s got to do the RSS feed, you could just be the buffer zone or you’re just like Yeah
Rich: So you could do something like that and then what we also do is we do press releases but we also built other Web 2.0 assets that did you know that….
Sites.google.com so, it’s Google’s platform that allows you to kind of it’s there form a weekly where you know it’s something that they allow webmaster to kind of build a page, a site on their own site and you could do that with your own pages and add some content and link it back to your Website. So there’s a lot of these Web 2.0 assets that you can actually create content on, have a link to them back to your website, does that make sense?
Trent: It does.
Rich: Yeah, so there’s an over there, there’s literally hundreds of these assets you just got to evaluate how much domain authority each one has, if it’s worth it for us to build. But we definitely have our list of priorities of which type of assets to go after and build links in the…
Trent: How does A-HREFS come into play
Trent: So let’s get you to repeat what you said in the last one minute.
Rich: So the second layer of what we do is Web 2.0. So we have Web 2.0 sites that we can essentially go out and create an account and put some content in have a link back to our website.
Okay, so the first two layers that I take then along with the Web 2.0 press releases all these things they’re very controllable by us, we can go out and kind of get these links and build up our authority that way. You can’t control some of your anger texts on some of the Web 2.0s like press releases and social media. You’re not going to control too much of those anchor text coming back into text are essentially the word blue, you know underlined word, you can say … linking back to your website. Obviously you want to do a correct proportion. You don’t want overall optimize that either but that’s something that you want to kind of do it naturally, make it look natural.
Trent: So when you’re looking for places to get back links, does the A-HREFS tool help you to figure out where you should go?
Rich: A-HREFS have a specific section that just says referring domains that you can click on and it shows all your competitors, all the links that they’ve gotten, how they’ve gotten it where it is, so a lot. Oh we could go this link, I know they made a— they got the link back, it has this much value, let’s go do the same thing.
So you kind of build up a list of network that you can go back right away and get those links. So that’s one way and then the last tier, the third tier is actually the outreach where we actually go out to bloggers and webmasters and ask them to sponsor for a link. So essentially, we could write them an article that says, “Hey, can we have an article on your website and or sponsor it?” Give us some money to have a link back to us. And that’s a very solid way of doing that as well back until you find that when you’re reaching out to buy links like that the acceptance rate is at high or is it low?
Rich: It’s not so high but you know we played the volume game on that; that way we can still get enough links.
Trent: Okay, so you’re using A-HREFS to figure out, “Hey, these are all the sites that we might like to have a link on” And then you probably have a process that a virtual assistant uses to do that outreach to each of the site owners with your proposal, was it more or less correct?
Rich: Yeah we have an in-house team that just does nothing but link building and you know we do submissions and outreach so to kind of put these back links.
Trent: So, I would imagine and obviously there’s a lot of details in the outreach in the off-page SEO but in a nutshell, it’s covering off your bases with your social presence your Web 2.0 properties and is best you can and then going out and looking for sponsored links kind of like an ongoing forever, forever basis, would that be a fair assessment?
Trent: Yeah, obviously we want to assess how far we are along with the campaign; sometimes what happens is we get him on the first page like that where on the top and we’ll just stop pressure on the sources on that link, on that focused URL and then move on to the next one and brought it up.
Trent: So being as we’re having such horrible connectivity today I think we’ll go a little shorter on the interview than longer let me sum up with this last question. In your role as an SEO professional, has there and you don’t have to name any companies or anything like that but have you ever made any really big mistakes that you ended up you or your client paying a penalty for and what kind of lessons did you learn from that?
Rich: Yeah, you know in my early days when I was doing SEO, I was just trying it doing whatever you can to kind of get Google traffic; so in my early days, I remember I used to bill like we used to be an ass sense. I used to be an ass sense, I don’t know if you remember that affiliate. So we used to build out like 100 pages, 100 websites every month based on niches and we just produce whatever content out there that’s available kind of rehash it and just posted out there and try to get traffic and then do kind of advertising as an arbitrage.
Obviously, it’s very short term and you know you made money at the time but then make money in a long term. So the way I look at it now it is that. That was very short term thinking in terms of how we do it and that’s not something I would do today. But that was definitely an interesting beginning for me to kind of see how that works. You know if I were to do it now, I would probably make it more into a platform, a publication, focused rather than a hundred sites just focus on one site or two sites and then build it out.
