Crafting a Smart SEO Campaign in a Competitive Niche
Getting enough traffic to your eCommerce website can be tough in a competitive industry. Not only are you going up against other stores in your space but big-box juggernauts like Amazon and Wal-Mart as well.
In order to get a healthy amount of organic traffic and sales, you need a smart SEO strategy that not only optimizes your website but also uncovers powerful ranking opportunities through in-depth keyword research and a thoughtful approach to content creation.
Seller of high-quality soapmaking and lotion-crafting ingredients, makeyourown.buzz, came to 1Digital® looking for a way to boost their traffic and make inroads against the stiff competition in this space. Knowing that a cookie-cutter solution wouldn’t move the needle, they trusted 1Digital® to put together a comprehensive custom strategy to address their specific SEO needs.
A Crowded and Highly Competitive Industry
Whether for commercial use or DIY home projects, soap-making ingredients are in high demand. Many common soap and shampoo ingredients, such as aloe vera, plant butters, essential oils, glycerin, and colorants, are multipurpose and highly versatile. There is also a quality issue with many of these ingredients, with large corporations vying for their piece of the pie by cutting corners and creating lower-quality products that they can sell for a cheaper price, thus undercutting other businesses.
In such a competitive space, how do you make inroads? In most areas of eCommerce, you have to take proper measures to stand out as a business and separate yourself from the crowd. Branding plays a large role in this, and you need a highly functional website that meets the needs of your users. Once you cover these areas, it’s time to address your digital marketing.
The problem is, it’s not enough to just throw money into a marketing campaign and expect decent results. A sophisticated strategy needs to be implemented that takes your industry into account from the very beginning. In order to give MakeYourOwn.buzz a boost in the search results, the campaign would need to start with a deep-dive into industry trends and user buying habits in order to determine a proper keyword strategy with which to base the campaign around.
Getting Traction With the Right Keywords
One of the secrets to getting great results with SEO is to perform the proper keyword research. This is especially important for ranking eCommerce stores, because of the way in which keywords are related to search intent and buyer behavior.
Just because a keyword relates to your niche or industry doesn’t necessarily mean it has relevance to your website or would give you a boost in the SERPs. In order to show Google that your online store has what users are looking for, the keywords have to be chosen with care, with a rock-solid content strategy surrounding them.
With MakeYourOwn.buzz, for instance, we took great care to select industry-specific product-based keywords. Although many of these keywords were highly competitive, they had the most weight from an eCommerce point of view.
Although this goes against the grain of popular SEO thought, not every campaign requires the use of long-tail keywords. Depending on the industry, such keywords may confuse search engines, or force you to create content that sounds stilted or artificial, which ruins the user experience. The idea that you absolutely need to target a keyword that is five words long just because it exists misses the entire point of SEO: to optimize your website as best as possible for the user.
What Google wants to see is relevancy based on the products you have or the services you provide as a business. As long as you have a solid content strategy to back the keywords you are targeting, you can go after those tougher keywords. A smart SEO strategy requires a tactical and aggressive approach when it comes to content, which constitutes the backbone of our campaigns.
Through carefully crafted SEO content, you can prove your relevancy to Google, improve the user experience, and increase your brand authority all in one go. Let’s take a look at some of the techniques we used.
Refining the Category Pages
Category page content is at the heart of any searchable eCommerce website. While the product pages are certainly important, you can’t get by unless you are paying close attention to the SEO value of your categories.
Unfortunately, what happens with many eCommerce websites is that the product pages are given some attention, while the categories are either left blank. In cases where the category sections have been addressed, the content is typically thin and unoptimized.
By including the categories of your store into your SEO content strategy, you will not only be providing your shoppers with important information, but you will also be sending all the right signals to Google in regards to what your store is all about. When Google crawls your website and finds a category page but without optimized content, it won’t have much to go on and your position in the SERPs may be impacted accordingly.
The first order of business for optimizing MakeYourOwn.buzz was to pinpoint which category pages needed the most work and create optimized content for these pages using the product-based keyword we had selected. Over the course of several weeks, we rolled out changes to these pages that not only made them more user-friendly and informative, but relevant in the eyes of the search engines as well.
Context is one of the most important aspects of any website from an SEO perspective. When generating a content strategy that seeks to make your eCommerce site more user friendly and valuable, here are some of the questions you should ask yourself:
- Does each category page accurately describe the featured products correctly?
- What would a user expect to see when they are landing on this category page?
- Do the meta titles for this page accurately reflect the products a user will find?
- Does the content include supplemental key phrases?
- Would it make sense for Google to rank this page based on the focus keyword that has been chosen? Would any additional keywords potentially get this page to rank?
