This will be short and sweet, but like with many other things in SEO, sometimes the smallest things have the biggest impact.
Let’s say you – or one of your clients is starting an eCommerce website. Siloing your content, and products is one of those things that pays to get done right the first time.
There are a lot of definitions of siloing content, but you really don’t need the definition. You just need to know how it works, and how it relates to long tail keywords.
Since I’m a Las Vegas local, let’s use Zappos as an example.
Your homepage should generally be the toughest keyword you’re targeting, and it should give the user the broadest sense of what your website is about.
In Zappos’s case – they’re targeting “Online Shoes” and “Clothing.”
Someone searching for the aforementioned keywords is in the discovery phase, they’re shopping – but they just don’t quite know for what. When a user has something more specific in mind, say he’s a male looking for athletic shoes. Zappos has a relevant page targeting men’s sneakers and athletic shoes.
But we could argue even a user search for athletic shoes is still in the discovery phase. Appropriately, Zappos further breaks down the navigation to include basketball, running, skate shoes, etc.
But again, we can break it down even further. Let’s say a user wants basketball shoes, but wants a specific brand – say Jordan’s, Nike, Reebok, etc. There’s a page for that.
And lastly, we arrive to the products, where you could target super long tail keywords; which also tend to be the highest converting. For example: Black Jordan III’s, or Nike Hyperdunk in white, Blue Reebok Pumps, etc.
Zappos is a perfect example of on-page SEO for an eCommerce store. But don’t expect a huge boost in traffic with a single ranking factor. Zappos also gets a tone of press from local and national publications, the Downtown Project, etc.
One of my latest clients, Iris Impressions, also local to Las Vegas, had many issues with their on-page SEO. They’re an interesting case study because their homepage keywords aren’t as competitive as the category level keywords. For example:
Their homepage now targets “Magic Wrap Skirt, 100 Ways to Wear Skirt & Dress,” because in the broadest sense – that’s what they do.
But as we move to the category level, keyword competition and search volume increases. For example, “Convertible Dress” targets about 15,000 searches (including variations), as opposed to “Magic Wrap Skirt,” which targets about 3,000. Similarly, their “Wrap Skirts” are also a tougher target.
Just a few months in, and they’re on the first page for most of their keywords, and a few second pagers. Just one keyword, “Scarf Dress,” is giving me a little trouble though. Perhaps because a.) it’s last in the title tag for the convertible dress page, and b.) while their products are all similar – perhaps users want to see it on a unique page? For this, I’ll most likely target it through a blog post, something like “10 Ways to Wear a Scarf Dress” which could drive targeted traffic.
BONUS TIP: In SEO, there’s a term called “clustering” which helps prevent users from seeing the same domain multiple times on the first page. However, if you have a relevant video, post it on YouTube and start targeting the same keywords. YouTube does well in the SERPS and could your business own multiple spots on the first page. Here’s Iris Impression’s video on Convertible Skirts and Dresses:
Should you focus on eCommerce SEO?
Another issue you have to face, is whether or not you should focus your efforts on SEO vs other channels like Instagram, Pinterest, etc. One example is Me ‘n Mommy To Be, they’re friends that run a consignment shop here in Las Vegas. They asked me about selling some items online, and optimizing those for search. I basically told them that it’s not worth it because they can’t keep a consistent inventory with used items… and a user searching for items does not want to see pages where items are out of stock. It’s a bad user experience, and because of that (among other reasons) it won’t rank well. They’re much better off utilizing a platform where used items thrive, such as eBay, Craigslist and the myriad of local Craigslist-like apps popping into the market.
Another consideration is keyword difficulty. If you’re selling shoes and that’s what you want to rank for you’re probably not going to outrank Zappos, Amazon, Shoes.com, Nordstrom, Footlocker, etc. within the few years without a huge marketing budget. Look for areas without much competition, and make sure it’s getting enough search volume. With eCommerce, you can estimate how much revenue you could generate because a lot of information is public. Let’s say “Nike Shoes” gets 1,000,000 searches/mo and you rank #1 organically. Well based on historical data, you’re going to get about 40-50% of that traffic. And most eCommerce businesses convert at 3% of unique visitors. You get the idea. And the longer you’ve been in business, the more you can dial in that formula.
Any questions about siloing content for your eCommerce store? Ask me directly or leave a comment below.