Trent: Yeah, I actually got my start almost 10 years ago in exactly the same way I was building little micro sites. I was using the best spinner; it was hot and I was driving getting used to rank and I was sending the traffic to Amazon and getting affiliate commissions and it worked really well until Penguin and Panda came down and then it was over.
Rich: That’s right, that’s right. So we had the same beginning on we did. Yes. That’s awesome. Those are the days right. Like, “Wow! This actually works” Let me tell you if I can make $10 a site, let me make one hundred of those, right?
Trent: All right well thank you so much for coming on, if anyone has any questions or maybe they’re interested in working with you what is the single best way to get in touch?
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As a top digital marketing agency, Bliss Drive is able to cut through the noise, standout, and create trust with prospective buyers. We help clients determine return on investment (ROI) before starting their project, and continuously evaluate our Key Performance Indicator (KPI) to increase your ROI from SEO campaigns.
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Our Services include:
Bliss Drive optimizes the content and structural design of our client’s websites to enhance the website’s visibility on results pages. Our keyword research goes above and beyond as we take the time to get to know the business so that we can generate a higher ROI with a number of qualified visitors to our clients’ websites.
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Conversion Rate Optimization
First, we’ll learn about your audience: where your website traffic is coming from and who your visitors are. We’ll also take a look at your current website to make sure it contains all of the proper content and calls to action so crucial for creating conversions. For continued and sustained growth, you should always be looking to improve your conversion rates.
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There’s a reason everyone has a smartphone. Not only are smartphones the go-to tool for keeping in touch with family and friends, but they are quickly replacing the device that was once dominant in Internet browsing: the desktop computer — and by extension, the laptop computer.
According to Statista, mobile browsing now accounts for approximately half of all website traffic worldwide. This statistic has stayed at about 50% since 2017.
In the United States, that percentage is even higher. ZDNet reported in February 2020 that 3 out of 5 Americans use a mobile device first when surfing the web. They also revealed that 52% of online shoppers purchased through a mobile device.
This shouldn’t be that surprising. It’s much easier to sit back in your armchair and browse the web on your phone than it is to boot up your computer or laptop. Who wants to click with a mouse when you can just tap with your finger?
But this trend also has huge implications for your business, especially if you rely on your website to attract customers, generate leads, or make sales. If you haven’t done so already, it’s past time for you to adapt your website for Mobile SEO.
If you don’t know what mobile SEO is or if you’re unsure if your website is optimized, don’t sweat it. This guide will walk you through the basics of how to optimize website for mobile devices.
What is Mobile SEO and Why is It Important for Mobile Phone Users?
Mobile SEO is two things in one. It’s search engine optimization (SEO) combined with a form of website development that generates a flawless viewing experience on mobile devices. In other words, it applies the best practices of SEO concerning your website, but specifically to how people can find and view it on their smartphone.
Most other Internet companies have already adapted to the mobile trend. Google (which is basically synonymous with the Internet these days) is one company that pushed hard for mobile-first optimization.
Google now uses what it calls “mobile-first indexing,” which means the search engine “predominantly uses the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking,” rather than the desktop version of the content of your website – this is mobile SEO.
That means that if your website doesn’t load properly or contains missing content when it’s viewed on mobile, Google won’t index it properly — it doesn’t matter how well it’s been structured for desktop.
Naturally, this can have huge implications for your site’s Google ranking. You’ve put a lot of time and money into your website. It would be a shame for all of that to go to waste just because it isn’t mobile optimized.
As a first step, just see how your website looks and feels on your mobile device. You can also use the following tools to test your webpage’s load speed and see how it looks on different types of mobile devices:
If content is missing, if images aren’t loading, if the text is so small it’s unreadable, and if it’s taking too long for content to load, your website will need some attention.
You can also check to see if specific webpages are generally mobile-friendly by using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test for Mobile SEO tool on Google Search Console. Just plug in the URL, and after a brief analysis period, you’ll get your results.
Hopefully, they should look something like this:
If not, your first objective should be to adapt your site so that it works on mobile devices. There are a few ways to do this, but one method is now preferred over the others: using mobile-responsive design.
Implementing Mobile SEO – Responsive Web Design for a Mobile Phone
Most website building platforms and WordPress themes are now designed to be mobile-responsive. In fact, it’s rare to find one that isn’t. When your website is mobile-responsive, no matter what content you put on your site, it should rearrange itself to fit neatly and logically when being viewed from a smaller screen, such as that of a smartphone or tablet.
