When considering marketing for online businesses-for any type of website-search engine marketing rules. But before delving into search engine marketing and its advantages for ecommerce, it is important to understand the core concepts of this industry. Search Engine Marketing (SEM), also called Internet Marketing or Search Marketing, is used to describe acts associated with researching, submitting and positioning a website within search engines to achieve maximum exposure and top rankings, particularly when a user performs a keyword search using terms and phrases that are associated with the business. SEM is an umbrella term that includes work such as search engine optimization, content authoring and refining, paid listings and other search related services and functions that will increase exposure and traffic to websites.
Search Engine Marketing for Ecommerce
Search Marketing has become an increasingly competitive business segment in the Web industry and particularly among ecommerce vendors. Although SEM can serve as a key marketing driver for any online business, it is an especially powerful tool for ecommerce sites because they generally have lower traffic and higher income per visitor than a content site. This means that even a small increase in traffic can result in a large increase in revenues. Therefore, when developing an ecommerce marketing strategy, investing in SEM would be highly cost effective to include in marketing initiatives.
One important distinction when optimizing an ecommerce site versus a content site is that an ecommerce site should be setup to use search engine friendly URLs and meaningful identifiers. Most ecommerce sites are database driven and most shopping cart solutions are not search engine friendly. This may make it difficult for search engines to navigate through product pages, and if a search engine indexes your home page rather than your product pages, you may lose out on key traffic since most visitors search for exact product names or brand names.
Also of significant importance with ecommerce sites is the proper optimization of image data to assist the search engines in identifying the key focus of your individual product pages. Using correct identifiers in the image code builds relevancy strength for each individual product page and will provide further boosting in search engine ranking.
SEM Work: A Year Round Commitment
Search Engine Optimization is an ongoing process as search engines regularly change their search algorithms to rank certain website elements with more importance and other elements with less importance. Because search engines alter their algorithms and metabolize website content so frequently, it is highly recommended that you perform SEM work on at least a quarterly basis to maintain and improve search engine rankings.
It is simply not enough to ensure that your site ranks high when the initial site optimization goes live. You must constantly stay a few steps ahead of the competition, which is targeting the same keywords. Even if your site has top rankings for many phrases, SEM will be required to maintain those rankings over time. It is also important to consistently expand website content to target new relevant phrases as well as develop off-site content and linking strategies.
Search Marketers work hard to discover new marketing opportunities to drive relevant traffic to your site every day. Attracting visitors by authoring optimized rich content is only part of the equation. This content has to effectively convert visitors into customers by placing “call to action” elements on the page.
Considerations For Ecommerce Product Catalogs
When developing an ecommerce marketing strategy, establishing a user-friendly product catalog is essential for high conversion rates. It is important for search engine visibility to have keyword rich product categories listed on your homepage. Also consider developing good category short and long descriptions as well as product short and long descriptions.
Hire an SEO firm to research traffic patterns and degrees of competition for relevant search phrases. To capture traffic from searches, it is extremely important to integrate targeted, highly relevant keywords into your category and product names and descriptions.
To improve search engine rankings, be sure to include the following elements in your
· Keyword rich category names on the home page
· Category short and long descriptions
· Keyword rich title tags for your category pages
· Keyword rich product names
· Keyword rich title tags on your product pages
· Keyword rich product short descriptions of at least 1-2 sentences
· Keyword/content rich product long descriptions consisting of several paragraphs of text, bulleted lists of product highlights and benefits, and support files such as PDF, EXE, and PPT
· Multiple quality product images
For an ecommerce website, gaining targeted traffic is essential for making online sales conversions. Investing in search engine marketing while establishing an ecommerce marketing strategy will pay off substantially, especially if it is incorporated early on in development. Remember to perform SEM work on a regular basis in order stay ahead of competition, and concentrate on well-researched, relevant keywords.