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Marketings Sites You Can't Write About
Posted 23 July 2007 - 09:43 PM
Is it mostly word of mouth? Good prices, products, customer service and the word spreads?
Posted 23 July 2007 - 09:50 PM
Posted 23 July 2007 - 11:03 PM
Anyway, there are other ways of getting traffic.
If its a commodity type product (branded products) then price is a big factor in conversion rates. Total sales is then a function of conversion rates & traffic volume.
They succede because a lot of people are looking for them,or something pretty much like them.
Posted 23 July 2007 - 11:21 PM
product price comparison sites.
Most of the good ones are paid (even PPC)
some of the little new ones are free. If you have a high traffic keyword these may give you a bit of (free) traffic to play with.
The advantage is that these are targeted visitors who are looking to buy & are researching the product
the disadvantage is that you need to compete on price, so if you sell a drop delivery product with twenty for and a half people taking a cut of the action you probably are not offering the best price and the visitors will know this.
But, somehow even the expensive guys make some sales sometimes.
Posted 24 July 2007 - 03:32 AM
When you talk about "ranking highly" one has to ask: for what terms? I mean, somebody has to rank well for search terms related to the products you offer. And if you're actually selling the items, then your pages should be highly relevant for those products, no? So why would you assume you can't rank well for those terms?
I run an ecommerce site (B2B, but the same basic principles apply to B2C as well). We rank highly (top 10 or better) for quite a few terms related to the products we sell. Some of the terms are brand-specific (i.e. our brand name, our product names) and some are more generic (terms our potential customers use when they are beginning their search for our type of product, but haven't yet decided on the specific product or brand they want). We've got Google SiteLinks listings for many of our brand-related terms.
When I look at the SERPs for those generic terms, pretty much every site in the top 10 is one of our competitors. That is, they're all ecommerce sites. We didn't used to be there, but it seemed to me that if these other companies could get there, so could we. And, with a lot of focus and hard work, we have.
IMO, one of the biggest things people have to get over is the idea that ecommerce sites can't have "content."
We have tons of content. Each main product "more info" page runs to 1,000 words or more. There's a quick bullet point "executive summary" section at the top for people who want to cut to the chase, followed by paragraphs of detailed information for those who need to know more, downloads of user manuals, brochures and quick start guides, and information about available upgrades, accessories and supplies, and support.
Now, granted, most of our main products cost several hundred dollars (our most expensive product is $1,500), so we need to give customers information about features, functionality and benefits in order to make the sale. People who sell less expensive, commodity items might believe there isn't that much to say about their products and therefore they can't create content-rich pages (they're wrong, IMO).
We also sell related accessory and supply items that sell for as little as $10. Even though there's not much you can say about, say, a printer ribbon or a set of keys, each of our accessory/supply items still get a paragraph of description on the category page. People need to know which product(s) they are compatible with, what size they are, what they're made of, etc. Those category pages, therefore, have a great deal of "content" as well, what with eight to ten paragraphs (or more) of relevant product-description copy on each page.
Then you add in white papers, product comparisons (helping them choose which of our products will best suit their needs), frequently asked questions (not simply about our specific products, but also more general questions about the categories of products we carry), support resources, press releases, company information... we are awash with content, and all of it potentially quite rich in the words and phrases our prospects and customers will naturally use when they look for what we sell.
Of course, the side benefit to this is that the customers who make their way to our pages find all the information they need, so they're more inclined to buy. Our conversion rates are considerably higher than the industry average.
As to links, we've spent a lot of time seeking out places to get good links. We've found niche directories and buyer's guides. We've found white paper repositories. We've found people who sell products that are complimentary to ours (we sell shoes, they sell socks; we sell jewelry, they sell safes; we sell clothing, they sell accessories; etc etc). There are places to get links if you look hard and long enough. The cool thing is, this kind of link building isn't a numbers game. The higher the quality of the links you get, the fewer of them you need to have an effect, so it's not as though we have to come up with thousands and thousands of them.
