Not all eCommerce businesses can follow exactly the same marketing strategies for success. For most businesses, reaching more qualified customers online will require a balanced strategy, one that accounts for a mix of eCommerce SEO and PPC management services, as well as some involvement with social media marketing, email marketing, content marketing, and then analysis to tie them together and develop a sustainable long term strategy.
Some businesses need to lean more heavily on some of these pillars than on others. For example, some businesses cannot utilize PPC strategies due to search engine restrictions, and so need to rely more heavily on SEO and content marketing for organic growth and on email marketing strategies for CRM and building greater trust and lifetime value.
Usually, however, the answer revolves around a mixture of these strategies, and no complete digital marketing strategy is complete without including some aspect of search engine optimization. It is one of the most accessible and practical collections of techniques for building sustainable growth and favorable keyword rankings online and reaching new customers organically. It could be said that there are no online businesses that would not profit from a well-developed and expertly executed SEO strategy.
You just might need the help of an experienced eCommerce SEO agency to see where the opportunity lies.
Uncovering the Opportunity
Akash Bajaj is no stranger to online sales, online marketing, or competitive strategies. His business, Advance Apparels, operating from AAShopUSA.com, has been continuously operating for 20 years, since 2001.
Their core business is in wholesale; they design and produce unique women’s clothing and then distribute it to a wide range of retailers. Much of their value lies in their unique designs and the fact that they can exhibit such excellent quality control. All of their clothing is produced in-house in their own factories using high-quality materials and time-tested, proven methods. Their unique designs are characterized largely by batik fabric, West African prints and the use of innovative, environmentally conscious fabrics like TENCELTM.
It was the COVID-19 Pandemic of 2020 that really pushed Advance Apparels to get into retail. Many of their B2B partners were struggling in the wake of the pandemic, and Akash Bajaj knew that the future lay, in part, in reaching new customers by pursuing a B2C strategy.
The thing about B2C business is that it’s very different from B2B; starkly different, in fact. The truth is that many business-to-business dealings are months or years in the making, and involve many decision-makers and what can sometimes be called a cumbersome, even an arduous process. The payoff comes from the fact that B2B agreements are very lucrative and often involve substantial, sizable repeat purchases, making all of the upfront investment in time and parlance worth it. Business-to-consumer dealings are not like this; to say the least, the relationship between businesses and consumers is mercurial, at best.
Consumer preferences change quickly, as do their search patterns and purchasing habits. Worse, consumer sales typically constitute only a small fraction of what would be involved in a B2B transaction. To pursue a B2C model requires a drastically different approach.
For Advance Apparels, it would mean they would have to get creative, and this was something Akash Bajaj knew well. Creativity had never been a problem for them in the past; some of their greatest assets came in the form of their uniquely inspired dresses and their artful use of innovative and inventive new designs in fabric. If they could flourish in fashion – a competitive industry by any stretch – then they could flourish in digital marketing, and a custom-built SEO campaign could help them get there.
A Unique Business Structure Meets a New Strategy
Akash Bajaj knew that half of the battle would be getting in front of the right customers. His products could basically sell themselves as long as his marketing initiatives reached the eyes of qualified leads. This would mean that his website’s key pages would have to rank highly in the search results for the most competitive keywords aligned with his intended customers’ searches and intent. The trick would be getting there.
Advance Apparels had a history of creative approaches to producing and marketing clothing and fashion accessories. 1DigitalⓇ Agency had a history of producing unprecedented results for SEO clients in a wide range of competitive online markets – notably fashion. It was a natural match.
Advance Apparels began their SEO campaign with 1DigitalⓇ Agency in January of 2021, just under a year after the global economy started to recoil from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was high time to find new avenues to reach consumers, and it began with keyword research.
The thing is that a unique project like this would require a particularly lengthy period of time to research customer’s searching habits, intent and balance them with the competition. It’s almost obvious that the online market for fashion is one of the most competitive in all of eCommerce; what that means is that creating a jumping-off point with target keywords is extraordinarily difficult.
