Search engine optimization (SEO) is the marketing buzzword of the decade (only rivaled by the explosive growth of content marketing). The reason for the popularity is simple- our reliance on search engines for information has created a demand for pages to rank on search engine results pages (SERPs). Due to the flood of content available on the internet today, there is an excess of information and a shortage of customer attention. As a result, you not only need to rank on the SERPs; you need to rank high.
Why SEO and organic results matter
There are several different tactics to secure a high rank in SERPs from Google Shopping (PLA) to paid text ads and local listings, but the greatest amount traffic is still driving to organic links. In fact, 64% of all Google searches result in an organic link click. Why is that? Because even when people are shopping online, they don’t want to be the subject of advertising dollars- they want to get genuine information that will help them make a purchase decision as quickly as possible. For e-retailers this is a huge deal, and becomes even more important for capturing sales in the competitive landscape today.
When optimizing your pages for success you need to ensure you have two audiences in mind: Google, and your customers. Since Google uses algorithms to determine the value of each results page, there are specific criteria they grade against for organic listings. However, the user experience with the pages is also a large part of the overall ranking of the individual pages, with SEO being a big part of this. Depending on how up-to-snuff you are with your optimization tactics, this can spell out a great opportunity you are fully equipped to handle or send shivers down your spine. But you don’t need to head for the hills just yet, because we have condensed our marketing team’s expertise to bring you 5 actionable tips for SEO greatness you can put to use on your product listings today.
Arm yourself! With bullets and titles
Make no mistake, the e-commerce battle is underway and you need all the ammunition you can muster to capture sales. When balancing your optimization efforts between a man or machine audience, the two converge on the product title and bullet information section, as they are likely the two most important pieces of content on the page.
The product title is clearly of great importance; however it takes more than hastily throwing together a string of words to make something that is easily read by humans and quickly describes the product. On the flip side, your title should have enough product information within it to help the search engines pick it up for various elements, to maximize the SEO effectiveness. A good product title should have the following key aspects, arranged similar to how they are listed below:
- Product classification
- 2-3 brief, key product features
This format gives you the best chance of immediately conveying to searchers and Google crawlers alike the important stats in a clear, concise manner without listing everything. The title should not have a string of features crammed together, redundant information, or unnecessary descriptive words.
Today customers are trying to get the most relevant information, as quickly as possible. The bullet point area is the perfect place for highlighting top features, to give a well-rounded view of the product at a glance. Bullet points are also important to search engines because many specs contain high-value keywords related to the product and others within the category. The best practice is to have between 4-6 bullets listed with key points of information that are specific to the item itself.
A pitfall here is having incorrect information, or copying the same information across a variety of items with different specs. This causes confusion for customers and takes away credibility from the product and your brand, and a definite SEO “no-no”. A good plan for this area is to not just list specs, but have phrases that have several specs listed within them. This allows you to maximize the real estate, and put as much important information high on the page for both Google and shoppers to see.
Content is king- Is your kingdom rich?
If you haven’t heard it by now, the marketing slogan of the decade is “content is king”. It gets tossed around a ton, but what does that really mean for e-retailers though? In e-commerce customers are reliant upon the product page information provided to form their purchase decisions, and the power to persuade lies in the use of this precious real estate. The source that can provide answers customers are looking for becomes trusted, and has a far greater likelihood to influence a conversion than pages without rich information operating solely on an attractive price.
SEO no-no: Keyword-stuffing (finding a keyword you want the product to rank for and stuffing it into the text unnaturally, far more than it would make sense to a human reading the text.) Instead include keywords and key phrases naturally in describing the product description and use overview section.
So content is important, but can you just slap a few lines together to get words on the page and expect to become a trustworthy source of information? No! Rich content is created with specific keywords and key phrases in mind, which speak to the customer about the core utility of the product. Beyond just listing product specs, rich content has detailed information that is written in a clear and legible manner that helps inform potential customers.
Rich writing tip: Plan for a bot but write for a human. Keywords and detailed descriptions are important, but a huge block of text is hard to read. Try breaking up text into paragraphs and bullet points with headings to make it easier for a human to read. This will also look better to search engine algorithms, so you win on both sides!
