Ecommerce is a fairly broad term, so I’d like to provide some insights gained over the last 18 years in SEO through the articles I’ll be submitting. My name is Paul Bruemmer. I have 18 years of SEO experience with 10 years specializing in enterprise SEO and the last 3 focused on local search for multi-location retailers, increasing ecommerce SEO traffic.
SEO is responsible for increasing website revenue. In one recent example, a client requested in-house SEO training which resulted in 150% year-over-year growth for 5 consecutive years. Natural search revenue lift went from $25k/day to $350k/day. Together, we built and guided the development training and supervision of a world-class team of 62 analysts and developers with the strategy and tactics for creating a $200MM increase in annual business. Natural search (SEO) contributed to accomplishing this online pureplay’s first billion dollar year.
To accomplish these kinds of results, it’s important to identify quick-win priorities by starting with a fresh diagnostic audit of technical and editorial factors hindering website rankings. With the above clients, we analyzed, planned and executed proven strategies and tactics to improve current operations. This often required top-down support with CEO and senior management, marketing, IT and merchandising to make the necessary changes over time.
I’ll be submitting a new article every Monday with theme and story behind Traffic Acquisition. I believe the main thrust for all ecommerce business is to acquire and maintain new customers year-over-year. Consistent growth in both online traffic and in-store foot traffic provides the brand with a future and brand identity that consumers trust.
I’ve laid out an editorial calendar to unfold over the weeks to come, providing the various tactics that lead to successful enterprise SEO operations and new customer acquisition.
In the first series of 7 articles over the next 60-days, will share many topics that include the information I’ve gathered over the past 10 years about In-Store Vs. Online Ecommerce, Local Market Coverage, Hyper-Local Issues, Store Locators, Internal Team Building and Future SEO.
Key Performance Indicators
Below are a few examples of the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) you’ll want to consider tracking while performing SEO.
To get started, some of my recent SEO results include:
1) Relevant organic search visitors at a cost of 1.2 cents per visitor
2) Each online store coupon redeemed, brought in $25 revenue and cost $2.60
The above results were provided by one of my brick and mortar ecommerce clients for the month of December 2013. The client is in the apparel business and owns 826 store locations throughout the US.
Organic search visitors are historically known for being loyal customers that tend to convert well at a low cost-per-visitor. Check with your Paid Search department; I’m sure the cost-per-visitor is at least 10x when buying paid search ads. You might also check with your Direct Mail department; it’s possible the cost-per-mailed-piece exceeds 10% of the cost-of-revenue generated.
What about pure-play ecommerce sites, e.g., no physical storefront locations?
1) 150% growth year-over-year organic traffic for 5 consecutive years
2) From $25k/day to $350k/day growth in organic traffic revenue
Regardless of whether your business is a pure-play internet company or a brick and mortar business, the plan for SEO is almost identical. I’ll be providing future articles in a way that allows you to build your way to the top and/or maintain your current top organic listings in major search engines.
I’ll start from the beginning with 3 important points and move on to the more advanced strategies and tactics as we go through the coming months here at Ecommerce Consulting. However, if you have any questions or want to skip to the middle or advanced, please feel free to email me directly at Paul.Bruemmer@gmail.com.
SEO Best Practices
It’s best to start with SEO Best Practices, and the most reliable SEO resource available is Google’s SEO Starter Guide. I recommend everyone, advanced or beginner, download a copy, read it and follow Google’s guidelines.
Google’s SEO guidelines are great; however, much is left open for interpretation when it comes to linking (to and from other websites). Google’s entire Intellectual Property (IP) value has been historically based on linking algorithms, and therefore, they will do whatever they want when it comes to protecting their IP. In other words, the rules can change or be interpreted differently, depending on the situation. For that reason, you need to exercise extreme caution with any link building projects.
The single most influential ranking factor in SEO has been the Title Element of each individual HTML web page. Each page should have its own unique Title and as a starting point, it’s worth the time and effort to make sure this feature is available to you. Much more information about the Title Element is available in Google’s Starter Guide.
Although recent testing shows Site Speed is no longer a big SEO factor, I believe Site Speed and Page Load Time will always pay out dividends when it comes to search engine rankings — especially for ecommerce sites. Search engines are increasingly taxed by the huge number of websites, documents and data being created on the internet. Therefore, it makes sense for your site to be one of the fastest and easiest to crawl, and thus, easily found. Pingdom is a reasonably reliable free tool for a website speed test. More technical information on how to improve site speed is available through Google Developers.
Next week, I’ll submit an introduction to In-Store Vs. Online Ecommerce, and we’ll move into how to cover local markets in search; see you next Monday! Looking forward to the beginning of a long-term, valuable relationship. Thanks to Harry Joiner and all contributing authors, I hope EcommerceConsulting.com becomes a check-in site and one of your must-have daily reads.