In the past, developers would build a “mobile version” of their website to be served dynamically to mobile users, or they would create a separate URL that their site would redirect to when being accessed by a mobile phone. While these two routes technically work, they aren’t good for your mobile SEO.
According to the Search Engine Journal, there is no separate Google Index for mobile, so only the “desktop version” of your website would be indexed, and it wouldn’t be mobile-optimized. Furthermore, Google wouldn’t register that your website is mobile-friendly, which could hurt you in search rankings.
If you’ve created or updated your website recently, you may already be covered. But if you’re using an older website builder or if you hard-coded your website from scratch, you may not have a mobile-responsive design.
Mobile SEO: Making Your Website Mobile-Responsive
Altogether, there are three ways to make your website mobile responsive.
1 – Use a mobile-responsive WordPress theme.
Again, very few WordPress themes aren’t mobile-responsive these days. But if you’ve got one of them, it’s probably time to move on.
This may require you to do some redesign work, but it’s the easiest way to avoid any hiccups when making the switch. The alternatives are to transfer your website to a new platform, or start a new website from scratch.
2 – Add code to make your website mobile responsive.
You can use HTML and cascading style sheets (CSS) to automatically resize, hide, shrink, and enlarge objects on your website. This code only works with a mobile-responsive design and may be necessary if your theme or website building platform doesn’t insert it automatically.
Just insert the following <meta> element to the head of the HTML on all your webpages:
This instructs the website browser to scale the page’s dimensions based on the size of the user’s screen. If your website isn’t built to be mobile SEO responsive in the first place, this could make the user experience worse if you don’t address the sizing of every element on the page.
For example, images that are displayed with a width wider than the user’s screen will force the user to zoom out or scroll horizontally just to see the entire webpage.
To make an image scale as well, you can set the CSS “width” property to 100%, like this example with “img_1.jpg”:
<img src="img_1.jpg" style="width:100%;">
This will make the image scale either larger or smaller than its original size to fit the screen. Naturally, you don’t want your image to appear giant on your user’s mobile screen. To avoid that possibility, just add the “max-width:100%” property, which allows the images to scale down but not up:
You can do the same thing with text by adding HTML as well. Here’s how you can scale an H1 tag to “viewport width” or “vw”:
<h1 style="font-size:10vw">Header Text Here</h1>
If you don’t have a mobile-responsive theme, you may have other elements on your website that require your attention, such as buttons and widgets. You may need to add code to each of these elements to make them size correctly on various screen sizes.
3 – Transfer your website or start from scratch.
If your website is still being hosted by a platform that looks like it hasn’t been updated since 2002, it might be time to find a new home on the Internet for your business. If your current website builder or hosting service doesn’t give you the tools you need to make your website mobile-responsive, they probably aren’t worth your time and money anyway.
The good news is that you should be able to keep your domain.
Do your best to save all your content when making the transfer. You may be able to export your site or even transfer it to a new platform automatically.
Mobile SEO: How to Optimize Your Website for Mobile Phones: Step by Step
Beyond mobile responsiveness, there are a few other elements of mobile SEO you may need to address on your website. Here’s what you can do, step by step.
1 – Make Your Webpages Load Fast
If you haven’t already, try running your homepage through Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. If you end up with a low speed score, the tool will provide you with plenty of information about what’s slowing your page down.
You can repeat this step for all your webpages to get an idea of which elements are slowing down your website on mobile devices.
You’ll see a detailed examination of what’s making your website slow in the “Lab Data” section. It might look something like this:
You may also need to reduce the impact of third-party code on your site or implement HTTP caching to speed up your load time when people visit your website repeatedly. If you need help, you may want to reach out to some experts to work on your website for you.
There are a few other tricks to reduce load times. One of the most basic is to reduce the “weight” of your webpages by literally minimizing the number of bytes that need to be loaded.
You can do this by compressing images and optimizing other assets like videos. You can even combine your images into CSS sprites to make them load faster. You can do these things manually, or you can use tools that do them automatically (there are tons of compression plugins available for WordPress).
If possible, consider uploading images in newer formats like JPEG-XR or WebP rather than GIF, PNG, or JPEG. These formats are better optimized for mobile viewing.
