SEO has a tendency to feel a little old-school, especially when ecommerce brands have found massive success with up-and-coming social media platforms like TikTok. A well-placed Facebook or Instagram ad has an immediately quantifiable ROI. So does a PPC search campaign. You put in the effort, you see the real results. Even beyond that, with all the hip brands who’ve built their business on the backs of influencer marketing (one detox tea sponsored post from a reality star at a time) SEO is infinitely less trendy.
Nonetheless, a solid SEO strategy is the foundation upon which all your other marketing efforts will thrive. It’s still one of the best ways to sway potential shoppers. Don’t believe us? Let’s look at the facts: according to a GE Shopper Research Study, 81% of people do an online search before purchasing a product — and this isn’t just people who are set on purchasing something online. A whopping 65% of people look up price comparisons on their mobile phone while they’re in a physical store. Some data even shows that search drives 10 times more ecommerce traffic than social media.
Suffice to say, SEO is a key puzzle piece in the success of an ecommerce brand, but especially B2B ecommerce brands that don’t rely as heavily on influencer marketing campaigns or large social media followings. The following tips can help you take your B2B brand’s SEO to the next level.
Streamline Your Website Structure
All ecommerce brands are greatly impacted by their website’s structure, and an optimized website structure will boost your ranking on SERPs (search engine results pages). Generally,
you can add two things to have the biggest impact:
- Breadcrumb navigation
- Clean URLs
The short definition of breadcrumb navigation is that it’s a form of navigation where users can easily see where they are in your website’s hierarchy without having to mouse-over navigation or check the URL. Ever see a list of links above a store’s main content that tells you where you are? That’s breadcrumb navigation. For example, an office tech and supplies retailer might have breadcrumb navigation that looks like:
Office Supplies > Scanners & Printers > Inkjet Printers
You should also create pages with clean URLs. If the URL can tell a customer what page they’re on in easily readable language, it’s also telling search engines. Here’s an example of a clean URL from Elevation:
This tells both human readers and Google’s algorithm that this is a page where Elevation explains the marketing services we provide in the computer hardware industry. Simply switching to readable URLs will give your rankings an instant boost.Cut Out The Slow Stuff
Since 2010, Google has factored site speed into its ranking. The faster the page loads, the better your chances of ranking higher, but having a fast website also leads to more conversions. Something as simple as a one second delay in page load time can lead to a 7% loss in conversions, 11% fewer page views, and a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction. That adds up to a lot of lost sales.
To speed up your ecommerce site, avoid auto-load videos, cut down on the pop-ups, and try to reduce image file sizes as much as possible while still maintaining quality.
Make Your Website Mobile
In the world of B2B ecommerce, the desktop is no longer king. An increasing number of consumers are buying — or at least researching — products on their mobile devices. According to recent studies, smartphones made up 39% of holiday retail sales in 2020, and that’s before the coronavirus pandemic made consumers more inclined to skip the brick-and-mortar store and buy stuff online. In 2021, organic search traffic alone accounted for 20% of ecommerce revenue.
As far as SEO goes, Google specifically looks for mobile sites that are speedy and responsive. In a mobile search, they’ll penalize websites that aren’t mobile friendly. This means you should focus on creating a responsive mobile design with easy-to-use navigation and user experience (UX), simple mobile checkouts, and optimized page speed.
Research Your Keywords Carefully
Yes, keywords still matter in 2021. All ecommerce brands should start with a strong foundation of keywords that they can keep in mind while crafting their website’s content — including adding keywords to image names and metadata. Google Keyword Planner is an excellent tool to help you find basic keyword information.
The goal is to not only find keywords with a high monthly search volume, but also to find keywords that customers would be using. For example, think about keywords that someone who’s ready to make a purchase might search. Always Google your keywords to see what the competition is doing. If too many major brands rank, whereas you’re a smaller B2B brand, you may want to use more niche, long-tail keywords targeted at specific products.
Avoid Repeated Content
This is difficult when product pages often have similar information, but you want to keep your content unique as possible to avoid confusing search algorithms and lowering your brand’s overall search value. It goes without saying, but blog content copied from elsewhere on the web — even if it’s your own brand copying portions of its own blog posts — can lower your ranking.
To avoid the pitfalls of content cannibalization, optimize your product pages with unique descriptions, meta descriptions, H1 tags, and titles (and bonus points for adding video, which can increase conversions by 80% and raise your SERP ranking). If you find that you have a lot of similar content or products, you may want to use a canonical URL (if you don’t know what that is, Shopify has a great guide).
At The End Of The Day, Write Content For Humans
Gone are the days where search engines prioritize content solely based on how many keywords are stuffed into a single paragraph. Instead, Google focuses on useful content. There are 200 different factors that affect ranking, but the general gist is that Google’s looking to prioritize websites that are useful to the searcher and an authoritative source.
Authority can be built through a linking strategy. In the world of B2B, this often includes a publicist obtaining editorial links through product reviews or guest posts as well as working on local link citations. Still, the most natural way to build links — and boost your overall SEO — is by posting content users want to share.
Take a question and answers approach to your content. Think about the questions your consumers might be asking, and try to answer them whether it’s on an industry blog, forum, or post on your own website. Not only does it build SEO, but it shows consumers that they can count on your brand. Consumer trust is priceless.
Need help improving your SEO? Contact us and let the experts help!