During the last few years, many eCommerce platforms have advertised their products with some combination of the following ideas: SEO ready, no need to learn to code, start selling now.
Even the cool kid’s table at Google joined the chorus by practically saying that SEO means trying to game the system and nobody should be hiring eCommerce SEO consultants of any kind.
I think it is amazing how the average Joe can set up a shop in less than an hour without any prior knowledge of how any of this works. This is what the internet was supposed to do: empower the masses and liberate our creative potential, right?
So, I decided to do what most merchants do when they are new to the game: Build an online store site on my own without the help of an eCommerce SEO consultant. However, I own a few websites myself and I happen to have a knack for generating traffic and conversions. So, for my experiment to succeed, I needed a way to “forget” what I need to do to make a website grow.
What I did was tell my eldest I needed to set up an eCommerce website to make money out of some SEO courses and PDFs I prepared in advance and promised her a cut of the action. I didn’t give her any other instructions, she just had to set the website up, upload the products, and do her best to attract people.
So, as soon as my daughter was asked to choose among an incredibly long list of themes, she realized that all of them were optimized with certain goals in mind. So, she knew she had a product, and knew there were ways to make money with them. But she didn’t know what the most effective way to do that was.
In other words, she needed to translate her needs into clear and measurable objects before she could decide what the best template for her store was.
After that, she was attacked by WordPress trying to convince her that she needed an insane number of plugins. I remember she spent a whole afternoon reading about them, and finding out why she needed one and not the other. She almost quit at that point, I must say.
So, she managed to choose a cute template, upload a few pictures, and bring some order to the homepage after a while. However, she could not come up with a decent copy for welcoming visitors or enticing them to continue browsing. She soon learned about keywords and their use when creating calls to action and product descriptions. So it became even more complicated for her as the keywords were difficult to wedge into her best lines.
After a couple of weeks of trial and error, she finally had a page she was happy with, so we launched it. Now the time came to test how the page performed in terms of SEO. Our metrics showed a few visits during the first few days, but no conversions. Then, visits went down too. She tried posting our products on Social Media and we even dumped a bit of money on PPC, which also required analyzing keywords and calculating how much she had to spend a day for her to make a few sales.
In the end, she scored a few conversions. However, the income didn´t justify the investment or the time she put behind the screen. It soon became a lousy grind for her, and she grew too frustrated to go on. Sadly, the online store is now part of the 97% of websites that fail online.
What Did We Learn?
The first thing I learned is that eCommerce platforms and Google are all full of it. Without a clear understanding of how a website works or how to create an effective SEO campaign, our websites have no chance of reaching their intended audiences even if we spend several hundred dollars on a decent server, templates, plugins, premium SEO tools, and whatnot.
Merchants who need to keep the lights on at home are the ones who benefit the most from having expert eCommerce SEO consultants who make this all worth their while. They understand what the best business model for our products is, they design a website and content strategy around it, leveraging the most efficient keywords for our audiences, and then create effective conversion funnels so our websites start growing right away.
There is one service I always recommend for those who want to get off on the right foot. 1DigitalⓇ Agency offers an incredible eCommerce SEO consultant team for businesses of all sizes, and their SEO and PPC experts always deliver solid results. Contact them today if you are thinking of starting an eCommerce business.