The SEO-Led Content Strategy That Every Ecom Site Needs
In my role as a Senior SEO Strategist at a London-based eCommerce SEO agency, my team and I have created SEO-led content strategies for many of our clients who range from small DTC startups to international eCommerce brands.
Although a strong content strategy is a bedrock for any successful SEO strategy, its importance for eCommerce is paramount in order to differentiate from competitors, align with customers, and rank well in search engines. Basically, content marketing strategy is the future of SEO.
When it comes to creating quality content for eCommerce brands, it is crucial to define your objectives, in order to set the priorities of your content strategy, since the possible topic options are often too many, and it can be challenging to show value and ROI if priorities are not very clear.
To obtain significantly impactful results and position your brand at the top of your market niche, it is ideal to create a long-term killer content strategy that ticks all the requirements that we review below.
- It is centred on the user and your product/service range
- When prioritising content pillars and topics relevant to your audience
- Questions about your target audience
- Questions about your products, services and USPs
- When creating each content piece
- It replies to your target audience’s questions
- It fulfils the user’s search intent
- When prioritising content pillars and topics relevant to your audience
- It is expert content (E-A-T) and it covers every stage of the marketing funnel
- It aligns with your business priorities
- It is data-led (aka valuable and realistic) content
- It is tailored to grow your non-brand SEO
- It is organised in topic clusters
- It focuses (mainly, but not only) on evergreen content
- Typical evergreen topics and formats
- It doesn’t forget about seasonal and reactive content, though
- It is designed to create a better web page experience
- It is optimised for conversion rate (and yes, it converts!)
Keep reading to discover how the content of an actually effective SEO strategy would be, one that not only drives quality organic traffic but also converts and provides value to your users:
Centre Your Content Strategy around Your Customer Journey and Your Product Range
Unlike what many still think, SEO content is not all about keywords anymore. On the contrary, it’s all about giving as much value to the user as possible. Search engines have become seriously smart and are now capable of not only distinguishing what piece of content better fulfils the users’ intent behind the search but also which brands are more authoritative in their market niches – offering high-quality information around specific content areas.
Prioritise Content Pillars and Topics Relevant to Your Audience
Creating a content strategy with the user in mind means you need to prioritise the topics that are 1) highly relevant for your target audience 2) and for which you really can provide helpful information and solutions. For an eCommerce business, it would mean actual expert advice around the products that the target search terms represent.
To do this effectively ask yourself the following:
Questions to Ask to Define Your Target Audience
- What are our main target audience’s personas? (age, gender, occupation, lifestyle, culture, etc)
- What are our target audience’s needs, worries and interests?
- What are the most common questions that we receive from our customers?
- What events trigger our customers’ purchases?
- What can we conclude from our customers’ reviews?
Questions to Ask about Your Products, Services and USPs
- What is our full range of product categories and services? (eg. corner sofas, L-shaped sofas, armchairs, footstools, etc)
- What are the attributes and specifications of our products? (eg. fabric, colour, material, shape, size, etc).
- What are our USPs? (eg. quick delivery, easy assembly, finance options, etc).
- What are the main uses of our products/services? (eg. decoration, sitting, sleeping, watching TV, etc).
- How do our products and services help our customers to solve their problems and fulfil their interests? (easy assembly, stain-resistant and easy-cleaning fabrics, sofa removal service, etc.)
- How do we differentiate from our competitors? (eg. affordable yet high-quality sofas, etc).
- What are our main areas and subareas of expertise? (decoration, home comfort, furniture and design knowledge, etc).
Answer those questions in as much detail as possible to create a tree of possible content pillars and identify specific topics for each of them. It will also help you to do your keyword research, uncover other relevant topics, and gauge the level of interest.
Create Each Content Piece for the User Rather than Google
Once your core content areas and topics have been prioritised, each article or page needs to be written with the user in mind. But what does that mean?
Answer Your Target Audience’s Questions
Your target audience’s questions should be used to configure your content pillars, define your topics, and structure the information of each content piece. Google’s Passages algorithm is capable of leading searchers directly to a specific section of a page that contains the most relevant answer to the search query. And not only that but now Google overrides the meta description of a page using the section of the page that replies to the question.
Search query and SERP results:
Actual meta description of the page:
Section of the page that contains the answer used to override the meta description:
Fulfil the User’s Search Intent
One of the main factors that will make a page rank well and stay at the top of SERP results is the value it provides depending on the user’s intent behind the search.
If the content of a page covers the topic only partially, it’s just a matter of time for another page to rank better than yours (in the case that you are already ranking well), and it is also highly likely that your potential customer bounces out of the page in search of more helpful information. That’s why search intent and SERP analysis are so important, as you need to create the most valuable piece of content to fit the visitor’s needs.
Expert Content (E-A-T) And Covering Every Stage of the Marketing Funnel
Expertise. Authoritativeness. Trustworthiness. The 3 magic words that define Google’s search quality rating guidelines (also known as E-A-T ranking factor). Ensuring every stage of a customer’s journey is answered improves the E-A-T of a site and tells search engines that the site is particularly relevant. This includes:
- Educational content (buying and care guides and other how-to content)
- Inspirational content (ideas and tips)
- Commercial content (PLPs, PDPs, homepage, sales and USP’s landing pages)
Many marketers underestimate the importance of creating content that targets post-conversion keywords or considers it not efficient to invest resources in the research marketing funnel stage.
However, if you want your target audience to discover, trust and engage with your brand at a significant level, no SEO content strategy is complete if it doesn’t consider every stage of the customer’s journey. Moreover, post-conversion content can be also used by other marketing channels to keep existing customers engaged.
