Unless you, a marketplace owner, have a substantial paid marketing budget to acquire traffic and sales on an online marketplace, investing in search engine optimization (SEO) strategies is the sensible solution. There are 3 options for you:
- Hire an SEO agency
- Handle the SEO work yourself,
- Work with a marketplace software
In either of these three solutions, the expense incurred in a month will be less than a 7-day paid marketing budget.
In the first option, you hire an SEO agency that bills you on the basis of the number of keywords ranked in a span of few months. A genuine SEO agency with a proven track record will charge at least $2500+ per month.
In the second option, you are in-charge of managing the off-page and on-page SEO activities. Unlike blogs/websites that publish long-form content where it is considerably easier to deploy on-page SEO methods, it is tough to manage on-page SEO on the basis of content for any online marketplace. You need to know technical SEO know-how for good results.
In the third option, you setup the whole online marketplace model on MaaS (marketplace-as-a-service) platforms like Arcadier, which offers white label 360-degree solutions to setup an online marketplace for rentals, spaces, services, and retail. Arcadier helps to setup online stores with full SEO customization support. With their code optimization option, you can modify and implement various SEO strategies easily and forget about technical bottlenecks. Other features include a social login, powerful search bar, ratings and reviews, customized home page panels, detailed analytics report, negotiating tool for price requests, responsive website, payment integrations, multi-language support, live chat for sellers, custom codes editor and more.
If you choose the 2nd and 3rd option, here are some actionable SEO strategies to implement in the online marketplace.
#1 Improve Loading Speed Weekly
Slow loading online marketplaces have a tough time generating sales. Studies show that 40% website visitors abandon the site if it takes 3+ seconds to load. Imagine the potential loss if your ecommerce website takes ages to load. In another study, it was found that if an ecommerce website earns $100,000 per day, each 1-second delay will cause $2.5 million in lost sales in one year. Use Google Pagespeed Insights, GTmetrix, and Pingdom to check page speed always.
#2 Out-of-Stock Items
Keeping out-of-stock pages blank is bad for on-page SEO. There are a couple of ways to deal with them. If you plan to bring the product back in-stock, leave the product page as it is – don’t modify, delete and redirect them. Simply add an announcement message that the product will be back in-stock soon or you can offer the buyers to backorder the product.
If the product is never back in-stock, webmasters often make the mistake of deleting the product page. It is a poor SEO practice. Deal with such pages by doing a permanent 301-redirect to the expired product URLs, or by redirecting it to the parent category, or reuse a generic URL for a different product, or, lastly, use the 410 status code to delete the expired page.
#3 New Products
Just because your old product pages have a good ranking doesn’t mean the same status would be automatically extended to newly added product pages. A well-defined website architecture and a detailed internal link architecture is critical to rank new product pages. Connect new products with the parent category and from the homepage. This ensures that search engines crawls, finds, and indexes the product page fast.
#4 Product Page Content
As I mentioned earlier, it isn’t logically possible to add long-form content for products to scale on-page SEO. No matter how brilliant are the copywriting skills, it won’t be sufficient. A good solution is to add a “review and rating” option on the product pages to encourage user-generated content. Encourage product/service buyers to rate the product page and leave detailed reviews, like Amazon.com does. If you do reverse SEO analysis on Amazon product pages, you will know that most of the products are ranking on the strength of user-generated content.
#5 Consistent Link Building
Creating backlinks for ecommerce websites isn’t easy. Link building is an expansive topic on its own. Apart from few product reviews or link exchanges (not recommended), nothing much works. Links from press release distribution, Web 2.0 properties, directory submissions and other mediums don’t have the weightage as they used to possess before.
The BEST way to acquire “organic” backlinks for ecommerce marketplaces is to search the web for articles/blogs that already mention your brand and request the webmasters to add a link. Or, search for listicles and contact the site owners to list the marketplace with a backlink.
Rich snippets and microformats add a semantic structure identifiable by search engines. Choose between various microdata formats to structure the content and help search engines to optimize the appearance of results in SERPs (search results pages). Some of the popular content identification formats include Reviews, People, Products, Recipes, Events, Videos, Business, and Organisation. Marketplaces optimized for rich snippets receive preference from search engines, preferably Google.
These 6 actionable tips are just the tip of the iceberg. Marketplace SEO gets complicated as the product count keeps on increasing. It is a full-time endeavor to keep track of SEO techniques, which is why creating an online marketplace with software like Arcadier makes sense – you get full control over SEO possibilities. In case you’re interested to know about the ecommerce industry and gain invaluable knowledge about online marketplaces, hear it from the experts at the world’s first Virtual Summit & Conference for Online Marketplaces, from 1st April to 31st July 2018.