As we developed a workable strategy for MakeYourOwn.buzz, we took all of these issues and more into account. A results-driven approach to SEO requires an understanding of the shoppers and what they are actually searching for online. This helps in the process of both keyword research and content writing, which will ultimately lead to a more functional and contextual store that will guide a user through the eCommerce journey smoothly: from the initial Google search all the way to checkout.
Writing For Search Engines and Users Alike
Well-written content is one of the main drivers of SEO at the moment. Google has made it clear that the experience that users have on your website is a large determinant of how well the site will perform in the SERPs. If a user clicks onto your store and quickly clicks off because they can’t find what they are looking for or because the information based on the keyword is irrelevant or incomplete, Google is not going to look at your website favorably.
While the category and product pages need plenty of attention when it comes to optimized content, there’s another area of your website that needs just as much attention, if not more: your blog.
Many eCommerce store owners wrongly assume that they can afford not to have a blog, but the truth is that if you are looking for a way to be competitive in your niche, you can’t ignore this crucial part of your website.
Blogs are an easy way to build authority for your website, provide your users with important information, give context to your products and categories, and simply improve your brand authority. These days, users want to connect with a brand and feel like they are a part of something. Blogs allow you free reign to connect with your audience and give them a deeper look into the products and services you offer.
For a store in the soap-making niche, creating optimized and informative blog content was a must. From detailing the uses and benefits of certain ingredients to various recipes and soap-making techniques, there was plenty of room for crafting highly-engaging content that would be valuable not only for users but for SEO as well.
Many of the surfactants, emollients, and other common ingredients found in personal care products aren’t exactly household names, so in this instance, providing context for shoppers just learning about the art of making their own soaps and lotions is important for building an audience. These industry-relevant blogs also help web crawlers better understand what your website is all about, the uses for your products, and the kinds of users that would benefit from them.
Our smart SEO approach puts content at the front of everything we do, with an emphasis on rich and informative blogs that are optimized around meticulously chosen keywords. Combined with our expert ability to address technical SEO problems and through our proprietary link-building strategies, we know how to get businesses the results they are looking for. We knew once we began implementing our content strategy for MakeYourOwn.buzz, it was only a matter of time before the results would start rolling in.
Outstanding SEO Campaign Results
Our team of SEO experts understands what it takes to drive results, no matter how competitive the industry is. For us, it’s not just about bringing more traffic to your website, we want to make a real impact on your business, and that means improving the bounce rate, generating conversions, and helping you boost your brand image.
That being said, in just the first six months of our campaign for MakeYourOwn.buzz, we were able to not only improve organic search traffic but generate results across the board.
From the onset of the campaign, we knew what we were up against. The soap-making industry shares space with some of the most competitive areas of eCommerce, including cosmetics, beauty supplies, health and wellness, and cleaning supplies, just to name a few. The various products involved are not necessarily niche-specific, which meant that in order to get traction, we needed an aggressive approach and a smart SEO content strategy based around best practices, engaging content, and building a comprehensive backlinking profile.
Once the campaign got rolling and our strategy was in place, the results came naturally. Organic traffic took a huge jump as a result, as illustrated above. Of course, traffic isn’t worth much unless it converts. What about sessions, session duration, and bounce rate?
Despite being in such a tough industry and with plenty of hurdles to overcome, our SEO team developed a powerful strategy that dramatically improved the user experience for shoppers on MakeYourOwn.buzz. More users were finding the website and staying on it longer, resulting in a lower bounce rate and more pageviews.
Improving sales through organic traffic is perhaps the biggest goal to strive for out of any SEO campaign, and once again our strategy succeeded.
Over a six-month span of time, we saw an impressive increase in organic sessions with transactions, more than doubling the previous period’s figures. During this period we also saw a 35% increase in the eCommerce conversion rate and a stunning 184% increase in total organic revenue.
From new users to increased organic transactions, our proven SEO techniques were enough to give the team at MakeYourOwn.buzz the competitive edge they were looking for. By taking a careful approach to our keyword research and implementing a powerful content strategy, along with the proper technical updates, we were able to significantly improve rankings and the overall online presence of MakeYourOwn.buzz, proving that it doesn’t matter what industry you want to rank in, so long as you have an agile approach to your digital marketing efforts.
Not satisfied with your position in the SERPs and want to see if you can reach more customers and increase your sales through professional eCommerce SEO services? Our team of digital marketing experts is here to help you make it happen. 1Digital® is an industry-leading eCommerce marketing agency specializing in crafting smart SEO strategies for clients and businesses of all sizes, from all across the country.
Even if you find yourself in a difficult industry and have spent an inordinate amount of time and money trying to get on page one and improve your conversions, we’re confident that with the right SEO strategy, you can be successful and get the results you’re looking for. Give us a call at 888-982-8269 and speak with an eCommerce professional that can help you form a winning strategy for your online business.