Why e-commerce SEO is NOT a one-shot wonder

A “one-shot wonder” is someone who gets drunk after one shot — an extreme lightweight. In business parlance, the term refers to an organization that shines brightly for a short while… before fading away to nothing.

As an e-commerce web shop deploying strategic SEO for your business growth, the last thing you want is to be known as a one-shot wonder. In fact, because SEO picks up steam gradually, but then becomes increasingly powerful and effective at drawing in new prospects and closing more sales, you should ensure that everything you do is sustainable and long-lived.

Unethical cut-and-run SEO providers try to lure in new clients with the promise of “quick and easy” top rankings on Google. They’ll encourage the use of tactics that work immediately to drive a quick burst of traffic, but have little if any lasting impact.

The key difference that sets apart winning e-commerce sites from their competitors is that they select a quality SEO service provider, and then allocate a budget to provide follow-up action after the initial job is done.

Old habits die hard

If a client doesn’t have funds available for a retainer contract for ongoing consulting, or a plan and support system to follow up once a project is done, then they will almost certainly return back to their old habits — and gradually slide back to where they were before.

It’s hard to overestimate the importance of continuously working with SEO. In another article, I highlighted the principles of successful web shop SEO:

  • Use search and analytics data to guide strategy.
  • Have a customer-focused website structure and information architecture.
  • Base content creation upon search data.
  • Solve critical problems early in the process.
  • Follow SEO best practices for e-commerce web shops.

What I didn’t mention, though, is that this is a continuous and ongoing process… which can unravel if you stop working on it.

How your data-driven SEO strategy will evolve

Let’s imagine that you’ve implemented all these principles in your e-commerce SEO and are seeing an improvement in website traffic. If you stop working on your SEO, then you might overlook new opportunities to grow or miss a chance to fix what’s broken.

When you continue to review your search and analytics data and use this to inform your ongoing SEO strategy, you’ll reap many benefits:

  • You’ll quickly find out whether the search terms you picked appeal to your audience and attract them to your web shop.
  • You’ll identify the search terms that are more effective at bringing in buyers, and even stumble upon new ones that you can optimize your site for.
  • You’ll know how effectively your website content addresses customer queries, needs and problems.
  • You can tell if your content and website architecture work to guide visitors to buy from your stores.
  • You can pick up problem areas early and promptly take corrective action before you lose sales or hurt your brand.

Based on an analysis of your business performance on key metrics, you can then make some tweaks and additions to your SEO strategy to further boost your rankings, traffic and sales.

Monitoring helps improve your strategy

As the effects of these changes kick in, you’ll have more visitors coming to your e-commerce website — which gives you a fresh opportunity to study their behavior and learn more about your audience.

For example, if you notice that many people search for a “top-loading washing machine,” it probably means that they don’t have a lot of space.

In this situation, the product pages or informational content you show them should communicate how a top-loading washing machine will save space without any compromise on cleaning efficiency. You can answer questions they may have about the product from the unique perspective of their needs, because you took the time to analyze user intent based on their choice of search terms.

People may wonder about a lot of stuff before they decide to buy. If you can identify these problem areas, research their behavior and analyze the specific issues that bother them, you will increase your chances of closing a sale.

SEO helps integrate teams

If you’re an e-commerce manager or director in a company that also has local shops, you will have operations handled by both internal and external teams working across many disciplines. All these activities need to be integrated for the best results.

But that involves plenty of interaction and discussion between teams. In most organizations, such communication doesn’t happen. That’s why it is so difficult to sustain early results. One of the benefits of having an SEO consultant handle follow-up activities is that you’ll make sure these teams actually work in concert.

Rome wasn’t built in a day! And likewise, a successful SEO strategy to turn around your e-commerce website cannot be implemented in one sitting, or in a short stretch.

The best outcomes are seen when your SEO tactics are consistent, strategic and sustained. So be ready to budget for an SEO retainer contract that will safeguard your initial investment — and multiply it many times over.

Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.