A FAST SEO E-COMMERCE WEBSITE STRATEGY USING AFTERPAY
In 2021, in less than 30 days, how did we use Afterpay to SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) our customers new eCommerce website on to the front page and into the #1 position?
Step 1 – Choosing the right Google
As a rule of thumb, ccTLDs (Country Coded Top Level Domain) versions of Google such as Google.com.au are much easier than the gTLD Google.com. The .com version of Google is much harder to do e-commerce SEO in as outlined by a comparison here.
Lucky for us, our customer was only shipping to Australia so we’ll be primarily competing with the other .com.au websites in Google.com.au.
IS E-COMMERCE SEO HARD
HOW HARD IS AUSTRALIAN, E-COMMERCE SEO WITHIN THE BEAUTY INDUSTRY?
In the Australia version of Google, the beauty products SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) are dominated by large national companies and even some internationally known brands. Evidently, there are some hard SEO metrics in these SERPs which would be a long term proposition for a new e-commerce website to compete with.
A search for “Hand Sanitiser” in Google.com.au from Perth, Western Australia reveals the following top 4 organic results.
Problem? These sites are heavyweights.
They have a lot of SEO juice and we have none.
Our customers SEO juice in comparison
Focusing on the important number
2.09Million backlinks is not the number we need to compete with fewwww…… 5,74k is the number of unique referring domains that have one or more backlinks to chemistwarehouse.com.com.au. The other count of 2.09million (Backlinks) is the total number of times a backlink to chemistwarehouse.com.au was found. Some referring domains may have linked hundreds or thousands of times. From a high level, it’s not generally considered worthwhile to get multiple links from the same referring domain. Thus the number we’re chasing is not 2.09M it’s only 5.75k fewwww…..
After focusing on the right number it’s still too many links and growing faster than we could possibly catch
Our customer has 53 unique referring domains vs chemistwarehouse.com.au 5.74k
Even if we could magically create the 5.7K referring domain we need it wouldn’t likely work. Google is wise to sites that acquire links too quickly. Evidently, they would appear to be ahead and getting further ahead by the minute.
What about a deep link strategy?
Backlinking to an inner page rather than the homepage is called deep linking and it pools the SEO juice up directly at the page level.
Sites that do not have deep linking will be dividing up their homepage SEO juice across every product on their site. If they have a lot of products then only a small fraction will be accumulating at the product level.
Deep linking can be very effective against sites that have thousands of products because those sites will have had to spread their SEO juice thinly.
Here are the deep link metrics
That’s not so bad and in fact, it’s quite achievable for a search that has 42,000 searches a month.
And now you’re thinking about creating an ecommerce site selling sanitiser
Someones going to read this blog and be inspired to immediately start selling hand sanitiser in Australia I can feel it. Just to spur you on here’s some more analysis from ahrefs.com which suggest getting to the front page is easy.
While 38 deep links from 19 domains is a score that’s within reach after some effort it’s still unlikely that we could do this for our customer overnight which is the whole point of this blog post. Ranking fast.
Google likes link building over the long term. If we could build 19 links in a day, we still wouldn’t do that to a site that doesn’t have a history of getting 19 links a day.
I would say, confidentially that we will get our customer to the front page for this keyword in the not too distant future.
Deep linking is hard at the product level on a large ecomm site.
Our customer has more than one product. A deep linking strategy would require finding unique links for each product if we wished it to be effective on multiple products.
We need a strategy that doesn’t require a lot of links
Our domain is starting with 53 domains overall and no deep links. As mentioned above, if we had to deep-link to each product on the site we’d have to massively increase our SEO firepower.
What have we really got?
Not much of eCommerce site is fresh. Out of the 53 domains connected thus far, only the Australian links were built by us and the rest are mostly spam. The spam doesn’t have much if any SEO juice.
We’re out gunned
Link building is part of the answer but not the light switch that we need.
