Low sales? Not enough traffic on your website? Paid advertising not bringing the expected results? Do not despair. What your online store needs is most probably some good-quality SEO. A well-organized and professionally-led SEO campaign can bring new traffic to your online store and boost your sales. Not sure how to go about it? Keep reading for essential information and great tips.
What is SEO and how to run a successful SEO campaign?
SEO has become one of the magic words in nowadays digital marketing. As more and more businesses go online, many of the traditional client-attracting techniques have become obsolete. The Internet has its own rules, and those who want to prosper in the virtual sale world need to play by them.
What does the SEO acronym mean? It stands for Search Engine Optimization, which – in simple words – represents a set of actions aimed at increasing the visibility of your website for Internet users.
Let’s suppose your online store sells preserves made of organic, locally-grown produce. With an ever-growing market for this kind of product, your business should thrive, right? Then why doesn’t it?!
Now, imagine this: a potential customer looking to buy some yummy apricot jam or a jar of pickles keys in “organic preserves” in the Google search box and checks the results of his or her query.
As long as your website appears among the top positions on the Google list (often referred to as SERP – Search Engine Result Page), chances are they will click the link to your store and start browsing through your products. If they like what they see, you’ve just got yourself a new customer.
Your store is listed 50th on SERP and appears somewhere at the end of the fifth page? That is most probably the root of your problem.
Put yourself in that searcher’s shoes: how many positions on the Google list do you think they will go through? Probably not more than the first 5, perhaps 10. If your website doesn’t make it to the top 10, that user will never even know you exist.
You are probably asking yourself how to make the engine place your site higher on the list. The answer is – SEO. With a set of techniques such as well-selected keywords, the right content, link building, etc., an SEO campaign will help you crunch the Google algorithms and make them recognize your website as one of the best answers to the user’s search.
Looking for a truly professional SEO agency? Make sure that it offers a complete range of services, including both on-page and off-page SEO, as well as technical SEO.
On-page/on-site Search Engine Optimization includes all the changes and adjustments made to your website, its content, architecture, URL structure, meta description, browsability, heading HTML tags, page title, etc.
On the one hand, this element of the SEO campaign aims at optimizing your website to Google internal algorithms, which is the first step to ensure a new user will find your store.
This optimization is achieved mainly by using the right kind of keywords that closely respond to the common queries surrounding your topic of interest (in our example above, it would be “organic preserves London”, “locally made preserves Boston”, “organic jam”, “organic pickles”, etc.)
Additionally, the on-site SEO campaign should focus on improving the user’s experience once he/she gets in. Will they like what they see? Will it be easy for them to find what they need? Do you offer enough payment options? Is the registration process fast enough? On-page SEO will help you make sure the answer to all these questions is “Yes”.
For your SEO campaign to be really successful, it should also include all the adjustments that happen outside of your website and are focused mainly on:
- having your store and your products recommended by other Internet users
- increasing your brand recognition
- establishing your credibility and expertise in the field
By reaching these goals, you ensure that new clients can learn about your store not only through organic Google search but also through the ever-powerful “word of mouth”.
Link building, guest blogging, influencer, and social media marketing are among the most common off-site SEO campaign tools. As you may well imagine, trust is one of the crucial elements while making a purchasing decision. The more your products and services are talked about and recommended on the net, the more trustworthy and worth-purchasing they will seem to potential buyers.
A thorough off-page SEO campaign should take into consideration all the personal factors (age, income, stage of life, interests, etc.) as well as social factors (reference group, family, social status, current trends, etc.) that influence people’s buying behavior.
By correctly identifying your target customers, your SEO campaign will be much more precise, efficient, and effective.
This type of SEO focuses entirely on improving the technical aspects of your website so that the search engine can recognize it as a valuable answer to a given query and place it high in the ranking.
Imagine Google algorithms as little robots or spiders that crawl through your website, trying to understand how it works, what’s on it, and how useful it might be for a potential user. The faster, the more structured and more comfortable to browse it is, the higher it will rank in their “minds”.
Google algorithms do evolve in time and become smarter and smarter, which is why technical SEO should be considered a regular part of your campaign.
Black hat vs. white-hat SEO
These are fun terms, aren’t they? However, what hides behind them is anything but funny.
What kind of SEO activities fall into the “white-hat” category?
- Investing in interesting, valuable, well-researched, original, varied, and SEO-friendly website content relevant to what you offer.
- Improving user experience on your website by making it more structured, easy to navigate, and fast-loading.
- Having your content translated into multiple languages.
- Using the right type of keywords (both short and long-tailed).
- Feeding Google algorithms with meta-tags.
- Tailoring your site to mobile users.
- Improving and repairing (if needed) your internal links to make sure the user can get to know the full extent of your offer.
- Building external links to your site through infographics and other easily-shareable visual content, guest-blogging, contact with influencers, etc.
- Adjusting the ads that appear on your sites to a specific user, his/her location, interests, etc.
