E-commerce, defined as the buying and selling of products or services via the internet, is something most of us participate in on a daily basis. From paying bills to ordering books, it is an integral part of most modern businesses. It also provides for a massive supporting industry of packing materials, such as packing boxes, and delivery infrastructure.
It’s also nothing new. There has been at least some version of e-commerce for the past 40 years; Amazon was one of the few companies to survive the dot-com bubble in the late 90s due to the fact that it was an e-commerce platform. Nowadays, almost all businesses have some kind of online presence, and with it some form of e-commerce platform.
E-commerce platforms allow companies to sell products or services online, taking payment through an electronic payment system. This, in theory, makes it easier for companies to make money, as payments are simple and quick to do. But what if there’s no one on the website to make payments?
SEO services are a key component to any online marketing and e-commerce campaign. Your company may sell the best products of its niche, but if no one can find the website to actually buy the product, the company will fail. The idea behind SEO services is that you will optimise your web pages to rank for specific “keywords” e.g. web design Glasgow. If your page conforms to the search engines guidelines, it will get ranked higher than competitors. Considering the top three results of any search engine take the lion’s share of web traffic, this is crucial when creating online businesses.
For Google, the algorithm that deals with SEO rankings is known as Penguin. Google recently rolled out Penguin 4.0, aimed at punishing spam links and paid-for rank boosting. “Sticking to Google’s guidelines isn’t hard, and will also ensure you aren’t negatively affected by future updates” says Brian Lonsdale, Director of digital agency Glasgow Smarter Digital Marketing. While it’s nigh on impossible to know the workings behind the system, general SEO techniques are known to work and are key to building a successful e-commerce business. These include:
Manual Outreach – The modern version of Business to Business (B2B) cold-calling, manual outreach is exactly what it says on the tin: reaching out to high authority blogs or websites to write content them for them, in which is a link for your business and relevant keywords you wish to rank for. This is a symbiotic relationship; you get a back link, they get content.
Product Reviews – If you are engaging if e-commerce, you are most likely selling a product or a service. There are countless review sites and blogs online where all sorts of products get analysed. Sending free samples to bloggers and review sites gives your product exposure, and more often than not results in a free back link on the review site.
Natural Mentions – Similar to the above, it is entirely possible that someone will make an article about or that features your product/service without linking to your company. Use a brand mentions tool such as brandmentions.com to find mentions of a particular phrase and claim your free back link. Always remember to be polite when contacting those who have forgotten to add a link. The chances are they like you, so there’s no need to sour that opinion.
Expert Input – There are a myriad of business/marketing/journalism services, such as Response Source, dedicated to connecting experts to media outlets looking for their input. Provide quotable relevant input to an article that will be published digitally and you will gain yourself a backlink within the article. For the amount of input required, this is a very time-efficient way of gaining links. The downside is that it is case dependent; there may be some days where there is no demand for your input.
While not strictly SEO related, your website optimization will matter when getting people to spend money. A clean, easy-to-use UI (user interface) and good a good UX (user experience) are essential to guiding potential customers to becoming paying customers. Although it has fallen out of favour in recent years, the principle behind the rule of three clicks still holds true: make it easy for people to spend money. The easier it is to for the consumer to spend money on your site, the more money you will make.
This can principle can manifest itself it several ways. Ensuring there is no clutter on the website so the link to the e-commerce platform doesn’t get lost, placing the link at the top of the page, and minimizing text on appropriate pages (remember, text is still required for SEO purposes) are just some of the ways to go around web page optimization.
While SEO will play a large part in ensuring revenue through an e-commerce platform, there are still physical components to take into consideration:
Packing boxes – Do you have the necessary material for sending products? Heavy duty cardboard boxes for large items, postal tape and packing material to ensure their safety and protection, and a whole host of other materials. Packaging Supplier, Big Brown Box, say that “these are essential to avoid damage to products and prevent angry customers.”
Delivery service – Is your delivery service reliable? Is it ensured to an appropriate level of value should items get damaged/lost? Is it regular? These are just some of the questions to consider when choosing who to use to deliver your goods. A large part of the success of an e-commerce platform rests on the delivery service being consistent and professional.
Staff – As ridiculous as it sounds, this is an area many businesses fall short on. If you sell full, customizable kitchen sets that have to be packed by hand, asking one person to pack 20 sets a day simply isn’t going to work. Ensure you have the right amount of staff to handle your average daily workload.