SEO Best Practices for E-commerce Websites in a Post - Covid World

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Across the world, Covid19 has created mayhem. Economists are predicting a massive slowdown with a lot of businesses turning turtle. No matter which businesses survive and which turn turtle, one thing is for sure – Covid19 is going to cause a permanent change in the way consumers shop.

The e-commerce businesses are watching the events with bated breath as this pandemic has brought an inflexion point in their lives. Due to various restrictions in most countries, customers are preferring to go online and order for their requirements. This practice is here to stay and grow. This augurs well for e-commerce businesses world over.

Now the ball is in the e-commerce player’s court to rise to the occasion and service the customers. This pandemic is a blessing in disguise for those players who can use the situation to their advantage. Ecommerce websites which will have their fundamentals in place should be able to use the situation to their advantage and grow very fast.  

At a business level, an e-commerce website has three broad components – getting customers on board, managing the products & services being sold and delivering the goods to the customers satisfactorily. While the latter two are beyond the scope of this draft, it is the first point that we will dwell upon. 

Again getting customers onboard has two functions – getting new customers and generating a revisit. While generating a revisit is undoubtedly important, the tougher task is getting new customers onboard. While the pie will expand very fast, so too will the number of e-commerce websites and their strengths. Hence how does one grow faster than the market? 

Let us understand how your e-commerce website can attract new customers better than your competitors. 

The objectives here are very simple. We need a strategy that is:  

  • Within our control.
  • Easy to manage.  
  • Cost-effective
  • Sustainable and yields long-term results. 
  • Flexible and easy to modify
  • Easy to analyse and incorporate the learning. 

We at WebMaxed believe that a well-crafted and well-executed SEO strategy is what fulfils the above requirements to the “T”. However, for this to happen, there are certain fundamental best practices that you should follow. 

  1. How long does it take for your page to load?
    The answer is simple – the faster the better. We are fast moving towards a world that believes in instant gratification. In a world that will soon turn into 5G, even a momentary delay in loading the page will result in a lost customer. Hence, reduce your HTTP requests, make server response time as minimal as possible, encourage asynchronous loading of JavaScript & CSS and more importantly use highly compressed images for product displays.
  2. Do you have a high quality of content?
    The content was, is and always be the King! Any loose ends here will cost you dearly. Content that is friendly, fresh, relevant and unique will always yield good results. Always remember, content is for your customers and not for the Search Engine.
  3. Images & more so Videos
    Attractive and nice product images always hook customers. It helps in getting the product into your customer’s consideration set faster. Also, a study published in Forbes states that 90% of the customers report that videos help them in making a purchase decision. Hence a combination of neat images and videos help in closing the deal. Images and videos may sound costly due to their upfront production cost, but they offer fabulous returns too!
  4. Make textual content attractive
    Content in test format serves a dual purpose. One is to genuinely provide information to your customers, but second is also in your SEO effort.  Selecting the right keywords will take care of the later, but for the former, text needs to be nicely displayed. Use headings, sub-headings and action point wherever textual content is involved. This not only makes the text appear clean and neat, but it also makes reading it a lot easier.
  5. Encourage reviews
    Genuine customer’s reviews act as guidance to a potential customer. Also, they help in SEO efforts too. But more importantly, a genuine review is the customer’s own words, her own heart. No keyword research or tool can help you fathom that. Hence reviews do an excellent help of boosting SEO for your website.
  6. Go multimedia
    A customer’s mind is very fickle. You don’t know what will attract them – text, images, infographics or video. Hence the best strategy is to have a combination of all and not being dependent on one.
  7. Go mobile
    The world is going mobile. The world population was approximately 7.8 billion in April 2020. Of these, 59% or 4.54 billion were using their mobile phones to access the internet by January 2020. As of April 2019, mobile devices accounted for 48% web page views. These numbers are going to skew more towards mobile phones as internet data becomes cheaper and speeds become faster in the days to come. Hence, every SEO strategy for an e-commerce website has to be mobile friendly and consist of a responsive website. To achieve this, you must adopt mobile-friendly themes, create CMS platforms that allow mobile plugging, use AMP (accelerated mobile pages), WordPress, Bootstrap etc.
  8. Have an active Social Media presence
    The way humanity is going mobile; they are also going social. Social media is another front where e-commerce websites should be active. Besides providing an opportunity for the brand to engage with customers and driving greater visibility, social media proves beneficial in SEO efforts too. Creating social media buttons on the website thus allowing the customer to seamlessly travel between the social media platform and the website boosts your SEO rankings. 
  9. Wider payment options
    Digital payment modes are here to stay. More so after the Covid19 pandemic, a lot of customers will prefer not to deal in cash. Hence, ensure that besides ease of payments, you also have the option of paying through mobiles active on your website. A lot of digital payment aggregators have tie-ups with e-commerce websites and offer a lot of promotional deals to their customers. This is bonus traffic that helps your website generate a sale thus indirectly supporting your SEO efforts.
RELATED:  5 Tips for Video Marketing To Boost Traffic in 2020

The toughest part is putting a hierarchy on these activities. But needless to say, they are all vital and absence of even one may prove detrimental for your e-commerce website’s performance. These have emerged after deep discussions between WebMaxed and our e-commerce clients spread across the world. 

Covid19 or not, the internet is changing our world rapidly.  It is time for e-commerce websites to realise this fact and quickly adapt to these changes or else fade away into oblivion.

Also published on Medium.

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