Amazon Keyword Optimization, Fewer Search Terms are Now Better than More

Recently we’ve seen campaigns where we have chalked full of keywords, have been getting fewer impressions, versus campaigns with less keywords. Our agency strategy has been to put in hundreds of keywords, use all 3 match types, let the algorithm do its thing, and double down on what works and slough off what doesn’t. This strategy no longer works with recent changes. When it comes to the performance of an ad, it’s not about the quantity of keywords added on a campaign, but the quality of them.

 

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Amazon SEO Keyword Best Practices for Setting the Search Terms Field in Seller Central

Keyword data is a fascinating subject. There’s millions upon millions of search terms out there that you can choose from to optimize your Amazon listings. This serves as a short guide and some general best practices in setting search terms in Seller Central.

How to Set Search Terms in Amazon

  1. Log into Seller Central and go to your inventory page https://sellercentral.amazon.com/inventory
  2. Hit edit on an item in the far right.
  3. Click the keywords tab. It will show something this effect (depending on your category)
  4. Use the My Amazon Guy guide to optimize your search terms.

Guide to Using Good Keywords

We choose Search Terms after reviewing search volumes and potential sales.

Things we consider:

  • Available impressions
    • Words are chosen based on search volumes and relevancy
  • Competition for those impressions
  • Long tail keywords
  • Misspellings of core keywords (if high enough search volume)
  • The string of words has thousands of permutations due to the strategic nature on how it is setup.
    • No commas between words
    • No words duplicated
    • In essence each word combines with the rest of the string to create thousands of keywords. 
  • The search terms field affects SEO, for traffic generation on Amazon. As you index for keywords, this allows you to show in search results. Over time, the goal is to get to page 1 for hundreds if not thousands of converting keywords.

The other fields on the keywords page have significantly less impact. Such as the the other attributes, subject matter, and target audience. We fill them in with product matter for reinforcement but the core search term field is the most that has the most impact.

Example:

In this example we will look at selling wine glasses with funny sayings on them.  You can find this listing here.

We set the search terms for this product to: mr and mrs right winenewlywed wed married glass beer glass wedding engagement present gift hugs kisses mister misses gifts parents grandparents couples anniversary glasses mom dad grandpa grandma sign mugs table set drinking bridal shower gag custom his her best man woman

As a direct result of the SEO optimization, this product ranks for 2,464 organic keywords. Many on page 1 for terms such as “engagement present” or “drinking gifts for couples”

Here you can see it in organic position #2. This leads to earned sales on Amazon without paying for PPC.

All of the above recommendations were followed, and it leads to a powerful listing with sales.

If you haven’t worked with search terms before, we recommend hiring us to help set the search terms on your products as they have a massive impact to your success on Amazon.

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Website SEO Best Practices & Tutorial

At My Amazon Guy we are primarily an Amazon digital agency. However we do many other eCommerce services such as setting meta tags for websites using keyword best practices acquired from decades of collection experience. Below is a tutorial with step by step instructions for optimizing meta tags for your website. This in turn increases traffic to your website, with earned media in the search engine results. Hire us today to set your meta tags or follow our guide.