Another key to enriching your content is to ensure that it is unique. For non-manufacturers that can be difficult, not being the expert on each product you list. Manufacturers often provide resellers with descriptions about products to allow for easy listing on different channels. So you can just plug this content into your product pages across the board right? WRONG. Duplicate content does not sit well with search engine bots, even if it’s detailed and relevant. What you should ideally do is create your own, original content for each product. While this is more manageable for fewer product listings, it can become a daunting task for 1,000s of SKUs. The key is to tackle the items that are in high demand first, and work your way down the line. Products with less market saturation are also good targets, since they have less competition and a greater chance to rank high.
Nobody buys the ugly duckling
Without being able to physically touch the products before purchasing, appearance is everything in e-commerce. Often the first aspect of your product listing customers see is the image, and if you have a grainy, low-resolution picture you chances of closing a sale (or even getting a click) are greatly diminished.
Using multiple clear images in high resolution, with close-ups of important features is vital to properly present your products to customers. It is a good idea to have several photos of your products that showcase both studio settings and lifestyle applications, for the most realistic interpretation. The new recommended image size for Newegg products is 1200×1200 pixels, to allow shoppers the chance to get as much detail from the images as possible.
What’s more is that in 2015 mobile sales were 30% of all U.S. e-commerce, which means customers have smaller screens to read text, and images become even more important. As we continue to see mobile commerce chipping away at the lead desktop historically maintained, it is becoming more important to think about how your products will appear on mobile phones and tablets.
To help sellers create rich, unique content for product pages Newegg has an A+ Content program. This program is designed to take high quality images and pair them with unique content in an aesthetically-pleasing layout, without any heavy lifting on the seller’s part. The A+ Content product pages stand out from those without the premium content, and are far more engaging for shoppers. Also, one of the benefits is that the pages are optimized for search engines so you have the best possible chance for high rankings.
If a picture is worth 1,000 words, what is the value of video?
Everyone loves watching videos, which is how YouTube has cultivated over one billion users (about one-third of all internet users). But all that video-binging isn’t just for entertainment; product research and discovery takes up a massive portion of the video usage by consumers who want to get more information to facilitate a purchase decision.
Video has become one of the most (in my opinion the most) valuable forms of content out on the web today. Customers search for video before buying a product to see detailed features, different angles, compare products, and get user reviews to inform their purchase decisions. In fact, 73% of all consumers are more likely to make a purchase after watching videos explaining a product or service.
The value of video doesn’t stop with the customer engagement. The longer the customer stays on-page watching a video, looking at quality images, reading detailed overviews-staying engaged- the more valuable this page becomes to Google. See the Google algorithm is smart- if it sees people are spending extended periods of time on a page they deduce that it must hold value to users. Once a page is seen to provide value, the rank is boosted in the SERPs, which makes it easier for more customers to find.
What does all of this mean? Video benefits both the user experience and bot aspect of SEO, and taking advantage of it can pay out a handsome reward. At Newegg our editorial team creates rich video content in the form of product reviews, which can be added to the product page as well as living on YouTube to influence millions of potential customers searching for more information on your product.
To the links, and beyond!
Just like a web author sites their sources to validate the authority of their work, Google views links on webpages in the same way. Backlinks from a reputable website to another website of similar esteem help to build a connection that benefits both parties. When the sites are linking to one another that builds a solid authority and helps to boost the SEO performance, improving the visibility of pages.
Since you cannot link to a non-Newegg site, the best way to take advantage of this on your listings is to submit your products for editorial review. Across three different blog sites, we have a heap of rich articles with unique written content, original images and video that all drive traffic back to their respective product pages. Not only does this send informed customers to the point-of-purchase, but we complete the cycle by adding the article to the product page. This allows customers to gain access to yet another source of informative content to help nudge them in the right direction when they are considering purchasing a product.
The benefit of backlinks to your product page doesn’t end there though. Since the articles have far more content than a product page, email, social, and on-site banner distribution of the articles themselves drives traffic and can help rank in search results. This inbound marketing helps to stoke the purchase intent in customers that are searching for answers addressed within the article, and maximizes the reach of your product.
Putting it all together
Tackling the SERPs can be a daunting task without a plan, but it is necessary to fully maximize your sales. Search engine optimization is the best way to appeal to both your customers and Google bots, with dividends paid out for your hard work with the least hard cost. The companies that are succeeding in the SEO game are the ones racking up the big sales, and pushing the competition aside.
With your Newegg merchandiser and dedicated marketing team you have support standing by to guide you through SEO and more, to make your products stand out. Take these tips and put them into action today, because the opportunity is yours!