SEO Best Practices for eCommerce

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SEO is a constant changing process. Search engine updates keep the SEO community on its toes, and have caused the industry to reshape itself a lot over the past few years, even months. …

SEO is a constant changing process. Search engine updates keep the SEO community on its toes, and have caused the industry to reshape itself a lot over the past few years, even months.

While SEO is an evolving industry / practice, certain best practices have held true and will continue to do so for many years.

This presentation will provide a summary of long-term value SEO tactics that can be shared / evangelized throughout the organization for long-term growth of SEO for your brand.

http://www.pmdigital.com/our_services/search_engine_optimization/

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  • 1. SEO for eCommerce Best PracticesPresented by Richard Chavez, PM Digital
  • 2. OverviewSEO is a constant changing process that has caused the industry toreshape itself. While SEO is an evolving industry / practice, certain bestpractices have held true and will continue to do so for many years. About PM Digital Why SEO is so important for eCommerce Best Practices  Technical  Keyword Strategy  Local SEO  Competitive Analysis  Analytics  Cross-Channel Integration Case Study Key Takeaways 2
  • 3. About PM Digital Digital Agency servicing clients in retail, financial services, non-profit, CPG and more Primary service offerings: SEO, SEM, Email Marketing, Social Media and Creative Clients include The North Face, Ulla Popken, dELiA’s, Steve Madden and many more 20 clients in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Based in New York with offices in Minneapolis, Columbia, SC and Scottsdale, AZ 3
  • 4. Why SEO is so important for eCommerce  Natural Search is “most commonly used resource to navigate websites,” 61% of website traffic – Forrester1 Paid Search  In March 2012 search drove 26% (SEM) of all traffic to retail sites2  Natural search is an earned media that can provide low-cost, long-term returns over time Natural  Natural search is a larger barrier Search (SEO) to entry for competitors 41. How Consumers Find Websites in 2011, Forrester2. March 2012 Hitwise Clickstream (upstream, sites driving traffic to Shopping Sites)
  • 5. SEO Best Practices – Three-Step Continuum Crawl Walk Run • Create entry paths for • Conduct keyword • Create connection search engines to research to points from other on- access product and understand how topic relevant sites to category content consumers search for yours • Site analysis to identify your products/services • Monitor competition and solve technical • Apply researched • Analyze performance obstacles keywords to the major • Make refinements as • This is the first critical page elements necessary step for a successful (titles, page copy, etc.) • Integrate with other SEO program ensuring the site’s marketing channels content reflects the consumer voice • Constant evolving process 5
  • 6. Technical Crawl Walk Run • Create entry • Conduct keyword • Create connection paths for search research to points from other engines to access understand how on-topic relevant product and consumers sites to yours (link category content search for your acquisition) First critical step of SEO success! • Site analysis to products/services • Monitor identify and solve • Apply researched competition technical keywords to the • Analyze obstacles major page performance Search engines cannot access • This is the first elements • Make refinements critical step for a (titles, page as necessary successful SEO copy, etc.) • Integrate with program ensuring the site’s content reflects other marketing sites/content/keywords if technical barriers the consumer voice channels • Constant evolving process exist Search engine bots only read content and follow links, they can’t click or enter content “Content cannot be viral unless it’s visible!” 6
  • 7. Most Critical Technical Obstacles Duplicate Content: two or more web pages containing the same content on different URLs  Primary Causes:  Session IDs  Mirrored Sites  Repetitive Meta Data and Titles  Mobile Sites  Products merchandised in multiple categories (main category, new arrivals, sale, etc.) 7
