E-Commerce SEO Case Study: How we 4x’d Traffic and Doubled Revenue

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

Whether you’re an e-commerce manager or an SEO specialist, you’ve invested a considerable amount of time and energy into working out the best practice approach for tackling organic search for online stores. An E-Commerce SEO Strategy Walk-Through In this case study, I’ll be showing you my agency The Search Initiative was able to double revenue by building a custom strategy for one of our e-commerce clients who operates within a small b2b furniture niche. My goal with this case study is to introduce you to a wide range of new ideas that will help you to expand and improve your e-commerce SEO game and better serve your customers. You’ll learn the strategies we used to improve UX, technical stability, onsite optimization, content, and of course backlinks. The approach that I will detail saw our e-commerce client grow their traffic by a massive 417% in 8 months. It also earned them $48k in consistent additional monthly revenue. This took them from generating $43k a month to $91k a month, or a 112% increase in overall revenue. The Challenge Our client is in the b2b furniture and equipment business and they offer their products only within specific locations in the UK. As well as offering their products for sale to clients, they also offer their products for hire. The client came to us with a solid foundation. They had an existing e-commerce business, a solid website, and a great brand. However, when setting up their company, SEO hadn’t been a top priority. Establishing E-commerce E-A-T (Expertise-Authority-Trust) & Earning Backlinks If you have a high-quality site and with a keen desire to establish your brand (like our client does), your approach needs to be particularly focused on sustainable, long-term growth. You need to create quality content that represents the brand well and earn backlinks naturally. In addition, focus on signalling trust in the online store and the brand by demonstrating transparency and authority. We’ll get to this later. Here’s how we did it… Step 1 – E-commerce User Experience To enjoy the benefits of some quick wins, first focus on the low-hanging fruit. User Experience The client came to us with robust branding already established and a professional-looking website, but we were able to identify a few small tweaks that created a significantly better experience for potential customers. Visual Changes Optimize visitor experience by adjusting color contrast (here’s a couple of great tools for choosing brand colors and color contrast), adjust placement and selection of images, and add zooming and scaling images to product pages to further improve user experience and increase the likelihood of generating a conversion. Mobile Optimization The majority of Internet traffic now originates from mobile devices, so local and mobile optimization are now crucial for small businesses. Make these small changes to your site that make a big difference to those viewing on mobile: Making phone numbers clickable Making emails addresses clickable. Increasing the font-size to a minimum of 16px for mobile users, as you can see in the screenshot below. These small tweaks contributed towards significantly increased conversions on mobile. Step 2 – Technical Auditing The foundation of any SEO strategy is technical optimization of the website, and since we were dealing with an e-commerce site with many functions and pages, there were plenty of opportunities to identify and resolve technical problems. They are as follows… Google Index Management This included removing all traces of their old website from the Google index, removing duplication in their category pages, managing index bloat, adding their XML sitemap to the robots.txt, and removing now-defunct meta keywords from their site. For example, the client’s login pages were indexed. In some cases, this type of unnecessary indexing can cause more valuable pages to be pushed out of the search results, or skipped over in a routine crawl, thus diluting your message. HTTP Pages and URL Parameters We also found HTTP pages and URL parameters in the index. URL parameters are parameters whose value is set dynamically in a page’s URL. For example, you may have a search bar on your website where customers can search your catalog. Whenever customers do an internal search, new URL parameters will be created, which ends up bloating the index with a bunch of URLs like: In order to make it clear to Google’s Search algorithm what the different URL parameters do, specify them in Google Search Console. Cleaning Up Legacy Strategies Next, we looked at any technical issues caused by legacy strategies and began to clean them up. One example of an issue was that the site included meta keywords on the pages, which have been considered defunct since Google confirmed that these self-defined keywords hold no weight in their algorithm. Worse, competitors could look at your meta keywords and find a perfect list of keywords and niches that you’re targeting. We then looked at how the client’s CMS might be causing issues without them even knowing it. Managing Magento 2 Our client’s site is built on the popular Magento 2 ecommerce website builder, which is notorious for not having a robots.txt and sitemap.xml configured out-of-the-box. We created the sitemap ourselves using Screaming Frog web crawler, added it to robots.txt, submitted to Google Search Console, thus helping Google’s search algorithm to better understand the layout of our client’s site. Finally, we dealt with a considerable site-wide issue. The site used canonical tags that were meant to be self-referencing, but were actually canonicalized different pages. This is suboptimal because it confuses Google’s web crawler bots, making it a mess when trying to rank. We cleaned it all up, so that Google knew exactly which pages should rank. Step 3 – Internal Link Building Once you have done a technical audit, earned some quick wins and solved some user experience issues, start to think about improving the internal link structure. Adding Internal Links To Existing Content Quickly, we noticed that while the client did have a blog on their domain, there was very little content on it and much of it was out of date. Also, there weren’t many links between their blog and their category and product pages… a huge opportunity for spreading link juice and establishing topical relevance. Our plan was to create more high-quality blog content and expand its scope, allowing us to build more internal links to relevant product and category pages. We drew up a content strategy that involved producing a consistent number of new content pieces each month and went back through each old blog post, updating them with relevant links to product and category pages. We’ll get to the content plan in more detail later, but for now, let’s really dig into internal linking. E-commerce Topical Clustering Create “topical clusters”, which can be thought of as groups of pages that talk about different elements of the same key topic. For example, “protein powder” might be the topical cluster. It would be made up of a cornerstone article that you hope to rank for the keyword “protein powder”, as well as several other articles talking about sub-topics of “protein powder”. Some examples could be “How to Make Pancakes from Protein Powder”, or “Can Protein Powder Help you Lose Weight?” or “10 Side Effects of Synthetic Protein”. You would then create a content piece for each of these sub-topics and have each linking to the cornerstone article using a close anchor text to “protein powder”. Using this technique, you’re able to pass value from the smaller articles to the main piece and have a better chance of ranking the main piece for “protein powder” in Google Search. From these cornerstone articles, we were then able to link back to category and product pages, increasing their perceived authority too. Step 4 – Content Strategy Before you can implement a solid external backlink building strategy, you need to create a bedrock of content to be used to support your outreach. I suggest giving your writers the following guidelines for creating content. Evergreen, Algorithmically Optimized Content Focus on evergreen content, preferably creating linkable assets such as infographics, slideshows or documents containing industry insights. An example of an evergreen topic would be “why ergonomic chairs are good for your back”. Conversely, “the best chairs in ” would not be evergreen, as it will obviously lose its relevance at the end of the year. In the same line of thought, avoid using dates in the page title, headings or URL. Look at the people ranking on page 1.  Ask yourself: How many words did they write? Find the average and add 20% more. What sub-topics did they cover? When discussing “How to lose belly fat”, you’ll see that it’s necessary to talk about “avoiding trans fats”.  Do the same. What kind of layout are they going for? Are they presenting in tables?  Do the same. And don’t forget, write in an easy-to-read manner, and without any grammar mistakes. E-A-T and E-commerce Content Create content that referenced your products and services so that you can funnel users to your Read More Read More

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