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Ecommerce SEO guide for the 2022 holiday season

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Ecommerce SEO guide for the 2022 holiday season

30-second summary:

  • Global recession and cost of living crisis will not dampen the gifting spirit and consumer spending
  • For the 2022 holiday season, ecommerce retailers forecast $262 billion in revenue which surpasses the $205 billion benchmark from 2021
  • If you found yourself Googling “ideas to boost ecommerce holiday season revenue” we have answers for you!
  • Our latest guide uncovers the 8 sides of a robust, proven-to-work ecommerce SEO strategy that will help propel your sales

Holiday season brings with it many things. One of them being ecommerce revenue. Despite the global recession and cost of living crisis, the 2022 holiday season will see people spending. Economists at Deloitte forecast ecommerce revenue of around $262 billion which is a 13.5 percent growth.

The question here is, how do you get a share of this $260 billion ecommerce pie? By working on improving your ecommerce SEO.

Holiday ecommerce sales forecast to grow 13.5 percent

Source: Axios

Search engines push 37.5 percent of all traffic to ecommerce sites, and a whopping 95 percent of these searchers stick to the first SERP. Having an early enough start to your ecommerce search strategy helps you earn visibility in top SERPs, measure effectiveness, test, and scale practices as the peak season approaches.

Ecommerce SEO can help your store rank higher and offer a better user experience by making sure your website aligns with search engine ranking factors.

However, Google, the most used search engine, updates its ranking factors several times a year according to its users’ changing behavior. So, you need to upgrade your marketing toolkit with the latest SEO techniques before the holiday season.

In this article, you’ll find some of the latest and proven-to-work ecommerce SEO strategies to hopefully point you in the right direction as you prepare to dip your hands into the holiday season. 

Let’s dive right in!

The eight layers of a powerful ecommerce SEO strategy

Ranking an ecommerce store is critical to winning those holiday sales. Why? Because people turn to Google whenever they are looking to shop for holiday essentials or presents.

In this situation, an ecommerce website that fails to rank higher may miss out on interacting with holiday shoppers out with their money.

So, here are some key ecommerce SEO techniques to help you to help your website rank higher and possibly interact with holiday shoppers:

1. Focus on keyword research

Holiday shopping begins with keywords. People type in search phrases when they are looking to buy something. And that’s where your opportunity to rank lies. 

44 percent of people start their online shopping journey with a Google search. Keyword research might help you find words to help Google and other search engines connect these shoppers with your web page.

ecommerce keyword research differs slightly from regular keyword research. In this case, your focus is to identify and include search phrases with commercial or transactional intent.

There could be keywords that appear commercial but could have an informational intent and hence may prove detrimental to your SEO.

1665663305 989 Ecommerce SEO guide for the 2022 holiday season

The phrase “best winter shoes for women US” may seem like a transactional keyword. But as it appears from the top search result, it has a dominant informational intent. 

Let’s talk about finding these keywords.

Your keyword research should start with brainstorming keyword ideas. Make a list of all the products you sell, and then jump in your customer’s shoes to see how they would search for what you are selling.

Say that you have a shoe store and sell running and other types of shoes. Your customers may search for your product with keywords like “running shoes” or “buy best running shoes.”

Think of all such keywords.

Backlinko also recommends diving into amazon and typing these root words into the search bar to find more keyword ideas.

amazon keywords - ecommerce seo for 2022 holiday season

All of the phrases in the image above can be used as root keywords for shoe store SEO. 

You can also check out your competitor’s websites to uncover the keywords that they are ranking for.

check competitor websites to find keywords for your 2022 holiday season ecommerce strategy

From the image above, we can see that “Buy best winter shoes for women” might be a good alternative to the “best winter shoes for women” keyphrase. 

Also, scroll to the end of the SERPs to check out the related searches section for more keyword ideas.

refer the related keywords to create a keyword list - ecommerce seo for 2022 holiday season

Make a list of keywords during this brainstorming session. 

