Blog Entry

Optimise for shoppers not Google to increase sales.

Hey Rankers! Search engine optimisation is nothing more than a poor acronym. Imagine all those hours and precious dollars you’ve spent trying to optimise for a search engine, but do you really know what that search engine wants? You need to optimise for shoppers, and shoppers want to see products, not articles.

What I learned

  • There’s no such thing as SEO.
  • What is a search engine looking for?
  • Content was king.
  • Traffic doesn’t mean conversions.
  • Optimise for your shoppers.

Transcript

Hey, welcome back Rankers. Coming to you from the office today because the studio over there is quite cold. It’s Melbourne, it’s winter, but spring is springing, I can tell you that. I mentioned last week, I wanted to tell you about why there’s no such thing as search engine optimisation. And what I meant by that is that it’s just a really bad acronym. And I think it sets us up for failure in some instances, in that if you don’t own a search engine, you can’t optimise it. What we’re trying to do is optimise our sites for the search engine, which sounds simple enough. But when you start thinking about it like we did all those years ago, and you go through all those changes and all those tricks, and over the years you get to a point where you go, “Well, if we are trying to optimise our site for a search engine, what is a search engine looking for?

Who is content creation for?

Everybody’s probably aware of a lot of the techniques that are out there, content creation is one we did for years. Until we worked out that and the reason that we were doing content creation for years and we’re writing blogs and it drove traffic at the time. But what happened was when we got involved with e-commerce more heavily around 2012, something like that, there was no real place for the blogs. And now I know a lot of very celebrated retailers will have very good blogs. But what we found was you’d spend all this time and effort on a blog and it might bring in some traffic, it’ll give you higher ranking, certainly it will do those things. And what Google’s trying to do is find the most appropriate piece of content for whatever that user is searching for. Now, we got to a point where we were writing blogs and content for a car park.

Literally, I’m not kidding. That’s not an exaggeration. That is real. That’s not hyperbole. We were writing blogs for a car park and they were travel blogs. And they ranked for some travel phrases and they brought in some traffic and no one was really reading them though. And they didn’t bring in any conversions. So what Google’s doing, it’s bringing in that traffic and it’s showing to people who want to read something. So in the case of another client we’ve had recently, they’ve been doing blogs with another content creation company for years. I don’t know how much they were spending, but they were spending money on them and brought in a lot of traffic, but it didn’t convert to anything. It didn’t convert to any sales. So all they’ve done is spend all that money on content and it hasn’t converted into sales.
Now you might say, “Well, it’s good for branding.” Is it? Is it being measured? How do you know? And it wasn’t with this client. And it wasn’t until I pointed out, look, I said, these blogs are great and they bring in the readers, but we want the shoppers. And when was the last time you went to a store where they have a section so you can go and read free stuff, if they’re not selling anything like that? I mean, even Jaycar that I go to, my local retailer, I spend a lot of time there, I have to buy their catalogue. Don’t even give that to me, for free.

So there’s a lot of concepts and ideas that have been spawned out of the whole search engine optimisation industry. But what we are really trying to do at the end of the day is provide the most relevant piece of content for the user. And that was like, oh, well, let’s write about this stuff. Let’s be authoritative. But if you go to Google and you are shopping for something and you want to buy that thing, you’re just going to go and type buy whatever it is. Or you might type just the product name, you might type the serial number. Which one’s going to Google going to show? Is it going to show the blog that is talking about that product? No, because it knows that person is trying to buy something. So it’s more likely to show a product page or a category page with a variety of products that meet that search criteria.

Shoppers want to see products

So what we’ve done just recently with this client is that they had some old school SEO pages, and you’d recognise them if you’ve been around for a while, because they have a bucket load of content at the top of the page, and it’ll be a nice h1 with a title that’s got a keyword in it. Then there’ll be a paragraph of content. Might mention the keyword once, maybe some variations on what that keyword might be. And that was sort of a typical SEO page. And then it had easy access to the categories and call to actions and those sorts of things. But the problem with those sorts of pages for an e-commerce site is that the user, especially on mobile, is still a scroll and maybe a few clicks away from actually buying a product.

Now, the people that are coming in there to read, it’s great for them, right? That’s why Google’s not going to show it. They’re not going to show a page of content to a shopper if they’re looking to buy something. So all of these e-commerce retailers out there writing blogs, it’s got to be done for a reason that increases sales. Well, there’s got to be a reason that it enhances the brand. What I tell a lot of people when I see what they’re doing with the blogs is you might be better doing this as an EDM. Let’s face it, that’s where content creation comes from.

It comes from direct mail from retailers back in the early 1900s to stay in touch, to have that line of communication with their shopper, with their customer base. And today is no different. We’re still essentially the same, we’re just using different tools. Now that traffic number, that’s whacked that 121% increase in traffic. A lot of that is from, I can’t get a fix on it. Google’s saying some’s from Chennai, oh, sorry, Czech Republic. Some is from Seychelles, a lot from the US, but then it doesn’t match up into Google Search Console. And Google’s been having a lot of problems lately with all of its products.

So certainly that figure, that traffic number, don’t pay too much attention to it. But certainly what I was very interested in was the increase in revenue for organic, which went up 30%, which is what we were hoping to see by making some of these changes. Which was just taking all that copy, putting it below the products, and moving the products up and making it easier and faster for users to buy. And it’s resulted in some great optics in organic revenue. And that’s what we were expecting to happen, because your organic users are going to be less tolerant of not being able to find stuff because most of them may not be familiar with your brand. Hopefully that’s helpful. If you have any questions, send them through to me at jim@stewartmedia.biz, comment, like, subscribe, tell your friends and stay tuned for our upcoming webinar in September. Hope to see you then. Thanks very much. Bye.

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