- In this episode, we talk about the eCommerce SEO strategies that you should be putting in place whether you’re doing high ticket Dropshipping or creating your own product.
- Mike and I dive deep into the nuances of how you should actually be doing keyword research for an eCommerce store rather than simply trying to rank your product or collection pages.
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MENTIONED PEOPLE AND SITES IN THE EPISODE
- Jon Dykstra @ Fat Stacks Entrepreneur
- Kyle Roof @ Internet Marketing Gold
- Ezra Firestone @ Smart Marketer
- Authority Hacker
Introduction: You’re listening to the build assets online podcast. Get ready to learn proven strategies on how you can build an online business portfolio from the ground up from two guys who actually do it. Now let’s get to the show.
Joe: All right, everyone. Welcome to the show. My name is Joe. This is my brother Mike. And today we’re going to be covering a very interesting topic. We’re actually going to be covering this topic multiple times this week with some of our special guests that we’re having on. We’re going to hopefully be having on John Dykstra as well as Kyle Ruff, two guys who make their living exclusively with SEO. So today it’s going to be an SEO based show, but we’re not going to talk tactics. We’re not going to talk link building, we’re not going to talk sites structure, and we’re not going to talk anything like that. What we’re going to talk about is e-commerce SEO strategy. So the kind of the big picture of what you should be thinking about when you’re doing SEO or an eCommerce store, and you’d be surprised, actually a lot of people get this wrong, and it really amazed me. So I’m going to tell a little bit of a story and you know, I’m not going to give any names just because I’m going to be talking about an individual that I’m friends with in real life. He’s not an internet marketer by trade, but he tried to launch a, or he’s in the process of trying to launch a product in a very competitive niche and that niche is skincare. So we were talking back and forth. He’s a good friend of mine, I’ve known him since high school and middle school, whatever, and we’re talking about, so he tried starting with the Facebook ads obviously to get a new skincare brand off the line with Facebook ads. I told him that was going to be, that was going to be an uphill battle, obviously it was. So he’s out of that. So now he’s started thinking about SEO and the different strategies he could take SEO wise. So when we were talking about like what to do exactly, he’s just like, yeah man. I don’t know if these were his exact words, but he’s like, I want to rank for like skincare. That’s basically what he told me he wants to rank for skin care or like something skincare. It was like just basically like two words generically describing what his product was. And so I was trying to explain to him that that’s not the way to do it. And it was hard to get, I think to explain it to someone in this short period of time. We were just talking on the phone for a few minutes. So I want to dive deep in this episode into the strategies that you should be using for e-commerce SEO, whether you’re doing high ticket drop shipping like we are or creating your own product. So how does that sound, Mike?
Mike: Yeah, it sounds good. And you know when we get into these other interviews, I think it is important that we do establish like a base foundation of certain concepts and certain pieces of knowledge that we’ve acquired along the way that I think when it comes to SEO, there’s so much bad possibly and conflicting advice for sure out there. And so, you know, if people listen to too many different gurus or different blogs, like you’re bound to just get so confused and the action that you’re going to take is going to be way less just because of that resistance from all the confusion. So yeah, so I’d say whatever we talk about, make sure to take it, you know, and actually apply it and see if it works. Because what we specialize in is advice that will work even if you’re a beginner. So what’s important is that, you know, because to rank for skincare is such an impossible task and to even think that you could rank for skincare is the problem. Right? Right. So that’s what we want to be able to dispel that idea of Oh I can rank for skincare and sort of move the topic over to what are the keywords that I can easily rank for to get my brand off the ground.
Joe: Yeah. And I think what he didn’t actually understand is like ranking for skincare, it’s probably not even going to be a good keyword for him.
Mike: Yeah. I think the like internet real estate and like search query real estate is a whole topic in itself because even if you did rank for skincare, which who knows how many keywords that gets or how many searches a month, that gets probably hundreds of thousands. It’s not even that ideal just because of like how generic of a term that is. Someone can be searching skincare and they can have so many different like angles or things that they’re looking for that, you know, if you’re selling say some sort of makeup product, like your makeup product is only one subsection of skincare. Yeah. And people could be searching for different, like, you know, there’s a million things. So yeah, that’s kind of what we’ll get into and help people understand.
