If you’re a business owner or retailer in the eCommerce industry, you may have heard that Amazon is unbeatable and will forever sit at the top of the search results for many shippable eCommerce products. We’re here to tell you that’s not true. We have outranked Amazon for our clients and we are here to tell you just how we did that.
There are no hidden secrets or black hat SEO strategies behind our success. We aren’t re-inventing SEO and we aren’t going to tell you to go pay for Google Search ads.
How Do You Surpass Amazon on Google Search?
It’s simple. While everyone is out there competing against Amazon and other massive online retailers for the high-volume, transactional keywords and search queries, we outrank Amazon on Google Search by taking over all of the #1 spots for slightly less competitive (but still incredibly high-volume) informational search queries. We explain in detail below.
Who, What, When, Where, and Why…
Who is this article meant for?
Any online business, seller, or retailer who wants to increase their organic traffic and sales from major search engines like Google with an eCommerce SEO strategy that works.
What is the goal?
To get eCommerce business owners to understand that the future of digital marketing is trending towards organic SEO and away from paid advertising. We want to show you how to start doing this in hopes that you will gain an understanding of just how important SEO is, especially for eCommerce.
When do people use search engines?
Constantly. Think about how often you have a question or want to look something up. You pull out your smartphone and ask a question. You may even be talking into your phone instead of typing… but you’re likely still inputting a search query directly into Google.
Search engines are used so often because they really are effective. Gregory Smyth writes in his article, The Importance of Search Engines:
“Search engines essentially act as filters for the wealth of information available on the internet. They allow users to quickly and easily find information that is of genuine interest or value, without the need to wade through numerous irrelevant web pages.”
People use Google and other search engines when they want to find something. We know, that’s really broad and not helpful. But, that’s the realistic starting point. SEO is all about breaking down search intent into smaller and smaller pieces until you can hone in on the exact word someone will likely use to find a specific product or solve a specific problem.
Where to start?
SEMRush has come up with a way of breaking down all search queries into 4 main categories by the intention behind the search: navigational, informational, transactional, and commercial.
Amazon and most other large e-tailers find that they can compete in the Navigational and Transactional sectors without much of a challenge because of their brand recognition and authority in the eCommerce space. If people know what they want to buy they search for it on Google, find it on Amazon or Walmart with free shipping, and buy. This is super popular for everyday items and less expensive products.
That means that we avoid the super-competitive navigational and transactional sectors and start focusing on opportunities to create brand awareness and trust. These opportunities come with focusing on the informational and commercial search queries. Like SEMRush says, these are still stages of a buyer’s journey. The potential for ROI is definitely here, it may just take a bit longer than you had initially thought.
Why create so much content focusing on information instead of a sale?
As we hinted above, this SEO strategy works. It just may take a couple of months for it to start showing consistent results for these three reasons:
- It takes Google time to crawl, verify, and rank your new online content.
- It takes more than a couple of well-written blog posts to establish brand awareness, authority, and trust on a ranking search engine as large as Google. You need to create lots of original content in a variety of on-site and off-site formats (more on this below).
- You are speaking to potential customers in the middle of their buyer journey, not the end. There are many more steps to the buying process these days and people are much more likely to do their research before making a purchase. It’s important to try and educate and inform instead of pitch and sell to stay in alignment with your potential customer’s search intent.
If you’re looking for immediate results we will happily assist you in optimizing your Google Ad campaigns. But in our opinion and experience, these types of pay-to-play ad services are best used as supplementary marketing tools because they stop working the moment you stop paying.
Organic SEO for eCommerce is something that takes time and effort to build up, but once you have created the content, it’s not going away. This makes it much easier to remain on top in the long run.
…And Finally, How
This is the best I am able to break down how to target and write about Informational and Commercial search queries. It may be easiest for you to think about a time you were going to make a larger purchase. How did you think about the process and how did you do your research before you made the purchase? This is the thought process behind breaking down the buyer journey.
- Think about what problem your product solves or what purpose it serves. There may very well be more than one. List them out in detail!
- Picture someone experiencing that problem or someone that is going to search for a product like yours.
- They are going to pull out their phone and type or speak a string of words into Google to find an answer.
- What do you think most people will type or say?
- How will they say it?
- Is it in a question format or is it a statement?
- Make a list of these questions, words, and phrases to analyze and compare. Once you have your list, you have potential target keywords and optimized topics to create new content around.
- Analyze your list and find the high-volume, low-competition keywords and phrases to write about.
This last step is where analytics tools like SEMRush come in handy. We use SEMRush as an eCommerce SEO agency but we also know that comes with a price.
The best free strategy is simple, just utilize Google’s search bar. Begin typing your keywords, phrases, and questions into the search bar and see how Google finishes the phrase or question. This will show you the top searched queries that start out with what you typed. Try the words in different orders and see what people are actually searching for!
Once you’ve looked through these popular search queries, start hitting enter on some of them to see the results. Look through the results and see what the competition looks like.
- Are there a lot of recently written articles and content pieces?
- Are the big-name competitors anywhere on the first page?
- Can you compete against the other results? How much content do they have about the keyword or question you’re researching?
Questions like these will give you a good idea about whether or not you want to target and compete for these short and long-tail keywords.
Once you’ve gathered your intel on all of these different keywords, search terms, and questions you will have an optimized list of content topics to write about.
Time to get writing
The last step is to write! As you write and publish more informational and relevant content, Google and other search engines will consider you a more authoritative and trustworthy source for information. This is what actually gets them to move your search result up in the rankings.
Focus on creating and optimizing these types of content using your list of keywords and topics:
A category page is a collection of products that have something in common. These categories are often commonly used as filters for products on a website. Think “Clothing” or “Electronics” within Amazon. They have specific pages built around these categories with relevant information and products.
Don’t overlook your product descriptions, especially if it’s one of your most popular products. You can even have a section of your product descriptions titled “Frequently Asked Questions” to target people who are searching in a question format.
Landing pages are designed to be informational and specific to a keyword or product. Building an informational landing page that helps potential customers learn about the product is a great way to build trust. Always link to your product or have a way for your website visitor to purchase so they can easily move to the next step of their buyer journey!
Blogs are the most common and effective ways to create more relevant content on your website that establishes your authority and inspires your audience’s trust. Create posts that connect with potential customers by informing and educating them instead of pushing a product in their faces as soon as they enter the site. Blogs are also a rich source for internal links and backlinks, which are a powerful way to build your site’s authority.
The power of backlinking is often underestimated but it’s also a little bit trickier because it involves finding an external party to link to your site. Backlinks are outbound links on other websites that lead back to your website. The relevancy of the site’s content and the anchor text that is used for the link is also of great importance because it’s analyzed by Google. The easiest way to secure backlinks is by writing guest posts for other blogs. It’s also important to write valuable on-site content that other websites will find useful and link to.
That’s kind of a lot of work…
Hey, we never said dominating Amazon on the search engine results page would be easy! Implementing and sticking to an SEO strategy is a full-time job (sometimes multiple full-time jobs). If you’re excited about reaping the benefits of a well-thought-out eCommerce SEO campaign without having to do all of the work yourself, schedule a consultation with us. We can put this strategy into action for you.