Learn how the top SEO experts in the industry use their unique skills and well developed strategy to compete against Ecommerce sites like Amazon, etsy, ebay and many more using their E-commerce SEO strategy..

Take your E-Commerce Site to Number#1 Position today!

ecommerce seo

What do I mean?

Well, if you want to go toe-to-toe with Amazon, you're fighting an uphill battle. They have world class backlinks and domain authority. That means that while you MIGHT be able to outrank them for their target keywords, it's gonna be tough.

Instead, I recommend setting your own terms. And by that I mean choosing keywords that ecommerce giants don't already rank for.

In fact, you can use Amazon to find these untapped, long tail keywords.

First, search for a keyword that you want to rank for in Amazon. And let Amazon suggest keywords for you.

amazon keyword suggest

Jot down these Amazon Suggest keywords. And then, one-by-one, search for each keyword in Google. Keep an eye out for keywords that don't have any "giants" on the first page.

You may need to try this process a few different times before you find a long tail keyword that doesn't have boatloads of competition. But when you do, you have a real asset that you can use to get more sales to your product and category pages.

The first thing I want to establish is why e-commerce giants are hard to compete with. First, many big e-commerce sites like Amazon, Wayfair, etc, have incredible website authority. From a pure, website authority standpoint, you have pretty much no chance to compete with them. This is partially because these big brands have enormous advertising budgets and are incredibly skilled at building brand exposure.

Their brand exposure leads to more branded searches in Google. And as you may or may not know, branded searches are a huge trust signal for a website.

So when you combine insane amounts of branded searches plus huge website authority, it makes these e-commerce giants SEO powerhouses. It’s actually quite unfair because this allows them to publish thin and average quality, keyword-targeted content and still rank on the first page.

So if you are starting a brand new e-commerce website or trying to expand an existing (through SEO), you need to know what you’re up against.

The good news is that there are many ways for you compete and even beat these e-com giants in some ways. Today, I want to share what I believe is the most important point of leverage you can use:

Stay Niche or Niche Down

Don’t try to be Amazon. Choose a niche and dominate it. Don’t focus on entering new niches until you have completely dominated the one you’re in.

A good example is the e-commerce website that my buddy Ryan Stewart founded, Laces Out.

Ryan’s site only focuses on selling shoelaces and educating on shoelaces. By staying niche, the content is deeper and more comprehensive than a website that’s trying to sell shoes, socks, and shoelaces. Not only that, the topical relevancy is tighter, which means Google will recognize Laces Out as a shoelaces “authority”.

These larger e-commerce stores that are competing on several different fronts, don’t have the ability to reach the level of depth that a niche site can. This is your advantage.

Very interesting question. The key word in the question is “giant”. So I’m assuming that the competition, in this sense, has huge sites selling anything and everything.

While the size, authority and (let’s not forget) budget of our competition is in their favor, we can beat them by using the thing that they lack the most: topical relevance.

Big, bulky sites tend to have many topics going on at the same time (e.g.: bicycles, fishing poles, etc.) making it more challenging for Google to decide exactly what the pages are about. On the site itself, you might have bicycle pages linking to fishing pole pages, confusing the relevance as determined by internal links.

On the contrary, when you niche things down, every page on your site might be about the same topic, making it very easy to determine what the site is about.

Combine this with the normal e-commerce SEO do’s and don’ts (managing indexation, reducing thin and dupe content, etc.) and you’re in good shape.

E-commerce marketing, as many of you know is quite different to "simply" rank a local client website or even building an authority affiliate site.

One has to find the balance between putting enough content on product pages to appease the search algorithms, and not inundating the pages with useless content either. A great way to get around this is to hide a lot of the useful content in a FAQ section. This is where you can hide the answers to common questions, which in turn will enable you to rank for a lot of long tail keywords.

Once you have done that, a way to further add content that can help you rank for a lot of keywords is adding buyers guides to your ecom site, these can be targeted towards "best" keywords such as "best scooter 2017", and can then educate the buyer about the different products offered on your website, while also adding plenty of contextual linking opportunities to your site.

Another way to quickly stimulate sales for your ecom site, is to connect with affiliates in the same vertical and offering them slightly more commission than they are currently earning from say Amazon Affiliate. This can quickly add an extra 100 unit sales a month without needing to wait for more rankings to come in etc.

Treat your e-commerce website as a brand rather than just "a website" make sure you are active on social media, communicate with bloggers in the space etc etc. your rankings will come naturally if you do the right thing from the start.

And never forget, customer support is the number 1 sales tool when it comes to growing your customer lifetime value!

Compete where they don't.

For example if you're in the niche of selling blenders, the giants will rank for terms like "buy blenders online", "vitamix", etc.

