How To Use Google To Elevate Your E-Commerce Platform
For small business owners, today’s e-commerce landscape is exciting and challenging. With the recent launch of Amazon’s Prime service, many online retailers are now able to offer fast delivery options and a convenient way for customers to try on products before they buy. As well as this, online shoppers can also spend more time browsing different products without travelling to brick and mortar stores. What this means for small businesses is that they need a solid strategy if they want to stay competitive in the rapidly changing landscape of e-commerce.
(Image Source: Atmosol)
In this article, we will try to highlight the important aspects that are required to ensure your e-commerce business is successful in the future and the changes to the checkout process on e-commerce websites, and how to embrace them.
The first thing to consider is making your name and brand pre-approved by Google. This way, search engines will be more likely to show the end-user relevant results when they perform a search for your product or service.
Google Shopping allows users to search for products on the Google search engine and compare prices from multiple retailers. There are three key components that Google Shopping uses to rank your products.
1. Title tags. This is the text that appears in the search results which describes the product and brand – they usually link back to your product page on your website. These tags are important as they allow Google to show you as a relevant retailer when someone searches for similar products on their site; therefore helping you increase traffic to your website. The title tag should be used to describe both the brand and product using keywords but it should not be overly ‘salesy’.
2. Product description (or product snippet). This is a summary of your product which is shown in the search results, followed by any relevant images. This should be done in a way that keeps it concise and as short as possible.
3. Images. This is where you must be careful not to include too many images, as this will slow your website down and increase the likelihood of a customer leaving without seeing your product or service. Instead, it is best to include key images of the product which will stay on the first line of results; and then other images which provide useful information about the product to help users make their decision.
Bi-monthly, Google updates its algorithm to ensure that the most relevant results are displayed at the top of the page. These changes are made using a variety of factors including:
Product quality. How trustworthy is the product? Is it a known brand or an unrecognised one? Does it have positive reviews from customers?
Product price. If someone searches for a popular product, all retailers selling that product will be ranked by their price. For example, if someone searches for ‘iPhone 13 Pro‘, Amazon will usually be shown first because they offer the lowest price compared to other retailers. This can be an advantage for your business if you also offer a higher price point product.
Ease of purchase. Are customers able to compare prices and products with little hassle? Some customers prefer to buy online, so searching for a high-quality product and being able to compare the different prices is of great value. To ensure a positive experience for the end-user, it is important that you adhere to Google’s guidelines when submitting your listing.
1. Well-designed website and good content. Google will rank your website higher if it meets a number of criteria (including: does your product/ service have a credible and detailed description, is the website easy to use, does the product/service has a good customer rating, has the site been updated recently).
2. Click-through rate of your listing. Google will also look at how often customers click on ads; if there are no clicks or very few clicks on ads, then your site may not be seen by as many users.
1. Include all information that is requested in your title tag and the product description. It is important to include the brand name and product name as well as what they do (product). This will ensure that customers are searching for a specific product, and not wasting time on products from other retailers.
(Image Source: Visme)
2. Add the correct images at the top of your listing with the correct size, so that you can appear in Google’s search results as soon as possible; you don’t want to be dropping out of the first page of results! Try using Canva or PhotoShop to create your own images – it’s easy, and you can use any brand logo or image that you want. For example, if you sell dog toys and own a pet café in Sydney, one of the biggest products is dog toys. Instead of adding the logo from your website (which may be a hassle to create and take time), you can add a photo of a dog playing with the product. This will add to the credibility of your listing, as well as increase the click-through rate.
3. Use keywords that are relevant to your product but not overly salesy to ensure that you appear in Google search results as soon as possible.
4. Include product reviews and ratings on your product listing so Google can see what the consumer thinks of your products, and then rank these accordingly.
5. Sign up to Google’s Merchant Center, which allows you to add your products to their directory. This allows Google to show customers different prices for a product or service; this is great for customers as they are able to see the prices and compare them with other retailers in their area. A listing on Google Merchant Center is free, but you will need a business account to manage this.
6. Use Google for Retail (formerly Google Shopping Express). You can use this service to list products in the local area and send customers to your local store. Using this service, you can quickly send customers to your store if they do a search for the product – very handy if you have large orders!
Google Analytics offers you access to detailed data about your website and how it’s performing on a monthly or annual basis. It allows you to access the data in various ways, so it’s recommended that you find out what information is available from your account as soon as possible. The data that you can access includes, but is not limited to:
1. The total number of visitors to your website.
2. The number of visitors who clicked on a link on a page, but didn’t go any further on the site. This may be caused by customers following your links but deciding not to buy your product or service; therefore Google doesn’t think that this is valuable information – try to optimise the links you have in your listing so that customers can find what they are looking for easily.
3. How many visitors were motivated enough to make a purchase after clicking on one of your links (i.e., lead).
4. How many enquiries you receive from customers who wish to buy your product/service.
5. The amount of money that you made from sales over a period of time (for example, how much did you make in the last 6 months).
6. Number of monthly and annual visitors – this is useful for marketing purposes as it allows you to compare your activities over different times; if the number of visitors to your website has increased or decreased, this may be an indication that you need to update the look and feel of your website or offer more content on it.
7. How many visitors to your website bought something from you based on their previous search history with Google. This may be a useful feature if you are looking to gain new customers by using Google’s image search and having your products featured in the first few results.
Google AdWords allows you to advertise products or services that you have for sale online when someone searches for a particular keyword or phrase that is relevant to your business. It is one of the most popular ways for people to find businesses and buy products online.
When you choose a keyword, Google will show your advert alongside the search results for that particular word. You can choose to add different keywords to your ad, and you can then view how many times your business has been searched for and how many clicks you have received from potential customers.
1. Use pay-per-click advertising (PPC). This is where you pay Google a certain amount every time someone clicks on your ad. If a customer clicks on your ad and makes a purchase, then you will receive the entire payment from Google. PPC is great as it allows you to test if customers are willing to click on an ad and then buy your product or service, which will give you an indication of how many sales you receive from this method. However, customers who are interested in your products may visit your website directly instead of clicking on an ad.
2. Create ads that stand out and attract attention – do not try to be overly salesy; this may put customers off reading further about the product or service that you offer.
3. Create Ads that are relevant to your business and keyword, but do not give away the whole show – put just enough information about your product/service for people to be interested in it, without making them think that you are trying too hard.
4. Test your ads and make adjustments as you go along; you may need to make changes at certain times of the day so that customers are more likely to respond to your ad when they visit Google or search for a particular keyword in their home area; check out Google’s AdWords Ad Criteria and select the criteria that applies to you. You can also use a landing page to direct people to an appropriate page on your website.
5. The quality score of your advert determines how much you will have to pay per click; try to make the ad stand out and get people interested in clicking on the link so that Google will consider your ad as high quality and charge you for less per click.
6. Create an AdWords account on paper and use digital tools, such as Google’s Analytics, to record the data. You can then work out how your statistics have changed; this allows you to make changes to your advertising campaign (for example, if you are getting fewer sales from an advert than you were previously).
7. You can use a bidding system – this is where you set a maximum price that you are willing to pay for a click on your ad and the cost per click automatically adjusts according to the number of people who click through in response to your advert.
8. There are various target audiences that you can choose utilise; this will allow you to adjust your advertising campaign based on your customers’ age and gender.
9. You can choose to remove specific adverts that are not working well in your campaign; remove them, and see if they continue to be displayed – if they do, then you may need to check with Google why this is the case.
10. You can also create ads that are designed to appear in Google Maps and pay per click – if a customer clicks on the link provided by Google, they will be redirected to your website. If you are looking for more information on this, then you can look at my blog post on the subject