  1. Choose 2-3 keywords for every piece of content developed. Use keywords suggested from the keyword research report provided.
  2. Use those keywords 2-3+ times each “exact match” in the body of the content.
  3. Always create unique content. Unique content on the page itself, and unique content in the supporting content such as the meta tags.
  4. Use at least 1 of the keywords in the title of the article if possible as well as the URL.
    1. Example: If “Corporate Valuation Services” was the keyword the url would include that keyword: successbiznow.com/corporate-valuation-services/
  5. Use keywords in the meta tags: (this tool can help you understand what your meta tags will translate to in Google: http://www.seomofo.com/snippet-optimizer.html )
    1. Html Title – Maximize to around 60-75 characters. Use this section to tell Google what the page is about in brief statements. Think of this like talking in bullet points.
      1. Html Title Example: Corporate Valuation Services – Expert Business Support – Excel Management
        1. This uses the primary keyword “Corporate Valuation Services” and tells the consumer that if they click on the link they are getting expert business support from Excel Management.
      2. Meta Description – Maximize to around 150-170 characters. This section gives the value proposition to the consumer and explains the purpose of the content in further detail. This should be written to tell the consumer why they should click on your link instead of the other thousands of pages out there. Using all 2-3 keywords that are chosen for the content in this section is ideal.
        1. Meta Description example – Dale Richards is a Certified Business Valuation Expert Services (Sample Valuation Report) Financial Accounting and bookkeeping Services Business Audits, Reviews and CPA Opinions.
          1. Highlights show great use of keywords in this meta description. These are all key phrases someone might use that would help them find the page.
        2. Keywords – Keywords can be a single word, multiple words or a phrase. This tag is just a list of all the keywords chosen for the page. Use between 3-20 keywords in this section. You can do multiple iterations of similar keywords. If the primary keyword was “corporate valuation services” you might also put “valuation services” as a keyword.
          1. Keywords example: company valuation services, corporate valuation, valuation service, valuation services, corporate valuation advisors, valuation services inc, corporate valuations, duff and phelps, valuations, property valuation services, business valuation services, pwc valuation, valuation firms
          2. Notice the separation of keywords by a comma. Google will only consider the first 20 keywords used, and the most important keywords need to be at the beginning of the string. So if you have 3 keywords for the article, put those keywords at the front of this tag.

This example translates to:

Notice how there is truncation. That’s why  the most important keywords should be at the front of the tags. Google has also announced an expansion of characters on these tags, thus my recommendations are slightly over current practices.

  1. Videos – If uploading to Youtube, follow the meta tag instructions and apply to these fields:

Title = HTML Title

Description = Meta Description

Tags = Keywords

 

  1. The most important thing you can do with video content is to get a transcription of the video posted on your website where the video is displayed. Google will use the copy from the video as a content indicator of the page. It gives additional copy to the page. If you are putting the video in the middle of a page – you can include the video transcription later that’s fine. As long as the transcription is on the page somewhere it is very helpful.
  2. Images
    1. File name – Name the image with keywords in mind. An image titled 12345.png is not helpful for SEO. Naming the images corporate-valuation-servies.png is very helpful.
    2. Image title – compare to HTML title above. Use a keyword or two of the image. Make sure every image has a title.
      1. Example title: Corporate Valuation Services
    3. Alt text – Write an alt text for every image. One sentence. This is kind of like the meta description equivalent.
      1. Example text: Get great corporate valuation services from Dale Richards. You can get a sample valuation report and other expert services.
    4. Copy
      1. Every content piece should have 300+ words. Recent Google indicators show that articles that are longer rank better. So when in doubt, build high quality longer articles.
      2. Use the chosen 2-3 keywords 2-3 times each within the copy. Preferably in header tags. If the keyword is difficult to use in an “English sentence” use it in a headline or bullet point to get the mention in.
      3. Header tags
        1. The title of the article should be a <h1> tag.
        2. Any subheadlines later in the article should be <h2> and <h3> tags.
  • Word press should allow you to set these header tags.
  1. Header tags tell Google what is the most important copy on your page. Should only have one H1 tag on page.
  2. Header examples:
    1. H1 – Corporate Valuation Services
      1. H2 – Why Corporate Value Services Matter
        1. H3 – Helps Raise Capital
        2. H3 – Can Help Sell Business
      2. H2 – Why You Should Pay for a Thorough Valuation Service
        1. H3 – Official Document Increase Value
        2. H3 – Get a True Assessment that Impacts Business Decisions
      3. Copy would support those headlines underneath as a normal content article flow. These header tags are just meant as Google signals.
    2. Anchor text.
      1. Anchor text is a hyperlinked phrase within the copy. If you have one page about Corporate Valuation Services, and another page about How to Sell Your Business. You might cross link these pages by adding a hyperlink to “how to Sell Your Business” to the other page. When using anchor text, try to use keywords, but is not mandatory.
      2. Every article should attempt to link to another page on your website 2-3 times.

