Online shop owners who have been attracting relevant traffic for years via organic search often make a crucial mistake which can lead to a long-term loss of revenue in a single day – they rely solely on search engines.
The practice of search engine optimization is still an integral part of any long-term online marketing strategy in 2016, but that doesn’t mean that online shop owners can upon SEO alone. Online shops are particularly vulnerable to severe ranking fluctuations caused by SEO issues such as (internal) duplicate content and insufficient (and, in the eyes of the search engine, low value) content. Furthermore, Google updates such as Penguin and Panda can result in unexpected penalties for online shops and a subsequent drop in SEO traffic.
Revenue is not only reliant on the search engine’s interpretation and evaluation of an online shop’s content, but can also be negatively affected by decisions taken by the competition. The number of key, revenue-generating search engine positions is limited and competitive. So if a competitor with a larger SEO budget decides to add more products to its online catalogue, this can have an adverse effect on the SEO traffic flows of smaller online shops.
In order to reduce the risk of a possible collapse of SEO traffic, it is vital that webmasters integrate alternative traffic sources into their strategies. In this article, I’ll be taking a closer look at alternative traffic options for online shops:
A great, long-term way of attracting relevant traffic which will also convert is the establishment of a partner program. Of course, online shop owners who offer their own partner programs have to pay commission on any conversions achieved via an affiliate recommendation, but such partnerships nevertheless represent a outstanding opportunity to reach potential customers through your own and your affiliates’ advertising.
Another marketing advantage of an affiliate partner program = a head start. Many affiliates settle on an online shop partner program and, happy with lucrative commission and high-converting ads, don’t bother changing. Online shop owners who establish a community of affiliates early find it easier to assert themselves in the marketplace.
Furthermore, many affiliates place advertising in prominent locations on their websites in order to make more commission, so online shop owners also profit from additional brand presence.
As personalised content becomes an ever more important trend in online marketing in 2016, online shop owners should certainly think about integrating targeted, e-mail marketing into their online marketing strategy. E-mail marketing doesn’t just encourage greater customer loyalty and 24/7 access to subscribers, but also boosts higher conversion rates and re-activations. With the help of the personalised e-mails, online shop owners are able send subscribers precisely the offers they want to see at the precisely the time they want to see them.
“When done correctly, both subscribers and shop owners benefit from e-mail marketing, making it one of the most effective alternative traffic sources available.”
Social Media and Videos
Social networks can make great alternative traffic sources for online shops, provided you have a detailed social media strategy and content which is relevant to your target audience. In addition to Facebook, Twitter and the usual suspects, a special mention for YouTube. Shop owners who produce high quality videos of their products and embed them on their product detail pages don’t just benefit from higher conversion rates but can also share those videos around social networks such as YouTube to attract potential new customers. YouTube now ranks as one of the biggest search engines on the web, so webmasters with high quality product videos can tap into yet another traffic source rich in conversions. What are you waiting for?
Many webmasters consider SEO to be the cheaper, polar opposite to SEA, but this doesn’t mean that the two are mutually exclusive and that paid ads should be avoided. The success of Facebook ads and Google AdWords can be measured extremely accurately nowadays, allowing webmasters to analyse results and determine where and how to best deploy their SEA budgets. Another advertising option which can lead to an increase in profit is retargeting. Precisely targeted paid ads can be analysed in the tiniest details and are therefore a valuable source of traffic for online shops.
Co-operation with other websites can reap rewards both in the short term, by attracting attention to your online shop, and, when the partner is targeting a similar audience, in the long term too. Co-operation with larger portals and blogs can help generate high value, relevant traffic which is more likely convert.
If you have high quality product images at your disposal, these should be optimized for Google Images. Google’s image search is often forgotten as a source of traffic but all you have to do is ensure that your product images are correctly tagged for search engine friendliness. As an online shop owner, you are bound to have some quality photos of your products in action, so make the most of them and make Google Images one of your alternative traffic sources.
You may have been successfully managing your SEO for years and reaping the rewards of high rankings to generate consistent profits, but that doesn’t mean that the success of your business is immune from the whim of Google. Unexpected Google updates or changes in competitor strategies can severely reduce your SEO traffic – and this has a direct effect on revenue. Don’t get caught out! Minimise the risk and secure your future success with alternative traffic sources.