Dropshipping is a low cost ecommerce startup model that can make millions.
But it’s not as easy as just buying a domain name, importing some products, and watching the money roll in.
There’s a lot more that goes into marketing and optimizing a successful dropshipping store.
Even though some dropshippers get away with relying solely on social media advertising for their sales figures, organic search is a digital marketing staple that all retailers should embrace in order to secure long term results.
The work you put into your SEO strategy now, will bear fruit in the weeks, months, and years to come.
Here is how to make the most of SEO for your dropshipping store in 2018.
Find your business UVP (unique value proposition)
Dropshippers need to start by identifying how their brand is going to serve the interests of its customers. There is no point in trying to rank a generic and low-value site — the traffic will just go nowhere and evaporate in bounce rates and unrealized sales.
Think about how you are going to add unique user value. It could be that your social media game is really strong, that you have a ton of free content, or that your brand really resonates with an audience? Whatever it is, make sure that you have the unique value aspect nailed before anything else.
Keyword research for dropshippers
Dropshippers often sell products that can be bought elsewhere, so it’s important to identify long-tail and niche specific keywords that will help you get access to search traffic. Keyword research can be done for free, but you will be doing your business a massive favor by seriously engaging with it.
Once you have keyword data, start to hone in on specific phrases and words that keep cropping up, and prioritize phrases in terms of their commercial intent. You will probably find a lot of ‘review + product’ style keywords which you will want to target on product pages once you have some more reviews, but that can also be covered in blog posts or product guides. Comparative keywords can also be great traffic drivers, so don’t shy away from putting products or brands up against each other.
From a user perspective, you will want to avoid low value keyword stuffing and focus on creating quality content that meets their needs instead. In-depth guides and videos will give you a chance to hit those all-important keywords, but simultaneously give the user something ‘meaty’ to engage with. Modern SEO knows to look beyond traffic to engagement figures as well.
Work on your store’s product + category pages
A big dropshipping no-no is just using the generic product descriptions that come when you import products into your store. Especially if you are using a big, popular marketplace like AliExpress, you will run the risk of being smacked with duplicate content issues.
Instead, you should work on creating product pages that add user-value and that hit all these criteria:
- Engaging, unique copy which is optimized, but written for users. Try to answer core FAQs in your copy and cover both features and benefits
- Your title tags are super important, as are your H1s and H2s. Sometimes theme designers don’t get the importance of a proper headings structure, so you may need to make some adjustments in the site’s code
- Visuals like images and videos that have meaningful alt tags and file names (the more unique, the better)
- Use structured data in order to tell search engines more about your product — the main relevant ones being reviews, price, category, and stock levels
Category pages can sometimes be important SEO landing pages, so spend time grouping products together. Sites with a large inventory like Amazon can be used as a way to sanity check your groupings. Even though cataloging is important for SEO, it might be even more important from a user experience (UX) point of view — the right categories will help people discover products faster.
On mobile, you will want your pages to load fast and for the calls-to-action not to be drowned out by the copy or the page design. Looking at high-traffic mobile sites and apps will give you ideas on how to tweak your website, though most ecommerce themes come ready built-in with a responsive design package.
Scoring high-quality contextual links
Links are votes of trust online, but it’s important that you find yourself in a good neighborhood. Spammy link building using press releases is a no-no, and you need to understand the rules and regs of good online PR.
The best way to score big links is to focus on collating some unique content on your own domain first, and then outreaching with that. You need to give people an incentive to care about your store.
Don’t go in for tactics like over-optimizing your anchor texts, as it will make your site (especially if it’s new) look suspicious to search engine crawlers.
Merchants often forget to get links from nearby — suppliers you work with, business partners, local groups you’re part of, and any charities you’ve supported are great places to go for links.
Defining your SEO strategy
When you start doing SEO for your dropshipping store, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the potential tasks. That’s why it’s important to have a strategy to follow so that you pick off the quick wins first, and lay the foundations for the bigger tasks further down the line.
I suggest starting with the following:
- Competitor research — both organic and tool-based. This will give you a really good idea of who is running the show, and how much content and links you will need to invest in order to beat them to the top spot
- Analytics & metrics — start by looking at user data that’s already pouring in, and you will likely see a whole host of easy tweaks and adjustments
- Keyword rankings on page 2 & 3 — you will want to make sales fast, so it’s a good idea to focus on moving the needle on keywords that you already have some visibility for. As long as they are relevant phrases that show buyer intent, go for it
- Start working on digital PR and outreach from day one — nothing high volume, but start putting some feelers out there.
In the long term, keeping up with a blog that follows a strict editorial calendar is a must-have. Blog posts are essential to an ecommerce marketing strategy as they allow you to engage with customers on so many different levels. For dropshippers, it’s the perfect way to add value to your products and show the customer community that you care about them.
The best marketing strategies are the ones that take into account the full range of channels and platforms at your disposal. If you are new to the ecommerce game, some paid traffic to help drive up sales figures is a no-brainer. Mixing paid traffic with organic is a great way to make the most of both worlds.
You should also ensure that your local Google listing is updated, and that you regularly engage on social media, collect customer reviews, and generally get involved in the online world. Running a great online business comes down to strategy and dedication and you will need to factor in disciplines like CRO and UX into your strategy as well.
SEO is a great way to build up your online profile. Even though it’s a long game strategy, you should see results pretty much immediately when it comes to on-page tweaks. Don’t forget to keep measuring the effectiveness of SEO the strategies you’re using — you may need to pivot things slightly as your store and product catalog evolves.
Today’s Guest Post Author
Victoria Greene is a branding consultant and freelance writer. On her blog, VictoriaEcommerce.com, she shares tips on ecommerce and how writers can hone their craft. She is a passionate advocate of SEO optimized content and ecommerce marketing strategies that make the most of search.