When you first launch an e-commerce business, you’ll likely experience a palpable excitement as you imagine all the possibilities ahead of you. After all, with more than 4.3 billion Internet users worldwide, it would seem that there’s plenty of customers to go around.
Once you hit the ground running though, you’ll quickly discover that the competition for eyeballs and sales is extremely cut-throat. Unsurprisingly, many e-commerce businesses die shortly after launch. At the heart of e-commerce, survival is the ability to attract and retain new customers. To this end, search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial. Here’s why.
1. Brand Awareness
SEO is a great tool for low-cost brand awareness. When your web page makes the first page of search engine results pages (SERPs) for your target keywords, this could mark the first time a prospective shopper has encountered your brand and could linger in their mind the next time they stumble on it.
There’s a familiarity that makes them more trusting and therefore more likely to buy from you in the future. In any case, most searchers will perceive your page appearing among the first results as an endorsement of your business.
2. Feeding the Marketing Funnel
The marketing funnel comprises awareness, interest, desire, and action. To be successful and deliver the desired results, the funnel must rely on a steady inflow of shoppers. SEO can help drive inexpensive traffic to the top of the funnel (i.e. the awareness stage). However, SEO contributes to other funnel phases as well.
As an online shopper transition from awareness to interest, desire and eventually action (in this case, a purchase), the intent shown from their query keywords gradually shifts from informational to transactional. By targeting the right keywords and anchor text (e.g. using Linkio – SEO Management Tool) at each stage of the funnel, SEO allows you to influence the journey of your shopper from start to end therefore increasing the odds of conversion.
3. Increasing Remarketing Audiences
Once shoppers arrive at your site via SEO, you can place cookies in their browser to drive your remarketing efforts. You can subsequently use paid display network ads to reach out to them throughout their journey around the World Wide Web. As they run into your ads multiple times, those who were on the fence about buying from you may eventually be won over.
But the size of this remarketing audience will depend on the volume of relevant traffic your site receives and that is something SEO will do for you.
4. Lower Your PPC Cost
The remarketing cycle we’ve described in the previous point is an example of how SEO can be complementary to your pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. In fact, the more effective your SEO is in driving organic search, the less you’ll need to spend on PPC.
Also, your SEO campaign will of necessity require the optimization of landing pages for content quality, meta descriptions, titles, and other page elements. This can, in turn, improve your PPC quality score (since the keywords you bid on will be consistent with your content) and therefore lower your overall costs per click.
5. Tap into Long-Tail Queries
Roughly one in every seven search queries made on Google are new; meaning Google hasn’t encountered them before. Individually, each of these long-tail queries is rare but collectively they can drive sizeable traffic to your website.
What’s more, these infrequent long-tail queries tend to be quite specific and therefore have a much higher conversion rate than more widely used keywords.
6. Improve User Experience
The better the experience visitors to your website have, the more likely they will be to buy. Developing and executing an SEO campaign forces you to delve deep into the demographics of your target shoppers in order to create content and structure that appeals to them.
Keyword research is a window into shopper preferences. Shoppers want something and the e-commerce sites that demonstrate an ability to satisfy that desire quickly are more likely to close the sale. By building your site with usability in mind, visitors will linger longer. This is a key ranking signal for Google.
If visitors immediately return to search results after landing on your web page, the search engine will assume your web page isn’t relevant for the keyword query. This eventually hurts your ranking.
Given how essential Google and other search engines are in driving search traffic, SEO is critical to your e-commerce website’s success.