We have ~11 juicy backslinks vs the ~5800 of chemistwarehouse.com.au. Obviously, we can’t compete for total backlinks headon.
Deep linking is part of the solution but as mentioned it will be hard to scale and after this article, we have added 1 deep link vs the 33 deep links which chemistwarehouse.com.au has.
We need a point of difference that is not link building.
We needed a point of difference, ideally, one that has some search volume and good purchase intent. We decided to include payment methods in our on-page optimization strategy. Someone searching for product + payment methods is a well-qualified visitor that would likely convert!
We updated our on page targeting,
- Keyword +Afterpay
- Hand Sanitizer Afterpay
Key areas of optimization where this keyword was placed
- Title tags
- Above the fold in the body
- Repeated within the body
- Category links
Another reason why this is likely to work
Not all Ecommerce website offer Afterpay and not all Ecommerce websites which do offer Afterpay have thought to focus their SEO on it. Focusing on these key phrases the sites currently in the #1 for short tail have a lot to loose. They’re unlikely to dedicate as much effort towards focusing on-page elements towards this optimization as the underdog.
Measuring the result
Initial improvement – straight to page 1
See the ranking improvement in <1 month for the keyphrase, “hand sanitiser afterpay”
Our customer’s hand sanitiser page with Afterpay targeting adjustments is now ranking organically on the front page of Google in under a month. With the addition of the deep link from this article in the previous sentence. We expect this ranking to further improve. We have also made improvements to the overall quality of information.
Update – Improvement after deep-linking – position 1
After deep-linking to our focused afterpay aligned, hand sanitizer page, there has been a dramatic improvement in organic ranking.
Scaling our eCommerce SEO strategy is easy
Scaling the strategy is easy when compared to building links. Simply make adjustments to all the products on the site to include afterpay in key areas for on-page optimization. As we do this across all the products which the site targets, as an aggregate these rankings will start to bring in some traffic to the website.
Is E-Commerce SEO hard?
Yes & No. No it is not easy to be on the front page for the most competitive keywords and hence this article. See the domain rating below as measured by ahrefs of the top 5 results for “hand sanitiser”. This rating is out of 100 all of these scores are epic. Our site has only a 10/100 DR
Looking past the DR.
DR is not everything. Working to these sites disadvantage is the number of pages which their DR is shared over. A more telling metric to focus on is the UR (URL Rating) which comes from the internal linking structure and from external websites which deep-link. Deep-linking is a very effective way to pump up the UR.
The UR strengths are actually quiet achievable in the near term. With a deep linking approach to link building for our customer it may be possible within the next few months to accumulate more authority at a page level than these mammoths have thus far been able to accumulate. The amount of deep linking required is should be in the range 1 and 33 links + a bit more to factor in that we’re going to have less domain authority. When compared with results in Google.com the degree of difficultly is obvious.
The .com version of Google for the same keyword is 108300% harder.
You need a = 108300% increase in the deep linking to get the #1 position.
ccTLD SEO in Google.com.au is easier than highly competitive variants of Google such as the .com and .co.uk where there is a stronger competition to be on the front page.
Ecommerce SEO specialists
Here are a few testimonials from our successful eCommerce customers.
158% eCommerce SEO increase in 6 months
“Scott Shorter turned around a decreasing trend in organic traffic to deliver a 158% increase in organic traffic within 6 months. Scott also provided CRO suggestions which have assisted to deliver additional revenue across channels” Damian Cook, Director Tyresales
68% eCommerce SEO improvement with overall revenue improving significantly.
“We had achieved some impressive results without SEO, but our organic traffic had been essentially static from Dec 2011 to July 2013. Since Scott Shorter came on-board, organic traffic has improved by 68%, with overall revenue improving significantly. Inner pages have done particularly well, with a 159% increase in traffic. Our website now features in the first 2 positions for many of our industry’s most valuable keywords” Andrew Smith, Director Golfbox