Most prospective customers find out about web sites and stores by using search engines. Almost three quarters of all transactions in online commerce originate from search engine queries. So, the first thing you’ll have to do in marketing your online store is to ensure that all popular search engines are able to find and index your site. Only then will you have a chance of new customers finding your store after entering relevant search terms.
You’re selling fishing supplies and tackle? Will users be able to find your fishing store when entering search terms such as “dip net”, “net float” or “pilk rod” into a search engine? Search engine marketing is the most effective way to market your store on the internet, because this brings prospective customers interested in products directly into contact with product suppliers.
The advantages of search engine marketing are obvious: You can reach your target group quickly and generate high-quality contacts with people interested in buying directly.
With his query the person using a search engine indicates a clear interest in or need for a specific product and has decided on your products when he visits your shop. Better leads than this are hard to come by. With continual search engine marketing you will not only increase your store revenues, but will also increase your name recognition. In addition, unlike classic forms of advertising, successful search engine marketing can be implemented quickly, easily and at very low cost. Another major advantage is that you always have full control and transparency over the costs and an overview of the effectiveness of your marketing campaign.
Basically, a difference is made between free search engine optimisation services and paid advertising using AdWords in search engines.
In search engine optimisation optimising the source text and design of your store guarantees that your store or web site is found higher in “real” search results, called the “natural listing”. There are only a few things you have to do to your store for the search bots of the search engines to be able to index your site correctly – the prerequisite for a high ranking for your site within the first three pages of search results. It’s important to continually improve your store and regularly check your ranking, because search engine indexing methods and algorithms are being continuously modified and reworked to prevent misuse.
You first have to register your store at the major search engines. Registration at Google, currently the largest and most significant search engine, can be done directly from the back office of your ePages store. Registration at other search engines such as Yahoo! is very quick and easy. You only have to fill out an online form and enter a few bits of information about your site. Please note that Google and Yahoo! provide the search results for several other search engines. By registering at Google and Yahoo! you will cover a very large area, so this is a must.
META tags are variables written in the head section of an HTML document. These are indexed and analysed by most search engines. The META keywords and description tags are stored by the search engines and made available as results to search queries. For this reason, make sure that these META tags contain the “right” keywords for your store and a meaningful description of it that is as precise as possible. This completes the first and most important step towards getting the best ranking for your store. You should be aware that search engines have an “allergic reaction” to keywords used repeatedly in META tags and give them a lower ranking. Important note: Put yourself in the position of your target group(s) when editing META tags. Make sure that you use only relevant keywords that are directly related to your site and page content.
Note: One last keywords tip. It always best if your most important keyword is included in the domain name of your store.
Static web pages written in HTML are a basic requirement for your store to be indexed by search bots. These pages must contain enough of the right kinds of words and phrases that can be read by machine. Your ePages store fulfils this requirement as long as the page cache is set correctly.
You should always make sure that you include the relevant keywords in the content, labels and other texts used on your pages, because the search bot will then assign a higher weighting to these words.
Photos and images with text look great and are an important part of appealing to your customers and should always be present. But you should be aware that search machines are unable to index this content. This makes it that much more important for the keywords relevant to your store to appear in sufficient number in the text on the pages.
The more web sites there are on the internet that link to your store, the higher it will be listed in search engine results. Search engines place primary emphasis on the quality and not the quantity of these links. Apart from the number of visits, the relevance of the site plays a very important role. So, it’s best if large sites with a lot of traffic directly related to your product offerings link to your shop. One option of achieving this are partner programs in which web sites within the partner network link to your shop.
Paid advertising or AdWords placed at search engines make it possible to show search term-specific, paid ads along with the normal search results. Payment is based on cost per click. The prices for keywords vary and are determined dynamically in a bidding process.
Pay attention to the following things for paid ads at search engines:
From the price-per-click you are willing to pay make certain that your ad appears on the first page of search engine results and is included within the first ten ads. Doing so can greatly increase the click rate. Be aware that you don’t always have to be at the top – it’s normally enough just being listed on the first page and this is much less expensive.
Design your ads for the search engines to be clearly laid out with easily understood text that includes the search term the user entered or words that are clearly related to the search term. Ideally, you should place these words in the header of the ad.
Be as concrete as possible and use the defined entry point to take the visitor to a part of your store that is directly related to the offer in the ad – normally the product category you are advertising or directly to the product information pages of the advertised products.
such as price discounts, bundles or access to interesting information greatly increase the conversion rate and should thus ideally be offered in combination with AdWords. You should always try to get the consent from visitors, who have browsed in your store, but didn’t buy anything, for you to send them your newsletter.
Most search engine operators offer extensive information on all aspects of paid advertising and often practical tips as well as extremely powerful campaign and analysis tools, so you can set up your campaign by yourself and analyse it transparently from the start. So get started as soon as possible with search engine marketing and experience it for yourself. Refine your campaign, vary the keywords and the amounts bid for individual keywords, optimise ad copy text and the entry page. Always monitor the effects of these measures on the success of the campaign.
Note: You should always keep an eye on click rates, cost-per-click and conversion rates.
You will very quickly notice which keywords are the most effective and which ad formats and text copy have the greatest impact and generate the most orders in your store. You can also, of course, use the services of a professional who is specialised in implementing and optimising search engine campaigns.
Apart from search engine marketing and AdWords at search engines, there are still other forms of search engine marketing: Yellow Pages or regional and interregional mercantile directories in which prospective customers with a definite interest in buying are looking for products, as well as auction platforms and product search engines.