This is a high awareness prospect. They're actively looking to purchase.

But what other levels are there:

  • Someone that wants to purchase a blender but isn't sure which one to get
  • Someone thinking about buying a blender but needing more information
  • And some people that would be open to buying a blender but aren't even thinking about it right now

(That excludes people that will never buy)

So how do we reach those people?

You can take the approach of ranking for review terms to hit the first category.

"Blender reviews" is probably competitive. You can get more specific with reviews of specific brands, and then specific models.

You could also rank for terms like "vitamix vs blendtec".

For the second category, you could rank informational content about blenders. What are the benefits of blenders, or green smoothies? These may be competitive too, but seek out the longer tail keywords.

And for the final category, this is where you become a big authority site, you want to create content around being healthy, or cooking, and then sell the idea of a blender to help that.

(The final category would also allow you to build an email list and monetise through various different ways, depending on your model)

Then with all this content, the backlinking is simple. And also you will naturally get a lot of referral traffic as it grows.

The short: Rather than competing for mega competitive keywords, figure out your different types of prospects and create a lot of content to hit all of them.

PBNs, outreach links, or whatever else is simple once you've got your keyword research and content down.

Your best bet when competing against E-Commerce sites in SEO is to do a much better job at On-Page and creating topical relevancy. It’s rare to see E-commerce sites doing that on a higher level. Creating detailed supporting content around your main or “silo” pages (topical clusters) sends a positive signal to Google that your page is the #1 resource for that topic. You can find plenty of ideas for supporting content on Youtube, forums, Quora, and other Q&A sites. Google loves query solving content. This approach is different from Keyword research (where you only focus on KWs with search volume). With topical research, your primary focus should be to help users solve their problems or to find what they were looking for, even if they don’t know what that is yet and even if the keyword doesn't have search volume.

On-Page is one of those low effort – high return things that big E-commerce sites take for granted. And it’s much easier to optimize content pages than product pages. I personally invest a lot of time in this and it makes your life easier when you start link-building. While on subject of link-building, make sure to link to your supporting content a lot more than your product/silo pages. It’s rarely natural that a site will link to those pages instead of interesting infographic or query solving pages.

E-commerce giants like Amazon or Ebay do SEO differently than small businesses. They can afford to do nearly anything they want as long as they provide a great user experience, and if you copy their techniques, you can be certain that your website is going to end up getting nowhere!

Why? They have millions of high quality backlinks. They have affiliate programs that incentivize others to link to individual product pages. They have millions of users (or billions). They have gigantic departments full of employees working on their websites. They have users (and SEO companies like mine) doing everything they can to optimize individual product pages. And quite honestly, they are given special consideration by Google due to their popularity.

And if you're reading this article, you don't have any of that. So what do you do to compete?

First of all, stop comparing your website to theirs. Don't compare your product pages to their product pages. If you try to copy them, you will never make it anywhere, because you don't have what they have.

But you have things that they don't have (cue your shocked face :-o). You have the following in place (Or you need to do these things right now!):

  1. An e-commerce website that is effectively placed in a niche. Riches are in niches!

  2. Product pages that are all optimized with a unique page title of 67 characters or less and a unique and benefit-focused meta description that appeals to prospective customers.

  3. Each product has a unique and well-written "short" description that focuses on the benefit to customers, and a "long" description that focuses on what the product does, how it is used, and who can benefit from purchasing it.

  4. Your product pages have breadcrumb navigation like this: Home > Category Name > Product Name

  5. Your product URLs contain maximum 3 layers, only relevant words, and no irrelevant words. Good example (for a hip-hop t-shirt brand): yourwebsite.com/mens-tees/tshirt-name | Bad example: yourwebsite.com/products/shirts/mens/tshirt-name

  6. You are advertising on Facebook in some way. Facebook ads have been shown to directly correlate with an increase in organic SEO ranking... It may not always be so, but as of Q4 of 2017, it works!

  7. You have meaningful blogs that cover useful topics to your target market. Those blogs also only point to relevant products or categories in your product line.

  8. You seek outreach opportunities to talk about your products on relevant websites with real traffic levels. Your blogs on these website drive real customers to your e-commerce site, taking advantage of other site SEO rankings.

  9. You focus your website design to engage customers and avoid intrusive pop-ups (unless those pop-ups offer a $$$ discount code!)

  10. You use an exit intent pop-up that requests an e-mail capture in exchange for something of value (so you get to market to them routinely)

  11. You are using re-targeting ads in Facebook and Google Ads as well as abandoned cart e-mails to increase the value per lead that SEO provides.

  12. You are bookmarking and reading every other expert's response in this blog over the next week, and you are going to implement as much of this as you can into your strategy in the shortest timeframe possible.

