You’ve come to gauk, found products that you are sure you can sell to a market that you know is out there waiting to buy, and you have made arrangements with suppliers.

You’ve followed the advice in our E-Commerce course and constructed a site that is product–rich, with a highly user-friendly shopping cart and electronic payment function. Now you need to get your product out in front of your marketplace, ahead of 10,000 or so other ecommerce websites selling similar products. It’s true, you are still competing with all of the other entrepreneurial souls who have employed all of those same techniques for best search engine ranking.

So far in our SEO article seris we have looked at how SEO works and some of the steps required to optimise your site. In the previous articles we discussed optimisation of the home page. This article widens the scope to include the whole site, with a specific emphasis on useful content, because

1) that’s what your customers need and
2) that’s how the search engines are evaluating your site. Relevant content will make your website an indispensable source of information for people who buy your products.

Relevant content is…

Relevant content can take a variety of different forms.

Instructions for how to use the product.

Almost any product user can benefit form having additional information about how best to use the product you are selling. And, instructions can go well beyond simple information about on/off, settings, etc. For example, cooking-related merchandise is perfectly positioned for supporting information about how to use it, why this utensil is preferable to others in the marketplace, and what kind of recipes it can be used to make and so on. Instructions provide an opportunity to supply accompanying pictures which represents another way to be picked up by search engines.

Product history or context

Most products have a history – either a history of how it was used over time or how it was developed for use at this time. If you sell watches, it might be useful to include a history of timepieces, the evolution of methods for telling time, and the ways that the watches that you are selling differ from other watches and so on. Most people are also fascinated by how things are made. Can you create content about the manufacture of your product (another opportunity for interesting pictures)?

You may find opportunity in the context of your product’s use. If you sell beauty products, you may want to include content about other ways to make one’s self more attractive, such as exercise or healthy eating. You may want to include tips for using your products by age group or add information about where the ingredients come from – minerals from riverbanks, bark extract from another country and so on.

Industry or market information

It is particularly useful in B2B selling to provide industry, regulatory or market information. Business users will return to a site that provides good and changing content. If you sell medical software, you might want to add sections about regulations regarding electronic signatures, medical privacy, encrypting and insurance trends. Those selling raw materials may want to add information about tariffs, supply and demand, future trends and so on.

Choosing information

In order to choose the information that you will provide on your site, you can take any or several approaches.

Directory – You can choose to cover your merchandise comprehensively and operate your site both as ecommerce and a directory of relevant information. Users may favour your site because you demonstrate your encyclopedic knowledge of the subject area.

Market-driven – Think about what your particular market group wants to know about, what words they might search under, what information might lead them to buy on your site. If you sell doll clothes, your audience may be parents (or doll collectors, depending on your merchandise). If your audience is parents, you may want to include content such as how playing with dolls help children develop social skills, most popular dolls by age group, patterns for creating accessories with your child to match doll clothes sold on the site and so on. This approach will bring potential buyers to your site through related searches.

Product–driven – In this case, your content is very focused on content that relates strictly to the product. This approach is very useful in B2B applications.

Strategy

Decisions about content need to be made strategically. If your goal is to enhance sales, experiment with content that serves that purpose. Although it may be interesting and enjoyable to add encyclopedic content to a website that sells merchandise that you have a special interest in, don’t inadvertently become involved in this aspect of your marketing unless it furthers the goals you have set for yourself.

Now that your website offers great content, read the next article in our SEO series to learn some technical tips for optimising these pages.

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