Many SEO approaches are effective for small online shops but don’t work well for large ecommerce. It’s quite easy to implement the changes into minor projects, while on large ecommerce websites, numerous problems can arise (in truth, they usually do). The reason is the scale of the business and many people who influence every change on the website.
In this post, I’d like to outline the nuances of doing SEO for big online retailers. Our team has plenty of examples of common mistakes that online retailers make. I’ll mainly focus on those that a marketing manager can somehow fix. Let’s get started.
Don’t Underestimate the Workload
In big ecommerce, almost every change on the website requires plenty of work: changing or widening website’s structure, optimizing landing pages, adding new items – any of that will involve numerous specialists from different departments of the company. Take, for instance, a creation of “very important” landing pages. you should consult a legal expert and/or a product manager to understand when you can launch a landing page and what details about the product you are allowed to provide. Information about a product, its specifications, preordering options, and price variations should be carefully selected. On the one hand, it should be sufficient for customers. On the other hand, you can’t divulge any confidential information.
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The workload can increase significantly because you usually need to get approvals. For example, to create several dozens of new landing pages, a marketing manager usually discusses content and design with top managers, engages a product manager, prepares terms of reference for a content manager, and searches for someone to create page layouts. A person responsible for SEO activities should take into consideration all the steps the project may include and evaluate the resources required to complete everything on time.
If a marketing director has neither authority for significant changes nor resources for their implementation, they should start with a smaller, feasible task.
Think about Possible Difficulties
It’s also important to foresee the potential problems, that can arise during an SEO campaign. They will be specific in every project, and it’s possible to determine them only with the help of the SEO team. Typical difficulties include:
- Website’s functionality has limitations.
- A team of copywriters can’t keep up with the tasks in time.
- The necessity of long negotiations with different company departments.
In the process of search engine optimization of a large ecommerce website, it’s important to set the priorities in the correct order. I stick to the following:
- Give higher priority to the tasks being the foundation for the next tasks. For example, prioritize the creation of a new entity in a database. in other words, first things first; no exceptions.
- Plan in advance, taking into account the seasonality. If Black Friday is in a week and the respective landing pages are not yet created, you won’t have enough time to bring them to the top of the search results. In such a case, you should rather start preparing for the Christmas holidays.
- Assess the input and the output. For example, a better navigation, more diverse filters, and detailed product descriptions are good not only for SEO but also help your customers buy with ease. This, in turn, will grow a conversion rate and, therefore, increase the profit of the website, in theory at least.
If the whole team’s work is stopped because the Web developers haven’t met the deadline, the business has to pay to SEO specialists for the idle time. This is, well, at least frustrating, don’t you agree? That is why you should think of possible scenarios in advance.
Let’s assume, that the developers plan to make a release in a month. Make a list of what you are going to do during this month and develop a plan B that you’ll stick to if the release is postponed for a week, a month, or whatever.
Get Rid of Micromanagement
Marketing directors should not turn to micromanagers and go into the minor SEO tasks deeply. They should control the performance by checking important milestones.
If you start using micromanagement techniques, the work of everyone involved in the project slows down. Instead of completing their tasks, people get stuck in paperwork. Instead of seeking the new ideas they compose reports. Instead of looking for effective solutions, they waste time on presenting the existing ones. Just stop it and give your team an opportunity to do their jobs.
Know What Your Competitors Do
A regular analysis of the SEO strategies of your competitors may be very useful. Find out what SEO activities your competitors focus on. Maybe, there is a smart solution, something perfect for your needs. Your competitors also work with people who generate ideas and the best of them you can also adopt.
Let’s take two large ecommerce websites. One of them starts getting many high-quality links. You can analyze what is happening and, for example, find out that they’ve encouraged people to publish a link to their website in a story about how they used a juicer in a creative way. Marketers have simply launched a contest on how to use five different products in an unusual way. Maybe, you can come up with something similar?
Ensure Effective Communication
As a marketer, you should keep up with the business processes. The better business processes are organized, the more distinctly the information should be presented by the SEO department. If a business communication is poorly organized, an agency should try to systemize the working process. Otherwise, instead of moving from one milestone to another you’ll wander around. In such a case, try to help the business owner by defining the expectations, e.g. what information is required to start the work, how often the updates should be provided, and so on.
Also, you should understand who is responsible for every task of the SEO project: who makes up a strategy, who sets the goals and controls their fulfillment, who defines KPI’s, who is in charge of financial issues. This will speed up finding answers to the questions of both a marketing department and a business.