  • 8. Most Critical Technical Obstacles Products merchandised in multiple categories (main category, new arrivals, sale, etc.) Eye Care (Category) http://www.h2oplus.com/categ ory/skin+care/eye+care.do Sensitive Skin (Sub Anti-Aging (Sub Category) Dark Circles (Sub Category) Category) http://www.h2oplus.com/categ http://www.h2oplus.com/categ http://www.h2oplus.com/categ ory/skin+care/anti-aging.do ory/skin+care/dark+circles.do ory/skin+care/sensitive+skin.d o Sea Results Eye Defense Fortifying Serum (Product) http://www.h2oplus.com/prod uct/sea+results+eye+defense +fortifying+serum.do 8Source: PM Digital search ranking report (1-10 = page 1, 11-20 = page 2, 21-30 = page 3, beyond page 3 =0)
  • 9. Most Critical Technical Obstacles Flash: search engines have difficulty capturing content within the Flash movie  Most smartphones and tablets do not render Flash Site Migrations: search equity gained from legacy site (rankings, links, traffic, revenue) can be lost  Search Equity Migration Strategy:  Redirect old URLs to new  Develop for Visibility (incorporate Viewed as Googlebot technical SEO best practices into site build  Integrate keyword strategy into taxonomy  Start early! 9
  • 10. Keyword Strategy Crawl Walk Run • Create entry • Conduct • Create paths for keyword connection Gain an understanding of the consumer vernacular search engines research to points from to access understand how other on-topic product and consumers relevant sites to category search for your yours (link content products/servic acquisition) around core products and the needs they support to • Site analysis to identify and solve technical es • Apply researched • Monitor competition • Analyze understand the consumer’s journey and the search obstacles keywords to the performance • This is the first major page • Make critical step for elements refinements as a successful (titles, page necessary General Interest SEO program copy, etc.) • Integrate with terms they use when shopping online (brand speak ensuring the site’s content reflects the consumer voice other marketing channels • Constant Investigation evolving vs. consumer speak) al process The outcome is a view of the consumer decision Narrowi process / sales funnel. The data can be used to align ng Conversi the keyword data to taxonomy, URL structure, on navigation and product naming (e.g. “denim” vs. Search Demand1 “jeans”) 60,000 40,000 The end results goal is brand awareness at each 20,000 0 stage of the sales funnel (think Progressive Jeans Denim Insurance) 1. Estimated monthly search demand, exact-match, local, Google 10
  • 11. SEO % of SEO Visibility SEO % Clicks SEO % of Rev. Keyword Strategy Pg 1 (1-3) 91% Orders 93% 93%  Recommended Actions: Pg 1 (4-10) Pg 2 7.83% 0.22% 6.50% 0.17% 6.59% 0.13%  Apply researched keywords to titles, Beyond Pg 2 0.95% 0.33% 0.28% meta data, body copy, links Source: PM Digital SEO Performance Study by Keyword Ranking  Monitor and continue to improve Keyword Share of Voice1 150 rankings 100 50 0  Rankings matter!  Optimize for your brand  Maintain ownership of your brand 2 over retail partners, eBay and more  Create content based on search demand (FAQs, education articles, comparison tools, etc.)  Modify SEO tactics/strategy as needed 111. Keyword Share of Voice (highest amount of first-page rankings on Google, Yahoo and Bing)2. Downstream Websites (organic clicks, 12-wks), Hitwise, sites receiving highest amount of SEO traffic
  • 12. Linking Strategy Crawl Walk Run • Create entry • Conduct • Create paths for keyword connection Search engines consider links from other search engines research to points from to access understand how other on-topic product and consumers relevant sites to category search for your yours (link content products/servic acquisition) relevant sites as votes of trust for the site in • Site analysis to identify and es • Apply • Monitor competition solve technical researched • Analyze question obstacles • This is the first critical step for keywords to the major page elements performance • Make refinements as Creating new connection points from on-topic a successful (titles, page necessary SEO program copy, etc.) • Integrate with ensuring the other marketing site’s content channels reflects the relevant sites to your site will not only create new consumer voice • Constant evolving process relevant entry points for search engines but help introduce the brand to new customers The most important element to consider when obtaining links is Quality over Quantity Think about the placement of your brand in terms of link partners. If the site supports/compliments your brand then it may be a good placement (i.e. a fashion blog for a women’s retailer) 12