Don't get caught reading and doing nothing. Reading without acting on the information you receive won't make you a penny. Go out there and make it happen!

E-commerce SEO can be tricky.

Competing in search with the e-commerce giants of this world can also be difficult, if not impossible in some instances.

You're going to find it hard to rank product pages in search for competitive terms.

Category pages, on the other hand, are a little more doable.

Your best bet is to focus on a niche. Dominate that niche entirely and keep your store topically relevant, so Google knows exactly what your site is about.

That said, ranking content is an even better approach.

Here's the thing.

Most e-commerce stores, including those of the giants in e-commerce, are not producing enough quality content.

Content that people will want to link to and share.

This is where you can shine.

But, one caveat...

Merely producing quality content is not enough.

You need to have a plan and process that is almost guaranteed to succeed.

Here's my step-by-step process for creating winning content that will help with e-commerce SEO.

  1. Identify Your Audience (In SEO Terms)

One of the most important aspects of SEO is targeting the right audience.

Many get this first and crucial step wrong.

They often create content targeted towards their customers, which is fine to help with engagement and conversions later on, but for SEO purposes this is usually the wrong audience to target.

If it's rankings you're after, you'll need to target people who can link to you.

This means those individuals that have websites in your niche or similar niches.

  1. Find Popular Content

Once you have your audience right and have written up a list of people to target during the outreach phase (step 6), it's time to start doing some content research.

You want to find content that appeals to the people who are able to link to you.

This content MUST have previously been proven to have already done well regarding social engagement (shares and comments) and backlinks.

You'll probably find that most of the content out there is pretty weak, even if it has done well, and that you're able to create something much better.

Compile a list of all the best content that appeals to those able to link to you.

Look at the type of content these people are sharing, writing about, and linking to already.

  1. Target Topics, Not Keywords

Once you have your popular content list, it's time to begin to formalise a topic based on the common themes you see cropping up from your content research.

Most people start the SEO process with keyword research.

This is a dangerous move because while you may be able to find excellent keywords with lots of search visibility, this tells you nothing about your ability to rank for them or the content that is out there that is popular for these terms.

You should be concentrating on topical relevance.

Cover a topic, in-depth, rather than focusing on a single keyword or group of keywords.

This will allow you to rank for many keywords, including longtail, medium tail and head terms, as well as keywords you never even thought of or came across.

Of course, it's always good to have an overarching medium tail keyword to focus your topic around, but try to find synonyms, longtails, and other medium tail keywords that will help to inform your topical relevance.

Sprinlinking these keywords throughout your piece, in a natural way, will help you tremendously.

  1. Create a Winning Piece

Once you've gone through the research phases, it's time to create your piece.

There's a lot that goes into this, but for now, just make sure:

• It's better than anything else out there on this topic.
• It's written well and optimised for mobile.
• It is topic focused and covers the topic in-depth.
• It's long form (2000 words minimum, depending on industry)
• It's useful, solves a problem and is actionable.
• It has excellent on-page optimisation.

Writing in-depth content is something that will allow you to rank for many other keywords and topics, as detailed content tends to naturally include lots of great longtails, synonyms, and other keywords.

You'll want to make sure that your piece is built using a 'content framework'.

Content frameworks are like templates for your content and help you to structure and develop a piece based on data, and not on intuition.

They are frameworks that have already been proven to do well in search and across social.

Examples are list posts, expert roundups (like this one), how-tos/guides/tutorials, case studies etc.

You get the idea.

  1. Promote Your Content & Gain Social Proof

One of THE most important parts of SEO is content promotion.

I can't emphasise this enough.

You NEED to get as many eyeballs on your content as possible, both before and after you publish it.

This is a crucial step.

Why?

Because it adds social proof to your piece, exposes it to a targeted audience and allows influencers to find it naturally.

With targeted content promotion strategies you'll also acquire natural backlinks. As long as the content is excellent, of course.

You'll need to promote your content to the right audience continually.

You should spend 80% of your time promoting your content, and 20% creating it. As a rough guide.

Also, you should promote your content consistently and regularly.

Don't just do a promotional blast once you publish and move on. You should be looking to promote your content on a regular basis.

  1. Outreach for Links

Once you have promoted your content sufficiently (both organically and using paid advertising), you can now begin the outreach process for links.

Hopefully, you've already been building relationships with those people you discovered in step 1.

If you haven't, make sure you do. This will help tremendously with the outreach you're about to conduct.

You'll need to find the email addresses of the individuals from step 1, or at least have a way of contacting them on social media.

Start sending personalised and targeted messages to these people, letting them know about your content.

Now, here's the thing.

