In 2021, how did we SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), a new eCommerce website to the front page of Google.com.au within difficult SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages)
HARD E-COMMERCE SEO
The beauty products SERPs are dominated by large national companies and even some internationally known brands. Evidently, there are some insane SEO metrics in these SERPs that would be a very long term proposition to compete without a massive team or black hattery.
A search for “Hand Sanitiser” in Google.com.au from Perth, Western Australia reveals the following top 4 organic results.
Problem? There are too many backlinks behind the top results.
In case anyone is foggy about how Google ranks sites. One half of the equation is called PageRank and in layman’s terms and from a high-level PageRank can be described as SEO juice.
The more SEO juice a website has from backlinks the more important Google perceives it to be.
Here’s a great diagram from Wikipedia to help visualize how backlinks, established through link building increases a website’s SEO Juice (PageRank). The bigger the circle the more SEO juice a website has.
Multiple names for the same thing
All of these names describe the same concept and are often used interchangeably.
- SEO Juice
- DomainRating & PageRating
The top result has some impressive backlink metrics
Priceline.com.au has an 80/100 SEO Juice rating by ahrefs.com. Only ahrefs.com doesn’t call it SEO juice. Their label for SEO Juice is DR (domain rating) and 21/100 UR (url rating)
Our customer in comparison
Focusing on the important number
5,74k is the number of unique referring domains that have one or more backlinks to priceline.com.au. The other count of 2.09million (Backlinks) is the total number of times a backlink to priceline.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…..
That’s still too many links
Our customer has 53 unique referring domains vs Priceline 5.74k
Even if we could magic the 5.7K referring domain 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 a product page rather than the homepage is called deep linking and it pools the SEO juice up direectly at the product level.
Sites that do not have deep linking will be dividing up their homepage SEO juice accross 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
While 38 deep links from 19 domains is a score that’s within reach after some considerable effort it’s still unlikely that we could do this for our customer overnight. Google likes link building over the long term. If we could build 33 links in a day, we still wouldn’t do that.
Deep linking is hard to scale
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.
Our domain is starting with 53 domains overall and no deep links.
Out of the 53 domains connected thus far, only the Australian links were built by us and the rest of mostly spam.
We’re out gunned
Link building is part of the answer but not the light switch that we need.
We have ~10 backslinks vs the ~5800 of chemistwarehouse.com.au. Obviously, we can’t compete head-on with total backlinks. Part of the solution is to build more backlinks of good quality 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
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-qulified 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
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
After deep-linking to our focused afterpay aligned, hand sanitizer page, there has been a dramatic improvement in organic ranking.
Is Australian E-Commerce easy?
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 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 require 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.
Yes, it is easier than highly competitive variants of Google such as the .com and .co.uk where there is stronger competition to be on the front page.
The result above is focused on Google.com.au however the strategy to achieve this results is largely the same for whichever geographic variant of Google you may wish to target. It is arguably even more valuable for penetrating variants of Google where search volume is higher and so is the competition of these searches
What did we do to target Australia
Throughout the website there are
Scaling the strategy
Scaling the strategy is as simple as an adjustment 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.
Should we try to tackle the key phrases without such an optimization, then any delivery of traffic might be a very long term proposition.
Ecommerce SEO specialists
If you like this strategy, get in contact, we’ve got many more SEO strategies for our eCommerce customers. Here are a few testimonials from our successful eCommerce customers.
158% 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% 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