Ecommerce SEO: Content Marketing
Content might be a hard sell for a lot of ecommerce sites as it may seem auxiliary to the primary purpose of the site – to sell products. In reality, you should have content that targets users at different stages of the funnel. This helps bring in customers, convert them, and then retain them. Having content that addresses these three tasks will help you sell more.
Content is a significant investment. If you’re only halfway in, content will not be successful for you. You need to invest in not just creating content, but striving for your content to be the best on the web. Your content should span media types – written, visual, experiential. It’s going to be a lot of work, but it will pay off.
Educational & How To
Educational content tends to be great for top of funnel acquisition as it is very SEO focused and centered around carefully selected keyword phrases. This has led to a lot of educational and review content from retailers and brands. The strategy has worked well for many ecommerce sites and brands.
If you search for “hiking boots”, you’ll see REI’s educational content on How to Choose Hiking Boots ranking very well.
Creating content like this can have a huge impact on your organic performance – it is much easier to rank educational content than category pages for competitive keywords. Further, writing in-depth content will help bring in long tail traffic that a category page could never get.
While educational content helps educate a user about a product or a product type, it doesn’t inherently get the user into a conversion funnel like a category page would. There are three approaches that you can take to solve this problem.
The first is to include a link or button to shop for products related to the article. You can even go as far as highlighting a few of the top related products (similar to a related products box on a product details page).
The second option is to retarget people who visit educational and how to content with ultra specific ads across search, social, and display. This is very effective at getting the sale after you’ve educated the user.
The third approach is to create consideration content (content that helps move users down the funnel, teaching users that they have a problem you can help fix). This content can be featured in a related content widget at the bottom of the page.
While “how to” content may be less specific to a single product, there are a few upsides to how to content. How to content allows you to build up confidence in users to accomplish their mission at hand. This helps to inspire confidence in the user that they can accomplish their task, often necessitating purchases to facilitate the task or project. Providing high quality tutorials can help build trust with users, increasing the likelihood they will buy from you.
Further, how to content allows you to show the user all the products needed for the tutorial to get them onto the purchase part of the site. If they click through to products or category pages, you can then retarget the user to try and get the conversion.
Home Depot is a good example of a site producing quality tutorials. If you search for “how to install crown molding” they actually have two pages that rank well. The written tutorial does a better job of highlighting the tools required and moving consumers towards the purchase side of the site.
Comparative / Review / Q&A Content
The next group of content focuses on users who have moved beyond the high level education focused concepts and are working to understand differences between products. This content includes comparative, reviews, and Q&A content; it serves both acquisition and conversion.
Comparative content is great for helping people understand the difference between product categories, or products within a category. This can be very useful in technical niches, or niches that are not familiar for most consumers.
Bridgestone has done a great job developing useful comparative content to help people understand the difference between categories (winter tires vs all-season tires) as well as different products within a category (studded vs studless winter tires). As the content is more in-depth and lower in the funnel, you are more likely to drive users to the store and product side of the site than high level ecommerce content.
As with the educational content, comparative content not only does great in search but is prime content to leverage for retargeting. Based off the products or categories featured, you can retarget visitors with ultra specific ads. With the knowledge of what choice a consumer is trying to make, you can provide very specific ads that competitors are unlikely to be able to match.
Review content is very similar, except that it focuses on one product, follows the same principles for retargeting.
Brand Focused Content
Though brand focused content won’t drive a ton of organic traffic to your site, it will help people like you and turn visitors into customers.
People do business with people, or the persona projected by a company. They choose brands based on how the brand’s perception compared to its competitors. This is what your brand-focused content is for. While you can’t get to know your customers through branded content (this is what social/community efforts are for) you can show your customers who you are and why they should buy from you. This doesn’t mean create a top 10 list of why people should buy from you, but rather open up and share about your brand.
What’s your brand’s personality? Do you give back to your community? What are your core values?
What will help people identify with and like your brand?
One of the best examples of this is REI – on their site they highlight their stewardship priorities, community partnerships, and their company story. Their values and initiatives resonate with many of their customers, making these customers more loyal.
While many companies have this content, it is stuck in “About” sections. This content shouldn’t be hidden from customers. Instead there should be many access points. Highlight your values, sustainability program, story, or other “company” content that will resonate with users in prominent places. Put a banner in your sidebar, or showcase it on your product page.
Always be on the lookout for opportunities to connect customers with your brand; don’t make them work to know you.
- Create how to, educational, comparative, review, and Q&A content
- Highlight relevant products on your content pages
- Set up retargeting ads for educational content
Create content to help customers connect with your brand