Did you know that the most valuable e-commerce customers usually come from organic search results? Yes, you may get lots of business through your email marketing campaign or your social media posts, but the most reliable long-term customers undoubtedly find your e-commerce site through the good old organic SERPs.
The Customer’s Lifetime Value
According to a recent study by Custora, customers gained through organic search have a significantly higher “customer lifetime value” (CLV). A CLV indicates how much a company can hope to benefit from a particular customer on a long-term basis. E-commerce sites need lots of repeat customers who will return and make multiple purchases! The graph above demonstrates the CLV to be expected from a customer based on how he or she finds an e-commerce site.
As you can see from the chart, the expected CLV of an organic searcher is 40% above the average CLV. Despite the current focus on social media throughout the world of SEO, Facebook and Twitter have very low CLVs, which means that they are less useful for e-commerce. Email marketing comes in second after organic search, so don’t ditch your email marketing campaign just yet!
The Importance of Content
Since the value of organic search to e-commerce is so clear, it is crucial to use strong SEO practices to achieve high rankings in the SERPs. E-commerce sites were hit particularly hard by recent Panda updates, so make sure that your SEO strategy is up to date in order to handle Google’s current algorithms.
E-commerce was susceptible to Panda because of its inherently commercial nature. With lots of pages and not much content, a search engine can easily imagine that e-commerce sites are spammy. In order to avoid looking spammy, find ways to present unique, valuable content. For instance, avoid using product descriptions from the manufacturer and use creative, original content instead. Or perhaps you could launch a blog that discusses products and ideas.
Two typical content concerns for e-commerce sites are duplicate content and keywords. Duplicate content can easily be avoided by creating unique product descriptions, as I mentioned above. Although keywords are certainly still a part of current SEO strategies, they are less valuable for e-commerce. With low levels of content on each page, keyword stuffing is super obvious and makes your page seem less user-friendly to search engines. The best strategy is to get your keyword in once or twice and then focus on making sure the rest of the content is natural.
Good e-commerce SEO depends on more than awesome content, of course. The appearance and functionality of your site is a key part of boosting your conversion rate. Begin by cutting down the load time of your page, especially for mobile pages. Google’s new timeline for loading “above the fold” content is just one second! You’ll lose traction in the rankings if visitors bounce back to the SERPs quickly, so make sure that they have something to interact with immediately.
Interaction is a key part of a great e-commerce site. To avoid making your visitors feel passive, offer them opportunities to engage with your brand, whether by leaving a review, posting in a forum, or reading a relevant blog.
Don’t Discount Social!
Even though customers coming from social apparently have a lower CLV, don’t cut social out of your marketing plans just yet! Social indicators are a key part of rankings in organic search, so make sure that your brand has an active social presence. For e-commerce, visual outlets like Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr are particularly effective for drawing in potential customers.
How is your brand working to gain more organic traffic?