There are many outreach strategies available to you, but whichever one you choose, just make sure that the emails you send are personal, genuine and that you have built at least some relationship with these people before you begin.

Do this, and you'll have much better success.

  1. Channel PageRank (Link Juice) to Your Category Pages

Now comes the final step, and one that will enable you to rank your category pages, and quite possibly even your product pages.

Now that you have a great piece of content, social proof and hopefully a ton of high-quality, relevant backlinks from authority sites, you can push some link juice to the pages that matter.

Your money pages.

Edit your post and strategically link out to one, or possibly two of your category pages.

Don't add too many links.

One or two is fine.

Then republish your post.

That's it!

Over time PageRank will be passed from your posts to your category and product pages, in turn increasing the rank of these pages for their targeted terms.

Sure, there's much more to e-commerce SEO than just this.

But...

This is e-commerce SEO 101, and it will help you to begin ranking with and profiting from your store.

One of the best way to start your e-commerce journey is by taking advantage of expert roundups. This is true not only for the e-commerce niche, but for any online niche under the sun.

When you are a startup or are still a small player in your industry, you need to start getting some initial attention to your business. This is one of the toughest stages for every new company. At this point, your website usually gets no traffic, has no rankings in Google and you have no social media presence whatsoever.

Do not get discouraged! Every new or small business goes through this stage.

I started my international SEO company niksto.com nearly 2 years ago. The thing that helped me get some initial traction was expert roundups. Two out of my first 3 articles were actually expert roundup posts. They were huge success as they got around 2000 social shares each, generated over 5000 visits each and helped me get the first links to my brand new domain.

Needless to say that when you’re just starting out every tiny bit counts. Any visitor or a social share you can get might turn into a lead for your brand new business.

In conclusion, my advice for any new e-commerce store owner is to create an expert roundup article and to get as many influencers to answer their question. This is vital for the success of your strategy.

Here are some basic tips to get you started with expert roundups:

  • Choose a popular, clear topic with a good overall search volume
  • Laser focus your influencers contacting only those of them who are interested in this topic
  • Extract their name, email and social media profiles
  • Warm them up by leaving a few comments under their blog posts or sharing their content on social media
  • Drop them a polite, short and non-pushy email asking them to participate in your article
  • Give them at least 2 weeks to send you their answers
  • Remind them that deadline is approaching but do not send more than 2 follow-up emails
  • Avoid any type of self-promotion in your article

Generally, I suggest to try and get at least 25-30 highly respected experts to take part in your post. Once it’s done, send them all an email and a tweet and let them know the roundup is love.

If you’ve done your homework properly, your expert roundup will get you a nice bunch of visits, social shares and maybe even links.

Once you get some attention to your new e-commerce store, things will only become easier.

Look at the BIG picture of the e-commerce brand you are promoting before jumping into specific SEO tactics. As a former investment banking business consultant, I would spend weeks understanding the business, the teams impacted and specific pain points before identifying potential solutions and next steps. You can't fix what you don't understand and I don't think seeing an SEO audit is sufficient to make strategic business decisions. Instead, you need to know the end to end picture if you really want to help e-commerce brands make SEO decisions that are in the business's and customer's interest.

Chasing a backlink is a tactic, but building a long term relationship with a potential online partner is strategic. For instance, for a London tour company, we carried out hours of research into what tourists really wanted to know when they visit London and found that they wanted to know about the coolest bars, clubs, restaurants and dessert venues and decided to create a guide around this. Not only will it help website visitors get the most out of London, it may help the site connect with other websites they have synergies with. Getting found in Google is now a long term hope and actually is not as critical as it could've been since there is clearly benefit from the initial launch of the article.

Building any kind of traction for online business requires time and effort. There are no shortcuts to improve your site’s visibility on search engines or to instantly gain more traffic. Moreover, eCommerce giants have been around for a longer time and have invested heavily into their business, and thus it is only natural for them to acquire the top position in the search result. However, through SEO you can increase brand awareness as well as garner more leads for your business and as such, here are top 4 tips that can help improve your site’s traffic and boost its ranking on SERPs.

  1. Implement Long Tail Keywords - While researching for niche-specific keywords, focus more on long tail keywords. Why? The simple reason for this is that people are, more often than not, using these term or phrases on Google to search for products and services and as such, by implementing them on your site, you are improving your chances of appearing in search engines for queries related to or similar to any of those keywords.

In addition, even though the search volume of these keywords might be low, sprinkling these keywords or phrases in your content and in product description can help you rank ahead of your competitors as well as help you attract more traffic to your site.

  1. Write Descriptive Meta Title and Description - When a buyer searches for a product online, he is more likely to click on a link that includes a well-written meta title and description, then one without it.

