eCommerce SEO and Blog Traffic: How They Work Together (Case Study)
Obviously, blogging is a big component of SEO, as is guest posting, which is used for backlinks. We also create on-page content for key target URLs, typically category and product pages.
It’s been a well-known fact for a long time that SEO and content go hand-in-hand, and that no strategy can be complete without it.
But since most of our clients are looking for conversions and sales, sometimes the positive effect of blog traffic itself gets lost in the sauce, and drifts by the wayside.
Make no mistake about it, creating optimized blogs (not just for SEO but for UX) has tangible benefits for our clients.
So I dredged up some numbers from Google Analytics to showcase this. Let’s take a look at how it all breaks down.
How Content Impacts SEO Positively
To understand how blog traffic can benefit an eCommerce SEO campaign, first, we need to know what content specifically does.
On paper, the easy thing to understand is that content contains keywords. Google’s crawlers scan blogs and pick up these keywords and variations, and get the hint that the post may be relevant and authoritative.
Google’s crawlers may also pick up on the fact that a specific blog contains answers to any number of different search queries.
At this point, Google is going to index the blog somewhere in the search results for search queries containing the keywords it picked up in its scans.
Depending on the domain authority and topical vertical of the host domain, the blog may be somewhere at the top of the SERPs, or it may be somewhere way down at the bottom.
Either way, when users search those related queries and see the blog, if it catches their attention, they’re likely to click.
If the blog answers their questions, they will remain on the page. They might even navigate through to other pages. If it’s well-written and entertaining, even better.
The more positive user metrics respond, the better. As user engagement increases, typically, average position does as well, and the blog will climb the SERPs.
But there’s something else going on behind the scenes. Our process doesn’t specifically entail the optimization of blogs for the blogs’ sake. We embed links to our clients’ target URLs in those blogs, in a bid to transfer some authority from the blog to the target page associated with the campaign.
So, in theory, an SEO-optimized blog, even one that doesn’t get a lot of readers, could be sending link juice to another conversion-oriented target page, just because the blog itself was ranking well.
That’s one of the ways our process works. The goal is not directly to get readers for the client’s blog, it’s to sell the client’s goods and improve brand awareness.
If people read those posts, all the better; and sometimes, they do.
By the Numbers: What to Look for
There are numerous metrics you can track to gauge the success of a blog written to drive traffic through eCommerce SEO.
The most straightforward metric is simply the number of clicks/visits. These numbers are not always the same. Number of sessions/users is often a better (and more realistic metric) to track.
So, for instance, take a look at this screenshot captured regarding the statistics of one of our eCommerce SEO clients.
One of the interesting things about this image is that it captures all traffic to a client domain, not just the blog. As you can see, two of the top pages in the total top ten are blogs that we wrote for the client.
In short: 20% of the top 10 pages are blog URLs we wrote. There is no way to overstate the significance of this, especially since the single URL with the 4th most visits is a blog page that one of our writers wrote.
The fact that these blogs are getting so much traffic (you can see they each have several thousand views over the course of the past year) means they have a lot of authority to distribute.
Which is pretty significant news for the target URLs we have assigned to them. They have made leaps and bounds of progress for the SEO campaign by sending traffic to the URLs we assigned.
The other way to consider these effects is to look just at the blog metrics themselves, as shown in the screenshot below.
This is a client that has been with us for several years but is in a different industry. The results are filtered by blog URLs so all of the top pages are blogs.
As stated, one of the main metrics to follow is the number of visits. The blogs, in sum, have had over 12,000 views in the span of a year – which is quite admirable, especially since our goal is to drive traffic to the category and product URLs, and not to do content marketing.
But blogs that get read generate better results for SEO anyway.
You can also consider engagement time and number of views per user. As you can see, average engagement time is about a minute and 6 seconds, which across 12,000 views is fairly respectable. People are actually reading these articles.
Then you can see that each user views on average 1.33 articles; also a pretty impressive statistic, which means our internal link strategy is pretty solid, too.
So you can see that blogs can serve as their own landing pages and serve as hubs through which traffic disseminates around a website. High-quality blogs will not only be read and serve value to visitors, but can result in click-through to other pages on a website, and when properly optimized, can actually generate conversions, too.
eCommerce SEO and Blog Traffic: A Long-Term Game
Now let’s take a look at blog growth over time.
This image, which on its surface is not that compelling until you look at the scope of the timeframe. It shows traffic to one of our long-standing client’s blogs over a period of more than three years, spanning back to April 2020.
Growth is not exponential but you can see that there is a steady trend upward – the blue line shows the most recent period, which, interposed over the other data set, is clearly, though marginally, larger.
The image above goes back even further, all the way to the beginning of 2020, more than 3 and a half years. If we split the periods in half, the effect of blog growth itself is even more pronounced.
What’s so impressive about this is that, though we handle our clients’ optimized content streams, blog growth is a secondary if not tertiary effect, and not even a direct goal of our eCommerce SEO campaigns.
Our purpose is to improve keyword standings, impressions, and clicks for key target URLs, and drive sales.
If our clients’ blogs grow, that is an effort wholly attributable to the above-and-beyond efforts of our content writers – as, in the case of this particular client that has been with us for many years, blog growth has been enormous.
It has also been steadily positive over time, which shows that the efforts of our content writers were relevant to consumers even accounting for mild shifts in the market.
In other words, if our client’s blogs grow, it’s a sign that everything else is going better than expected.
Especially when you consider we don’t target keywords on the basis of their value for content marketing. We choose them based on search intent and willingness to purchase.
Still, as the data disclosed here clearly shows, a well-run, strategically-positioned blog, even optimized for the purposes of eCommerce SEO, can bring in new users, generate high time on page, send traffic to key target pages, and generate increasing traffic streams over time.
And that, good reader, is the value of an optimized content stream, which goes beyond the letter of search engine optimization.