Make sure to corroborate the search intent before shortlisting a keyword. Sometimes a keyword may appear to have commercial intent, but in reality, it may be informational.

Finally, run your keyword ideas through a keyword research tool like Google Adwords to determine the search volume and competition.

Low search volume and high-competition keywords are usually recommended. But when trying to rank an ecommerce store, you might benefit from long-tail keywords with low search volume and competition. But these keywords are touted to convert better and may help your website rank sooner.

2. Focus on content

Google now prioritizes websites with descriptive and valuable content. You cannot achieve results with your e-commerce SEO campaign while ignoring content.

Find out what’s trending in the holiday season. What are people talking about? And then create content around topics or products that are trending. 

Focus on optimizing all the content present on your website, along with creating new, informational, and valuable content.

Optimize your product descriptions with relevant keywords. Avoid keyword stuffing, though. Instead, create product descriptions that give users all the information they may need before buying a product.

This may include product details and reviews.

focus on the content in product details and reviews - ecommerce seo for 2022 holiday season

Besides product pages, consider creating a separate blog to post top-of-the-funnel content like blogs, case studies, product reviews, etc. Not only will this enrich your website’s content, it may also help rank your site quicker, drive more web traffic, and generate better leads.

Long-form content, especially blogs, gets around 77% more backlinks than short-form content. Therefore, pumping out informative, unique articles may also help build your backlink profile.

Since we have touched on the topic of backlinks…

3. Yes, backlinks are still relevant

Many people believe backlinks have gone down the hierarchy of ranking factors. That’s not true, though.

Backlinks are as important as ever. When determining your website’s authority, Google relies on the number, quality, and relevance of your backlinks. So, don’t slack off on acquiring links from other relevant sites on the internet.

Gaining backlinks for an ecommerce store may not be as straightforward as building some random blog’s backlink profile.

There are many bloggers that create seasonal content and it could be an opportunity in your ecommerce SEO strategy to get backlinks on holiday season offers and discount pages. Consider reaching out to them and asking them if they could write a holiday season piece on your product and link back to your site, or offer to write a guest post for them to earn a backlink.

Additionally, there are many product review websites. You can reach out to them, send your product, and ask them to write a review of the product and link back to the product’s page on your website.

connect with product review websites

Brand mentions like these may help uplift your SEO scores since 52 percent of marketers believe brand mentions impact organic rankings.

4. Work on improving website user experience (UX)

Website user experience is an important ranking factor. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

There are various ways you can improve your website’s user experience. The first one is through site structure.

Your website needs to be easy to navigate for the users and crawl for the search engines. And for that, you will have to make sure all your web pages are arranged so that every page within the website is accessible through three or fewer clicks. This is what backlinko calls the golden rule of website structure.

Here’s a representation of what a good website structure may look like:

what a good ecommerce website structure looks like

Source 

And here’s an example:

page footer site links should be clear to the user - ecommerce seo for 2022 holiday season

Once you have improved the site structure, look at the URLs of the web pages you’ve just sorted. Your website URL should tell the user what the page is about with a short but descriptive keyword.

Here’s an example of what good URLs may look like:

shoesforyou.com/athletic/runningshoes

shoesforyou.com/leisure/sneakers

shoesforyou.com/formal

Furthermore, 73 percent of web designers believe a non-responsive web design is one of the top reasons visitors leave a website. I know these are hard words but I should say all your ecommerce SEO efforts could be wasted, if your e-commerce store is not mobile-friendly and responsive web design happens to be a critical ranking factor. So make sure your website is mobile optimized so the design can adjust according to the screen it appears on.

An example of responsive web design:

responsive web design

Source

Another factor that shapes your website’s user experience is its security. Google, too, prioritizes website security and works to make sure the websites it drives its users to are secure.

Make sure you have a TLS certificate, so “HTTPS” and a little lock appear in the URL bar for the users to know your website is safe.

TLS certificate for HTTPS - site security

5. Page load speed

Page load speed is a part of the website’s user experience. But because it is so important, especially for an ecommerce store, it deserves its own space. 

