How to get traffic to your eCommerce site

Ecommerce had already been snowballing before 2020. The impact of lockdowns on brick-and-mortar shops has only managed to accelerate consumers adoption of online shopping.

While this change in shopping trends offers many opportunities, it has resulted in more businesses going online and launching their eCommerce websites. More enterprises selling online means more competition for clicks and customers.

To help you in this ever more competitive online retail environment, we have put together our top tips to grow traffic to your eCommerce site.

18 tips to increase traffic to your online shop

Conduct keyword research

The first thing you need to do is identify what search terms your audience is using. You can use tools such as Google Ads’ Keyword Planner, AHREFS, MOZ and SEMRush to carry out keyword research.

You want to find a balance between search volume, the chance of conversion, and competitiveness. Many keyword planning tools provide data on cost per click (CPC) and difficulty to rank on search engines. You can use these values to work out which search terms are most appropriate for you. Generally, if a keyword has a higher CPC, then you can assume the keyword converts well.

If your website already has a strong SEO profile, then you could target more competitive terms. If your site does not perform well in organic search, you should consider targeting less competitive keywords first until your site has more authority.

Find out more about our keyword research services.

SEO your landing pages

Once you know which keywords your target audience are searching for, it is time to optimise your landing pages for search engines. These landing pages are most likely to be your home page, category pages, and product pages for an eCommerce website.

Organic search is an essential channel for traffic. Ensuring that your website ranks well for high converting, relevant search terms should be one of your top digital marketing priorities.

Key elements to include your main keyword on your landing pages are:

  • Title element
  • Meta description
  • H1 – this will likely be the product name on the product pages
  • URL
  • The product description or the primary page copy
  • Image alt attributes
  • Image file names

Use supplementary/secondary keywords in the following places:

  • Subheadings – H2, H3, H4 etc.
  • The product description or the primary page copy

Ensure that you include internal links to your landing pages with relevant anchor text, ideally your target keywords.

Page speed has been a ranking factor in Google’s algorithm for many years now and is also a significant factor for user experience (UX). You can use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to check how fast your pages are loading and what steps you can take to reduce load times.

You should also sign up to Google Search Console (GSC). GSC allows you to monitor the keywords you are ranking for, how much traffic they are bringing, links to your site, and any errors Google is picking up for your pages.

For more in-depth analysis of your backlinks, you will want to use a tool such as AHREFS of MOZ. These tools and others also come with page grader tools that will give you a score for optimising your pages for SEO. The tools also provide you with information on what needs improving on your pages for better search engine rankings.

Find out more about our SEO services.

Set up Google My Business

If you have brick and mortar shops in addition to your eCommerce site, then set up Google My Business listings for each of your store locations. When setting up Google My Business, make sure to select all relevant categories and use your target keywords in your business’ description.

Set up Google Shopping

If you have not yet set up Google Shopping for your eCommerce site, do so now. It used to be that you had to pay for Google Shopping listings, but you can now list your products on Google Shopping for free. Note that paid listings will still maintain a prominent position within ad slots, so you may want to pay for greater visibility and more clicks.

To start setting up your Google Shopping listings, visit the Merchant Center and upload your product feeds.

Optimise your eCommerce site for mobile

More people are accessing the web via their mobile phones each year. In 2020, device usage market share was 47.7% desktop, 45.3% mobile phone, and 6.6% tablet. As you can see, ensuring your site provides a great user experience is as crucial for mobile visitors as it is for desktop.

You also have to consider that Google now has a mobile-first index, meaning that your website’s mobile version is the version used to determine your rankings. A bad mobile site experience will likely negatively impact your organic search rankings. You can use Google’s Mobile Friendly Test to check your website or use the Mobile Usability report in Google Search Console.

Run paid search campaigns

SEO can be a long term channel for driving traffic. It takes time for your website’s authority to increase, allowing you to rank for the more competitive terms. If you do not want to wait, then you can launch paid search campaigns.

If you are going to run search ads, these will most likely be Google Ads and Bing Ads. In the UK, Google has 87% market share, and Bing has 10%. Despite Bing’s market share being much smaller, you may find Bing Ads a lot cheaper than Google.

You can use this formula to work out the maximum cost per click you can afford:

Maximum cost per click = (Sale price of the item – All costs to manufacture and sell this item) x Website conversion rate for this item

For example, imagine you are selling a laptop that costs £1,000, manufacturing and selling the laptop costs £600, and the conversion rate for that laptop on your website is 1%. You would calculate:

(£1,000 – £600) x 0.01 = £4

You could spend a maximum of £4 per click and not lose money. Of course, in reality, your conversion rate could end up fluctuating meaning you may make some profit, or you could end up with a negative ROI. A £4 cost per click would also mean you will not profit; you will break even.

To ensure you make a profit, work out how much of your £400 profit you are willing to spend on search ads and multiply that number by your conversion rate. For example, perhaps you are willing to spend £150 on search ads, as you want to make a minimum of £250 profit per laptop sale. In this instance:

(£1,000 – £600 – £250) x 0.01 = £1.50

Now you can only spend a maximum of £1.50 per click, but you will make £250 profit from each laptop sale. While you will make a profit in this second scenario, bear in mind that the lower you are willing to bid per click, the fewer clicks you will generally get and the longer it will take to sell an item. You need to test what works best for you, but make sure that you bid to have a positive ROI.