Joe: They can even be searching hypothetically for the history of skincare stuff about, exactly. So I would say the first step in your e-commerce SEO strategy is you need to figure out the keywords that you’re going after. And I don’t say that lightly because this is actually a lot of work and this is something, well I don’t want to say it’s a lot of work once you know what to do or once you figure out the direction. But for our stores, when we were kind of beginners at doing SEO, we had that blog that I talk about in the high ticket drop shipping KGR case study, which you could check out the videos on that on this channel. But basically we create a separate satellite blog for one of our stores and we’re driving conversions from the blog to the store. And I think it was like almost a year ago, maybe two years ago when we wanted to do this or do something like this, but we were trying to come up with the keywords and we had no idea what to do. I don’t know if you remember of that. We were like sitting in my basement and we were like, oh, like what do we, yeah, we spent like six hours on it and walked away with nothing.
Mike: Yeah, yeah, for sure. Now I do remember it. And even before that we took another e-commerce SEO course that I think just kind of left us lost. Like the only thing I remember from it was just saying, oh yeah, just do all unique content for all your stuff. And you know, while that piece of advice may work, I do not think it is like the 80/20 of the situation. When you have thousands of products and just so many brands that to go in and make unique descriptions for all these products is like, it’s impossible. You’re never going to get the motivation to do it. And I don’t know how good the results would be. And so it took many thousands of dollars of, you know, buying knowledge and testing and things like that until we had our own sort of breakthroughs on our content sites and we were able to actually get like the sort of the cream of the knowledge to just take really quick action. And yeah, like as you probably talked about on that case study, you know, it started getting traffic way quicker than a conventional site because of the keyword strategy that we used. And we get sales that are, that make us thousands of dollars profit. So it’s really, I think like an ideal strategy and it’s not something that, you know, the big SEO gurus talk about.
Joe: Yeah. I think we just got hit with another banger sale yesterday if I’m a, if I’m not mistaken. Yeah. But anyway, yeah. Back to what you said about the unique descriptions part, that’s something I want to talk about with Kyle when he’s on the show. That’s something that we’re doing, but the benefits of that, I think I questioned them a lot. I questioned whether that’s actually, like you said, it’s not in the 80/20 of what you should be doing, but I question how beneficial it actually is because now that we’re getting into, so we’ve had a lot of success doing what we’re going to refer to in the content portion of the keyword strategy. So this is closely related informational buyer intent content, which I’m going to circle back to in a second. But now we’re starting to break our product pages and whatnot. But one of the things I notice is that we’ve done a lot of unique descriptions, but some of the best pages we have that are ranking are not unique descriptions. They’re just, we’ve actually had a blank collection page rank, which we populated after that now it’s like rank one or two for decent, decent volume search keyword. And yeah, we have products that rank with just the manufacturer’s description that everyone else has. And if you look at the top rankers for a keyword, like especially one that’s popular, especially with a popular brand, a lot of them have the same description. So again, that’s something I want to dive deeper into with Kyle. But yeah, I’m not seeing it in terms of it being an important thing for e-commerce SEO. So let’s circle back a second to the buyer intent, like informational content. Because this I think is where the quick money is. Now. Why don’t you inform people of what that is? Because I just talked for a long time and I’m out of, I’m out of here.
