How to Organise Your Ecommerce Website
How to Organise Your Ecommerce Website?
A guide to a winning Ecommerce website strategy.
Once you have a well coded, fast loading website and has all the cart bells and whistles you can start. It’s all to do with heirachial organisation, navigation, content themes and linking.
The ecommerce business usually has several basic objectives.
Obtain traffic via Organic search traffic, which is an absolute given. Also obtain revenue from paid advertising on the internet. Mainly on Google Adwords and Bing adverts.
An online business has to build a website with all the products it wishes to sell. A smooth cart process, and possess good navigation and search features.
Web development here is as much about the technical aspects, page loading speed, scalability on different devices and Content. The content should be built to aid the purchasing decision of visitors.
So your focus is relevant product and company info.
So far so straightforward. But we hear about a lot of buzz-words used by digital marketers. Here you might start to get confused. How to structure and build your website for generating traffic?
Sometimes paid advertising is viewed as a activity to optimise for than organic search traffic. In the past marketers often built landing pages that were not on the main website. They could be monitored and optimised for a particular conversion. In ecommerce, you want to land people on the main product page where they can add to a cart and purchase. Optimising an ecommerce site for PPC advertising is not different to building it for organic traffic ranking, nor the conversion ‘funnel’ optimisation.
Content Strategy for Ecommerce Websites
The main website objectives can for our puposes be split into two areas:
- Internal (optimise the conversion rate from visitors and revenue by having an appealing, easy to navigate and search site), and
- External (increase the number of relevant visitors, from organic and paid advertising).
Both the Internal (conversion rate optimisation) and Extermal (getting more visitors) design goals are in synnergy which each other. You can improve one and the other simultaneously.
Internal design is about useability, relevant content, good presentation, improving confidence and navigation to funnel users to where they want to go. It is important to have a responsive website that loads fast. This can have a positive effect on Organic page rank. Next your content on each page is essential to gain any decent rank in organic search. It is essential if you do paid advertising with Google. They ascribe a quality score to the landing page due to its relevance to each search query you bid on. This has a huge impact on the cost per click.
That for ecommerce companies is of vital importance, because the number of visitors that you can buy onto your site is usually limited by budget.
The great news is that optimising content and the site for organic search therefore also increases the performance of paid advertising. So a site could be designed for PPC advertising and easily improved for Organic listing.
Increasing your Organic Page rank and optimising your conversion rate can be achieved relatively easily.
A simple approach is to plan your website around a heirachy of more general subject pages. Sub category product pages, and then individual product pages beneath. Here the goal is to ensure that if a visitor lands on the wrong product page, they can easily find the right one. Normally site managers and web designers think of the menu options on each page. ‘Breadcrumb’ links and generic links in the footer when thinking about site navigation.
Whilst this is absolutely indespensible, what is frequently missed is links. It is important to use these links to boost your SEO performance. This will become a key part of your Content strategy. Links can be placed also in the footer to relevant and similar pages. This can benefit your Organic performance.
Content is most useful for SEO when it is linked to. We have less control about links from other websites. We do control internal links, and Google will use the quality of these to improve your page ranking for keywords.
Your Content strategy should be based on identifying a short list of the most valuable search queries.
Those which are most attainable to compete with. These shortlist queries will become the theme for each category level page. We are not interested in linking everything to one home page, but rather creating clusters of internal links from related pages on your site to well written deeper hub category pages. This allows you to create several well themed and targetted pages to particular search queries selected from your shortlist.
Without stuffing non-related target keywords all in one page, which is not going to be of any real help to you, and can harm you in excess. The target page is the one with the target search query in it, and this should be present in the visible text of hyperlinks on other *releated* pages of your site pointing to your target page, and in its content and title. This is the key. The structure of these links is first determined by the smoothest navigation you will want for a buyer, the anchor text and target page content is themed to one or several target search queries, but in a natural, useful way to the buyer.
If you have an ecommerce website you might think that blogs are not useful to you.
This may be true, but it depends a lot on how you use your blog. If you think of a blog as a way to talk more than once about your products that can act as internal links to target category pages, it can offer an SEO benefit. So put links in your blogs with visible text relevant to your target category page in the anchor text of the link. This text should be in the target page, so the link is observed by Google as coherent. Your category page is already themed towards your shortlisted search query keywords, so for example this would be themed into page title and in the text portion of that page. This makes it easy to remember what the approximate organic target keywords are, and to mirror that in the text of your link and some blurb on your blog.
In subcategory pages, these should be given links to both the next tier down of subcategory, and to the next higher tier (towards the top), and to any *relevant* category or product pages. This will boost the ranking for your relevant target pages.
You dont want to push people to a catch all-home page or contact us page, these options should be present anyway in the footer and menu options.
In the lowest tier product pages, links back up to the higher tier category pages will be a positive signal to Google, and those target pages will hence rank more highly for search queries related to the target page and the anchor text in the links.
The other advantage is that by thinking of content, navigation and SEO as an integrated exercise, you will have great landing pages and improved visitor engagement from any paid campaigns, on for example Googles Shopping and Text ad platforms. The paid ads are quality scored based in part on relevance, so you will pay less per click. What clicks you do generate, are less likely to exit or bounce if the visitor can easily find something else than your target page, which is especially important on the Shopping Network, where ads have to point at individual product pages which are likely to have a higher bounce rate than text ads pointing at category pages, because search queries may be too generic to target to an individual product. Having extra links makes it easier for these visitors to eventually find what they want.
Google tells us that when it comes to internal links, they can spot unnatural ‘stuffing’ of links purely to cheat their ranking algorithm. If a page has over around 100 links in it, this could look spammy and get you penalised. It isn’t quantity, but quality, the relatedness of search query, visible text in the link, and in the content of the target and linking-from page.
It is not worth trying to stuff pages with non related keyword themes to unrelated target pages. It’s all about theming.
You build themes and end up with more links pointing at a given, useful page, and its easy to match them up. Its better to have 15 related pages all pointing at 1 or several higher tier category pages than 15 pages pointing at 15 different pages.
Each page in the former has 15 links which Google will see. Increasing the target themed pages rank, whereas each page has only one internal link pointing at it. Additional links to lower subcategories are also desirable. As you would want to target those pages to less common. More specific high converting search queries in your shortlist, because they can have more tailored content matching.
Pointing ‘down’ and sideways from related pages can boost your page rank on those particular pages.
Using a themed content heirachy around related clusters of products like this with products nested under these ensures the target pages can be built around useful target search queries. At the same time the pages pointing at the target pages are well themed. Google sees a more useful page to send visitors to and rewards you with rank. At the same time you know how to organise your site for efficient user navigation and best conversion rate. It’s a win-win.