Meanwhile, instead of using a plug-in to play videos, consider using HTML5 by implementing the <video> and <source> elements where you want the video on the page. It should look like this:
The three video formats supported by HTML5 are MP4, WebM, and Ogg.
2 – Don’t Use “Intrusive” Pop-ups
We’re not going to wade into the pop-up debate too much, but if you use pop-ups on your website, you should be aware that they can impact your mobile SEO.
Originally, webmasters may have suggested you disable pop-ups complete for mobile viewers. More recently, Google has announced that some types of pop-ups won’t hurt your rankings, but others do.
Mainly, Google wants website owners to do away with what it deems “intrusive” pop-ups. These are usually pop-ups that take up the entire screen on a mobile device or otherwise make it difficult to access content on a smartphone.
According to the Google Webmaster Central Blog, techniques that make content less accessible include the following:
Showing a pop-up that covers the main content immediately after the user accesses the page or while they’re browsing. Displaying a standalone pop-up that must be dismissed before the user accesses the main content. Using a layout where the main content has been inclined beneath the fold and the above-the-fold content appears similar to the standalone pop-up.
Generally, if your pop-ups look like this on mobile, Google will penalize you for it:
So, if you’re going to have non-essential pop-ups on your website experience, make sure they are small, non-intrusive, and easy to recognize and dismiss for a nice mobile SEO experience, like this banner on the top of the webpage below:
3 – Don’t Block Resources
The problem with this approach these days is something we’ve already mentioned: Google’s mobile-first indexing technique. Whatever resources and content don’t appear on your mobile site won’t be crawled by Google. As far as the search engine is concerned, those assets probably don’t even exist for mobile SEO.
If you can’t build a strong mobile experience with what you have, it may be time to take a second look at your design. If you absolutely need to block content or resources on your site, make sure they aren’t critical to your users.
4 – Make Content Accessible
The term “accessibility” doesn’t just refer to how quickly your website loads or how easy it is to navigate. According to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), putting accessibility into practice “is essential for developers and organizations that want to create high-quality websites and web tools, and not exclude people from using their products and services.”
If the Internet is for everyone, that means it needs to be accessible to people with disabilities too. Accessibility isn’t just an important ethical decision, it’s also an important business practice. Google will penalize websites that aren’t accessible.
Luckily, many of the aspects of mobile SEO overlap with accessibility. For example, all the following are elements of good mobile SEO, but they also exist to enhance your site’s accessibility:
Large, readable fonts
Color contrasting text
Image alt attributes
Link anchor texts
On-page table of contents
Image alt attributes work with screen-reading technology to describe images to users who are visually impaired. Video transcriptions make videos more accessible to people who are hard of hearing. On-site sitemaps and easy navigation tools make it easier for people who use voice commands to browse your website.
Start by looking at the way your pages appear on mobile. Are you using negative space to make it easy to identify content? Is your typeface large enough to read on the screen?
You should also pay attention to your image alt attributes and captions. If someone with a screen reader hears the alt attribute attached to one of your images, will they understand what is being depicted, or will they hear something like “image underscore seven three two one dot jpeg?”
Keep in mind that you’ll need to optimize your website for all sorts of devices, whether they are a phone, a tablet, or an AI assistant device.
Finally, you should follow general Mobile SEO guidelines to ensure your website is optimized for mobile. That means installing Google Search Console, generating and submitting a sitemap, using keywords, and adding structured data so it’s easy for Google to crawl your pages, among other strategies.
Check out some of our great mobile SEO and general SEO resources to learn more about on-page and off-page SEO:
It’s no real news that the best marketers are always on the lookout for the latest trends in search engine marketing (SEM). With Google constantly changing how it plays the game – and the rules of the game – it can be difficult and time consuming to stay on top of things.
There’s also an abundance of new platforms popping up almost everyday that offer many businesses alternative methods to reach new customers. However, if you can roll with the changes and keep up with what’s new you’ll have a much easier time staying ahead of your competitors.
We decided to round up some of the nation’s leading digital marketers and see what they’re saying about the biggest 2019 SEM trends.
Check out what they’re up to, and see what you might need to start implementing for your business today.
Google Adwords Certified PPC Management Consultant at righteousmarketing.com
“In 2019, small businesses utilizing SEM will see more and more automation in their advertising accounts. Google Ads is actively promoting dynamic ad units that take various lines of text and other creative assets and then creates ad units on the fly.
