Online ranking is critical for any e-commerce business. It helps determine a company’s strengths and weaknesses, how the competition stacks up and identifies areas for improvement. For e-commerce, the higher the online ranking, the more profitable the business.
Being on the first page of a search engine for a specific product or service is crucial for generating profit, as is a high ranking on that page. According to a study of global conversion rates for Q2 2018 conducted by data aggregation software company Monetate, average e-commerce conversion rates worldwide hit 2.86%, roughly 3 sales per 100 visitors. A micro-study by SEO agency Ignite Visibility showed e-commerce businesses that ranked 3rd or higher on Google saw an average click-through rate of 13-20%, more than double the average click-through rate of lower-ranking sites, which hovered around 6-7%.
It’s clear that online ranking is an important part of running an e-commerce business. So how can a company raise its ranking?
Speed It Up
One of the simplest ways to boost online ranking is to increase the operating and loading speed of the website itself. And one of the easiest ways to increase the speed is to optimize graphics and images. Web pages filled with colourful and appealing graphics may look great, but depending on the size of the images, they can severely slow down the loading speed of web pages. If pages take too long to load, customers won’t stay on them long enough to click-through to an order, which can mean the loss of potential sales as well as a lower SEO ranking.
To ensure your site is performing at optimum speed, compress and optimize images and ensure they are the appropriate size for where they are placed. Enable a browser cache to allow page data to be stored in users’ browser history, so web pages take less time to load for return visitors.
Make It Mobile Friendly
Smartphone conversion rates globally averaged over 2% as of Q2 in 2018, according to stats from Monetate. With that amount of sales potential, it’s important to not only make sure customers can easily load web pages, but that your site is optimized for mobile users.
Creating a responsive website for mobile devices will simplify large columns or images that may be affecting load times and condense navigation menus to make browsing more operational.
Add Value to Links
If a site has a lot of navigational features such as drop-downs or breadcrumbs, ensuring link text is search engine optimized can dramatically boost online ranking. Links with titles that are too simple (“click for more” or even, “link here”) not only come across as unprofessional, but also offer no value to search engines.
Click-through links should be descriptive and as exact as possible. For example, on the StickerYou website, we have a page that features our iron-on products that leads to more specific pages including Iron-Labels and Iron-On Transfers. Make sure links include essential keywords that are specific to the page that is being linked to. Exact descriptions not only improve online rankings for the site, they also optimize the ranking of the linked page.
Include Specific Keywords
In the same way that click-through links need to be descriptive and exact, so do keywords. It’s tempting to think that keywords that are more general appeal to a wider scope of readership. But descriptions that are too general can be detrimental to search engine optimization as they lower rankings for exact searches. When users search for information or goods and services online, they’re searching for the page that can best take them to exactly what it is they are seeking. If keywords are too general, the pages are easily overlooked by search engines, lowering the click-through rate. Keywords should be descriptive and include relevant specificities to rank higher in relevant searches.
Tracking metrics is a great way to measure the efficacy of online ranking efforts and identify areas for improvement, especially in regards to content generation. The free Google Search Console is an excellent tool with which to monitor SEO activity.
Monitor the bounce rate to discern whether visitors find your content useful, and to understand the preferences of differing traffic segments. A bounce rate that is too high or too low affects a search engine’s ability to measure the usefulness of pages to users, which can negatively affect online ranking.
Another important metric to monitor is the number of return visitors. This is critical because return visitors often become return buyers. Measuring the number of readers that return to the website as well as open and click-through rates from e-lists are terrific ways to gauge the clout of available content.
Link to Microinfluencers
Push online rankings higher by seeking out microinfluencers that can link back to published content on your site. Creating meaningful content for microinfluencers to post on their sites is an easy way to generate links back to your content on your site. It may take a bit of time to create such content, but it is well worth it.
Mention and link out to experts in niche fields that influenced your own content or that you found personally relevant. Easy ways to do this are to tag the influencer, link out to the content referenced (which will appear on a search engine), or reach out directly and let them know you’ve linked to them and encourage them to share your content with their links across their own networks. As microinfluencers’ content and network are often already niche, this has the added benefit of increasing the chance of obtaining specific targeted rankings by linking both pages so closely together.
Boosting your online ranking can seem difficult at first but it doesn’t have to be. Keep in mind that search optimization is an ongoing process, and requires constant effort and maintenance. By being continuously cognizant of maintenance and as detailed as possible, boosting online rankings is an achievable goal.
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