14 Nov Content – a critical part of your online marketing
If you want to rank in the search engines you need to do a lot more than just buy a search engine friendly shopping cart and load it with a product data import from a manufacturer or supplier. Search engines do not like duplicate content and using an approach like this will not differentiate you from any other startup business who wants to go to that same supplier and get the same data feed.
If you want to succeed on the Internet you need to go further. You need something to really differentiate you from your competitors in terms of what you offer to customers, how your brand is presented to them, and the way that your content is written on your website. You need to create unique, relevant content on a regular basis to keep the search engines interested in your website and demonstrate that you deserve their trust as a supplier of the products and/or services that you sell online.
One of the main ways that you can differentiate your content is to write unique product and category descriptions for your website’s products. It may take a lot of work if you have a product catalogue that turns over rapidly, but if you are committed and your competitors are not, then that’s something that will show up in rankings. Search engines love unique content.
If you don’t offer something unique, then the search engines have no way of differentiating your business from any of the other websites that sell the same products and services that are described in the same way. Search engines can’t evaluate the relative strengths of your customer service and market offering or the quality of your product photos in the same way that people can. You need something unique, fresh and different.
Here are some ideas of things you can look at:
- Unique how-tos – if you have a party website for example, what about party ideas that use the products and services you sell? if you have a wedding favours business what about ideas for planning a wedding (there’s plenty of ways to make a wedding unique after all)
- Product offers – with their own offer pages
- Bundled product deals – with their own offer pages
- A deal of the day page – you don’t need special software to set up a deal of the day. Just put a product on special and create a content page for it! Then promote it with banners, email marketing, social media or a deal of the day page that customers visit regularly
- Turning on reviews in your website and encouraging your customers to review products after they buy. You might offer them a coupon for a return visit if they leave a review on your site or on their Facebook page
- Participating in forums related to your industry and building relationships with other related businesses (e.g. if you are selling wedding favours you might team up with a company selling wedding decorations or a catering company) contributing content related to your business on other people’s websites.
- Unique product descriptions
- Editors picks pages
- Unique category descriptions
- Creative promotions
- Content for an affiliate/referral programme for your online shop
- Write ups about new arrivals or product trends.
It’s up to you how much you do, but the more unique content you have that’s relevant to your target customers the more interested and engaged your customers will be, the more they will favour your products, and ultimately the more likely they will be to buy from you. Links from other websites back to yours will increase (improving your credibility in the eyes of the search engines) and the search engines will keep coming back to your site to see what new content you have.
If your site has no depth content, then the other things you do will carry little weight in improving your search engine rankings as the search engines will not value your site. After all, if you’re on page 25 and move to page 23, will anyone notice? It won’t translate into material extra sales.
When it comes to online shop, having a strategy where you try to make your site run itself is not planning to succeed. The things that could make it easy (get someone else’s data feed and import it in an automated way) are the things that will make your site a mere duplicate of other sites and ultimately hurt more than it helps.
If you want to succeed in the long run, a content based strategy may be a critical factor for success rather than an optional extra. Now is the time to start adding quality content to your online shop using the content-management features of your shopping cart’s software.