As their machine learning algorithms get more data, the ad creative is optimized.
Automation is also a much bigger part of bidding. There are bidding features that target a specific cost/conversion (CPA) as well as target ROAS for shopping ads.
The small businesses that are able to understand and work together with automation will see better results. Those who don’t begin to leverage it will likely fall behind.”
“Automation in the SMB space. 80% of PPC management tasks that are done by humans at the moment will be automated within the next few years and to stay ahead advertisers will need to embrace this to stay ahead. I
n the future there will be two main skill sets that PPC managers managing accounts will need.
Firstly they will need to have a good understanding of code so that they can develop Google Ads Scripts and applications on the Google Ads API, or at least have a basic understanding so they can work with a developer to do it.
Secondly they need to be great at strategy that machines are not as good at.”
“Google is making continued investments into automation in an effort to take the guesswork out of bidding and account management.
Advertisers, even smaller businesses with less industry knowledge and fewer SEM resources, are increasingly using advanced bidding options, such as maximize conversions or Target CPA.
Unfortunately, smart bidding options remain confusing and vary in terms of effectiveness campaign by campaign, so Google has more work to do in terms of providing more reliable predictions.
The Recommendations tab is becoming more robust with smarter SME trends suggestions, but they should not be blindly implemented. For example, many smart bidding options recommended by Google do not show performance improvements when implemented and compared to results prior to the change.
Google’s recommendations, while helping to guide account optimization strategies, still require human decision making and further testing.
Another great example of Google’s continued automation efforts are the new responsive search ads, which allow advertisers to add in multiple headlines and descriptions, and Google will show and test multiple variations based on your assets. This is a great feature especially for advertisers who do not have the bandwidth and expertise to continually manually test variations in ad copy.”
“Automation and the use of data to make an informed decision on the next best action will continue to play a key role for small businesses. But it is paramount for small businesses to understand that while automation is available in their toolbox, sometimes, human touch can be just as effective. The promise of big data and machine learning can be intriguing, but unless you are sitting on mountains of data, it may not be as effective as promised. It is often best to use rule based alternatives to decide whether boost your bids or engage with an ad on GDN, if you are not ‘data rich’.
For companies like Amazon, Ford and P&G, their data lakes contain enough information to determine the best way to engage each individual customer, but not all small businesses have that level of data at hand. So while automation will continue to grow and play a larger role in small business marketing, you should always keep a close eye on the decisions it is making. “
Ranked in the Top 25 Most Influential PPCers in the world by PPC Hero, Owner of ZATO, Paid Search & Social PPC Expert at zatomarketing.com
“My field of expertise lies in Paid Search marketing, so I considered how to answer this in terms of advertising. Is the core trend to be aware of still the mobile craze that has not yet finished but is finally slowing? Or as some claim, is it the onslaught of voice search, especially where smart devices are concerned? Is it shifting budget to social advertising, or Amazon advertising for ecommerce?
While all of these are important to consider as we think about growing our individual businesses, there is one trend that needs to be acknowledge immediately by every business owner with a website, no matter what industry they are in or service they are selling.
That is, we need to reverse the alarming trend of slow site speed on our websites.
As website platforms become more complex, and our marketing efforts become more advanced, site speed is a crucial aspect to marketing that is often forgotten or overlooked.
The crazy thing is, this is still an issue even with all the tests and articles that demonstrate the importance of site speed.
Thanos may be a fictional character who likes to wipe out half of all people, but a site that takes longer than 3 seconds has been proven to have the same impact as that ugly space giant… 50% of your traffic will disappear as if dust.
Why does a PPCer like me care so much about site speed? Because our ad success metrics depend on it.
I can’t make you profitable with Google Shopping Ads if your site never loads, so your customers bounce and go to Amazon.
Let’s all work together to make our sites blazing fast so we can focus on marketing your great product or service without losing half of your potential customers because your site won’t load!”
“While not new, one of the biggest challenges for small businesses is making sure their websites are mobile-friendly and landing pages have value to consumers.
We are still seeing a lot of small businesses with websites that don’t work well with mobile. When you combine this with a landing page that is not particularly relevant to your ad, you can expect most consumers will leave your site without looking further.
Technology has changed. Small business owners need to take a few minutes and look at their websites (and digital ads) with a critical eye; view them as a consumer, then decide whether it’s time for an update.”