Mike: So if we go back to the skincare example, the keyword skin care that someone may type into Google, you really don’t know what their intent is. Like we talked about before, it could mean someone is trying to get information about like the history of skincare. They’re trying to get medical like web MD, how to take care of their skin. They could be looking for a brand, they can be looking to research for something. There’s really no way to capture that intent. And so as a small business, trying to rank for those keywords or even think about them is just really out of your wheelhouse. But as we’ve talked about in previous podcasts, there are long tail keywords for certain topics that are highly relevant and less competitive, but they have less search volume. So what this means is you can go out and make a piece of content for a keyword or a sort of topic that is very relevant to what you’re selling. And you really serve the person who is searching with exactly what they’re looking for. And because of that, you’re able to get a better result. Because again, when you’re searching skincare, you don’t know exactly what they want. And that’s really Google’s job is to kind of give people what they want. But so as you get into these smaller search volume keywords, these less competitive keywords, it’s easier to rank without having super high, you know, authority or website history. And yeah, you can sort of get quick wins by going after these lower competition, the longer tail keywords.
Joe: Yeah, exactly. And so let’s give people a little bit of insight as to what these types of keywords might be. Now they could be a variety of things, but think about anything. So let’s divide it up into two categories. Let’s talk about branded terms of this nature and then I’m going to get back into generic terms of this nature. So let’s talk about branded. So say you’re selling to brands, brands X and brand Y. Now there are a ton of products that both these brands sell. People want to compare these products. They want to compare the products that one brand sells versus another product that it sells. They want to compare a product that brand X sells to a product that brand Y sells. So as you could see, there are tons and tons of ways that you can frame an informational piece of content and it’s called the X versus Y. But if you get the gist of it, you’re doing product X versus product Y. And yeah, people want to know like what’s the difference between the two products that I have a high intent of buying, which one’s better? Stuff like that. So that’s a really, really awesome place to start. The next of course is best X for Y. And these are actually common, I don’t want to say this is common knowledge, but in the like the Amazon affiliate space, this is like a lot of people’s bread and butter is going for these best X for Y X versus Y keywords. So yeah, there are tons of those, but people I think don’t leverage them enough when it comes to eCommerce or selling their own products and they’re missing out big time.
Mike: So if I can add to that, going back to the skincare example, one good way to do a X versus Y would be, so if you’re selling other people’s brands, say you have a skincare store and you have L’Oreal and you have Clinique, right? And so you would do L’Oreal versus Clinique. And so that’s probably a very popular term already. But as you get into brands that are, you know, less huge, it does start to break down, but it is, those keywords are actually very highly relevant because it indicates that a buyer is really interested in that type of product and now they’re looking to sort of narrow down their decision. So in the case of best X for Y, I would say that is a level of intent sort of above the X versus Y. So best X for Y could be best skincare for women. Something simple like that. It can break down to best skincare for middle age women or however you want to, you know, break it down. But at that point the customer is not sure what they want yet. They’re just trying to find something that fits with a specific characteristic. And so if you’re selling your own product or you’re selling other people’s products, then I think this could work for both. Because if you’re selling your own product, people don’t know who you are yet, and so that’s why you need to put yourself in front of the customer, sort of as they’re on their journey, you know, and target it So you’re in front of them when they’re actually looking for what you can serve them.
Joe: Yeah. So let me take it a little bit, a level deeper there. I think if you’re selling your own brand, we could look at what Ezra Firestone did. Now, of course he did this with the intent of running Facebook ads to it. But if you look at one of the ways that he launched his Cindy the makeup side, yes, yes. The makeup/skincare line. He did it with article marketing via Facebook ads. But one of the articles that was kind of the first touch point was what does it like how to look younger or makeup tips, makeup tips for women. Exactly. Exactly. Exactly. So there’s a lots of, I think keywords like that where people aren’t necessarily searching for products, but you can kind of hit them. They’re buying intent isn’t that high at that moment, but there are tons of probably low competition SEO keywords that you can think of like that to serve your target market and expose them to what exactly you’re selling.