Word Press walkthrough

Pages: Go to Pages to get this section, scroll to bottom of page content.

  1. Set these fields as indicated above.
  2. Example: http://successbiznow.com/business-valuation-services/
  3. SEO Title (HTML title):
    1. Original title: Business Valuation Services
    2. Original SEO title is too short.
    3. New title (incorporates additional keywords): Business Valuation Services | Business Valuation Methods & Financial Valuation Services
  4. SEO Description (Meta Description):
    1. Original Meta description: Dale Richards can help you with your business valuation. Come learn why you need a business valuation and why Dale is the best in the business.
    2. Meta description is duplicate of other pages.
    3. New description (keywords highlighted) Get a cost effective business evaluation from Dale Richards, who teaches business valuation methods and builds you a business evaluation that will help you evaluate your business options such as selling your business. Getting a financial valuation increases the value of your company.
  5. SEO Keywords:
    1. Only 1 keyword was set for this example. Need to focus on additional keywords, 2-3 minimum per page, upwards of 10 if any other valuable keywords are related.
    2. Keywords: business evaluation, business valuation methods, business evaluation, financial valuation, Dale Richards

Example post edits:

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How to Rank Higher on Amazon & Get Your Products on the First Page

Having your product show up at the very top of search results is the best way to find success on Amazon, but with everyone fighting for that top spot, how do you make your product stand out? By understanding Amazon’s search algorithm and what factors Amazon looks at when determining search rankings, you can increase your own rankings and gain more organic sales.

Understanding Amazon’s Algorithm

A9 is the search algorithm that Amazon uses to determine product rankings. Understanding the A9 algorithm and knowing what Amazon looks at when determining search rankings is the key to getting your products to show up on the first page. Below are the most important factors that influence rankings on Amazon; focusing on these factors will increase your search rankings.

Keyword Matching

Amazon’s search results are based on keyword matching. If a user searches for a specific keyword and that keyword is in your product listing, your product is very likely to show up somewhere in the search results.

Price

Product pricing makes a difference. Amazon knows that competitively priced products are more likely to sell, therefore they end up ranking higher. If your price is significantly higher than your competitors’, your search rankings may take a hit.

Conversion Rates

Amazon wants to promote their best-selling products, therefore products with higher conversion rates typically rank higher. If buyers are viewing your product but never making a purchase, you may have a tough time moving up to page one.

How to Increase Your Search Rankings

Optimize Your Listings

The best and easiest way to increase your search rankings on Amazon is to optimize your listings by using relevant keywords in as many places as you can, including your title, bullet points, and description.

Your Product Title

Your title should contain your most important keywords. Avoid keyword stuffing in your titles, though, as this can hurt your rankings. Amazon has four main criteria for product titles:

1. Titles must not exceed 200 characters, including spaces.
2. Titles must not contain promotional phrases, such as “free shipping”, “100% quality guaranteed”.
3. Titles must not contain characters for decoration, such as ~ ! * $ ? _ ~ { } # < > | * ; ^ ¬ ¦
4. Titles must contain product-identifying information, such as “hiking boots” or “umbrella”.

Titles with 150 characters or more and that include your brand name, product name, keywords, and sizing and color information would be considered fully optimized.

Your Bullet Points & Description

The keywords in your bullet points and descriptions can also help your rankings. You should prepare a list of relevant keywords before writing your product descriptions. You can use keyword tools like Helium 10 to find relevant keywords, or you can do your own research by going through your top competitors’ listings and finding the keywords that they are targeting in their titles, bullets, & descriptions. Try to implement as many keywords as you can in your bullet points and descriptions while still maintaining readability.

Your Backend Keywords

Amazon allows you to enter 250 bytes of search terms in the back end of your listing, where customers cannot see them. The backend search terms are a great place to include spelling variations, synonyms and foreign language keywords. There’s no need to repeat any word, as it doesn’t help your rankings any more than including a word once. It’s important to remain under the character limit, or none of your search terms will be indexed.

Increase Sales Velocity

Amazon sales have a snowball effect; the more conversions and sales you have, the higher your search rankings become, which in turn leads to more sales.

