When it comes to eCommerce, using content beyond category and product pages as part of your SEO strategy is in a bit of a weird space. It’s often seen as something that needs to be done for nebulous “SEO reasons” without being a vital part of a strategy. This leads to lots of sales-driven blogs which are written solely for Google and don’t drive any real results. This means you’re missing out on huge opportunities to drive real results for your brand.
We’ve implemented content marketing campaigns which have driven six figures in additional revenue directly and had lots of additional benefits besides. Here are some of our top tips for leveraging content in your eCommerce SEO strategy.
Identify your target audience
This one may seem obvious, but it’s amazing how often we see it missed altogether or done on a purely superficial level. Sticking your main target keyword into the Semrush Keyword Magic tool, viewing the questions and working your way through these does make the content planning process simple, but if your audience isn’t asking those questions you’ve wasted your time.
Instead, take your time to really drill down into what they need and build out your content based on this. Some of the steps you can take are:
- Ask your customer service and sales teams what they’re always questioned on!.
- Work with the marketing and data team to establish exactly what the target audience looks like and what they’re typically interested in.
- If you have a physical presence, speak to store managers to see what the in-person sales process looks like and where the pain points lie.
- Investigate specialist online forums to see what your audience talks about.
- Analyse what your competitors are talking about to see if there are any common threads.
Then combine this with your usual keyword research process to establish exactly what you need to talk about.
For example, running shoe manufacturer Asics targets experienced runners and wants to sell shoes to people who are willing to invest in quality for their training. When we worked with them to improve their content marketing results, we followed an in-depth research process as set out above which resulted in pieces like this handy guide to pronation.
Correct pronation is an incredibly important part of running safely, but it’s also not something that comes up in your standard keyword research process. By taking the time to go one step further with audience research and create a piece which drives these results:
Enrich your content
As SEOs, we’re typically raised to think of content almost exclusively as words on a page. After all, Google isn’t ranking your main transactional page because of that pretty graph, but because of the copy surrounding it.
This means we often think of an SEO-focused content marketing strategy as a list of blogs which are words first, images and ‘other pretty stuff’ later. And that thinking can really hold us back.
Take the pronation guide above as an example. It’s clearly done incredibly well for the client, and the reason for that is because it’s an incredibly useful piece of content, meaning people who discover it spend time on the page, visit the rest of the Asics website, share it and link to it. A big part of the reason it’s so useful? Those cute little animations showing the different types of pronation.
When you’re writing a piece of content for the audience, you should remember and account for the fact that people learn and understand things in different ways. The more of these you can account for, the more people will find your page useful and the more successful it will be!
For example, say you work with a white good retailer and creating a piece which helps people fix a specific issue with their washing machine is a great opportunity, you could probably do this pretty well in a short blog. But what about the more visual among us to whom a written explanation means nothing?
Instead, enrich this detailed written piece with a short video which talks you through the process, an animation of each step and images of each component and tool required. It will take a little longer, but you’ll have a much better page at the end of it. And speaking of things taking a little longer…
Quality > Quantity
One of the most common questions we get asked when we discuss introducing larger content pieces to the SEO strategy is the classic “how many blogs should we look to upload every month?”
Honestly, are you even an SEO if you haven’t both asked and been asked that several times? And we’ve all seen the standard answer of “try to aim for a blog a week if you can”, which always seems like a nice balance between getting pages up regularly and not overworking the copywriters.
Ultimately though, the answer really is “it doesn’t matter (mostly)”. Obviously you need to get pages uploaded at some point, but one amazing blog post will serve you much better in the long term than ten average posts.
If we use the search term ‘what is pronation’, for example, the Asics post referenced earlier is in position one. Go a couple of pages back in the Google results, and you have a much shorter, less detailed page with the following results.
While this post is still generating a small amount of traffic, they’re clearly missing out on a lot of potential. Taking the time to enhance this from a 300 word, text-only blog on pronation to a much larger, higher quality piece would have yielded significant results.
