There’s nothing worse than seeing your hard earned SEO traffic fail to convert.
You’ve spent hours targeting keywords and refining content only to have those new visitors leave again.
Since The Good is a conversion optimization firm, you may think I’m about to tell you conversion optimization is the only answer. The truth is, if you can get your ecommerce SEO right, it can maximise the benefit of on site conversion optimization.
Let me explain.
By assessing the keywords you are currently ranking for on Google, and conducting additional keyword research, you can discover new keywords with high commercial intent that will help bring higher quality, ready-to-purchase traffic to your ecommerce site.
This article will show you step-by-step, exactly how to maximise your SEO to compliment your conversion optimization efforts. We will draw on examples from a fictitious sock ecommerce store to help us along the way.
Are you ranking for the right keywords?
The first step in the process is to assess the keywords you are currently ranking for on Google, and whether they are driving the right type of high commercial intent traffic to your site. To do this you will ideally have access to Google ranking tracking software (like Moz or AWR Cloud) and Google Analytics.
If you don’t have access to ranking traffic software, you can achieve similar results by looking through the queries that bring the most clicks to your site using Google Search Console.
Now, using either the ranking tracker or your own judgement, take up to 10 keywords which you rank on page 1 for, and which you believe are currently the most important to your business. These could be product categories or specific products.
Once you have a list of your “very important keywords”, map your ranking landing page against each keyword.
So for our sock shop, the list may look something like this:
The next step is to begin collecting data on how traffic going to that page is performing. Using Google Analytics, go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels – and change the primary dimension to “Landing Pages”. Then, next to each keyword and URL, we can record the following metrics:
- Sessions – this will show us how valuable the keyword is in terms of traffic that it brings to your site.
- Bounce Rate – this is a great indicator of how relevant your landing page is to the search. The higher the bounce rate, the less satisfied searchers were that your landing page satisfied the query. A high bounce rate could of course also be attributed to a poor page UX, but in our analysis we will assume that on page CRO has already been nailed down.
- Ecommerce Conversion Rate – Select your most relevant ecommerce goal i.e. a product purchase rather than a newsletter signup.
- Number of Conversions – Another useful metric to measure the total impact of your organic traffic.
- Average Order Value – We need this metric to determine the spending power of the traffic that lands on the site through each keyword.
- Revenue – This crucial metric will show us how valuable the keyword is to us in terms of what matters the most.
Using Google Sheets or Excel, you should now have columns which look something like this:
To download this template, click the link here.
Once you have filled in all the relevant information, you can start to see which keywords are bringing your end funnel high converting traffic, and which keywords are bringing you top funnel/low converting traffic.
Let’s start with the keywords which are bringing you low converting traffic. The fact that these keywords are bringing you low converting traffic is not necessarily a problem. In fact, it is important to cover top funnel keywords in your SEO strategy as doing so helps to introduce your brand/service to searchers with a broad interest and who have not necessarily heard of your brand or product before.
However, take a look at the Bounce Rate. If you have a very low converting keyword, and your Bounce Rate is also near 100%, it could be that the people who search for this keyword are actually looking for something very different from what you offer. If the bounce rate is high, you didn’t even get a chance to introduce your product or brand to the searcher. In circumstances such as this, this traffic is almost useless, and so you should consider focusing your SEO strategy away from keywords like this.
As an example, say your online sock store is getting a lot of traffic for the term “soccer socks”. These socks are a very specific product, and may not be something that fits within the scope of your high end sock business. Consequently, if you do not (and will not in the future) sell these socks, its best to move away from this keyword.
Now let’s compile the higher converting keywords, and use those to begin our keyword research.
Research high converting organic keywords
The keywords we have established as high converting in the previous section will form our seed keywords.
Let’s return to our high end sock ecommerce store, and imagine that the term “silk socks” is one of your most important keywords.
Using the Moz Keyword Explorer (or Google Keyword Planner), enter “silk socks” into the keyword suggestions box.
Now browse down the list and take a look at each suggestion.
The term “silk socks” is relatively broad, and so it could be that many of these searches are by people who have just started their research into buying silk socks. As a potential customer becomes more educated about a product, they are likely to ask more detailed questions. This suggests higher commercial intent. Those searchers who are further down the buying funnel may search for something more specific, like “blue silk socks”, or as Moz helpfully points out “women’s silk sock liners” or “mens pure silk socks”.
Therefore by targeting these more specific searches, you can begin to target those searchers who are further through the buying cycle, and who are ready to convert.
This tactic can be repeated with each “very important keyword” to build a list of more specific keywords, which are likely to bring more conversion ready traffic to your site.
After you have compiled a list of potential new keywords, have a chat with your PPC partner. If they have budget, it can be useful to let them bid on the keywords first, just to gauge the potential traffic volume and potential conversion rate. If the PPC team gets a high conversion rate, it is time to move on to ranking for those keywords.
How to rank for those keywords
The new keyword that you have discovered should be a more specific version of your seed keyword. This means that by altering the existing product page slightly, we can help it to rank for the new keyword.
Start by adding the new keyword into the existing landing page product description as naturally as possible. For example, back to our silk socks example – say we want to rank for the term “blue silk socks”, add “These socks are available in …” and list the colours the socks are available in to the product description. After you have made this change, submit the page for crawling by Google, and carefully monitor whether the product page starts to rank for the new term.
If after 6 months the page is still not in the top 50 for the new keyword, we can start to be more aggressive. Option number 1 could be to add the new keyword to the title tag. For example, back to our blue sock example, we could change the title tag to “Silk socks – various colors incl. blue”. Google uses the keywords in the title tag to determine what the page is about, and so by including the word “blue” in the title tag, you are telling Google that the page is about blue silk socks.
Another option is to link to the product page from somewhere else on the site, and use the keyword “blue silk socks”. This would demonstrate to Google that the product page you are linking to is about “blue silk socks”. Look through the articles on your blog and see if there is a relevant place to link. As per Google Guidelines, make sure the link is used in a natural way.
Measure the performance of the new keyword
As your landing page begins to rank for the new keyword, your landing page will begin to pick up more organic traffic.
Add the keyword to the sheet you made previously and fill in the metrics on a week by week basis. Soon you will get an idea of how the keyword is performing, and whether it is indeed bringing more conversion ready traffic to your site – and by extension, more sales!
It is a good idea to continuously repeat the processes mentioned in the blog post, so that as markets change and evolve, you are the first to target each keyword, and the first to reep the rewards.