A drop in page load speed decreases the conversion rates, with almost 75 percent of people tending to change their mind during the checkout process if the website is too slow or taking time to load during checkout.

Since the holiday season usually adds to the website load, your website can slow down. Be proactive and make sure you have enough website resources to handle the holiday rush. 

Google counts a page’s load speed as an important ranking factor and so make sure to remove unnecessary ad blockers, scripts, or optimize everything that can drag your website down in terms of speed.

6. On-page optimization

On-page optimization includes fine-tuning the relatively smaller website elements contained within the web page.

36 percent of SEO experts believe the title tag is the most important SEO element. Therefore, optimize your title tag so it is descriptive, short, and keyword-optimized.

You can use Moz’s Title Tag checker to see how your title would look on the SERP and optimize it accordingly.

title tag optimization for your ecommerce seo strategy - holiday season 2022

Meta descriptions are critical as well. While they do not influence SEO directly, meta descriptions play a vital role in shaping your CTR. So, take the time to write crips and compelling descriptions.

Also, make sure to include keyword-optimized H2s and H3s wherever possible. And don’t forget to optimize the images on every web page.

7. Make good use of schema markup

Schema Markup is a set of codes you can embed in your web page’s HTML to help Google understand the page. It also enables the search engine to return more informative and descriptive results, otherwise known as snippets.

This is particularly important for an ecommerce site because users want to ensure the website they click on contains what they are looking for. And optimized snippets give them that and hence contribute to improved CTRs.

While Google decides what it wants to display in the snippets section, including what you want to be displayed as a snippet through Schema may increase the chances of Google going with what you have chosen.

user schema markup

8. Optimizing ecommerce stores for RankBrain

RankBrain is one of Google’s most historical updates and is now among the top three ranking factors. This algorithm helps Google rank sites that are contextually relevant to the search queries.

Therefore, prioritize understanding your audience and creating the content THEY need alongside working on the technical aspects of e-commerce SEO.

Additionally, work on increasing your website’s engagement rates since Backlinko believes dwell time is an important ranking factor with RankBrain. And as mentioned above, look for any authoritative backlinking opportunity you get and capitalize on it.

Final words

Finding visibility in the search engine space during the holiday season is critical to help drive business revenue. However, winning with ecommerce SEO is tough but not impossible. You might compete with big sharks like Amazon, who dominate the first page. Therefore, you may have to be smart about your strategies.

Building a content-first SEO strategy can help here as these pages may rank more easily and help channel traffic to product pages that may struggle to rank when Amazon reigns over the SERPs.

So, focus on creating optimized, informative, and user-focused content. Work on the technical aspects of SEO, and continue tracking the latest search engine updates to adapt your SEO tool kit accordingly.


Atul Jindal is a web design and marketing specialist. He has worked on website/app optimization for SEO with a core focus on conversion optimization. He creates web experiences that bring conversations and transform web traffic into paying customers or leads.

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Google Quietly Ends Covid-Era Rich Results

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Google Quietly Ends Covid-Era Rich Results

Google removed the Covid-era structured data associated with the Home Activities rich results that allowed online events to be surfaced in search since August 2020, publishing a mention of the removal in the search documentation changelog.

Home Activities Rich Results

The structured data for the Home Activities rich results allowed providers of online livestreams, pre-recorded events and online events to be findable in Google Search.

The original documentation has been completely removed from the Google Search Central webpages and now redirects to a changelog notation that explains that the Home Activity rich results is no longer available for display.

The original purpose was to allow people to discover things to do from home while in quarantine, particularly online classes and events. Google’s rich results surfaced details of how to watch, description of the activities and registration information.

Providers of online events were required to use Event or Video structured data. Publishers and businesses who have this kind of structured data should be aware that this kind of rich result is no longer surfaced but it’s not necessary to remove the structured data if it’s a burden, it’s not going to hurt anything to publish structured data that isn’t used for rich results.

