The Power of SEO and SEM for E-commerce

Jan 13, 2016 by Gabriela Mompart, SiteWit
Posted Jan 13, 2016 by Gabriela Mompart, SiteWit

The first step in getting your business up and running is to set up your online store. Then you have to start attracting new store visitors that actually make purchases. Designing a good marketing strategy that increases your online presence can make all the difference. One of the most common questions store owners ask themselves is “Should I put my marketing dollars towards SEO or SEM?” The answer is… both.

Fully understanding the difference between SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) is key when designing your strategy. Many business owners believe SEO and SEM are to be approached independently, but SEO and SEM are very powerful when put together.

What are SEO and SEM?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process that designates the visibility of a website in the search engine’s unpaid results — often referred to as organic listings. Search engines constantly crawl your website to look through keywords, link-building, accurate product descriptions, and metadata to show end users the results most relevant to their search.

In a nutshell, it gives your website a voice. It allows your website to tell the search engine about your products so that it can make a decision on how to present it to the end user.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) covers the paid listings that appear on search engines. Store owners use platforms such as Google Adwords and Bing Ads to build an effective and enticing ad that makes end users want to click on store owner’s website over a competitor’s. The keywords chosen to build the ad are placed into auctions against other advertisers to compete for the paid search listings on a search engines.

Most of searches with purchase intent happen in the paid search section and therefore, having a paid search campaign is critical to drive visitors with purchase intent to your site.

SEO Tips to Help You Succeed

Check out these easy and effective tips for Ecwid store owners that can instantly improve your SEM campaign too!

Create Great Product Descriptions

Pictures of your products are great, they grab the attention of the end user and can be a deciding factor for them to purchase a product. Search engines, however, cannot read these images. That is why creating attention-grabbing product descriptions is very important too. The more unique content you write for your descriptions, the better it will be for your SEO efforts. Put together a list of keywords to put into your descriptions. These will greatly improve the quality scores for your online marketing campaign and bump you up the search engine’s organic and paid results!

Utilize Site Search Data

Enabling site search on your store is a quick and easy way to get ideas for SEO and SEM keywords. Analyzing your site search data will give you valuable insights into the search habits of your customers. Store owners can then use this data to refine the keywords in both the SEO and paid search marketing campaigns.

Use Keyword-Friendly URLs

Having product keywords in a URL has numerous benefits for your your SEO and SEM campaigns, as well as for your ends users. These show end users exactly where they are going and eliminate the long string of numbers and letters that can look a little “spammy” to customers. The keywords will also be present in the anchor text that points back to your website which greatly contributes to your organic listing.

Combining SEO and SEM

Using the aforementioned tips can also help you build a very effective SEM strategy. Building a search campaign on Google, finding the right keywords, and managing your campaign can be very expensive and time-consuming if you don’t have much experience. Platforms like the new SiteWit app in the Ecwid App Marketplace makes advertising your store’s products and categories very easy and effective, and you don’t need any SEM experience. SiteWit helps you build your search campaign, chooses the best performing keywords, and manages it all for you so you can maximize your ROI and focus on running your business. It is deeply integrated with Ecwid and the installation and campaign management is seamless.

Integrating SEO and SEM into one marketing strategy has numerous benefits to a store owner:

Exposure: Dominating both the organic and paid search listings on search engines maximizes your visibility and has been shown to increase the Click Through Rate (CTR) to your store from 5.66% to 18.06%! Having your store show with particular keywords in both the organic and paid search listings gives you an established presence online.

Increase Conversions: According to Search Engine Watch, having a strong SEO and SEM presence online has been shown to increase conversion rates by 200%. The most important factor in online marketing are conversions. Without conversions, an e-commerce business cannot keep up online. Citing an average of 35% increase in conversion rates when combining SEO with paid search efforts, it is a no-brainer for any store owner.

Double the Data: When running SEM and SEO campaigns together it gives store owners double the amount of data to analyze. Store owners can focus on which organic and paid search keywords have the highest conversion rates and then use that information to streamline their online marketing strategy.

Testing: SEO can take months to yield results while paid search can be instantaneously beneficial. Analyzing what paid search ads have the highest conversion rates will give store owners a good idea of how to create title tags, meta descriptions, and page content for the pages that you want to rank organically. Store owners can quickly figure out what works and what doesn’t through paid search testing.

Reduce your PPC costs: Good quality SEO contributes to your AdWords quality score for paid search! SEO improves the quality score for your campaign through increasing the relevancy of keywords, ads, and landing pages together through good quality unique content and product descriptions. This helps reduce the cost per click on your ads and increase ad positions on the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).

Boost E-commerce sales: Recent Market Live studies have shown that store owners have seen a 44% increase in sales when combining both their paid search and organic marketing efforts. Analyzing both sources of traffic correctly will give you a deeper insight into what products are working and which are not, allowing you to make smarter decisions about your inventory and promotional offers on your website.

SEO and SEM Tips

The holidays are around the corner, and there are some things you can do to maximize your holiday e-commerce traffic and take advantage of seasonal promotions.

Make your Store Mobile-Friendly: With more people having Internet access on the go from their smartphones, mobile purchases have greatly increased. Therefore, make sure your website and landing pages are mobile-optimized for search and an easy user experience. Creating a easy and quick experience will encourage visitors to make a purchase.

Use Last Year’s Data: Before putting together your SEO and SEM seasonal strategy, research what keywords worked well last year, their cost, and how you can use them for your own strategy. You can use the data on clicks, impressions, spend, etc. You can then decide when it will be profitable to show your ads and what keywords had the highest number of conversions.

Have Seasonal Landing Pages: Make sure the content in your landing pages align with some of the search terms holiday shoppers are using for major shopping events such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas.

Plan Accordingly and Start Early: SEO can take several weeks to update and refresh rankings, therefore, it is key to start early! You can craft content early, plan your landing pages and start putting together creative elements with optimized alt tags to gain exposure closer to the holidays.

The debate on whether SEO is more effective than SEM or vice versa will continue for many years to come, but why not beef up your online marketing efforts by combining both pieces of the Search puzzle together? E-commerce is the only trillion-dollar industry that is growing at a double digit percentage each year. Store owners need to capitalize on this growth by taking the targeted efforts of SEM and integrating them with the wide net of SEO to make their Ecwid store an online powerhouse!

About The Author
Gabriela is the Marketing Coordinator at SiteWit, a digital marketing platform that helps small business owners get found on Google, Bing, and Yahoo by building their paid search campaigns and putting their marketing on autopilot. SiteWit’s unique website visitor analytics help small business owners better understand their marketing efforts.

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