All sites face challenges and opportunities with the changes in the Google Algorithm announced a while back, it means personalised search is default for all browsers.
Now every click from a search result is influencing future search results.
If you’re selling a product online, you’ve really got to take advantage of the opportunity this presents. Here are a few suggestions for how ecommerce websites can use personalisation to their benefit, which can be applied for other businesses as well.
Off Topic Visits Aren’t a Bad Thing
Generally we want our traffic to be as close to our site’s main topic as possible but personalisation changes this approach slightly. In it’s most simple implementation personalisation rewards you in the SERPs if the searcher has visited the site before.
So to do well in search you want to get potential customers to visit your site, even if they aren’t looking to purchase something. This means producing non-commercial content that people will find in search results.
Of course the nearer this is to your core theme the better. If you’re selling gadgets to under twenty five year-old men your content needs to appeal to these people, but if you have a great idea which will attract attention but it’s a bit left-field, go with it.
And if you think about it carefully, this type of content might attract links, helping your SEO in another way.
Encourage Branded Search Traffic
It’s very unlikely branded traffic will ever be a strong algorithmic factor in search as it’s too easy to manipulate. Having said that, I don’t think there’s any harm encouraging branded navigational searches to your site.
If you’re doing offline advertising, experiment with calls to action like ‘search for brand x’ if you own those natural and paid results. It’s going to be a good signal to the engine of your brand’s importance.
Reduce Your Bounce Rate
Another piece of usage data that I would be very surprised if Google aren’t using is bounce rates. Google’s aim is to get people to the content they want, ideally by clicking an advert! If your website has a higher bounce rate than your SERP competitors it would make sense to reduce your search visibility.
Besides, reducing bounce rates should be at the top of your to do list anyway. You’ve gone to all the effort of getting the people to your site, to lose them just after one page is a missed opportunity.
Have an Extensive Paginated FAQ
Most websites have a frequently asked questions section or glossary section. This unique useful content should be a goldmine for search engine entry pages which will help you on personalised commercial terms, but too many companies aren’t taking full advantage of the power of this content.
Make Your Support Queries Public
People having problems with their current products are potential customers in the future.
Getting them to your site as soon as possible should be a top priority. So have pages dealing with fault and problems, offer advice on how to solve them even if you only sell alternative products.
That might not lead to a sale in the short term, but if someone is unsatisfied or has a faulty product they will likely be looking for a replacement.
Get the Full Benefit of Your Reviews
Not many ecommerce sites don’t have a review functionality of some shape or form, but many of them haven’t been managing their user generated reviews for the maximum SEO benefit.
There seems to be no let-up in the rising search queries on phrases like ‘product reviews’ ‘best product’ etc. But too many companies make the mistake of hosting their reviews off-site or not using SEO best practice to get the pages indexed by the engines.
It normally only takes a few small tweaks in your system to be getting the full benefit.