As the internet becomes more crowded with stores and brands expanding to online retail services, it takes more intention than ever to become and stay relevant. Recent reports state that if a website does not load within 3 seconds of clicking on it, 40% of users will navigate away. This statistic epitomizes the need for the consumer to have a great experience with your website and to have it from the second they click on it. When a user is searching for a product, speed, having the right options, and ease of checkout are a necessity for a great user experience and turning a one-time browser into a loyal customer.
Not only does your website need to be fast, it needs to be functional enough for your customers to find what they are looking for quickly across all devices. With 58% of all website visits coming from mobile devices, having your site optimized for use on a mobile phone or tablet increases your chances of users staying engaged and making a purchase. If your site is not mobile friendly, the user will take their business elsewhere.
Your website needs to have the most direct route possible from your homepage to your product page. Every second counts and giving the user the ability to find what they are looking for with minimal effort is a huge plus. Once the user is viewing your products, make sure all the pertinent information is available in one place. Having keywords that will show up in search engines in your product descriptions is a must, as well as presenting as much information as possible about shipping cost, taxes, and any other fees. With retail giants like Amazon displaying this information to users, full disclosure of any possible fees has become an expectation and any unforeseen charges that show up in the checkout process can be viewed as deceptive, souring the user’s intention to purchase from your site.
To help the user make the move from window shopper to customer, have the checkout process be as simple as possible. Having taxes, fees, and shipping costs/options already displayed on the product page is the first step in this process. Secondly, offer a variety of payment methods, not just credit cards. Allowing for digital payment services like PayPal and Visa checkout increases the speed at which a person can checkout, cementing your role as a great online retailer.
Also in the vein of transparency, customers like to see product reviews on your webpage. This allows potential customers to gain an authentic perspective on how useful the product will be to them. Reviews also benefit your website in that it provides more (and new) content for search engines to pick up on. Users that discuss your product in the reviews may use keywords that will put your site higher up on the search results page.
Search Engine Optimization will help a shopper find the right products on your website with little hassle. The product description is the place to start. With the sheer enormity of products and options available today, it is unlikely that your site will rank for one or two highly competitive keywords like “shoes,” or “baby clothes.” Opt instead for a longer string of words that is more descriptive and less competitive such as “women’s flat wedding shoes” or “organic cotton baby onesies for boys.” By going more in depth, you give your website the opportunity to rank highly in a specific search, allowing for higher visibility through out search engines. Having this specificity will also help improve the user experience on your website as your user will quickly find what they are looking for.
That being said, there are many other places throughout the website that will help increase your ranks other than your product descriptions. Be sure to have keywords be a part of the HTML title of your webpage, the description that appears below your link on a search engine (known as the meta description), in the name of any product images, and in the headers and subheaders on your product page. But also make sure to work the keywords into your site in a natural and easy-to-read format. Don’t throw out keywords across your web page with no context; part of a satisfying user experience requires coherence. Additionally, search engines can identify when one is spamming their website with keywords, which will result in a demotion of where it appears in search results.
By creating a website that integrates keywords and search engine optimization, you will lead your customer to what they are looking for, but you also need to have a website that is functional and fast. If your ecommerce site can strike that balance, people will keep coming back to it.
When we start an SEO project, we begin with keyword research. This phase is necessary to finding the right keywords for your brand, and the right keywords to help you rank through search engines without compromising any growth you already may have.
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