Targeting only the keywords with the highest volumes would be a course in frustration. Targeting only low-hanging fruit wouldn’t yield substantial results. What our SEO experts had to do was uncover an assortment of keywords that was perfectly balanced with respect to competition and practicality. It would have to be a set of keywords that were not only well aligned with user searches but also not over-competitive.
Our ultimate set of target keywords was expertly curated to represent the perfect harmony between attainability and competitive positioning. This would enable our team of SEO specialists to create both positive short-term movement while also enabling steady growth in rankings and traffic over time.
How an eCommerce SEO Expert Does It
Once our team had a practical list of target keywords to pursue, our technical specialists could begin certain technical and on-page optimizations, many of which would require target keywords to be executed.
At the outset of their SEO campaign, our specialists conducted a thorough audit of Advance Apparels’ website and structure, in order to lay the groundwork for the success that would follow. Our initial audit was conducted with the intent to uncover and disavow toxic backlinks and to remove broken links; we fixed the errors as we found them, and adjusted the website as necessary to rectify any standing crawler errors to ensure that Google could index the entire website accordingly.
We also audited their website for duplicate content that could negatively affect the online store’s rankings. It’s a common practice for eCommerce websites to reproduce manufacturer-generated content, especially on category and product pages, but it can be an issue because it can result in a penalty. We also audited their URL structures, ensuring that they were search-engine friendly and optimized.
With these preliminary aspects of the site audit out of the way, our technical specialists began a variety of other on-page optimizations, updating title tags and meta descriptions in accordance with our plan for the various pages of their website and how we intended for them to rank.
In addition to optimizing the H1 tags and meta titles, we also began systematically optimizing the content on a variety of key pages on their website, editing for keyword stuffing and optimizing for recency, keyword density, originality, and overall value to the user experience of visitors. Category and product pages represent amazing opportunities for optimization on which far too many eCommerce sites do not capitalize. Sometimes they are the only pages that customers visit before making a purchase, and they provide prime real estate for content-based optimization. Our content team created a wealth of new, optimized content for Advance Apparels to utilize opportunistically on several of their key pages.
Product and category pages are not the only pages that enable eCommerce merchants to add a boost of optimized content to their websites. Blogging also provides a viable avenue by which online businesses can optimize their websites and furnish their users with new, insightful information. This also represented one pillar of our optimization strategy for Advance Apparels.
Our content creators worked tirelessly since the beginning of their campaign to create a variety of blog posts for Advance Apparels, blog posts that improve the value of their website on several levels. For one, keyword-optimized blogs, and blogs on topics that generate a lot of search volume, are highly attractive to search engines like Google. In addition, our onsite content publication increases the completeness and practicality of our clients’ internal linking structure, boosting the authority of certain web pages for critical target web pages. When Google sees this, it indexes them favorably.
In addition, our content creators have been engaged in developing high-quality backlinks to AAShopUSA.com since the beginning of their campaign. Through the publication of a variety of guest blog posts, press releases and other forms of content, we direct a retinue of backlinks to the client website, increasing their authority for a variety of strategic keywords.
Taken in sum, these tactics vastly increase our client’s authority and ranking for target keywords, resulting in massive gains. As is often the case, the best argument is not explanation, but evidence, of which we have plenty for Advance Apparels.
The Results: Since We Started
One of the most straightforward ways to assess the results of eCommerce SEO services is by the growth in organic traffic that a client has experienced since the beginning of the campaign. It’s not customary to check results so quickly after beginning, but in the case of Advance Apparels, the results were uncustomarily immediate.
Organic traffic is directly related to a company’s organic rankings for keywords, and in the few months since the beginning of Advance Apparels’ campaign, they’ve seen substantial bumps in organic traffic.
The image above shows Advance Apparels’ total traffic trends during the period from January 1, 2021 to May 10th, 2021 (in blue) overlaid over the previous period, August 24th, 2020 to December 31, 2021. You can see easily enough that there have been marked improvements from the beginning of the campaign, especially as compared to the previous period; but the evidence is even more dramatic when you look at the results quantitatively.
