February 28, 2021

7 min read

Do you ever think how small-medium or new-ish e-commerce websites can outrank the most popular e-commerce sites and survive through the pandemic?

Despite the fact that numerous statistics have shown how interest in online shopping has been increasing substantially ever since the COVID-19 lockdown began, I would like you to know that I am not proposing to include them here.

This blog post is for those who just started to run into a big competition of dozens of million e-commerce websites. By mentioning “big competition”, I mean:

  • According to the list shared by Nielsen Media Research, there are over 500,000 brands that cover more than 2,000 product categories worldwide.
  • Based on the Kenshoo survey, the biggest categories that Amazon dominates while people search for product ideas and information is:
    • Electronics and Computers by 73%.
    • Music, Movies or Games by 56%.
    • Health and beauty products by 45%.
  • Almost 85% of respondents to a Kenshoo survey, based on more than 3,100 consumers in the US, UK, Germany and France, say that they prefer Google to the other search engines (Amazon, eBay, Facebook, and other retail websites) for finding product ideas and information.

I think it would be fair to say that now we have all accepted that there is massive competition in e-commerce. But how do we survive in that environment of intense competition, and what does SEO mean here? What is the role of SEO in case you want to earn money and gain more organic visibility with your own e-commerce websites?

That is the main reason I wanted to share with you some of my experiences working successfully with clients in the e-commerce industry to demonstrate how SEO can help your small, medium or even big business.

Prior to delving deep into this topic, I want you to know that the details I have shared here were actually topics I covered in our Weekly SEO live session. If you would like to watch it:

The following five SEO techniques can be used to outrank big e-commerce websites.

Research the third-party marketplaces for product categories

Where?

You may need to use Semrush or Ahrefs for that kind of research. Look in which categories and what kind of keywords your biggest competitors are visible on the organic search. Export all categories and keywords you interested in and include them in a table.

Etsy - Positions Organic Research (Semrush data)

Why?

Some of your biggest competitors might dominate the search results on some generic keywords that you want to rank too. But since you are a newish e-commerce website, your focus should be on the long-tail keywords. That is the only way you can rank in the short term.

Focus on the long-tail (non-competitive) keywords that you can rank in a short time

How?

Now you have a long list of keywords that your biggest e-commerce competitors ranks for. What you need is to look at what kind of alternative keywords have a minimum difficulty for rank in a short time. Give a chance to Ahrefs or Semrush to find out that kind of keywords.

Free Keyword Research Options:

  1. Keyword Explorer
  2. Also Asked
  3. Answer The Public
  4. Google Keyword Planner
  5. SEOmonitor Topics

Long tail (non-competitive) keyword research

Why?

Certainly, you will not rank high for generic keywords in the first months. Even in your first year in business, you will need to focus on keywords that have minimum competition and maximum value. Maximum value can be a high potential of clients, even if the keyword only has 10 search volume. Imagine that you rank on the Top 3 of Google for 1,000 long-tail keywords that have a maximum of 100 search volume per month. That is equal to an average of 100,000 search volume per month; also it’s equal to a minimum of 20,000 clicks and a minimum of 100 sales!

What you need to do is creating a table where you will include your biggest competitors:

  1. Landing page they are visible with a generic keyword,
  2. Keyword they rank for,
  3. Search volume of the keyword,
  4. Alternative long-tail (non-competitive) keyword that you should focus on,
  5. A landing page path that will fit with that keyword.

Alternative Long Tail Keyword Research Based on Competitor

Put a lot of effort into content marketing so that you can rank for familiar question keywords

Why?

Remember that content marketing is your ink, which is even more important now than ever before. Sometimes you can rank for over 1,000 keywords with only a page. But with product categories, it’s pretty hard. So you may need to create a blog where you will publish beneficial blog posts. It’s no longer rocket science to find a topic that you can write about. You can use the tools I gave above to find the best content you should share with your audience.

Creating a blog is the first step you should take. Then you need to find the best copywriter that will write really effective content for your website. You wouldn’t want to waste a lot of time on hundreds of blog posts that aren’t visible and don’t get any traffic. To get the best content from your copywriter, you should give them a detailed brief. So we have created a template and deliver it for free. You can copy it from here.

Content marketing is not just about the blog. It’s also about your content structure in the whole website.

  1. Is your page titles unique?
  2. Is your page titles include keyword that you want to rank for?
  3. Have you tested putting a long-tail keyword into the meta descriptions of a few product categories?
  4. Is your product description clear and concise enough to satisfy your customers?
  5. Have you created a FAQ page on your website that covers the most often asked questions?

Be fast like Black Panther

Under this recommendation, I want to share 2 things.

  1. Fasten your steps when implementing changes and implementing short-term tactics; just remember that you’re not the only new-ish e-commerce site out there. So you need to be faster since your competition is also working hard to get visibility for their online store. It may be helpful for you to hire a few people who can assist you in making those types of improvements.
  2. Make sure that your page loads quickly. It’s very simple, if your page is loading slower, you accept that your users will bounce from your site and will turn to your competitor, who loads fast. It may appear that numerous pages on your website are loading slow. But don’t panic; just optimize them by making small changes like our SEO team member Busra did with one of our clients.

Make a clear category tree, and don’t forget about internal linking to make a call to action

The strategy that you believe will work best for your website is to focus on the parts of the website where your visitors will spend the most time. Which pages you want to be more visible?

  1. Include your best categories into the header menu,
  2. Make sure you link those pages from other relevant pages,
  3. Include relevant products on the product pages,
  4. Include your other important links into the footer menu.

You can find lots of great articles regarding internal linking around the web, but I want to share one of them with you.

5 SEO Tactics to Maximize Internal Links by Cyrus Shepard

As Stephan Spencer says, “There is so much nuance to SEO and so much to know.” There are many ways to create a positive environment for your business to thrive, and every one of us has different experiences and successful formulas to get there. However, take these SEO techniques just as some of my recommendations, not as a checklist.

Furthermore, if you want to participate in our SEO weekly live streams, we are sure to share every Friday some valuable SEO tips and tricks along with SEO news.

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Roman Adamita

Director of SEO

Roman Adamita was instrumental in the formation of the team. His work is paramount in driving the SEO department’s success forward. He is the winner of the Young Search Professional of the year at the MENA Search Awards 2019!

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