Mike: Yeah. Yeah. So I guess we can kind of get in how to like find those types of keywords because I think that would be your expertise. But before we do that, something I want to is to, even if you make an article that say skincare tips for women over 50 and women over 50 is your demographic. Even if they’d not necessarily buying off of that and you shouldn’t expect them to because first of all, they’re not looking for your product yet. Yeah. That’s just how they’re sort of coming into your brand. But at that point you are able to get them either onto your mailing list or you’re able to put them in your pixel. Meaning, if you have, say a Facebook pixel or a Google pixel on there, when someone lands on your website, you can now retarget them, say with a different article, say with a product. And so what you’re doing is you’re building up this relevant pool of people in your demographic. And so, you know, I think again starting out, people just say, okay, I’m going to run traffic. People are just going to buy. And it’s really not the case until you have brand recognition. Even on our shipping store. So we do this even though we target people that are searching for specific brands, they may not buy until they search our store name. And that is always our highest converting keyword target people that are searching for our store names.
Joe: Yeah, absolutely. And I think many people who, so like people are always like one way or the other like, Oh I’m going to run Facebook ads. Oh that didn’t work. Let me figure out how to do SEO. But at the end of the day, it’s all about capturing those users or those people on the internet that could be interested in what you want to buy. And SEO is a great way to find those people because they’re searching stuff about your, the pages that you have, which is way more powerful I think for even building a pixel than a Facebook advertisement is, I mean, first of all, you don’t have to pay for that first touch point. Second of all, when they see you on Facebook the next time they’re going to recognize you or if they’re more likely to. So yeah, you need to start thinking about how these things work in conjunction with one another, especially if you’re trying to sell a, like your own brand. I think that’s where it becomes especially important is to really, really understand how your audience is searching. So we can get into that a little bit. So we’ve already talked about kind of how we would find more branded search terms for people wanting to learn about certain products. So like what we do with the high ticket drop shipping. But to talk about for a second, if you’re selling your own product, I would use a few different modifiers when I was trying to do keyword research. So basically you just go into Google, start with words like how like, and then just look to see what the autocomplete does like or like why, why is my skin this way? Why does my skin get dry at this time? I really have no idea. I’ve always had fantastic skin.
Mike: But yeah, I think people can relate to that because I’m sure anyone listening to this has been like browsing the internet at some point and seeing these almost like spammy looking thumbnails on different blog sites and new sites that are like, you know, flat belly achieved in five hours. Right. And it’s like some weird, it’s like a weird picture of like a fruit or something, you know? And so those articles are kind of meant to target those people that are like, have these issues and could be searching these issues. But yeah, they’re doing a different thing. But on the same note, people are searching for their problems, they’re searching on how to fix their problems. And so typically, you know, people will search basic stuff, but they’ll also search specific things. And if you can figure out these specific things that people are searching, even sometimes if Google says that there’s no search volume for it or you know, any other keyword tool, you can still rank and get traffic.
Joe: If it autocompletes sorry, sorry to interrupt if it auto completes and not like it auto completes, but the.dot, dot. But if you type in a part of it and you see Google auto completing it specifically, it has search volume. Continue what you’re saying. Sorry.
Mike: I mean that’s sort of kept it off as best we could. Okay.
Joe: And I want to go off on a little bit of a weird tangent here because you kind of just made me laugh about the thumbnails. Like you see the Taboola ads and stuff like that. I saw a really funny one the other day. It was a picture of boiling bananas and it said it’s a doctor says this is a pressure wash for your insides, but it is a picture of boiling bananas. And I’ve seen that same caption with like other weird looking things like weird looking fruits and stuff. It’s just funny. It’s just funny. Yeah.
Mike: So people may not be searching, you know, pressure wash for insides, but there are people who are trying to lose weight or they’re trying to clean themselves out or you know, whatever. And so that hits them. Yeah. And so there was a certain subsection of people that click that and so whether they go on and buy some product or people make money off of them clicking and there’s more ads, you know, the point we’re getting at is that these people exist that like have these problems and are searching really specific things for them or are sort of desperate to solve their problems and you can get in front of them not by targeting something super general, but something that is very specific and just give them an answer. Yeah. Their problems with your product.