The above image shows the figures for the same periods superimposed, giving metrics on users and new users, sessions and pageviews. Almost every figure is significantly positive, indicating noteworthy growth in users, sessions and pageviews.
There was an overall 106% increase in new users when the periods are compared, and a large growth in page views and sessions, both of which more than doubled. Much of this success can be attributed to the sweeping growth that Advance Apparels experienced for their top keywords, many of which were highly competitive.
The image above shows a cross section of some of the keywords we targeted for Advance Apparels as a part of their campaign. Though we can’t divulge the actual keywords – that’s a trade secret – you can see the global search volume for each of them listed, with some of their biggest increases being among highly competitive keywords with large search volume. You can also see that many of these keywords, and all of those displayed, experienced vast upward shifts in ranking, which brought in a ton of new users to their website.
While it’s striking enough how much their online presence grew when comparing the first 4 months or so of the campaign to the period immediately previous, year over year results are even more impressive.
Year over Year
We produced impressive results for Advance Apparels after only a few months – which, itself, is remarkable given that SEO usually takes several months to begin to develop a head of steam – when comparing the year over year results, the comparison is even more impressive.
The image above shows the same categories of data as the previous image, being users, new users, sessions and pageviews. The difference is that this comparison takes into account the first few months of our campaign with Advance Apparels (January 1, 2021 to May 10, 2021) and lays it over the corresponding period from the previous year (January 1, 2020 to May 20, 2020) during which this client was not involved with us for eCommerce SEO services.
This growth is even more pronounced; users, sessions, and pageviews have almost tripled from the same time last year, up nearly 200% in each category. There’s just no way to understate growth like this. Even new users, of which a large portion are organic users, was up over 150% – sitting at 169% – more than double the figures from the year before.
Another key metric to consider is how new clients interact with the website. One of the keys to bringing in new clients with SEO is not just to attract them to the website by occupying more favorable real estate on the search engine results pages (SERPs), but to align keyword rankings with search intent. With eCommerce SEO, you’ll also want to be looking for figures like higher session durations. The image below says it all.
This chart shows the amount of time that users to Advance Apparels’ web pages spend consuming content, moving along the sales funnel or otherwise interacting with the page. Blue shows the current period and orange shows the previous corresponding period from the year before, the same two periods as the year before.
Users to their website during the current period spend much more time, on average, on their web pages than visitors did a year ago. In fact, in almost every percentile, the session duration more than doubled, in some cases tripling. This means one thing: not only is more new traffic reaching AAShopUSA.com, but that traffic is more interested in their products and therefore composed of better-qualified leads.
These results might not be typical in the short term, but they are the types of results that we faithfully replicate for our customers, time and time again. We’ve served clients like Advance Apparels previously in fashion and cut our teeth refining our process – but we also serve clients in other highly competitive industries, including but not limited to automotive parts and services, art supplies, jewelry, consumer goods, electronics, a variety of services and so much more – to see a more comprehensive listing of some of the industries we serve, please consult our SEO by industry page.
We also serve clients that are PPC-restricted, giving them an avenue by which to circumvent these impositions with substantial organic growth. Each and every one of our clients gets a custom-built campaign that takes into account the unique situations surrounding their business, specifically, and their industry at large. In every way, we are true strategic partners for our clients that help them meet complex and ever-shifting obstacles in digital marketing head-on.
For Advance Apparels, those obstacles included fierce competition for a limited set of keywords, and a shift from a B2B focus to accommodate more B2C channels. You can learn more about the unique challenges faced by some of our other clients, and how we tackled them, in our collection of eCommerce case studies. Think for a moment. What are these challenges for your online business?
Give us a call today at 888-982-8269 to speak with one of our experienced eCommerce SEO experts. We’ll uncover the obstacles before you and present you with opportunities to overcome them. It may even be advantageous for you to start with a free eCommerce SEO audit that will help provide analytical insight into how best to pursue an SEO project. The strategies we devise are as diverse as our clients themselves, but growth in traffic and better-qualified traffic are within reach. You just need to take the first step.
- Michael Esposito
- May 14, 2021