Align with Your Business Priorities
There are many reasons why you’d want to prioritise or deprioritise a specific type of content such as:
- Whether it is a new product or service launch or removal
- A peak of interest around certain categories due to new consumer behaviours
- Or, to reach your sales goals of the quarter, your content strategy should support any business priority or complement other marketing activities
Create Data-Led (AKA Valuable and Realistic) Content
Content production is a very time-consuming process. From opportunity research to uploading the content to your CMS there are a lot of stages and sometimes various people involved. Making sure you create valuable and realistic content is a must.
Some important keyword data to consider to assess the SEO value of topics include:
- Keyword search volume (interest and online demand).
- Keyword difficulty (how easy it is to rank well).
- CPS: ratio of clicks to keyword search volume (how many different search results get clicked, on average, when people search for the target keyword).
- Return rate (a relative number that indicates how often the same person searches for a given keyword over a 30-day period).
Tailor to Grow Your Non-Brand SEO
Obviously, your brand SEO is important and should be taken into account in any SEO strategy. However, for many brands that are not as famous as Nike, BMW, and the likes, the highest opportunity usually resides in the generic searches that users do without having a particular brand in mind.
These are normally keywords with a higher search volume, often more competitive, but definitely more juicy for your results. By focusing your efforts on your non-branded SEO, the awareness and online demand of your brand will naturally increase and will indirectly help your brand SEO.
Organise in Topic Clusters
A solid content strategy starts by defining big content areas (pillars based on priority keyword clusters) around your products and USPs that you want your brand to dominate online. Ideally, it should be aligned with your commercial priorities to boost the organic traffic of your priority product categories with the highest SEO potential.
If you focus on individual keywords and isolated topics instead, this is more likely to result in topic dilution, thin content, and content duplication over time. This makes it much more difficult to implement proper blog architecture and internal linking strategy. Focusing on key content pillars allows a high level of semantic cohesion between topics. This lets you become an authority in broad content areas that are relevant to your brand and product range, as well as to your target audience.
Focus (Mainly, but Not Only) On Evergreen Content
All eCommerce businesses need to create a variety of content types for many different purposes. However, not all types have the same level of SEO value, and evergreen content (content that doesn’t expire) should be at the top of your priority list.
Evergreen topics are the topics with consistent interest and search volume over time. Topics with the potential to drive constant and regular organic traffic, since its interest is very unlikely to decay. Evergreen content normally has more chances to gain more backlinks over time, as it doesn’t rely on a temporary interest, and it also requires fewer updates.
Typical Evergreen Topics and Formats
- 7 Everyday Handbag Types (listicle)
- How to make a perfect negroni cocktail (how-to articles)
- Your guide to indoor plant care (educational guides)
Don’t Forget about Seasonal and Reactive Content
Understanding your target audience entails being aware of their consumer behavior and identifying the times of the year and occasions that usually trigger more sales due to the nature of your products and services.
For many eCommerce brands, big dates for sales typically include Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Mother’s Day, etc, and content relevancy for certain industry sectors, like fashion, is based a lot on seasonal products or services and trends.
For example, flower companies will see a peak in sales on particular dates like Mother’s Day or Valentine’s day, so it will be crucial to investigate what topics are worth creating around these occasions. However, it is also likely that overall, a non-single-day occasion like birthdays or general romantic occasions would lead to more organic traffic and sales during the year.
Create a Better Web Page Experience
The information of your content isn’t the only thing that makes a piece of content good. The way you structure your content and the format you use it is also crucial to minimize the chances of your users bouncing off the page and keeping them engaged.
Some key aspects on how to create content for a better user and web page experience include:
- Create a concise, meaningful and descriptive URL
- Meaningful and descriptive headings
- Use of hierarchical heading HTML tags
- Small paragraphs that cover only one idea each
- Use of bullet points and ordered lists
- Use of optimised images and infographics that illustrate your ideas
- Use of fonts that are likely to be viewable on your user’s computer
- Don’t establish the minimum or maximum number of words beforehand and give it the length that the topic requires
- Don’t add any detail that doesn’t add value
- Create a structure that follows a clear purpose
- Use a template that works both on desktop and mobile
- Don’t use contradictory CTAs on the same page
Optimise for Conversion Rate (And Yes, It Converts!)
Whether that is buying a product, requesting a quote on a service, or learning something about the value a business might provide, conversion is very often one of the most common challenges of content marketing. Particularly when it comes to blog content and article topics on the research and awareness stages of the marketing funnel.
Analysing your conversion and bounce rate by topic will help you understand why your blogs are not converting and which topics are more likely to.
Some of the tactics eCommerce sites can play with to improve conversion include:
- Use clear and concise call-to-action buttons. Only one CTA button that links to the most relevant commercial page or one per item in the case of product listicles.
- Feature your products in your articles. Use product carousels or just add a link close to products’ images, and place them strategically throughout the text.
- Use the opinion of influencers your audience resonates with. Include images of influencers using/wearing your products and quotes of their reviews. You could even interview them to provide their full opinion about the product.
- Describe your products’ benefits in an honest way. Understand the user’s needs and interests and provide clear and honest information about the benefits of your products or services.
In this article, I’ve summarised the main takeaways about creating an SEO-first content strategy from my experience working for eCommerce sites, click here. Of course, there is a lot more that goes into creating that perfect SEO strategy that drives customers and revenue. And for that, I’d highly recommend visiting NOVOS’ dedicated blog on eCommerce SEO. If you have any questions or comments about the article, feel free to reach out to me on Linkedin.