Ecommerce is a reflection of its medium: low barriers to entry and a constant state of flux. Unfortunately, the available information requires an insane amount of time to implement and maintain, time you don’t have.
Besides, you can outsource most of that and you got into ecommerce to sell: that’s why we created the Ecommerce 101 series to give you the information that will give you the biggest impact for your time.
The series is split into the three major phases of ecommerce and will be further split as needed to keep it lightweight:
- Get ‘em in
- Convert ‘em
- Get ‘em back
Consistently applied, the information contained within this series will leave your site punching above its weight class.
Anyone can use paid search and social to give their sales a temporary boost. You don’t want temporary, you want sustainable. Ecommerce is a reflection of its medium, and so should your cornerstone be…let’s start there.
The cornerstone: your ecommerce website
The asset that you have the most control over is your website. Naturally, you want it optimized for SEO, but you also want it optimized for your customer. What can you do now? Check your load time, check that it’s mobile, and make sure it’s well-spoken.
Load time will impact your eCommerce website’s revenue immediately but durably as well all because of one word…what do you think it is? Here’s a hint:
Did you see it? It’s right there. That word is abandonment. Especially for eCommerce websites, load time tolerance is extremely low. In fact, 40% will abandon your site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
Immediate impact to revenue? 40%…just from load time. Durable impact? You are unlikely to get an opportunity to make a second impression. That’s just what your customers will do and as your customers go so goes Google.
This is the SEO double bind: bounce rates beget lower SERP rankings which beget fewer visits which further beget lower SERP rankings…but enough of the begetting. You can recover but prevention is easier than recovery.
Besides, you will likely need to spend money just to recover the 46% who won’t otherwise revisit your site…just to give them a chance to abandon their carts. So, check your website’s performance and make sure you stay away from the Google kid’s table.
In our article on mcommerce, we looked at how mcommerce is the new face of eCommerce. Check it out, it’s pretty cool. But enough shameless plugging; it’s here because the mobility of your eCommerce website will determine its future.
You should at least be aware of paid search and social, as well as ad networks. While they are channels to build brand awareness and conversions, they have something else in common: they are mobile channels.
More people are performing searches on their mobile devices than desktops; social networks are primarily comprised of a mobile audience, and ad networks are working hard to improve mobile ad targeting…
…oh yeah, they are also becoming more comfortable buying from their mobile devices.
While comScore’s 2016 “Global Digital Future in Focus” demonstrates that the customer journey will continue to be multi-platform, it will also continue to move toward mobile. Your site will be found, validated, and purchased from mobile.
If your eCommerce website site isn’t mobile-friendly, it will make for an awkward, frustrating shopping experience and back to the Google kid’s table you go. Don’t go there, go mobile.
Let’s finish with the most basic component of SEO: keywords. When they are searching for you…on their mobile devices, your pages need to be findable. Specifically, each page needs to rank for one keyword.
Otherwise, as Kissmetrics eloquently puts it, you will have keyword cannibalization. This is merely a rather gruesome way to say that the pages will draw from one another’s ranking power.
If you are producing content (covered a little later), such as a blog, make sure that the post’s keyword isn’t the same as another page. Remember, posts are pages too. Let’s go one level deeper down the keyword rabbit hole.
It doesn’t matter how high a keyword is ranking, if some heavies are trying to rank for it as well…move on. While I promised that your website will be punching outside of its weight class, a lightweight will not outpunch a heavy.
Compare domain and page authorities. It doesn’t matter how high a keyword ranks if you don’t have the authority to rank for it…yes, it is a cruel world, but better to deal and move on.
Your ecommerce website homework…and what’s up next
Forgot to mention, we have homework assignments. Don’t worry, they won’t take long and aren’t mandatory. Go to Hubspot’s free ranking website and plug in your URL: it will provide a simple overview of your site’s performance.
Lastly, perform a keyword audit of your site pages: for both cannibalization and competition. To the latter, Kissmetrics suggests Moz for comparing domain and page authority. What you do with that information is up to you.
What we want is a lean, streamlined, mobile, well-speaking eCommerce website: your foundation. As with boxing, it’s the foundation that matters most. Check your legs, make sure they’re solid.
Now that you have the foundation in place, we’ll move to part two of ‘Ecommerce 101: use social commerce to get ‘em in’. We’ll cover why it’s important and what’s most important to get right when using the strategy, hint: social media is not a direct conversion source!