“There are a lot of factors impacting search marketing today. Almost daily, there are more and more requirements that need to be fulfilled to stay at the top of the charts!
One of the top trends affecting small business currently is Google local map pack visibility. Even with all the ads stacked at the top of the search results, be it LSAs, Google Ads and Local Map Pack ads.
If you can manage to elevate your business to show up organically at the top of the Google Local Pack, it is still one of the most desirable places to promote your business and get free, qualified traffic to your site.
There are no shortcuts to success.
You must do all that you can to claw your way into those top organic Google positions and do what you can to stay there for the long-term to be successful!”
“The ever-changing SERP (search engine results page) presents more and more challenges to small businesses. Just this year, Google has increased the amount of the initial screen that is devoted to ads – including introducing new visual ad formats – further pushing organic results down the page.
With mobile devices continuing to become a greater and greater percentage of site visits, this can become even more of a critical issue for small businesses. How can a small biz get exposure when the space is so limited? The answer is probably to make sure you’ve got your local search information locked down and invest in highly targeted paid search ads.
Don’t sleep on branding initiatives either – social media advertising is great for this kind of campaign and as long as people are spending hours per day on social platforms, it makes sense for your brand to be there as well.”
“In 2019, it’s easier than ever to get to know the people you’re advertising to.
I’m sure you already know how old they are, what websites they visit, what videos they watch, and how much money they spend online. What you also know is where they are in your marketing funnel.
Use this information!
Don’t try to sell leather shoes to vegans. Don’t serve the same ad to someone who just spent 5 minutes watching a video on your website and a first-time visitor who bounced.
Make sure that your search ads are relevant to your customer’s interests and buying cycle.
Here are some of the practices I use:
Tailor your ad copy to highlight the benefits and features most valuable for each audience;
Promote the offers that are more likely to resonate with customers;
Allocate more budget and set higher bids for warmer traffic;
Limit the ad frequency based on customer’s position in the conversion funnel
And don’t overdo it. When done right, personalization is a great way to connect with your audience, but you should always be careful not to cross the fine line between attracting and annoying your customers.”
Chief Marketing Officer at Airboxlab (Foobot), Foobot.io
“When you run a small business, you can’t afford to throw out millions on ads each month: you need to get more bang for your hard-earned bucks.
As always, SMBs should not consider digital ads alone; a quality landing page works in pairs with the ads driving traffic to it. Albeit there are plenty of marketing tools to craft a decent landing page in minutes, it is still harder to build a solid landing page than it is to build a text ad in Google Ads.
For this reason, I often have the feeling that landing pages still take the back seat, which is a huge mistake — or opportunity — to improve conversion rates.
Another way to get more impact with the same ad budget, is to make it work in conjunction with your content marketing. Writing blog posts show Google your site is fresh and alive and it helps you build traffic that pile up over time, unlike ads.
Ads can be used to promote your recent articles or most read pieces of content. This way, your ad campaigns result in more email signups, which means your transformed traffic you don’t control, into traffic you control.”
“There’s several SEM trends for small business in 2019, one that I see being very important is Voice Search. At the moment, over 20 percent of mobile searches are voice search, some experts predict it can be as high as 40 percent by 2020.
Small businesses need to make sure they’re using voice search techniques in their SEM strategies.
Another trend I want to point out is Live Video. Video content is vital to small businesses, video could be responsible for as much as 80 percent of all online traffic by 2021.
Think about that. It’s time to get your video assets going! Most consumers prefer video, you need to make sure your small business is utilizing both live video and video content regularly.
The last trend you should keep an eye on is Ad Blocking Technology. I don’t think you should be scared, but it’s going to force advertisers to be more creative (that’s a good thing.) It’s going to force advertisers to think outside of the box, find other strategies to segment their audiences.”
“The biggest trend that we at WebRanking see affecting Small Businesses is the ability to manage all aspects of their Search Marketing effectively.
As SEM has grown and become more complicated over time, it’s become harder to SMBs to know where to start their campaigns and how to track and analyze results to determine what’s working well, and what they should let go of.
We recommend starting with a few of their highest revenue generating products or services. Build and optimize those first to the point of effectiveness. Then branch out from there. Starting small is more manageable for small businesses. This is especially important for ones who are newer to SEM.”
“The focus on keywords is changing. First, in the past, people wanted a 4-word keyword. Now, due to the increased use of voice search, marketers are using longer keywords starting with “how to” The reason is as follows.