For example, if a buyer is searching for mobile phones, there are more chances of him clicking on a link titled ‘best mobile phones under Rs. 10,000’ than a vague link titled ‘latest mobile phones.’

Likewise, a link that appears in the search result that is accompanied by a well-written meta description has more chances of converting a lead into a paying customer and thus, if you want to boost your sales, then writing descriptive meta title and description that includes the target keyword is a must.

  1. Create Engaging Content - Writing long-form content that explains the benefits of a product or offering a detailed comparison review between two products is the best way to boost your site’s authority on SERPs. Content marketing can help deliver the best results, irrespective of your business platform. Hence, to generate qualified leads and to increase traffic, it is crucial that you invest in creating high-quality content that is informative and engages your audience.

Also, don’t restrict yourself to only text-based content and instead try out other avenues such as infographic, podcasts, explainer videos etc, as this help facilitate greater customer engagement, resulting in a better conversion rate.

  1. Focus on niche-specific Link Building activity - Instead of going all over the place with your linking building efforts, focus on gaining niche specific backlinks that will ensure that your website gets the target audience who are actively searching for product or service that you are providing. For this you can use link building tactics like blog commenting, guest posting, writing testimonials for sites whose service you might be using, broken link building etc.

This is a great question and one I have proven to beat over and over again.

Lets first consider who an eCommerce Giant is. It could be Nike, Adidas or perhaps even Amazon.

Now lets say that you sell Nike runners as a product on your site.

Straight off the bat you are not going to outrank Nike for this term. Here is an example of why.

The term Nike Runners captures 1300 searches per month and while this may seem like a great amount of new traffic to your blog if you can rank for it the top ten results have Nike sitting in 1-7 positions.

No amount of content or backlinks is going to beat that search term.

Search Intent

Next, let’s look at search intent.

The term Nike Runners on it’s own is great but the intent behind the search is too generic.

This is where the power of long tail keywords comes into play.

Try searching for more specific terms with more buying intent behind them.

For example:

best nike runners - ok so search volume is much lower but there is buying intent behind the search and there are beatable sites in the top ten.

Another one:

nike running shoes for men - this term has great search volume and the intent is fairly decent as well. You could easily hit the top ten for this search term with some quality content and a minimum backlinks.

To show you this is possible I’ll give you an example.

5 years ago I build a crappy Wordpress niche site to sell running and sporting gear. It was far from brilliant and initially I just targeted huge keywords because I hadn’t a clue what I was doing.

Yep - you guessed it. zero traction and even less sales :-)

I then started doing research and discovered the power of keyword research and understanding how to audit my competition.

I wrote a piece on Nike Free Women’s running shoes and within about 2 weeks I was suddenly ranking for over 400 keywords.

This piece of content wasn’t a work of art but did contain some quality research and had plenty of ‘buying’ keywords placed naturally within it.

I didn’t focus on white hat or black hat tactics for link building - I didn’t build any links…

I attribute the success of this article to the keywords I used within it.

Today when I write an article I go to any number of places to find these keywords:

Answer the Public
CognitiveSEO
LSIgraph.com
Ahrefs
Semrush

The process is as follows:

Identify a product I want to sell and start with a quick Google search to see whats ranking. I use seed keywords for this search because I want to quickly identify the challenge ahead.

Once I have an idea of competition I then start auditing the top 10 positions to see what else they rank for. SemRush is great for this because you simply plug in the URL and wait for the results.

When I have a list of keywords and phrases I want to use I then start writing, doing more research along the way.

Once I have the article draft pretty much ready to publish I plug it into cognitiveSEO and see what else comes up for keywords and check for over optimisation etc..

This is a great tool and while it comes at a price it is extremely helpful in identifying whats missing from your articles.

After I hit publish I then follow a pattern of promotion across all my social networks.

Link Building Normally the content will start to rank naturally within a few days for some of my chosen keywords and if I need to give it a bit of a nudge I may then look at building a few links to give it a push up the rankings.

Everybody talks about the risks of using PBN’s but if you use them properly you will be unstoppable.

There is no doubt that backlinks are the number one reasons content ranks above all others - especially for competitive terms, so if you want to rank then you need links - period.

I don’t have the time or patience for outreach and natural link building so leave it to the experts to build these links for me. I spend my time looking for golden nugget keywords and products that I can rank for…

I may not rank top position for the primary keywords but the sum of loads of buying intent keywords with smaller search volume is far greater that ranking for a generic term where nobody buys anything.

So with big E-commerce websites, there are a number of common mistakes I see people making so I will go through a number of these tips to look out for when doing SEO on big websites to help you compete with some of your rivals.

