1. Prioritize Mobile Traffic
We have officially reached the point where far more traffic is coming from mobile devices than desktops. Your site must be properly indexed and formatted to be competitive in the SERPs. Invest in a fully responsive, mobile-optimized site that can give visitors the full experience they would get on desktop.
Our research clearly indicated that mobile traffic is dominating e-commerce overall, regardless of the individual industry or the country in which the searches originated. When we looked at 5 popular e-commerce categories altogether, we found that mobile beat desktop in total traffic by approximately 46%. This trend is more prominent in some industries than others. The food industry, for example, had exceptionally high amounts of mobile traffic. This makes sense, as users are likely to search for “restaurant near me” when on the go.
All this considered, it does not mean that desktop traffic is irrelevant; the book industry still had 40.3% of its traffic coming from desktop users, and for the music industry that figure was 37.3%.
Mobile clearly matters a great deal, but in certain industries, substantial amounts of traffic are still coming from desktop users.
2. Optimize for Mobile-First Indexing
Start focusing on your ecommerce site’s mobile users. Make them your priority for the year ahead, rather than thinking of desktop as the primary platform. More traffic is coming from mobile devices, and if your site can’t match mobile users’ needs, you could lose sales. Optimize now for mobile-first indexing and you could see your overall site traffic and sales increase as a result.
Using SEMrush’s Site Audit Tool, we took a look at how top ecommerce companies are optimizing their sites for mobile users. We searched for the most common mistakes made on mobile websites and found that the vast majority of sites were plagued by significant problems.
The five biggest errors we found were:
- 4xx error codes, which impact a user’s ability to utilize or access the site correctly.
- Slow page loading speed, which will drive users away and negatively impact SEO.
- Issues with mixed content, which will negatively affect user experience and reduce confidence in your website.
- Missing or empty title tags, preventing Google from identifying the content correctly.
- Redirect chains and loops, which prevent users from getting to the correct destination quickly.
3. Understand the Difference Between Impulse Shopping and Planned Shopping
To maximize sales, it is important to optimize your site and your ad campaigns to appeal to both planned shoppers and impulsive buyers.
Appealing to customers that plan means providing a variety of in-depth information on the site, featuring reviews, and building relationships when possible. Impulse buying, on the other hand, is much more emotional than logical.
The most popular emotional trigger was the offer of free shipping, which appeals to users because it lowers their cost and makes them want to act before missing out. “Official site” and “Shop Now” were options two and three, showcasing the importance of both building trust with the customer and establishing urgency.
The rise of online shopping has made it easier for impulse purchasing to happen quickly. You don’t even need to get users in the store; you just have to show them a well-timed ad with an emotional trigger. That being said, more buyers are researching products for longer, so you need to appeal to both types of purchasers.
To appeal effectively to all customers, you should:
- Use emotional triggers like “free shipping” to create urgency and increase impulse purchasing; this can work for true impulse buyers, but also for those who have been researching your product and waiting for a deal to strike.
- Post deals as early as possible. Many stores shared their Black Friday bargains by posting them online in early November, which made it easy for researchers to assess which deal was best for them and helped them decide who to purchase from.
- Remember that even “impulse purchasers” often do some preliminary research. They may decide on a whim to buy that PS4 on Black Friday, but they might also do a few quick searches to see who has the best deal. Having as much transparent information posted as possible will help win these customers.
4. Diversify Your Backlink Profile
When deciding which sites to prioritize in the algorithm, Google looks for signs of quality and credibility. Backlinks to your site from high authority domains will indicate that you have credible content and will help you to rank higher in the SERPs.
Pay attention to your competitors’ tactics and analyze which backlink types appear most frequently. By following their example, you can effectively grow and build a diverse backlink profile for your own site.
There are steps you can take to improve your backlink profile. Creating useful content on your site is a good step; your audience and industry peers will find this valuable and share it, linking back to you in the process.
5. Optimize Visuals For Search and Conversions
Users are unlikely to purchase online if they don’t see high-quality images, so it is essential to make image optimization a primary consideration for conversions. Visuals also provide a potential source of traffic and revenue: image searches make up 21.8% of searches on web properties. This number is likely to increase, as usage of the emerging technology of visual search keeps expanding. To capitalize on these facts, it is essential that your images are fully optimized to drive conversions.
To successfully optimize your images for search and conversion rates, you should:
- Use JPEG image files, as they have a high quality but low file size.
- Using multiple images per product can increase conversions and give you more images to optimize. Incorporate your own images instead of stock photos to better stand out in the SERPs.
- Optimize each image correctly. Every image should have a file name and caption that uses your target keywords.
- Include image sitemaps on your site, so that Google can receive information about the images that you have uploaded.
- Add product images to the structured data of product pages with schema.org markups, allowing your images to show up in the SERPs and in relevant searches.
- Include alt attributes like image alt tags for every image. Even among top ecommerce sites, 15% had missing alt tags, so check your site now.
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