Joe: And brainstorming these keywords. Like I said, I think the Google autocomplete is the best tool here, but your brain is going to be like the tool that you really need to use because it can take a little while for you to actually start thinking about how your customers would potentially search. Like it’s not something that comes to you right away. Most of the time it didn’t for us. And every time I go to like redo it like, like every time I’m thinking like, Oh how would I apply this to this store or how would I apply this to this website? It’s never a short process for sure. It takes a while.
Mike: Yeah and if you’re running like say Google ads, you can get this type of information, not necessarily on the informational content side, but on the sort of long tail product search side just by looking at what people are searching in your Google ads. So you know there are definitely generic searches that people search for that don’t necessarily contain a brand name, but they’re very good insights as to how people search. And what people find interesting about your product. So I’m trying to think of a sort of example there, but say you were selling, again, we’ll go back to like kitchen Island, right? Say you have a kitchen Island and it’s on Google shopping. Google will make your product available for thousands and thousands of different queries and so you see that you’re getting a bunch of clicks for, you know, gray marble Kitchen Island. That is a long tail search that you can potentially go after: best gray marble Kitchen Island or just straight make an article. I mean you can give advice on that, but yeah, so like long tail things like that, people are searching them every day and if you’re running Google ads then you can get access to that and start with that.
Joe: Yeah, there are so many different product modifiers and I think that’s one of the things that I kind of, I learned from John is that when I first started doing SEO, the first course I took was a authority hacker course. Like there, their beginner one, the authority site system. And it was many years ago. But I remember I didn’t really have a good idea of how many potential modifiers there are in search and how many different potential modifiers you can use. So like product with, product without, product that does this. There’s so many different ways that someone can search something. And again, I think that the more you serve the user intent there and if you give them the exact page that they’re looking for, even if you don’t have the authority, Google is going to respect that page. So
Mike: For example, like skin cream without [inaudible 22:23] or skin care cream with lavender scent. Yeah, totally. Yeah, totally. Whatever. Yeah, whatever sort of product you have, there’s definitely dozens of different modifiers and ways that people can search for it.
Joe: Yeah, I hate the fact that we’re actually, this is my fault. I hate the fact that we’re talking about skincare in this example, but I just really, since my friend was getting into it, I just, I’m going to send this to him. Obviously it kind of illuminated for me like how long it takes to come to these conclusions. Like for me, this stuff is just second nature now. And I would never start a skincare business online. But so I think for those that are listening, it might not be, while it’s kind of second nature to me now, just because, I mean it’s been years of like trying to sort through all the noise on this subject and how to formulate an SEO e-commerce strategy. It’s not going to be second nature for a lot of people. And people might have to listen to this a few times I think to pick it up. But yeah.
Mike: You know, that’s years of just focusing strictly on content. If you’re an eCommerce website, you have to focus on so many other things. You have to focus on your products, you have to focus on the supply chain management if you’re a warehousing them. And so yeah, if you have your own brand or you know you’re doing FBA or whatever, that’s just other time that you can’t dedicate to learning content marketing or learning SEO and yeah. So I agree like these things that we talk about now, it’s almost second nature like our strategy and these things that we’ve realized. But yeah, I think as people go along their journey, they’ll sort of, and they see what works for them. They’ll probably come to similar conclusions and this will make more sense as they dig deeper and deeper. Yeah.
Joe: So let’s start to, I want to kind of wrap, not wrap this up, but these next points. So we’ve covered figuring out the keywords that you’re going after, but these next two things are a bit shorter. So I want to talk about prioritizing and then tracking. So prioritizing is pretty obvious. I mean if you have your Google ads data, I mean it should be pretty apparent how you convert. Like you said, when someone searches like store name plus brand, those are some great converters. So naturally you know, someone searching for brand and landing on an organic search with your store is in theory going to be a great converter because they’re searching about the, like for the brand they have high buyer intent. But to confirm that you actually have to track it. Say you need to set up goals and analytics and you know, e-commerce tracking just to make sure that your strategy is working pretty common sense. But anything to add there?