Unfortunately, not everyone plays by the rules in the SEO world. Some turn to certain “fishy” techniques hoping these can help them improve their Google ranking. Such behavior is called “black-hat” SEO and may include the following types of actions:
- keyword stuffing – which involves filling your content with irrelevant, repetitive, unnaturally sounding keywords
- cloaking – which means having your site present one content or one URL to human users and entirely different content to the search engines
- sneaky redirecting – which consists of sending users to a link of YOUR interest by disguising it as something else
- bait and switch – promising certain content to up your Google ranking and changing it to something else once a searcher clicks it
- poor quality, irrelevant, stolen content
- invisible keywords (typed in the same color as the page background)
- paid links
Keep in mind that the Google anti-spam team, as well as its algorithms, are getting smarter at detecting this kind of unethical SEO techniques, which can lead to your website getting penalized (often permanently) and its SERP ranking plummeting.
When choosing an SEO agency do inquire about the actions they are planning to take to make sure they will only use white-hat methods to help you achieve your goals.
How much does an SEO campaign cost?
Do you think your online store could benefit from a good SEO tuning? How much do you think it should cost you?
The cost of an SEO campaign depends on several factors:
- the scope of your website and whether it is supposed to reach local, national, or international users
- your company’s specific goals and expectations – do you want to rank 10th, 5th, or perhaps 1st in the SERP? Are you hoping for a 20%, 50%, or maybe a 200% sales growth? Do you want to attract new users or increase the loyalty of the existing ones?
- the ESO elements and techniques you wish to use – the price of an on-site SEO audit will not be the same as the cost of developing a whole new SEO strategy
- its duration
- whether it is one-time or ongoing
- the agency position on the market
The hourly rate of an SEO consultant ranges from 80 to 200 USD.
If you are looking for a one-time website audit and optimization, you should expect to pay between 5,000 to 30,000 USD.
However, if you need long-term SEO supervision and guidance, you may be charged between 750 and several thousand USD a month, depending on the project’s scope.
When choosing the best alternative, keep in mind that unlike more traditional marketing tools, SEO does not offer immediate results. It will probably be a couple of months before you start getting a return on your investment.
Why does SEO take so long? Remember that you are investing in a complete restructuring of your website, its recognition, and the way it is perceived. Slow and steady wins the race.
Unlike paid advertising, whose effects fade with time, investing in SEO pays off in the long-haul.
When quoting different SEO services don’t let the price be the only factor. Carefully analyze the proposed plan and make sure it is realistic and fits your needs and expectations.
A few great SEO campaign examples to learn from
Still not sure whether SEO really works? The examples of successful SEO campaigns will surely clear out all your doubts.
America’s Best is a well-known eye-glasses and contact lenses brand, with around 500 stores all across the US. A few years back, the company realized that their sales weren’t growing as much as they’d want despite having a relatively strong market position.
SEO audit quickly discovered that the brand was not effectively communicating its expertise and authority in the field. Without being perceived as the true expert it was, the company was struggling to place high in the SERP.
Through a comprehensive SEO strategy focused on keyword optimization, online directory update, and extensive link building campaign, after only three months, the company was able to:
- improve its Google ranking
- increase its web traffic by over 40%
- boost its page views by over 30%
Kids First Pediatric Dentistry
This dental clinic from Phoenix, Arizona, decided to turn to SEO techniques hoping to increase its visibility in the local search engine rankings, which – as it rightly expected – would bring in new patients.
The actions were simple yet spot-on: analyze the competitors’ strategy in terms of what keywords work the best, improve the site architecture, encourage patients to leave positive reviews, and, most importantly – add clear and easy-to-follow CTA (Call To Action) buttons guiding users through different functionalities.
As a result, Kids First Pediatric Dentistry was able to:
- up their SERP ranking by over 80 positions
- increase organic traffic by almost 20%
GEMA & CO
Gema & Co is an online jewelry store from California specializing in synthetic diamond-like stone called moissanite. Back in 2019, the company hired SEO services looking to strengthen its position in the highly competitive engagement ring market.
Given the unique nature of the company’s business, identifying the right target audience was crucial. SEO helped approach it with engaging and valuable blog content. Parallelly, a technical audit and conversion analysis was run, which allowed the hired agency to identify and correct all the weak points. Last but not least, authoritative and reliable backlinking helped Gema & Co establish itself as a strong player in the jewelry industry.
The results after six months were truly impressive:
- over 400% increase in organic traffic
- almost a 300% growth in the organic search revenue
- 1,400% raise of first-page ranked keywords
Amazing, isn’t it?
Examples like this could be multiplied. Every country and every good SEO agency have their own success story no matter the client’s size, industry, or market.
A thorough analysis and the right approach go a long way. As you can see, the results can be truly astonishing.
Only ten years back, online shopping seemed like a slightly risky option with quite little to offer. Today it is booming more than ever. Anyone who wants to make their way through this increasingly competitive market has to bet on the right horse. SEO is definitely the winner.