  • 13. Linking Strategy Recommended Actions for Linking:  Secure links from business partners (be transparent as to why), avoid Home Depot’s recent linking mistake  Develop relationships with influential bloggers in your industry (fashion, health, etc.) offer to share content for them to publish (this takes time)  Optimize social profiles and videos and link to your site (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Flickr, Pinterest)  Local sites (Yelp, Urbanspoon, IYPs, Local.com, BBB)  Top rated directories  Never pay for links or offer discounts for links 13
  • 14. Local Search Crawl Walk Run • Create entry • Conduct • Create paths for keyword connection search engines research to points from to access understand how other on-topic  “To succeed, marketers need to craft a product and category content consumers search for your products/servic relevant sites to yours (link acquisition) • Site analysis to es • Monitor comprehensive local search advertising identify and solve technical obstacles • Apply researched keywords to the competition • Analyze performance strategy to reach consumers who hop, for • This is the first critical step for a successful major page elements (titles, page • Make refinements as necessary SEO program copy, etc.) • Integrate with example, from MapQuest to Internet yellow ensuring the site’s content reflects the other marketing channels • Constant consumer voice pages (IYP) and then to their favorite search evolving process engine.” ~Forrester Research  While primary KPIs/goals may be for online conversion, several consumers search online and purchase offline (~63%)1  Local store options do appear frequently in broader searches 141. Importance of Search in Influencing Offline Buying, comScore
  • 15. Local Search Recommended Actions:  Create pages for each physical store, link internally and optimize for the following:  Local searches by state and city (target geo-specific keywords [brand and non-brand])  Submit store listings to Google, Yahoo and Bing Places with individual store URLs Benefits:  More real estate in search result pages  More brand ownership/corp. content  Directs users to store page vs. home 15
  • 16. Competitive Analysis Page Brand  Comp 1  MODERAT Comp 2  Comp 3  VERY Optimization STRONG WEAK E STRONG   The competitive landscape is always shifting. Visibility  MODERATE VERY STRONG  WEAK  MODERATE Reviewing competitors’ strengths and Technical   MODERAT   MODERATE STRONG STRONG weaknesses relative to our own will help create a E     roadmap to grow natural search share of voice Traffic MODERATE VERY STRONG VERY WEAK STRONG  Primary metrics to measure: Link    VERY  STRONG STRONG MODERATE  Keyword Rankings (individual keywords and Analysis STRONG  Average    share of voice) Score MODERATE STRONG MODERAT E STRONG  Natural Search Traffic 2 Top Keyword Rankings1 150 100 50 0 161. Keyword Ranking Share of Voice (highest amount of first-page rankings on Google, Yahoo and Bing)2. Downstream Websites (organic clicks, 12-wks), Hitwise, sites receiving highest amount of SEO traffic
  • 17. 1 Competitive Analysis Recommended Actions  Leverage third-party sources to identify linking opportunities, keyword strategies, content strategy, etc.  Review competitor and dealer partner sites for optimization tactics 2  Page titles  Meta data 3  On-page copy1. Website Search Share (Shopping, Health & Beauty), organic clicks, 12-wks, Hitwise, sites receiving highest amount of SEO traffic 172. Search Terms driving natural search traffic to Sephora, organic clicks, 12-wks, Hitwise3. Top Backlinks Report (sites linking to Sephora.com), Majestic SEO
  • 18. Analytics Crawl Walk Run • Create entry • Conduct • Create paths for keyword connection Like any digital marketing channel, SEO online performance search engines to access product and research to understand how consumers points from other on-topic relevant sites to category search for your yours (link is 100% measurable content • Site analysis to identify and products/servic es • Apply acquisition) • Monitor competition Demonstrating tangible success is critical to grow the solve technical obstacles • This is the first researched keywords to the major page • Analyze performance • Make critical step for elements refinements as channel, gain enterprise support and integrate with other a successful SEO program (titles, page copy, etc.) ensuring the necessary • Integrate with other marketing site’s content marketing channels reflects the consumer voice channels • Constant evolving Most analytics software programs (Google Analytics, process Coremetrics, Omniture) track SEO performance very well based on traffic, orders, conversion rates, revenue sitewide, by URL and keyword Third-party SEO tools (SEO Clarity, SyCara, BrightEdge, SEOMoz, Majestic SEO) also provide valuable insights for more advanced SEO measurement (brand vs. non-brand, link analysis, % of SEO contribution and more) 18