Is writing all this original benefit-focused copy and seeking out great links a lot more work than just slapping up a vendor-supplied bullet list of product features and signing up for an automated link exchange service? You betcha. But I would argue it's been well worth it, and our revenue statistics would tend to back me up on that.
Posted 24 July 2007 - 03:45 AM
I think that text content for ecommerce is valuable too. Froan information perspective, but alsofrom an emotional attachment perspective. It seems to me that online shoppers are more patient (counterintuitively) then offliners. They visit several sites and read upon some info. I think They like hearing things they already know. I always figure the longer they spend on site getting intimate with the product, the higher the chance of a sale. They will read a story about a piece of string before buting it. But this is a guess I don't really know this.
-But it is harder to get links to ecommerce sites. (in my opinion again)
-Ecommerce owners generally spend a ot of time loading the database and can't be bothered writing their own content (the usually use manufascturers' content)
-they often have many, many products each of which need to rank (in order to make sales of that product).
Organic rankings are great if you can get them, but generally its a better start to try and make paid traffic profitable first. Then at least you can pick & choose your battles. (in my opinion)
Posted 24 July 2007 - 04:00 AM
As I said, somebody has to rank in the top 10 for those product-related search terms. I have yet to find a SERP where the first page is blank. And if you really, truly want it to be you up there at the top, you've got to put in the time and/or money to make your pages worthy of being there. Regurgitated vendor-generated bullet lists of features do not generally deserve that kind of ranking.
Worse, they seldom do as well at converting visitors to customers as focused, benefit-oriented sales copy. If your site does well enough at conversions, you don't even need top 10 rankings to be profitable.
No doubt it's harder work and/or more expense to do things the right way. However, the results more than justify the investment, IMO.
I agree completely about using PPC, as well -- don't get me wrong. I think any business that relies entirely (or even mostly) on free SE rankings for their business is running a very risky game. It's just that I think too many ecommerce site owners give up too easily. Saying "I have an ecommerce site, therefore I can't create original content and and I can't rank well" is a cop-out, IMO.
Posted 24 July 2007 - 04:52 AM
But I disagree on the origional content =conversions point.
Often (epecially for commodified products such as branded consumer goods) the price, web design, and well friction removing techniques to use a slightly airy term, are the primary factors. Price being the primary.
In this case the original content is more for the engines really.
To quote someone, the site owners say: i don't want to be anauthority or an expertin my field, I just want to sell stuff
Posted 24 July 2007 - 10:19 AM
Posted 25 July 2007 - 09:48 AM
1) Most ecommerce sites are focused at 'buying' keywords. "Coleman 544 Backyard Tent". That person is looking for a tent and not an article on a tent. So they should rank highly for the phrase.
2) Ecommerce sites have large amounts of pages. More pages=more pagerank. Typically, a site will have at least 3 tiers so even a small site will probably have 10 Tier 2's and 500 products (tier 3's). That gives you a lot of PR to start throwing around when you get started. Far more than a content site that's just writing about 'camping' in general. Throw in all the other stuff like product reviews, press releases, about us, faq's, product tutorials, etc and you have a lot of pages.
3) A lot of ecommerce stores are now starting to rewrite product descriptions to make them unique which comes across as unique content.
Posted 25 July 2007 - 09:27 PM
I agree that traditional business practices still apply online. It makes me nuts when I hear someone saying you can do business online without really knowing what you're doing - just because drop-shippers make it all possible.
Drop shippers are great in that they allow a site to offer a wider selection although at a higher cost. I think they absolutely are appropriate and there are ways of developing unique content for their specific product pages - just think "user submitted content." This will always cost less than having a profesisonal copywriter create compelling original content and in my opinion is much more relevant to my decision to purchase.
On a side note: I think it's a fantastic idea for people (all my competitors) to avoid developing original and creative content at all costs. In fact, I should write a blog suggesting my new "Web 3.0 SEO/SEM tactics" haha.
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