Site Auditing

Regularly do site audits to ensure that you can keep on top of broken links, broken pages and any other technical site errors that crop up. Many people worry about link building and content and completely ignore the technical side of SEO, which is equally as important as any other aspect of SEO in my opinion.

Duplicate Product Descriptions

It is quite common that people use the product descriptions that their supplier provides, which will lead to duplicate content issues. People are lazy in a lot of cases and don't want to re-write these, but it's essential that as part of your SEO strategy that your product descriptions are unique as this will allow you to target specific keyword relating to the products.

No Follow Product Variations, Search Strings and Similar

Again many e-commerce websites get punished for duplicate content issues because of their set up, products that come in different sizes have a different URL but the same content. So do we need that to be crawled and indexed by Google? Absolutely not there is no need for that to rank well and as part of any good SEO structure, an SEO will ensure that pages that have no business being crawled and indexed are hidden.

Link Building

Link building is a vital part of any SEO campaign and you must make sure that you build links to your category and product pages as well as any landing pages on your website. It is quite common for people to become obsessed with linking to the homepage or a specific category. Make sure you look at the bigger picture and ensure that you get good rankings for as many keywords as time allows.

Competitor Analysis

Ensure that you regularly do competitor analysis, not only on the keywords and links that your competition gets, but look at their UX and any other changes that they may implement, don't get left behind by your rivals. A website is an ongoing project and you should look to constantly refine and better your website, products and anything else associated with your website.

Stories and Scenarios ALWAYS win when competing against the ecommerce giants As an experienced SEO trainer who goes into digital agencies to train the professional marketers, I’m often asked to share my top-secret techniques to get ecommerce based websites ranking high when the first page is full of the big brands.

I’m not one for mincing my words and am known for being brutally honest, which is why people tend to listen to what I have to say. The fact is, top-secret SEO techniques are a load of crap. They do not exist. Sure, there may be certain SEO techniques that you have yet to learn but nothing in this industry is top secret.

The fart power of big brands

First thing you have got to understand about big brands is that you should NEVER follow anything they do. In fact, you should never follow any SEO techniques any competitor does. If you follow what everyone else is doing – you will only ever be ‘as good’ as them at very most. Being as good for me is never an option. I need to be able to beat the competition or I have basically failed. This is the mindset you need to be in.

No matter what you read, big brand names have ‘fart power’. Never heard of this before? The whole notion of writing an article and hey presto, you gain loads of links works for them because of their fart power. A big brand can basically sneeze, and they rack up a ton of links. Following their SEO techniques will never work for you because your brand has not made it big, YET! Big brands are only in this situation because they have invested millions upon millions of pounds/dollars into building their brand over a long period of time. A luxury us mere mortals do not have. You wouldn’t put petrol in a car with a broken engine

I’m sick and tired of industry experts telling everyone that performing SEO on an ecommerce based website is totally different than a non-ecommerce site. It is just not true. All the very same SEO principles you implement on a standard business website apply just the same on an ecommerce site.

This is the first step towards beating the big brands. I have personally worked on big brand websites and have been paid a lot of money to perform audits for them. The shocking thing is, the bigger the brand, the more messed up their website is. During one audit, I found that a certain brand in the fashion space has secured ‘money cannot buy / to die for’ links from top news sites. They then just randomly started to delete pages with no consideration towards setting up 301’s.

I could easily turn this roundup into a lengthy guide, but others need to share their personal experiences, so let’s just say that you need to make sure the site is technically perfect, fully optimised, user friendly and converts people into paying customers.

Stories and scenarios always win

Now we have got the site sorted, what is going to ensure you stand out above the crowd is stories and scenarios. This technique has enabled me to help everyday companies to grow and ‘beat’ the big named brands online. I’ve outranked brands such as Tesco, B&Q, Homebase, Ikea, Vistaprint, Harvey Nichols and many more. It is not rocket science, it’s just thinking differently without following the crowd.

Every single business I meet is different in some way. Just like your own business or the company you work for or even the client websites you work on. Every day each business will come across scenarios they think nothing of. What they don’t realise is, the everyday scenarios you come across which related to a certain customer, will also relate to thousands of other people. I say ‘people’ because your customers are not data or uses. They are real people so start thinking about them in this way.

List down all these scenarios and suddenly you will find yourself loads of ‘stories’ which totally relate to the people you are trying to do business with. Writing about these stories and publishing them on your blog then ensuring you get it linked on external sites your potential customers hang out and read, will not only drive a ton of visitors to your website. It will drive rankings and sales, all because you told a story which related to them! I’m happy to go more in-depth if you would like to reach out to me. SEOs and digital marketers need to get into a different logical thinking mindset. If you do, the ‘impact’ not results will be astonishing. Results are vanity – Impact is sanity.