Find out more about our PPC services.

Set up retargeting

You can use retargeting to continue marketing to visitors who left your site without making a purchase. It works by tracking visitors to your site with cookies and showing them relevant advertising.  For example, an advert that contains a product they were viewing on your site. Various platforms offer retargeting, such as Google Ads, Facebook Retargeting and LinkedIn Ads.

Remember that retargeting requires you to have some traffic to your website. If you have recently launched your online shop and have very few visitors, you may find that retargeting does not provide much of a return.

Write articles for your target audience

Content marketing is a great way to drive traffic to your site. Make sure you have a blog or article section on your website, then use the data from your keyword research to plan an editorial calendar for the coming months.

When writing your content, you want it to be engaging for your visitors, but do not forget to optimise your content for organic search. The same SEO factors apply to your articles as they do to your landing pages.

Writing your content is only half of the work. Once your content is published, you then need to distribute and promote that content. Make sure to share your articles on social media. You should consider paid social and paid search to ensure you get it in front of your target audience for your excellent content.

You can also republish your articles on Medium without causing a duplicate content issue. Medium allows you to add a canonical URL for the source of the content.

Also, consider sharing your content on sites that allow you to post links to articles. Take a look at sites like Reddit, but make sure you adhere to any rules for posting links; otherwise, you may get yourself banned or set upon by the community.

Find out more about our content marketing services.

Guest post on other websites

Guest posting can boost your traffic as well as your organic search rankings. First, you need to identify which websites your target audience visits. If you are a women’s fashion store, this might mean you want to target fashion blogs and fashion sites such as Vogue.

Depending on the size of the website, you may be able to guest post for free. The owner of the site might be happy for someone to contribute some content. For a large website with many visitors, you will probably have to pay.

Remember to include a link in the article to your website so that readers of the post can find out more about your products.

Set up profiles on social media

Set up profiles for your eCommerce business on the social platforms that your customers use. For example, if you are a fashion business, you will likely want to be posting content to Instagram and Pinterest.

Depending on your platform and audience, there are days of the week, and times of the day, that are best to post your content for engagement. Google’ best times to post on social media’ for the latest articles on the topic.

Run paid social campaigns

If you have identified which social platforms your target audience uses and want results fast, launch paid social campaigns. Depending on the social platform, paid social can be very cost-effective.

Ensure that you track conversion from your social ads to make sure they are providing a positive return.

Run influencer marketing campaigns

Influencer marketing could be a great option to increase brand awareness of your eCommerce business. Identify which influencers are relevant to your audience and message them to find out if they are open to sponsorship opportunities.

Remember that influencer marketing can get expensive, so you may need to start with influencers with fewer follows. Also, make sure that whomever you choose is on-brand. You do not want to hire someone who may do something controversial or offensive as it may harm your brand unless being controversial is one of your brand attributes.

Set up Instagram Shopping

Instagram Shopping allows you to tag your products in your posts and stories and link through to the product pages on your website or directly checkout within the Instagram app for eligible businesses. You can find out more about Instagram Shopping here.

Build an email contact list and email them

An email list can be a great way to boost traffic to your eCommerce site. You can email your marketing lists special offers, your latest blog posts, updates about your business and more.

You want to make sure you have a process to grow your email marketing list on your site. You can add an email newsletter sign up form to your site. You can also incentivise sign-ups by offering something in exchange for people’s emails, such as a digital download.

A word of warning – make sure you are compliant with GDPR and privacy legislation when gathering and handling people’s data. We are not solicitors, so make sure you discuss this with your legal counsel.

Launch a referral marketing programme

You can leverage your existing customers by launching a referral programme. An example of a referral programme is offering to credit the referrer’s account 10% of the referred customer’s first spend on your site.

Referral marketing can be beneficial as your customers essentially become your sales team, promoting your products to friends, family, and publicly on social sites.

Run a competition

People love competitions. You can run a contest with the entry page on your website. The competition can then be promoted on social media, via email, via influencers or any other relevant channel.

Make sure to choose a prize that your target audience will find desirable, otherwise you may get visitors and entries from people unlikely to purchase your products.

Launch a video marketing campaign

Video is highly engaging content. You can produce video content showing your products and upload the content to YouTube. You can also get more creative and perhaps show behind the scenes about how your products are made or sourced.

You can also run video adverts on platforms such as YouTube. Even though the cost per view usually is relatively cheap, you will want to keep track of whether YouTube ads are driving conversions.

Host webinars showing your products

You can also host webinars or other online events to demonstrate your products, answer your customers’ questions, and engage with your audience. Due to the circumstances of 2020, online events have now become a regular occurrence. You can use platforms such as Zoom to host hundreds of attendees for a low cost.

Wrapping up

You now have lots of suggestions for how to drive traffic to your eCommerce site.

If you have any questions about increasing the visitors to your online shop, you can contact our team by emailing hello@strategyst.co.uk.

Daniel Lee

I am a digital marketing strategist with more than eleven years' experience. I have worked in digital marketing agencies, as well as client-side. My clients include small businesses all the way up to organisations with revenue in the billions. I provide marketing consultancy both in the UK and the US. I hold a Master of Science degree in International Marketing, and I am a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

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