You can increase your Amazon sales velocity by using PPC advertising or directing external traffic to your Amazon products through social media. Most sellers find the greatest success through Sponsored Products advertising, where they can bid on specific keywords and ASINs. When Amazon’s algorithm notices that shoppers are buying your product, your product will in turn rank higher for relevant keywords.

Ranking on the first page for any keyword doesn’t happen overnight, but if you make sure that your products are optimized and focus on gaining more conversions, your rankings will continue to increase.

The Amazon consultants at My Amazon Guy are experts at Amazon SEO, advertising setup, and increasing conversions. Contact us for expert guidance in getting your products to rank higher on Amazon.

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Amazon may crack down on title length to 50 characters

UPDATE 6/27/2019
Amazon recently warned about suppressing ASINs with titles longer than 50 characters; they quietly upped that number to 200. (HT JB)
Please review these pages carefully.  Account Managers are telling sellers that these guidelines will be strictly enforced in the coming weeks.  Please make sure your titles DO NOT use “symbols, such as ~ !  $ ? _ ~ { } [ ] # &lt; > |  ; / ^ ¬ ¦ “.

6/19/2019 Amazon may crack down on title length to 50 characters with a news release today. Below is a copy of the policy found at https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/201051300?ref=nslp_at_6341070800586908994_1_201051300 but if you aren’t logged into seller central that link won’t work so read the below.

The only unusual component is the title length which may be cracked down upon on July 22, 2019. I recommend waiting to see if your titles get suppressed before you shorten them.

FBA Product Title Requirements

Creating a product title that meets all Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) requirements will help ensure customers find your products on Amazon.

The product title for an ASIN listed on the website needs to contain the right information and be in a consistent format. Product labels must also include the exact same product title or your inventory may be refused at Amazon fulfillment centers or received as Unfulfillable.

Note: For more information about product label requirements, review the FBA Help section for Labeled Inventory or download the PDF.

Whether you are using FBA or not, listing your inventory on Amazon is handled the same way. Here are some resources if you are new to selling:

Product title guidelines

Length:

Use 50 characters maximum as a general rule. However some product categories allow longer titles, so be sure to follow category-specific instructions.

Capitalization:

  • Capitalize the first letter of each word.
  • Do not use ALL CAPS.
  • Conjunctions (and, or, for) and articles (the, a, an) should not be capitalized.
  • Don’t capitalize prepositions with fewer than five letters (in, on, over, with).

Numbers and symbols:

  • Use numerals (2 instead of two)
  • Spell out measurements ( 6 inches not 6″ )
  • Don’t use symbols, such as ~ ! * $ ?
  • Don’t use Type 1 High ASCII characters (Æ, ©, ô, etc.)

Product information:

  • Include the size and color in “child” ASINs for variations1
  • Don’t include price or promotional messages, such as “sale” or “free ship”
  • Don’t use subjective commentary, such as “Hot Item” or “Best Seller”
  • Your merchant name for Brand or Manufacturer information should not be included, unless your product is Private Label
Note: Move product-specific information (such as “great workout”) to the Product Description for the ASIN, or include in the keywords.

Titles using variation relationships

In Variation Relationships, only the title of the parent ASIN is shown on the detail page. The title for the selected child ASIN will appear once the ASIN is added to the customer’s cart, so it is important to include the variation attributes (such as size and color) in the title for the child ASIN.

  • Example parent: Crocs Beach Clog
  • Example child: Crocs Beach Clog, Lime, Medium (Women’s 8-9 M US/Men’s 6-7 M US)

1See the Variation Relationships Help page for more information about parent-child products.

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Amazon Parentage Child Variations Explained, Strategy Behind BSR & Keyword Ranking Connections

Parentage is complicated. I explain why you need to set it up.

 

When splitting a parentage, the reviews will split as well, whatever child had the reviews keeps them. If you are combining children into a new parent, reviews will combine together. I predict sometime in 2019 parentages will no longer share reviews and only independent children will host their own reviews.