The changelog for Google’s official documentation explains:

“Removing home activity documentation
What: Removed documentation on home activity structured data.

Why: The home activity feature no longer appears in Google Search results.”

Read more about Google’s Home Activities rich results:

Google Announces Home Activities Rich Results

Read the Wayback Machine’s archive of Google’s original announcement from 2020:

Home activities

Featured Image by Shutterstock/Olga Strel

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Google’s Gary Illyes: Lastmod Signal Is Binary

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Google's Gary Illyes: Lastmod Signal Is Binary

In a recent LinkedIn discussion, Gary Illyes, Analyst at Google, revealed that the search engine takes a binary approach when assessing a website’s lastmod signal from sitemaps.

The revelation came as Illyes encouraged website owners to upgrade to WordPress 6.5, which now natively supports the lastmod element in sitemaps.

When Mark Williams-Cook asked if Google has a “reputation system” to gauge how much to trust a site’s reported lastmod dates, Illyes stated, “It’s binary: we either trust it or we don’t.”

No Shades Of Gray For Lastmod

The lastmod tag indicates the date of the most recent significant update to a webpage, helping search engines prioritize crawling and indexing.

Illyes’ response suggests Google doesn’t factor in a website’s history or gradually build trust in the lastmod values being reported.

Google either accepts the lastmod dates provided in a site’s sitemap as accurate, or it disregards them.

This binary approach reinforces the need to implement the lastmod tag correctly and only specify dates when making meaningful changes.

Illyes commends the WordPress developer community for their work on version 6.5, which automatically populates the lastmod field without extra configuration.

Accurate Lastmod Essential For Crawl Prioritization

While convenient for WordPress users, the native lastmod support is only beneficial if Google trusts you’re using it correctly.

Inaccurate lastmod tags could lead to Google ignoring the signal when scheduling crawls.

With Illyes confirming Google’s stance, it shows there’s no room for error when using this tag.

Why SEJ Cares

Understanding how Google acts on lastmod can help ensure Google displays new publish dates in search results when you update your content.

It’s an all-or-nothing situation – if the dates are deemed untrustworthy, the signal could be disregarded sitewide.

With the information revealed by Illyes, you can ensure your implementation follows best practices to the letter.


Featured Image: Danishch/Shutterstock

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How to Persuade Your Boss to Send You to Ahrefs Evolve

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How to Persuade Your Boss to Send You to Ahrefs Evolve

There’s one thing standing between you and several days of SEO, socializing, and Singaporean sunshine: your boss (and their Q4 budget 😅).

But don’t worry—we’ve got your back. Here are 5 arguments (and an example message) you can use to persuade your boss to send you to Ahrefs Evolve.

About Ahrefs Evolve

  • 2 days in sunny Singapore (Oct 24–25)
  • 500 digital marketing enthusiasts
  • 18 top speakers from around the world

Learn more and buy tickets.

SEO is changing at a breakneck pace. Between AI Overviews, Google’s rolling update schedule, their huge API leak, and all the documents released during their antitrust trial, it’s hard to keep up. What works in SEO today?

You could watch a YouTube video or two, maybe even attend an hour-long webinar. Or, much more effective: you could spend two full days learning from a panel of 18 international SEO experts, discussing your takeaways live with other attendees.

How to Persuade Your Boss to Send You to AhrefsHow to Persuade Your Boss to Send You to Ahrefs
Evolve speakers from around the world.

Our world-class speakers are tackling the hardest problems and best opportunities in SEO today. The talk agenda covers topics like:

  • Responding to AI Overviews: Amanda King will teach you how to respond to AI Overviews, Google Gemini, and other AI search functions.
  • Surviving (and thriving) Google’s algo updates: Lily Ray will talk through Google’s recent updates, and share data-driven recommendations for what’s working in search today.
  • Planning for the future of SEO: Bernard Huang will talk through the failures of AI content and the path to better results.

(And attendees will get video recordings of each session, so you can share the knowledge with your teammates too.)