When competing against a much larger e-commerce player, the best strategy is often not to compete. Focus instead on understanding what makes your company great, and hone in on that greatness.

Ask why your current customers work with you, rather than one of your competitors. Are your services more specialized than your competitor? Do you offer better customer service? Once you've identified the ways in which you are different from your competitors, market those differences.

Write long-form content about your industry that positions you as the expert within your specialties. Search for popular questions in your industry on Quora and focus on writing detailed guides that answer the most common questions that you encounter.

From there, spend twice as long promoting that content to your customers and other websites in your industry. Focus on getting other websites to link back to that content. Invest in a tool like Ahrefs to identify websites who have linked to similar content in the past, and build a relationship with the owners of those websites. Over time, share your content with them and encourage them to link to articles that might serve as a helpful resource for their readers.

Positioning will inevitably turn away some potential customers. However, positioning will help you to solidify market share in a smaller market, rather than fight as a commodity against your larger competitor.

1 - Big E-commerce sites don't have one single focus. They target multiple niches. For you to compete, you need to focus on only one single niche. That allows you to write more focused content and rank high for other long tail keywords, which brings us to the next tip.

12 - Big sites rank very well for medium tail and branded keywords, but they are rarely seen competing for long tail keywords. When doing your keyword research, work on discovering long tail keywords that have a clear commercial intent. Although they may have low search volumes, their conversion is much more higher.

13 - As part of your long tail keyword you should sometimes include an area or city name. Using Local SEO, you will limit your competition with big e-commerce sites to a smaller audience. While their focus is international, yours is purely on the area that you can serve best.

14 - When all said and done, Content and backlinks are what allows your SEO campaign to be successful. All the three tips above require you to write high-quality content around the right keywords targeting the right audience, and to attract and build a good backlink profile. Following these 4 simple tips should allow you to comfortably compete against the big guys in any niche.

I think that if you want to compete against ecommerce giants using SEO, you have to focus on one specific niche. This way you can make your entire website extremely relevant to the products you sell and you don' have to worry about your pages being diluted as a result. If you try to open a broad generic store with lots of products and lots of pages then you will ultimately suffer as a result. But an ultra specific store that only focuses on one niche can compete, because you can build more links to the specific product pages than an ecommerce giant will.

Do you remember what Amazon was known for when it was founded? This is way back in 1994 and it was mostly serving family and friends of family.

Books

That's it. One key product. And do you know why Jeff Bezos simply chose this particular category?

Because books are low cost and have a universal demand. Now, that should not be the only reason to help you determine what product category you should have in your online store.

When it comes to SEO, the more product skews you have the more keywords you have to monitor. And if you are a team of one or five or twenty; I guarantee you are bound to miss some. And that is why you should start by focusing on offering one product category in your store.

Once you decide on a product category, become familiar with commercial intent keywords. These are Keyword someone would type in when they are looking to purchase that particular product.

And the last step and most overwhelming step is becoming really granular with the metrics. And in this case your organic search metrics.

What terms/keywords do your users type in to come to your site. What search engine platform are they coming from AOL, Yahoo, Bing or Google.

Then what is the conversion rate in each of these search engines. How many people from Google are actually buying your product compared to the other search engines.

And to dive further into the metrics, you need to compare which platform has a higher average order value. You may be surprised to notice that a particular search engine has a lower conversion rate than the others but it has the highest average order value.

This exercise is simply to ascertain what search engine platforms you have mastered and where should you invest more time and resources.

Also, focusing on the metrics helps you stay focused with your objectives and buffering your bottom line.

You may have noticed, I am not excluding any search engine. Because I believe you need to be attentive in all these other search engine platforms.

Big retailers are bound to ignore them; and that would be your opportunity to win customers organically from those search engines. As you build your ranking on Google.

I mean, if you look at the big guys - most of them usually use generic product descriptions, photos, videos. These are not engaging for people, and there’s not much for Google to index and rank.

So if you take one of the products that you sell and spend an entire day writing about it’s benefits, recording videos of yourself using it, breaking it, fixing in - you can then generate a TON of search traffic from all this content.

And because most online stores won’t bother investing THAT much effort into creating their product pages, you’re basically creating the “blue ocean” for yourself.

One of the most popular examples is Gary Vaynerchuck. There are millions of wine shops around the world, but Gary was the only guy who decided to create a ton of content around wine.

“Organic traffic is a gold mine for e-commerce businesses but it can be hard to compete with the likes of Amazon, Walmart, and Etsy. Here’s three things that I recommend doing, other than the standard best practices for onpage SEO.