 

Rankings are shared in most categories nowadays between children, via BSR rankings. The best ranking child ranking is shared among the others. We do not feel this impacts other children directly for ranking purposes other than additional sale generation to weaker variations. Simply having a better rank does not appear to impact sales however. When splitting children from a parentage, each child would have its own ranking. As for keyword rankings, these are shared when parented, and split when separated as a child as well.

 

Based on our experience, it’s best to launch a new product as follows. Attach it to a historically performing well listing as a variation, for a short time period of 2-4 weeks. Even if the other variation has bad reviews. Run a viral launch and generate buzz. Break the parentage right after the marketing drive. And let the new listing stand alone if it’s newer/better. The keyword rankings it gains from both of these actions is substantial. Launching new flavors/variations of well performing products is a good idea. Typically if more than one variation is doing really well I often split them out so they gain more search traction for the brand. But if there’s a star variation, and the rest are weaker, I keep them together. The example above is how I try to make a new star variation on a launch.

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How to Create Amazing Amazon Listings: Part 2 – Amazon Title, Bullet Points, Descriptions, and Search Term Best Practices

Creating an Amazon Listing that generates sales and builds a brand takes a lot of work.
You have to have titles optimized, copy in place for title and descriptions, backend keywords added, clear photos, and much more.

Today, we’re going to talk about optimizing our title, bullet points, descriptions, and search terms to ensure that we get in view of potential customers and convert as many clicks into sales as possible.

A software called Sellics states that the order of importance is: Title, Back-end Keywords, Bullet Points, Description

Title Best Practices:

  • Capitalize the first letter of each word
  • Don’t include trademarks or registered marks
  • Don’t include the type of company (Ltd, Srl., Inc., etc.)
  • Include only the information required for each field
  • Avoid duplicate words
  • Keep under the Character Limit of 200
  • Add keywords to title to help with SEO

[Example:

Meliora Goods 4K Ultra HD QLED Smart TV 240Hz High-Contrast 1 Billion Shades of Color HDR Power-Efficient Voice Activated Back-Lit (65”)]

 

Bullet Point Best Practices:

Bullet points should highlight the five key features you want customers to consider. These might include dimensions, age rating, ideal conditions for the product, skill level, included accessories, country of origin, and so on. Each individual bullet point should:

  • The first words on each bullet point should start with all-capitalized letters followed by a Colon
  • Reiterate important information from the title and description where applicable
  • Use semicolons to separate phrases within a single bullet point
  • Be more than 10 characters but less than 255 characters
  • Use 3-5 Bullets with 2-5 sentences in each.
  • The first bullet should be unique to the SKU and should capture the attention of the customer
  • The second through fifth bullet points can include size, brand statement, generic benefits that can apply to multiple SKUs

Bullet points should never include:

  • Website links

[Example:

  • MAXIMUM ANTI-AGING RESULTS: Our Anti-Aging Serum is a luxuriously rich, silky Facial Serum formulated to diminish the visibility of fine-lines, age-spots, and wrinkles. Enriched with 24k Gold, Amino Peptides, and super-antioxidants Vitamins A,C,E – all known for their anti-aging properties – this Serum improves skin’s firmness and elasticity for a radiant, youthful appearance. Directions: Gently tap onto clean skin. Use 2-3 times a week. FOR ALL SKIN TYPES.
  • HIGH-PERFORMANCE ANTI-AGING INGREDIENTS: Enriched with powerful Anti-Aging ingredients 24k Gold, Amino Peptides, and super-antioxidants Vitamins A,C,E – all known for their anti-aging properties, this Serum is designed to boost, nourish, and recharge your skin for a glowing, radiant appearance. 24k GOLD is the best natural, anti-aging, anti-inflammatory antioxidant. POTENT AMINO PEPTIDES stimulate Collagen reproduction. VITAMINS A, C, and E are super antioxidants for best anti-aging results.
  • HIGHLY-EFFECTIVE TIMELESS SERUM TO BOOST RESULTS: This 24k Timeless Anti-Aging Serum defies the aging process by reducing the visibility of fine lines, wrinkles, and other visible signs of premature aging. It nourishes the skin from within with supreme anti-aging ingredients for a luminous, flawless appearance. This cream’s luxurious texture will leave your skin revitalized and recharged for hours after each application.
  • BEST VALUE FOR THE GOLD STANDARD OF SKINCARE: We provide spa-level skincare at an affordable price point providing the best value for an exclusive, high-end skincare.
  • MADE IN USA. NOT TESTED ON ANIMALS. CRUELTY-FREE. PARABEN FREE. NO FILLERS. NO HARMFUL FRAGRANCES: Discover the Gold Standard of Skincare. Buy now and discover the Gold Standard of Skincare. Satisfaction Guaranteed or your money back.]