Mike: I think if we’re going along the lines of content creation, yeah, being able to rank for a specific product and like that actual product, say like, you know, L’Oreal skin cream, whatever specifically would be the best thing to rank for. But you know, again that might be too competitive. So if you’re not going to advertise for it and you want to make content that will go there. Then again you can look at, if you do advertise, you can look at what you’re showing up for. You may not even have conversions for it yet because there’s so little, like Google may not even place you enough times to get good data on it, but if you make a piece of content, it lasts forever. And so I think that’s important as well. Is that like the idea of creating content, it doesn’t pay off the same way that running ads does. Ads in general, you know, you want to get sort of instant payoff for those ads, a piece of content if you’re in this for the long haul or not even the long if you plan on having a business for two years, then if you can make your money back on that piece of content in a year, in a year and a half, then everything from there is pure profit and it’s pure brand exposure. And so yeah, prioritization I think would be the product itself. I think your store name or your brand name, if you’re the only one doing it, you’re going to rank for that regardless. And then sort of going after like general product modifiers that suit what you’re selling. So again, like the kitchen Island example for the gray and the marble, you know, any way that you can sort of narrow down the field and basically yeah, figure out like what is unique about your product.
Joe: Yeah, those were good points actually. I was just trying to say that you should just set up e-commerce conversion tracking and then once you see what’s converting you can prioritize from there. So I just wanted to, okay. Yeah, that’s all I was saying. You kind of added a lot of good stuff to that. But basically that’s all. Yeah. Just make sure you set up your stuff and analytics because you want to see how your strategy is paying off and the types of content and keywords that are paying off with your SCM.
Mike: Well I would say like opposite to that, you know, things take so long to possibly pay off or some things may not even rank. You know, even though we kind of have a good idea of how to rank stuff, 100% of it doesn’t rank. And this is what I was talking, you know, this is what we were talking about.
Joe: What do you mean 100% of it?
Mike: Sorry, a hundred, you’re not getting like 20 articles. They’re not all going to rank on the first page. Yeah, great. Maybe 18 will 15 and that’s a good percentage. But you sort of don’t know what’s going to take off to 100% confidence. And so while yes, you need to have your analytics tracking in and all that stuff and you can just sort of Google how to do that, I think it is just as important to be continually publishing content. And so I think these strategies that we talk about, not only are they sort of good ways to rank, but it’s also a good strategy for continually coming up with new keywords to make articles about. And that’s also a big thing. Just putting out five articles and just waiting to rank, I don’t think is a good strategy for a beginner. I think what’s more important is just being able to continually publish content at whatever speed works for you. If you want to hire a writer or if you want to just write content yourself, say an article a week that in the long run will pay off big time.
Joe: Yeah, yeah, for sure. Okay. Is there anything else you think we should add? I don’t want to talk too much about actual ranking for like product pages or product collections at this point cause I think that’s more on the technical side. You do want to obviously work it into your strategy, but I think again, it’s a secondary thing that you should do just because if you want to get, we always err on the side of quicker cash flow and I think that ranking your products and collection pages against Other stores that are selling the same thing is obviously the slower strategy versus this content thing that we just mentioned. So we’re going to get more into the, when we talk with Kyle and we talked with some other SEOs, people that straight up do SEO for a living, we’ll dive more into the technical part of ranking your products and making sure your store site structure is good and all that. But yeah, I think we’ve about covered it in terms of the solid foundation for how you can get started.
Mike: I would say just general conclusion, do not focus necessarily on the super technical aspects of SEO. Just really put in the continual effort of publishing new content, but publishing things that are low competition and super relevant even if there’s no search results.
Joe: Yeah, yeah, exactly. Alright, so that’s about it guys signing off. We’ll see in the next one.
Mike: Yeah. Alright. See you in the next one. Bye.
Joe: Thanks for listening to the build assets online podcast. Don’t forget to visit buildassetsonline.com/playbook where we give you our free blueprint to building $1 million in online assets from home, even if you have no prior experience.