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SEO Changes Make Merchants Diversify Their Traffic Sources
Posted by Cameron Francis on October 31, 2013 in SEO

Due to changes in SEO, your e-commerce store is no longer likely to receive the bulk of its traffic from Google organic search results, for the following reasons.

  • Many shoppers now begin shopping on Amazon, instead of Google
  • Since Google search is primarily a platform for advertising, featured ads are more prominent on Google than organic results
  • The organic competition is ever increasing. It is also likely that Amazon is marketing the same or similar products as you are. In addition, there is a good chance that Amazon is advertising these products on Google
  • If your online store is not mobile friendly, you might not show up on mobile search results. 

Diversify Your Traffic Sources

Diversify you SEO Traffic

It is becoming important for e-commerce sites to invest in traffic sources other than organic search. The initial inclination, when they see a drop in traffic, is for online retailers to step up their SEO efforts. However, it may be time to seek more diverse traffic sources instead.

Google Encrypting Searches

Google is now encrypting all of their searches. Therefore, you won’t have access to analytics data telling you which keywords were used to access the pages on your store, unless the traffic comes via Google AdWords. Additionally, you won’t get a report each month that displays the ranking of your keywords. You can go to Webmaster Tools and see the number of times a keyword was shown. This data is not so helpful, accept to understand general trends.

A lot of e-commerce stores were adversely affected by Panda and Penguin updates, even if they used white hat SEO practices. There was a decline in their organic search engine traffic, and sales declined as well. The Hummingbird update to Google’s algorithm is likely to make it even harder to rank for specific keywords, since the results from searches are increasingly contextual. As we move forward, we can almost be certain that more algorithmic updates will occur, the effects of which are currently uncertain.

The return on investment of SEO will be increasingly difficult to quantify. Therefore, regardless of what some SEO pros may tell you, it’s probably a good time to consider expanding your marketing and sales channels. It is likely that you will have to alter your marketing strategy and invest in some different marketing channels.

Are you still uncertain?  Consider that the search results produced by Google are increasingly optimised for advertisers, with features that make advertisements more engaging and effective. There are not many people that will look beneath the fold at the organic results. Additionally, in many instances the top organic spots will be occupied by Walmart, Amazon, and additional large retailers.

Alternative Sources Of Traffic

Alternate Traffic Source

Most large retailers employ numerous SEO pros, or they hire SEO agencies, to be certain that they rank on the first page of search results. Nevertheless, smaller sellers can use product listing advertisements and PPC. It does require an investment, but, results are easy to measure and you can test your ads in small increments.

There are additional techniques and strategies that you can try in order to expand upon your marketing and sales channels beyond search engine marketing, including:

  • Amazon ads
  • Affiliate networks
  • Pinterest boards
  • Facebook display ads
  • Engage customers on Twitter, Google+,LinkedIn
  • Instagram posts
  • Plenty of Fish PPC
  • Bing PPC
  • Engines for comparison shopping
  • Additional techniques to consider using in order to increase your visibility and conversions:
  • Loyalty programs
  • Target different segments of your email list with unique promotions
  • Facebook posts, contests, and sweepstakes, to get more fans and more email subscribers
  • Make sure your online store and your emails are mobile-friendly
  • Include ratings and reviews in your store. Encourage client participation
  • Optimise your landing pages with A/B testing
  • Optimise your margins and prices with tools that monitor pricing
  • Update the look of your online store periodically
  • Include seasonal categories to promote seasonal products

SEO Remains Important

Should you keep investing in SEO?  If you have been investing in SEO for quite a while and your revenues are declining, you should consider reallocating some of your resources. However, you should still continue to make use of SEO best  practices, including:

  • Original content creation
  • Continue to obtain links from related sites
  • Use best on-page SEO practices, titles, descriptions, Schema.org markup
  • Regularly publish your site map
  • Examine Google Webmaster and rectify outstanding issues
  • Make use of product relevant keywords
  • Create content that engages and appeals to your target customers

You must be cognisant of the fact that SEO has evolved, and it continues to change. Change your paradigm to create content that will benefit your customers, as opposed to content that you believe will generate more traffic from Google.

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Cameron Francis

Co-Founder

Cameron Francis is the CoFounder & Managing Director of ETRAFFIC, Melbourne's #1 Creative & Digital Marketing Agency. For over a decade Cameron has been providing growth marketing and digital strategies for over 2,000 small businesses, start-ups & entrepreneurs around the country.
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