 

Product Description Best Practices:

The product description lists the product features, explains what the product is used for, and provides other product-specific information.

A good product description is concise, honest, and friendly. It introduces the product and gives an overview of its uses and where it fits in its category. It can expand on the features mentioned in the bullet points.

When writing your product description:

  • Use between 100 and 200 words, but under the character limit of 2000
  • Write full sentences and use a full stop at the end
  • Include HTML formatting

[Example:

Enjoy our <strong> Living Progesterone Cream </strong>! Each pump of Living Progesterone 50 delivers a generous 50mg of Progesterone, or 5% strength per bottle. <br /> Every Living Progesterone 50 container manufactured includes over 80 pumps that should last approximately 2 months. <br /> Living Progesterone 50 is 100% Paraben free and 100% Phenoxyethanol Free. <br / > Living Progesterone 50 has a 5% strength, which means that one pump provides 50 mg of progesterone. <br /> Living Progesterone 50 usage may vary, however, one bottle should last at least 2 months. After it is applied, Progesterone only lasts for about 5-6 minutes in the bloodstream because it is so readily picked up by receptor sites. <br /> The most important time of day to use progesterone is before lunch. Insulin levels are the highest in the afternoon, which, of course, is why many people get sleepy between 3-4PM. Please keep in mind that when sugar levels drop, the body will be releasing adrenaline to raise the sugar levels back up. <br /> <strong> How to use: </strong> <br /> This container yields about 180 half pumps or 90 full pumps. Massage into your inner arms, thighs, chest or apply to inner forearms and rub arms together until fully absorbed. Use at night or once or twice a day as needed. Each pump delivers about 55mg of Bio-Identical Progesterone along with MSM, Shea Butter, Coconut Oil, Aloe Vera, and Licithing in a rich cream that absorbs into the skin. <br /> <strong> BENEFITS: </strong> <br /> Progesterone has been shown to help with a variety of health conditions, including: <br /> – Stress <br /> – Adrenals <br /> – Unbalanced Cortisol Levels <br /> – Sex Drive <br /> – Managing Cholesterol Levels <br /> – Sleep <br /> – Restless Legs <br /> – Managing Thyroid <br /> – Managing Blood Sugar <br /> – Aging <br /> – ADHD <br /> – Depression <br />]

 

Search Term Best Practices:

In order for customers to find your products, it’s important to provide keyword search terms customers might use when searching for products…

Our system limits the length of the generic keyword/search terms attribute to less than 250 bytes. It is still technically possible to go over the limit, however if you do, none of your entries will be indexed by our search engine. Being indexed means that your product is eligible (but not guaranteed) to appear in search results.

In general, characters count as 1 byte. However, some special characters such as ‘é’, ‘ä’ or ‘&’ count as 2 or more bytes. We recommend that you use an online byte counter to check the byte count of your generic keywords.

Your keywords should be:

  • Not separated by a comma or semicolon
  • Include synonyms, abbreviations and alternate names.
  • Include spelling variations; no need for misspellings.
  • Use either singular or plural; no need for both.
  • Don’t repeat words within the search terms field.
  • Don’t include your brand or other brand names in search terms.
  • Don’t include ASINs in search terms.
  • No need for stop words, such as “a” “an” “and” “by” “for” “of” “the” “with” or punctuation, such as ; : , – .
  • No temporary statements, such as “new” or “on sale now”
  • Don’t use subjective claims, such as “best” “cheapest” “amazing” and so on.
  • Don’t add abusive or offensive terms.