View the full talk agenda here.

There’s no substitute for meeting with influencers, peers, and partners in real life. 

Conferences create serendipity: chance encounters and conversations that can have a huge positive impact on you and your business. By way of example, these are some of the real benefits that have come my way from attending conferences:

  • Conversations that lead to new customers for our business,
  • Invitations to speak at events,
  • New business partnerships and co-marketing opportunities, and
  • Meeting people that we went on to hire.

There’s a “halo” effect that lingers long after the event is over: the people you meet will remember you for longer, think more highly of you, and be more likely to help you out, should you ask.

(And let’s not forget: there’s a lot of information, particularly in SEO, that only gets shared in person.)

The “international” part of Evolve matters too. Evolve is a different crowd to your local run-of-the-mill conference. It’s a chance to meet with people from markets you wouldn’t normally meet—from Australia to Indonesia and beyond.

How to Persuade Your Boss to Send You to AhrefsHow to Persuade Your Boss to Send You to Ahrefs
Evolve attendees by home country.

If you’re an Ahrefs customer (thank you!), you’ll learn tons of tips, tricks and workflow improvements from attending Evolve. You’ll have opportunities to:

  • Attend talks from the Ahrefs team, showcasing advanced features and strategies that you can use in your own business.
  • Pick our brains at the Ahrefs booth, where we’ll offer informal 1:1 coaching sessions and previews of up-coming releases (like our new content optimization tool 🤫).
  • Join dedicated Ahrefs training workshops, hosted by the Ahrefs team and Ahrefs power users (tickets for these workshops will sold separately).

As a manager myself, there are two questions I need answered when approving expenses:

  • Is this a reasonable cost?
  • Will we see a return on this investment?

To answer those questions: early bird tickets for Evolve start at $570. For context, “super early bird” tickets for MozCon (another popular SEO conference) this year were almost twice as much: $999.

There’s a lot included in the ticket price too:

  • World-class international speakers,
  • 5-star hotel venue,
  • 5-star hotel food (two tea breaks with snacks & lunch),
  • Networking afterparty, and
  • Full talk recordings to later share with your team.

SEO is a crucial growth channel for most businesses. If you can improve your company’s SEO performance after attending Evolve (and we think you will), you’ll very easily see a positive return on the investment.

Traveling to tropical Singapore (and eating tons of satay) is great for you, but it’s also great for your team. Attending Evolve is a chance to break with routine, reignite your passion for marketing, and come back to your job reinvigorated.

This would be true for any international conference, but it goes double for Singapore. It’s a truly unique place: an ultra-safe, high-tech city that brings together dozens of different cultures.

1718123166 301 How to Persuade Your Boss to Send You to Ahrefs1718123166 301 How to Persuade Your Boss to Send You to Ahrefs
Little India in Singapore

You’ll discover different beliefs, working practices, and ways of business—and if you’re anything like me, come back a richer, wiser person for the experience.

If you’re nervous about pitching your boss on attending Evolve, remember: the worst that can happen is a polite “not this time”, and you’ll find yourself in the same position you are now.

So here goes: take this message template, tweak it to your liking, and send it to your boss over email or Slack… and I’ll see you in Singapore 😉

Email template

Hi [your boss’ name],

Our SEO tool provider, Ahrefs, is holding an SEO and digital marketing conference in Singapore in October. I’d like to attend, and I think it’s in the company’s interest:

  • The talks will help us respond to all the changes happening in SEO today. I’m particularly interested in the talks about AI and recent Google updates. 
  • I can network with my peers. I can discover what’s working at other companies, and explore opportunities for partnerships and co-marketing.
  • I can learn how we can use Ahrefs better across the organization.
  • I’ll come back reinvigorated with new ideas and motivation, and I can share my top takeaways and talk recordings with my team after the event.

Early bird tickets are $570. Given how important SEO is to the growth of our business, I think we’ll easily see a return from the spend.

Can we set up time to chat in more detail? Thanks!

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