Consumers dictate their queries now, and their queries start with “how” or “how to.”
Also, in the past, marketers cared about a large volume of searches and going after those keywords that would get them that large piece of Google’s searches for the term. Now, so many marketers are doing keyword research, marketers are satisfied with a smaller search volume. The numbers add up, after all.”
“In 2019 the biggest trend that is affecting small business is Social Media Marketing. While the buzz word has been popular for quite some time, especially among big companies, the trend in small businesses engaging in it rising. Small businesses are starting to realize how much they’re leaving on the table, and also, how much potential it is for them to succeed in it. It is still at its early stages and small business owners are opening their eyes to the fact that it can be a strong source of revenue and branding, even when done through a single persona. In 2019, and going into 2020, small businesses will start competing heavier on social media, which will mean more content for the end-user. “
“One of the SEM trends that are having a positive impact on small businesses sales, is Google’s shoppable image ads.
“This new ad format targets Google’s images results, which became commonplace for shoppers to search for inspiration and products. As a user is searching for home decoration ideas, automatically goes to the Images tab on the SERPs to get visual results, these sponsored ads will include the business’ products in the results, displaying the price showcasing the product for sale in the image.”
Retailers can start using lifestyle images on their sites, optimize them for image search results, and start tagging with the product data from their Google Shopping campaigns.”
“Content drives SEM now and forever. Gone are the days where a small business could game Google with black hat tactics. Now you need to create valuable, practical content for your small business customers to increase visibility on the platform.
I keep my customers and clients in mind before creating any piece of content because people use search engines. Think that through. Google does not use search engines. Google is an inanimate object. Humans use Google to find solutions. If you do an awesome job providing valuable, thorough content as a small business owner you build your SEM campaign on a rock solid foundation because people search for valuable answers via search engines.
Content wins. Remember that before you obsess over meta tags, backlinks, offsite tactics and anything other than good, old-fashioned, helpful content.”
“The biggest trend would be exploring alternative ways to spend your PPC budget – not just on Google ads. I have found that Pinterest advertising works really well for me because it is still a relatively new advertising platform. Many people think that Pinterest is a social media platform, but it actually functions as a visual search engine. With the Pinterest IPO that happened just very recently, Pinterest is dedicating a lot more support to helping advertisers like us reach our goals.”
Marketing Strategist, Angel Investor, Speaker, Founder & CEO of A1 Future Technologies (www.a1future.com)
“Desktop and mobile/tablet usage. Making sure your brand has a completely responsive and active presence on all accessible platforms and devices is of the utmost importance in 2019 and beyond. As more third world countries start using mobile and tablet over desktops, you must be 100% compliant and user friendly across all platforms.”
“Not paying enough attention to competitors. Whether you’re doing SEM or organic SEO, you need to keep a close eye on your competitors sites if you want to make your small business successful.
Make a list of 10 to 20 competitors in your industry, find out their top traffic and money generating pages and analyse them carefully as it gives you a ton of insights on how you can go about your small business in 2019 and beyond.
Also make sure to keep an eye on their PPC ads and social media ads (including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and so on). Analyse their ad copies along with their titles, call to actions and so on as it can help you tweak your ad copies for higher conversions when you’re doing paid ads.
Treat your competition like a friendly army instead of treating them like enemies. That’s how you can succeed in any small business.”
2019 SEM Trends Wrap-Up
As you can see, everyone has their own ideas of what’s trending now and what will be big in the coming months.
Automation is one of the seemingly largest trends in SEM right now. Others agreed that Google is making it easier for SMBs to use their platform for PPC marketing, and costs have gone down. However, as another expert said, it’s important to remember not to throw all of your money into Google because other marketing initiatives are still important depending on your industry.
Pay attention to what the experts are recommending, see if it applies to your business, and create a mix of methods that work the best for reaching your target market. Be open to trying new strategies, and don’t be afraid to let go of things that don’t work for your specific business.
Have you noticed a SEM trend not on our list? Let us know!
Understanding what keywords your target prospects are searching for is the foundation of any online marketing campaign. Without this important element, you going to see dismal results. Knowing the right keyword and how competitive it is to rank or bid, will help you management timelines and expectations.
Get the strategies and tactics your competitors are using for their SEO, as well as insights into how to beat them at Google Search.