[Example: ORO24KARAT ORO 24KARAT GOLD OROGOLD 24K 24KGOLD reinvigorating express non-surgical facelift minimize age spots reduce fine lines new anti aging formula anti wrinkle made with gold 24 karat]

 

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How to do Keyword Research – Website & Amazon

Doing keyword research is the best way to do SEO and optimize your product titles and copy “to sell more products to more people more often for more money.” Quote by Harry Joiner.

There are a few tools you can use to help you with your keyword research:

  1. Google Adwords Keyword Planner
  2. Jungle Scout Chrome Extension
  3. Jungle Scout Web App

This video walks you through how and why to use these tools. If you follow this advice it will skyrocket your organic traffic to your products and help push your sales!

 

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SEO – How to Drive Real Traffic Growth

Get Search Engine Optimization help from an SEO Ecommerce ExpertEverybody knows driving web traffic is a good idea. And thousands of people out there claim to be good at SEO offering even thousands more ideas. It’s overwhelming, and if you’re an eCommerce or website owner how do you even measure your success? How do you know your team (if you have one) is executing properly. How do you know if your website and strategy are sound? You’ve come to the right place to get some SEO eCommerce Consulting from an SEO Expert Consultant.

This particular article is meant to simplify SEO down to two executable things:

  1. Content production
  2. Technical SEO infrastructure

Content Production – Quantity matters, quality helps

If you’re blogging once a week, you’re doing content production right? WRONG. You need to scale far beyond that, you need 500+ pages of content a year. If your team can execute that, that’s content production. 500 pages might break down to blog posts, adding paragraphs of content to your category and product pages, or even building landing pages.

Think big because…

There are nearly 1-billion websites out there.

1-trillion websites

What makes your website special? Why should Google pick your page to outrank the billions of other pages it could use. That 1-billion website number isn’t the number of pages, it’s the number of websites. You need to build a catalog of information. You may have heard the phrase “Content is King” before. Well the reason is in an information age, the more relevant content you produce, the more people can find your site. The more people who can find your site, the more people who may convert and become a customer. Relevant content helps boost your ranking because the #1 SEO ranking factor today is engagement.

Engagement means:

  1. Time spent on site
  2. Bounce rate
  3. How many pages viewed before exiting
  4. Number of interactions (button clicks, sign up for email etc.)

How do you scale SEO content?

There’s a lot of ways you could tackle this. Depending on the size of your organization, here are possible options:

  1. Hire an agency. I recommend SearchSide.
  2. Build an internal content team. Hire writers on staff.
  3. Hire free lancers, meet once a week to brainstorm content ideas.
  4. Write the content yourself.

Technical SEO infrastructure – The best content with bad tech drives zero traffic

Okay you’ve got a content production team, now you need the infrastructure to translate your content in a way that Google understands.

The basics:

  1. HTML title – this is the title of the page as coded <title> of the page. If your title is “Blog” you are telling Google literally that it’s a blog. If you say “Best eCommerce Consulting Advice on SEO ever” that’s going to rank you for those key phrases. This has the strongest SEO impact on your page.
  2. Meta Description – This is the description of your page. It should be uniquely set to include a value proposition. Why should someone click on your page? Put that reason here.
  3. Keywords – Google claims they don’t use the keywords

Taking this a level deeper, you need to build a website with a good hierarchy.

  • Home page
    • Category page
      • Sub category page
        • product
  • Education/news/blog landing page
    • Category
      • Article

Building your url to look like www.brandnamehere.com/category-name-here-/page-title-here

On those pages, you need a layout to give:

  • Headline 1 <h1>
    • Headline 2 <h2>
      • Headline 3 <h3>
      • Headline 3 <h3>
    • Headline 2 <h2>
      • Headline 3 <h3>
      • Headline 3 <h3>

This organizes your content so Google knows what’s most important. Beneath the headlines of course you would have paragraphs of text.

