Online Marketing of an e-commerce website is a challenge, especially in the initial period when you have just started it. The source for getting traffic and ultimately customers for your online business is getting more and more diverse and you have to think beyond the obvious to make your online store a success.
Once a well designed and well functioning e-commerce website is created, the next step is the marketing and PR of the website for which adequate efforts and budget must be available. Lets look at 4 newer ways which go beyond the obvious to market and optimize your website for search engines.
It has been some time since Google has started looking at microdata as an additional facet of how users can get information about a particular web page. The Microdata is basically a markup format which allows us to label content of a specific type. For instance: reviews, people, products, recipes etc are labels for a sentence or line of content. Microdata is really helpful because if there is a specific uniform and interpretable structure to such content, it can provide rich and meaningful information in a search result to a user. For instance, lets say a person Umesh Sethi uses tags related to his name, photo, title, role, while creating content then this information can displayed as a snippet in search results providing value added information. In fact recently a complete scheme has been established for microdata and what’s more this scheme is interpretable by all major search engines such as google, yahoo, Microsoft. The details of this are available at schema.org. So our advice would be to study and implementation the rich snippets feature of google (implementation of this microdata to google specific information) and accordingly create content. This is definitely one on-page factor getting a decent amount of importance now. A very prominent example of this is Google Authorship where you may have seen in search results: author names, no. of google circles he is in and his photograph appears. Writers, content marketers and Blog owners have little choice but to adopt because usage of Google authorship does appear to indicate better SERPS overall and more importantly better click-through. Since the information is presented in a systematic and visually appealing way, the clicks increase dramatically.
A responsive web design a web design approach aimed at creating the website such that it requires minimum resizing, panning, scrolling and any other manual adjustment to be readable across a wide range of devices from mobile phones to tablets, laptops, desktops etc. A recent article in end of 2012 in mashable showed how consumer habits are changing and shift to mobile traffic is happening at a quick pace. Many users want to get content on mobile platforms such as tablets and smart phone using the mobile web rather than apps. So we need the website to be navigable, legible and visually clear on screens of many different resolutions. This is possible through responsive design. Creating a different mobile website or delivering it in a modified manner via an app etc. is a half baked and incomplete solution.
In case of e-commerce websites, the two main things to remember would be a) what shopping cart you’d use b) the design template or theme you’d require. Responsive web design can be fructified using responsive templates which are quite inexpensive compared to creating such a design from scratch. These themes can then be modified to fit your requirement while re-visiting that their responsive aspect remains intact.
Similarly, some shopping carts provide for such templates in their library as well as having their architecture and functionality suited for mobile. Examples include X-cart as well as prestashop. So, if you’re get to get your e-commerce website development completed, consider including responsive design as part of the requirements.
3. Guest Blogging
Since the famous (or infamous) Panda and Penguin updates, content has reinforced its importance in the game plan of search engine optimization. In brief these updates tried to downgrade the importance that was earlier given to even irrelevant and commercial link building and instead focus on natural link backs or any other signal which would only be given to an ‘authority site’. The focus hence shifted on content which was authoritative, original, natural and non commercial in nature.
One of the best ways of creating such content is by guest blogging. In guest blogging, you provide original and distinctive content in lieu of link back to your website and that content is posted in a website or blog which is an authority in that specific field and/or has good traffic. For instance, if you’re running an e-commerce website dealing with race car parts or auto components, or if you provide guest blogging and forum contributions to auto blogs, race car blogs and forums: these link backs have a great impact on the SERPs for the keywords you use as anchor text in your website. Some rules should be followed here such as: not too many links should be there, such guest blogging should be done naturally and regularly and mostly importantly the property where your content is published should be contextually relevant to the content. Rehashed or spun content is strictly inadvisable.
4. Implement Relationships
Even in the online world, relationships matter especially because the source for traffic to your e-commerce website has become so diverse. You could be getting traffic from your facebook page, your twitter account, your adwords ads, guest blogging links, online visual ads in online networks, to affiliate networks and much more.
The trick then is to build diverse relationships – whether commercial or symbiotic. You cannot ignore even a single source of meaningful legitimate traffic and you can certainly tweak your focus based on statistics in google webmaster or other seo tools. There isn’t any exhaustive tool or app that you can use to build relationships and the best way is to keep a checklist ready. Another advice that we frequently give to clients is to keep a suitable budget in place for this. At times we see clients spending a very decent amount on a really snazzy and well designed website with all the bells and whistles. This is great. But then you discuss with them regarding the budget for marketing their website online, and you find that they’re more or less cleaned out. So remember to keep in mind this relationship building aspect of online marketing and trawl the online community, friends and resources for relationships and referrals. Even offline resources such as industry and or networking events can prove a boon and you can find people who are willing to give PR to your website in a swap deal or some quid pro quo.