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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Your website and the customers

1. Use Relevant Keywords in Website Content
Search engines account for approximately 35 percent of referral traffic to e-commerce websites. Think of 3 to 5 words that customers use to search for your product. Keywords often include the product category, brand name, and model. Make sure that these keywords appear in your product description and your meta tags to raise your search ranking and increase search engine referral traffic.
2. Start a Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Campaign
Advertise your business on major search engines and social networks. Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Facebook all offer pay-per-click programs that display your ad to potentially interested users. Google Adwords is the largest pay-per-click network, so start there
3. Create Interesting, Educational Website Content
In addition to Web content that promotes your product or service, create educational articles that provide real value to readers, even if there is no immediate connection to driving a sale. This online strategy can be used for almost any business. For example, if you are in the mortgage business, consider creating a FAQ (frequently asked questions) page that answers common mortgage questions. If you own a landscaping business, provide a few useful tips for lawn care and maintenance.
4. Enable Customer Reviews
Consider dedicating a portion of each product page to user-generated reviews. Allowing customers to interact with the site means it is updated more often and listed higher on organic searches. To optimize your reviews for Google, make sure your programming does not put reviews in iFrame HTML coding, as Google cannot index that information.
Look at Amazon, Staples, and Apple for examples of optimal user reviews.
 5. Write a Blog
Ask company managers to write about industry topics, new products, and their expertise. A good blog will create referral traffic when the link is posted on social media or other blogging sites. Make sure to include a comments field to promote user-generated content.
6. Rewrite Product Descriptions
E-commerce sites that sell products should write creative product descriptions. Do not use generic, cookie-cutter copy. If possible, every product should have a description that is unique, creative, and engaging. Search engines pick up new, original content and rank it higher on search results. Well-written product descriptions set you apart from your online competition.
7. Use Pinterest
Pinterest is among the top five social media sites for retailers. An e-commerce business can start an account and develop bulletin-style boards that post links to their own products and images or to articles that promote the company's brand image. Pinterest drives traffic directly from the site and is ranked highly on search engines.
8. Create an App
Investing in the development of an iPhone, iPad, and Android app increases traffic by making your site accessible when customers are away from home. The technology company Conductor reported that e-commerce business from mobile phones increased 300 percent between 2009 and 2010. Your customers can create an account and buy products whenever they have a few minutes to shop.
For more on this topic, be sure to read Should Your Business Build a Mobile App?
9. Start a Product RSS Feed
Sign up with product aggregate sites such as Google Base. You can upload your product image, description, and URL to form a Rich Site Summary (RSS) feed of your products. Your basic product information may be picked up by a number of other aggregate sites, leading new users to your product pages.
10. Optimize Your Images
Image searches are more popular than ever. Optimize each image that you put on your website. Name it with 2 to 3 keywords, place it in a keyword-rich product description, and include descriptive alt text, a kind of description that was developed for the visually impaired.
For a thorough explanation of how to do this, read How to Optimize Website Images for SEO.
11. Build Legitimate Links with Related Websites
Partner with other e-commerce websites that sell different products to a similar demographic. Work with your partners every day or week to drive legitimate new links to your homepage, on product pages, or on blog or content pages. You should have an increase in referral traffic.
12. Start Affiliate Marketing
Encourage websites who cater to the same demographic to become affiliates by posting a photo and link to your website. Pay a small commission to each affiliate website for each sale they generate. You can develop your own affiliate management program, or get started quickly by using an affiliate campaign management website like Commission Junction or Share-A-Sale. This pay-per-sale advertising is best when posted by bloggers and reputable sites that offer original content. Avoid associating your online brand with low-quality or questionable websites.
13. Submit Articles to Related Blogs and Article Directories
Contact related blogs and websites and offer to provide relevant, original content. Sign up to write articles for online article directories like the Examiner or HubPages. Write about subjects that you have expertise in and link back to your website or products at the end of the article or in your bio section.
14. List on Comparison Sites
Sign up for pay-per-click advertising on Nextag and Bizrate. These sites compare similar products for cost-conscious consumers, and include links to your site in order to purchase the products.
15. Make Product Videos
Create informative videos of your products and post them to your site and a YouTube channel. E-commerce sites like have garnered high traffic with this practice. YouTube is owned by Google, so these videos rank highly on video searches.
For more on this topic, read our informative four-part series on video basics for your website, starting with Part 1 Web Video: The Pros and Cons for Your Business.
Part 2 tackles video production, equipment, and planning. Part 3 explores hosting options. And Part 4 offers tips on promoting your Web video.
Ready to Take the Next Step?
Congratulations! Customers are now coming to your website in droves -- but do you know if your site is serving their needs? Learn important Web analytics features your business website must have in order to better understand who your customers are and how your site is performing.
5 Tips for Writing an Effective Business Blog
If done well, a blog can help connect your small business to customers.
Ten Key Steps to Successfully Marketing Your Business Online

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