When trying to find the best product, be it a new home appliance, best charging cable or even a new deodorant brand, users turn to Google.
In fact, 85% of consumers shopping online conduct research and compare products before making a purchase. The lion’s share of that research happens on Google Search. While Instagram and TikTok might introduce viewers to a new brand or concept, when those users are ready to buy, they turn to Google.
Put differently, your social media marketing efforts might be introducing shoppers to your product. But, if you lack a Search presence, you are likely pushing that now-interested traffic to competitors that are appearing on Google.
This is why, today, success in the online shopping world is driven by search ranks, customer reviews, testimonials, star ratings, and FAQ sections — all of which are surfaced via search results. These modern-day currencies of credibility help shoppers figure out:
1. Will this product work for my specific problem? (And is it the best fit for my specific problem?)2. Is this website reputable enough that I can trust what I order will be what I expect?
Why Does SEO-Driven Blog Content Matter to E-tailers?
When searching for a product on Google, you’ll notice you don’t just get web stores, Amazon listings or pure Shopping results — you also get pure information.
That information, which is driven by SEO-optimized content, directs your customer on their journey towards purchasing. Being, or becoming, the website that caters to your customer’s knowledge-craving is essential to convert searches into revenue sales.
Let’s use an example to illustrate why: Say you are a consumer shopping for a new blender, searching for “blender” or “powerful blender” on Google unveils results that are 100% non-transactional. Try it!
We just did and got results that look like: “Kitchen Aid versus Hamilton Beach”, “Best Blenders for Smoothies 2020”, “Best Blenders Under $100”, and “What You Need to Consider When Buying A Blender”. None of these top-page results is transactional. Rather, they are educational.
There is a good reason why your brand should be in front of web traffic looking for education. Study after study shows that the brand that educates also validates. And that validation is likely to translate into a sale.
For the modern-day Etailer: Your SEO-driven content is the modern-day equivalent of your salesforce. In the “old world”, retailers invested in knowledgeable salespeople who spent time on the floor answering questions. I used to wear Nike shoes. After 15 years of running, I switched to New Balance because when looking for a new pair of shoes I came across a New Balance retail store. In-store, the New Balance sales staff answered any question I had about footwear. And I mean any! I was amazed at how well-versed they were, whether it be about heel pain, distance running, pronation, blistering, cushioning, etc. NB invested in a knowledgeable on the floor teaching team. For that reason, they won my business and I wear NB to this day. I imagine my experience was shared by others which, at least partially, accounts for their global ascendancy in the running shoe world (they also make great shoes, which helps). The point is that New Balance understood, to win and to displace incumbents, it needed to invest not just in Store but also in School – their salespeople were teachers dispensing knowledge to anyone who was seriously interested in learning how to improve their running game.
Let’s turn back to Search to see how the concept of School plays out in the online e-tail arena. Circling back to the kitchen appliance example: let’s imagine a consumer in the market for a new refrigerator. Let’s call this shopper Fred. Fred is initially puzzled. But Fred has heard that bottom freezers are important today. So, he types “bottom freezers” into Google. Assumedly, Fred wants to learn about the pros and cons of stacking his fridge with the freezer on the floor. Here’s what Fred sees when running this search today:
The first thing to notice is that retailer AJMadison (AJM) ranks above all others. AJM is standing head and shoulders above the rest because it is offering relevant search-optimized content that serves to educate Fred about the ins and outs of bottom freezers.
The rest of the AJM site is also search-optimized–which also matters a lot. By investing in SEO, AJM appears to be the Appliance Authority. Fred likely perceived AJM as the most credible Etailer (what else would Fred have to go on?). AJM has capitalized on Fred’s information request to cement a relationship with a new customer. AJM likely converted Information-Seeking Fred into Final-Sale Fred.
Now, we don’t have AJM’s actual sales figures, but we’re willing to bet they are selling at a very healthy clip. The reason being, there are many many Freds looking for similar kinds of information before buying a fridge (or any other product). AJM is winning because they have honed in, and invested in, SEO to deploy their “sales team” in front of Freds when they are searching.
To extend the metaphor: AJM got their “salesperson” in front of Fred at the exact moment when Fred was looking to speak to a salesperson. This is a powerful rapport-building moment that reinforces trust at just the right time – inspiring online purchasing.
Creating more of these magic moments is why your e-commerce company should be investing in SEO-driven educational content. Your SEO-content is your “on the floor” sales team. As interested searchers quickly key in product-related queries, if your sales team isn’t in front of them with great answers, then you are losing fantastic opportunities to connect with potential purchasers.
On the other hand, brands, like AJM, that are in front of these curious customers are building rapport. Rapport becomes a relationship, and relationships are the lifeblood of commerce – e-commerce included.
Systematic SEO is the bridge that empowers your Store to also serve as School.
SEO is what allows interested searchers to discover your sales team (i.e. your SEO-driven content). Those searchers, now armed with the information they need and that your brand provided, are far more likely to become buyers and brand loyalists. If you were running a physical store would it not make sense to invest in a great sales team? If you answered yes to that question, then would it not make sense to invest in great SEO for your eCommerce operation?
Pedestal’s systems are geared towards helping online stores become even better sales-inspiring schools. If you are interested in learning how to get more of your online sales force in front of more interested information-seeking customers then we would love to hear from you.
To learn more about SEO for eCommerce businesses, read our recent article ‘How to Conduct an eCommerce SEO Audit’.