  1. Go above and beyond with product descriptions. Most e-commerce stores sell the same (or very similar products) and it’s hard to separate yourself from the competition, especially in the eyes of Google. They don’t know if your price or customer support is better, and their algorithms wouldn’t care anyway. Content is still king when it comes to SEO and writing longer, more detailed product descriptions will not only help you with your rankings, but will also help you convert more visitors into customers. Aim for at least 200-300 words on your most popular products.

  2. Create an informative, educational, or entertaining blog. Content is king but links are still just as important. How many people would actually link to your product page though? Create content that attracts links, spread it with influencers through outreach and content promotion, and funnel that link juice down to your product pages later on. Find some products that are currently ranking in the top 10, send some strong internal links to those pages, and the odds are high that you’ll quickly jump to the top three.

  3. Optimize your site structure. This is the foundation of everything - screw it up and all of the above will be wasted efforts. The ideal site structure for an e-commerce store is in a hierarchy. Do an audit of what you have now and tweak it if necessary. If you make any changes, ensure that the old links are properly redirected.

Consistency is key - remember that SEO is a long-term play. Just because you don’t outrank Amazon in a few months doesn’t mean SEO is dead, you simply have to put in some more work.”

Considering the wide range of products sold on Amazon we can say that a fair amount of shops already compete with Amazon or any other big name companies that invest millions in digital marketing. However, even if you don’t have those huge marketing budgets you can still make good sales using several SEO hacks.

1) Optimize your website for mobile

Searches on Google from mobile devices overthrown searches from desktop and laptops so is crucial to have your ecommerce website optimized for phones and tablets.

This is a large topic but just to name several things you should look into ASAP:
a) responsive design b) fast e-commerce website c) good user experience (UIX).

2) Focus on on-site SEO

On-site SEO is a big deal and can save you a lot of money you would otherwise spend on ads or backlinks.

With a good internal linking structure, you can help users easily navigate through your website and increase the overall user experience. Make sure your inner-page link structure is correct and you don't have orphan pages (pages that are not linked from other pages of your website).

CTR is an important ranking factor according to SEMRush ranking factors study so make sure you spend enough time to write good, appealing titles and meta descriptions for your product and categories pages.

optimize title seo

See for instance how watchshop.com optimized every product category by adding the product name in title and the description.

You should look into Google Customer Reviews as well and make your shop compatible with it. Having great reviews will make your website stand up in SERPs.

3) Optimize your shop for Google Local Searches

While Amazon and other big brands are going global you should go local, especially if you're a new shop. According to Google local research behavior study, “50% of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day, and 34% who searched on computer/tablet did the same.”

Here are a few tips to make sure you’re ranking for local search terms:

  • Get your business listed on Google My Business, and make sure your profile is complete.
  • Use local business schema markup so Google can identify and show your physical location.
  • Use local keywords in your URLs, heading tags, title tags and content, where appropriate.

4) Use Video SEO

Believe it or not, there are more than 3 billions searches every month on Youtube. While some users are looking for newest songs or funny clips with cats others check for tutorials, reviews and unboxing videos of products they intend to buy.

By creating unboxing videos for your products and uploading them on youtube you will benefit two ways:

  • First you will get traffic to your shop from video searches and second your users will be more inclined to order from you because they see exactly what they will receive.
  • Check this unboxing video done by The Watch Hut - one of the biggest online shops for watches in Uk.

Brian Dean has a great guide on video seo explaining you every step you should take to create awesome videos and rank them in Youtube.

5) Earn backlinks

Backlinks still play a crucial role in Google ranking. Here are several methods you can use to earn backlinks and will improve your rankings.

  • Create a blog for your shop
    Businesses that update their blog receive 97% more inbound links and generate 67% more leads than businesses that do not. By writing good content related to your product and efficiently linking to the commercial areas of your website in each blogpost, you can push more users to whatever it is you’re selling.

  • Create top list of products:
    10 luxury watches you can buy for under $500, 10 Gift Ideas for Mother's day etc. Bloggers are more willing to link your informative articles on your blog than actual products from your shop.

  • Guest posting and PR submissions
    Create blog posts for blogs and magazines in your niches and politely ask them to publish.

  • Host expert roundups
    Invite experts and bloggers in your niche to answer a question that your customers may have. Ex: Why you should still wear a watch today.

If you need something like this? then signup

  • Organize events
    Invite bloggers to know more about your company,your niche and your products; They will make pictures and write about the event.

  • Start an affiliate or rewards program
    Affiliate programs are good for driving sales and to get backlinks from bloggers. Make sure you have eye catchy creatives and advertorials that bloggers could use.

Do you have any questions? Leave a comment below, and I'll be happy to answer your question and help you take your E-Commerce website to the whole new level.

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