Just don’t fall into the trap of needing everything to be perfect before uploading. An average piece of content which has been indexed by Google can drive some traffic now and be improved later – a great piece sat on your computer while you wait for an image to be moved a pixel to the right isn’t doing anything for you.
Don’t set it and forget it
And speaking of improving content later…
Stop uploading posts and forgetting about them. Some of your easiest opportunities to rank will be found in optimising posts which have been live for a few months and already rank. So make sure to book time into your calendar to do this on a regular basis.
There are a couple of ways to discover great optimisation opportunities relatively quickly, and Search Console comes in particularly useful here.
If you go into the performance report, change the date to the timeframe of blogs you’re looking to optimise and add a URL filter to only include your content pages (Page URL Contains /blog, for example), you’ll get a list of all your blogs which have had a presence in Google over your selected timeframe.
Once you’ve filtered the blogs, you can sort through them to discover which have high impressions but low clicks or rank just off or on the lower end of the first page of the SERPs. Once you’ve identified pages with good potential you can click into them to discover search terms they’re already ranking quite well for and just need a small nudge to push them over the edge.
Alternatively, you can plug your site/individual URLs into SEMrush or Ahrefs and look through these reports to establish what keywords you have the potential to rank well for.
Once you’ve gone through this exercise, you’ll have a great list of pages which will often only need minor alterations to drive a significant increase in traffic. All you need to do is make the required tweaks.
Go one step at a time
A common problem when it comes to actually executing on all your grand content plans is one which affects us all every day: decision paralysis.
Much like how the nightly “what shall we watch tonight?” conversation tends to turn into two hours of scrolling through Netflix before you give up and go to bed, starting the process of developing and implementing a content plan typically turns into “where do we even start” while nothing gets done.
The alternative, on the other hand, is you try to do everything at once and nothing gets finished. This is a particular problem for more general eCommerce stores which have a variety of product types for sale.
To combat this, take a step back and focus on implementation a step at a time.
Your first port of call should be to establish the size of the prize – how many people are searching for each of your lines and what kind of revenue increase would be possible if you improved rankings for the major keywords within?
This will give you an immediate idea on what your focus should be. From there you can establish an initial SEO priority which balances potential revenue gains against ranking difficulty before working with other stakeholders to decide upon a final priority list.
Once you’ve done this, you’ll have an amazing list of categories laid out in order of priority and can focus on building out your content plan to support category number one. Remember to apply a similar prioritisation weighting to each piece of content you decide to create to ensure you’re attacking pieces which will have the most impact as early as possible.
Work with other teams
When you’re focused on getting the most value out of your SEO strategy it can be pretty easy to see Google as the only distribution method to concern yourself with. And while creating content that ranks is key, not considering how you can work with other teams to drive more revenue and better distribute the content you’ve worked so hard to create is a huge missed opportunity.
For example, let’s say you’re running the SEO strategy for an electronics business, you might put together a piece of content comparing the use-cases for two popular models of television which is full of detailed explanations, data, imagery and videos. Obviously a great piece like this will rank and convert incredibly well for your target audience, but if you think outside the SEO box, your work could go so much further.
- The data you’ve pulled might contain some really interesting stories your PR team could use to build a separate story – and they could also help outreach your original piece.
- Properly optimised videos uploaded onto a YouTube channel could drive more video views and open up a whole new avenue of traffic.
- As well as adding additional context to the piece, your visualisations might be perfect to use on Instagram.
- Your social media team could create a useful TikTok comparison video using the key points from your blog.
And there are so many more opportunities besides. All of which give that piece you’ve spent so long working on a whole new lease of life.
Speak to us
There are so many more ways to ensure your content drives as much value as possible for your eCommerce store (please don’t forget the basics such as internal linking!), but if you consider these key factors you won’t go too far wrong.
And if you want more advice on how to use SEO to drive more revenue in eCommerce, get in touch today to find out how we could help you!