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How You Can Use SEO To Help Your Customers

Help your customers to help yourself. Great SEO is all about supporting your customers – answering their queries, giving them a meaningful shopping experience, and providing them with a store that meets their needs. Customer-focused SEO is an ecommerce no-brainer. Here is how you can be more strategic about your SEO – create a customer experience that’s based on research and relationships.

Keyword research: get to know your customers

Great ecommerce starts with great keyword research. You can tell a lot about people from what they type into search engines. Make keyword research central to crafting your customer experience – it pays off to listen to your customers.

  • Answerthepublic.com is a fantastic keyword research tool that emulates real customer language. Use it to help you write better content, and find out more about your customers. What do your customers care about? What do they associate with your product? What burning questions do they have? Delve deep into your keywords to start to build out an accurate picture of your customers’ preoccupations.
  • Amazon is a powerful SEO tool – use its search function and suggestions to get an insight into how people shop and buy online. You can learn a lot about product organisation from Amazon, but don’t copy what they do wholesale.
  • Forums and social media are great places to find snippets of real customer conversations – invest time into social media listening.

Feed all this customer data into writing great content that’s aligned with your customers’ needs. Focus on answering questions and providing answers, rather than mindless selling.

Customer reviews: help people make smart purchases

People are wary about online purchases – they spend a lot of time researching and reading product reviews. By investing in customer reviews as part of your digital strategy, you can capture valuable search traffic and get customers to buy from you. No one trusts perfectly written sales copy, but everyone likes to hear what someone like them honestly thought about a product.

  • Reviews are key for product pages as they help customers make smarter purchase decisions. Keep product reviews short and sweet, and implement an easy rating system for people who don’t want to spend their time reading.
marks and spencer reviews
marks and spencer reviews

Marks & Spencerrealise that their customers really care about a clothing item’s fit, value, and quality; so they make their customers rate their clothes for these things. These precise questions make for informative and useful reviews that are easy to aggregate into review data.

  • Not all your reviews need sit on your domain – third party review sites and local Google reviews are important for your brand’s SEO.
  • Use review schema to help your product reviews stand out on search result pages.

Here are some other strategic ways to make customer reviews work for you.

Categories & landing pages: customer choice is key

Customers come to you to make an important choice. A lot of search traffic is funnelled into landing pages or category pages – make sure your pages have the right balance of choice and purpose.

  1. Make sure that product choices are easy to make. Prioritise visuals, and make product names obvious, not cute.
  2. Use copy as much as you can to direct the user, and always use a category description to anchor the page purpose. Be as precise as possible with keyword targeting – shout about your USPs.
  3. If it's likely that your customers are going to need more information before they take the next step, provide links to advice or informational pages.
  4. A category page or a landing page is a temporary place designed for a next step. Make sure that next step and the call to actions that you use are obvious. Here’s the anatomy of a great landing page.
sell posters online shopify
sell posters online shopify

How to optimise a landing page for SEO?

Ecommerce giant Shopify do a good job with their sales landing pages (sell posters one pictured above). The page title, URL and heading all use natural variants of their main keywords – variations on “sell posters online”. Throughout the landing page, copy is broken up with suitable headings and the relevant images help search engines make sense of the page. It’s a great example of how you can use image optimisation and your keywords in a natural and customer-friendly way, ending up with landing pages that are targeted and focused.

Great content: keep customers and search engines happy

High quality, frequent content will help your store please customers and search engines. So what does great ecommerce content look like?

  1. Don’t just endlessly plug your products – really delve deep into your customers’ lives and find topics and themes that are going to hold their attention beyond a commercial transaction. On your blog, try to cover a diverse range of topics but steer clear of anything that screams ‘press release’.
  2. Being whimsical is great for social media content – let loose and let humour into your sales strategy. Illustrations, GIFs, animated quotes – you need to be be visual to have an impact.
  3. Video is a brilliant engagement strategy, and it’s not as expensive as you think. Just make sure that you create video content that makes sense for your customers.
  4. Focus on telling stories on social media – everyone loves a good story, and every shop has some lurking somewhere!
oldest sweet shop in Britain
oldest sweet shop in Britain

The Oldest Sweet Shop in England recently shared a heartwarming customer story on their Facebook pagethat was picked up by national media. It’s a great example of how sharing a great customer story can help you build better relationships with social followers and media publications. Focus your energy into channelling positive customer stories as part of your content marketing efforts.

Great ecommerce SEO works in tandem with keeping customers happy. Don’t be put off by complex acronyms and people selling you shady solutions – good SEO is good customer experience. How do you keep customers happy?

patrick foster bio pic
patrick foster bio pic

Patrick Foster, ecommerce entrepreneur, coach & writer.

I’m currently writing on EcommerceTips.org where I share engaging ecommerce content for entrepreneurs and business owners. You can follow me on Twitter here.

Title Image credit: StartUp Stock