This is just technical organization. The advanced items delve into:

  1. Schema
  2. Markup
  3. Engagement metrics
  4. Page load time.
  5. Responsive design

I’ve linked 5 articles that delve into each of those in depth. But I recommend you tackle all the organizational tech before attempting those.

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SEO – Winning the Answer Box

When you win the “Answer Box” in SEO with Google, it’s like winning a beautiful free paid ad that leap frogs your website to the top of the competition. Answer boxes come in many forms, depending on your industry, and have been nicknamed “position 0.” They were created by Google as a way to deliver the BEST result possible to the user, and the user generally gets a lot of valuable information from the box of information displayed. There are several ways to optimize for the answer box.

Just this week my company website that specializes in Gold Spot Prices published a change to our historical price tracker page that resulted in us winning the answer box in less than 24 hours.

APMEX has a live gold spot price tracker

There are several things you’ll notice about this particular answer box.

  1. It has an image of a beautiful Gold American Eagle coin.
  2. There’s organized information.
  3. It’s a copy of the live updated information portrayed from the website.
  4. It still links to the information.

Users who want to know specific information, get that information instantly from their Google search. Many users will not even need to click on the result because they already know what they were seeking. YET – many users do still click. A significant portion of them will end up clicking on the answer box, and at a higher proportion than a regular organic listing because they already know the credibility of the source. Many users will want to know even more information from this new trusted source they found.

In the example above, after winning the answer box, we added column headers for “Gold Price Today” and “Spot Change” to make it even more understandable to the search query. Google had the updates displayed within a couple of hours. So it’s entirely possible to optimize the answer box, even after you win it. I think Google has gotten even better at this recently because some of the blog posts out there from a year ago on answer boxes suggested that Google would cache the result and maintain it even months after the content of a page was gone.

Reasons why optimizing for the answer box is a good idea:

  • Gives you #1 Organic Position
  • Generates more clicks than a regular #1 Organic Position
  • It’s free
  • It doesn’t look like an ad
  • BUT – it’s as beautiful as an ad

Prediction: Answer box results are on the rise, and will inevitability reshape search over the coming 3 years

Back in September of 2014, Moz was tracking the percentage of answer box results. On 9/26/14 the use of answer boxes doubled to 3.5% of all results. SearchEngineLand found that answer boxes led to incredible click through rates of 33% (that’s like double a “regular” #1 organic listing). In February of 2015 one study showed 20% of all search queries were rich answer box results. I personally found that number too high compared to Moz’s study in a short time period. So it’s possible that latest study was true for only some industries.

With that said, I believe we could see answer boxes double, triple, and even quadruple in 2016 year over year. And than over the next 3 years, we will see answer boxes appear in as many as 33% of all results. So if your SEO team isn’t optimizing for answer boxes now, you’re missing the inevitable strategic shift of opportunity in SEO.

Some SEOs think Google will eventually monetize answer boxes. I think that’s possible, but I think it’s more likely Google will only monetize answer boxes for retail, and leave the factual information gathering answer boxes alone. For example, Google might end up monetizing “Best place to buy (fill in blank)” just like they did with PLAs, paid search, and other products in the past. The primary payers of those systems? Retail.

Okay – so how do I optimize for the answer box?

You’re going to need a website with high site authority to begin with. If you just launched a website, chance are your authority isn’t established enough to even compete on this scale. If you have some great content that already gets thousands of visitors, it will be easier to optimize that than to launch a new page. Building something that has schema, markup, or at least a direct answer to a question, are good starting points to winning the answer box.

What is Schema SEO?

In short – you’ll need a page of content that has meta tags optimized, relevant information that answers a query, and keywords in the copy.

Resources you will need:

  1. Good content
  2. High site authority
  3. A developer
  4. An SEO expert to marry all of those things together.

If you need help with your SEO, contact me for consulting in the evenings and weekends.

Relevant continued reading:

Answer Box – Search Engine Land

How Google Triggers Answer Boxes

Schema Markup SEO

Schema Structure Data – Moz

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