  • 19. Analytics Recommended Core KPIs for SEO Measurement:  Sitewide  Traffic, Orders/Conversions, Revenue  Brand vs. Non-Brand  % of SEO to total traffic  % of SEO to total revenue  % of SEO to total conversions  Average Order Value  Growth in inbound links  By Keyword  Rankings across Google, Yahoo, Bing  Top driving keywords (brand/non-brand)  Traffic and Revenue  Keyword Share of Voice1  Natural Search Traffic Share of Voice2  Create monthly dashboard to share throughout the org. 191. Available via SEO Clarity, Sycara, BrightEdge, Conductor2. Available via Hitwise, comScore, Compete and others
  • 20. Cross-Channel Integration Crawl • Create Walk • Conduct Run • Create entry keyword connectio paths for research n points search to from other engines to on-topic relevant In March 2012 search drove 26% of all traffic to SEO % SEO % of SEO % of SEM % SEM % of SEM % of SEO Visibility Clicks Orders Rev. Clicks Orders Rev. retail sites, Social media drove 6% of all traffic to retail sites1 Page 1 (1-3) 91% 93% 93% 58% 73% 73% Several brand campaigns no matter the channel Page 1 (4-10) 7.83% 6.50% 6.59% 10.08% 9.91% 9.91% can create significant buzz / search demand. Page 2 0.22% 0.17% 0.13% 3.56% 2.03% 2.03% Digital Marketing (SEO, SEM, Social) are great Beyond Page 2 0.95% 0.33% 0.28% 28.68% 14.90% 14.90% mechanisms to support that demand Source: PM Digital SEO / SEM Performance Study by Keyword Ranking While part of the same channel, paid and natural search have unique strategies, tactics and KPI’s Search Demand Growth: Easy Button2 Social media, PR also have significant influences on SEO 201. Clickstream (sites visited before), Shopping, Hitwise, March 20122. Search demand growth trend, Google Insights, Jan 2010 – Jan 2012
  • 21. Cross-Channel Integration Recommended Actions:  SEO / SEM data sharing  SEO / SEM Blended Reporting (Quarterly)  Optimize press releases (links, release elements, images, etc.)  Optimize social profiles for core brand message and top non-brand keywords and link to site (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest)  Upload and optimize videos (YouTube, Vimeo)  Upload product images to Flickr and Pinterest  Leverage customer reviews (on your site [Power Reviews, BazaarVoice])  Encourage customer reviews on their experience with your brand (Bizrate, Epinions, etc.) data is integrated in search results  Leverage search / keyword data to inform marketing strategy for other channels, product naming, etc.  Optimize for core messaging of marketing campaigns (top-down approach) 21
  • 22. Case StudyCHALLENGE:  A site platform migration and rebuild:  SEO risks based on loss of search visibility from new URLs, content changes, linksSOLUTION:  PM Digital partnered with client to develop a SEO-friendly site structure that would improve upon previous SEO efforts  Conducted extensive keyword research and optimization that was integrated into the site build process  Migrated all existing brand-site URLs to the new site via 301 redirects transitioning all existing search equity (rankings, link value) to the new siteRESULTS:  Greatly improved SEO technical infrastructure  Natural search traffic increased 98% (Q3 2010 – 2011 YOY)  Natural search revenue increased 147% % (Q3 2010 – 2011 YOY) 22
  • 23. Key Takeaways Remove technical obstacles to ensure proper search engine access  Develop new sites with SEO as the foundation Use keyword search behavior data to optimize site, develop taxonomy, create content Monitor keyword ranking and modify SEO tactics as needed to increase visibility and competitive share of voice Develop quality links over time from relevant sites Create pages for store locations and ensure they are linked internally  Submit store listings to Google, Yahoo and Bing local Monitor competitors regularly for the following: keyword rankings, share of voice, traffic and links Measure traffic, revenue and all pertinent KPIs via standard analytics and other tools if necessary and share throughout the organization Share data from other channels and integrate learnings into SEO strategy and inform other channels from search data 23
  • 24. Thank YouRichard ChavezSr. Director, SEOPM Digital212-851-8681rchavez@pmdigital.comwww.pmdigital.comBlog: http://blog.pmdigital.com/Twitter: @PMDigital, @richardachavez 24