Let’s see how the everyday ecommerce company addresses the SEO enigma. We are not discussing Amazon, which has grown to be a behemoth and doesn’t really need SEO for its bread. On the other hand, there are a million retailers that crop up online that need SEO to sustain, in addition to quite a bit of advertising.
Let’s see how they tackle the SEO problem first.
For this article, we will make use of some online retailers with quite a small market or catering to specialized zones of the larger market. We will analyze their tactics and find out how effectively they mix SEO into their marketing strategy.
Here are some of the new and kinda-established online stores that we will study.
- NewChapter, the well-designed multivitamin online shop
- Book Depository, the retailer that probably aspires to be the next Amazon
- Pendalace, the innovative online fashion jewelry retailer
- Skullcandy, the famed maker of premium headphones
- The Mountain, the printed apparel store
- One Kings Lane, the deluxe home décor site
NewChapter deserves plaudits for its design philosophy. At the outset, NewChapter tells the world about its B Corp certification with the B Corp logo neatly placed in the slider. The store logo is kind of old-school, but it works fine.
What stand out are the top picks right below the slider and a well-thought-out dual calls to action right below it. Well, if you aren’t going left, you are going right, right?
Now, coming to the SEO aspect of NewChapter. Ubersuggest gives an overall rating of 84 to the website, which is great.
The highlight of NewChapter is the number of backlinks it has—133,376. That’s quite a huge number for a young website, and it helps the website achieve an organic monthly traffic in the 30,000+ users range.
Considering an average health & wellbeing conversion rate of 1.87%, NewChapter should be getting a minimum of 561 conversions per month organically. At about $20 per product, it would give them $11,220 every month without any investment whatsoever.
NewChapter has an organic keyword database of over 30,256. This is also a big number. Considering over 200 pages on the website, the keywords present enough opportunities to rank for their key product types—health & wellness products, multivitamins, beauty products, anti-aging products, etc.
Another major SEO aspect is the page loading time. NewChapter, however, may need to improve a little there. GTMetrix says the website takes an average of 10 seconds to load. That’s 7 seconds longer than the recommendation.
The mobile loading time and performance is even poorer at over 13 seconds.
Among the analyzed pages on the website, there are:
- 2 broken pages (not found)
- 3 pages with low or no content
- 23 pages with duplicate meta descriptions
- 2 pages without a H1 tag
As mentioned above, speed is an extremely important aspect of SEO today, with high-speed connections ruling the game and fast mobile websites destroying the ability of people to be patient.
Book Depository is an online bookstore, which could use a little gentleness on the design front. It has multiple CTAs and banners on the home page and many categories of books crammed in to give the appearance of a mini Amazon; the menu is busy too. Instead, Book Depository could go with a more streamlined design.
Also, a factual faux pas—when you click the “up to 40% off” banner, you are presented with a page where I found titles with up to 79% off.
Coming to the SEO aspect, this website is one of the zippiest of e-commerce sites, taking about 3.3 seconds to load in our tests. Even in the mobile version, it doesn’t take more than 4 seconds to load.
We found that BD is using AWS as the host and Amazon Cloudfront as the CDN. This should give the website high availability and faster access from multiple locations in the world.
BD is a well-established ecommerce site and naturally it commands over 14 million backlinks. It also gets a terrific boost in organic traffic due to so many backlinks. The site enjoys nearly 1.7 million organic visits per month.
Among the analyzed pages, the issues and errors found were so low. For such a huge website, there is only one page without a H1 tag, two pages with short titles, and an issue with SSL certificate nearing expiry. The robots.txt file is also implemented with all the necessary rules in place.
3. Pendalace, a Crown Jewel Among Startups
Pendalace is an unheard of name among ecommerce sites. That’s because it’s a small startup transforming the area of costume jewelry. The site scores a healthy 85 on the Ubersuggest platform.
Pendalace, being the new kid in the block, has a set of less than 100 targeted organic keywords. However, with fewer backlinks, they are not ranking well on these keywords. It’s an area of improvement for Pendalace.
Pendalace shines in the on-page SEO aspects. Most of the product pages have the right length of meta descriptions, meta titles, and URL structure infused with the main keywords.
Also, the usage of Shopify platform and its CDN makes the site very fast. It loads in 3 seconds on an average in the target locations. Mobile loading could use a little bit more optimization though.
Also, Pendalace has placed ALT attributes on most of the images, making them appear on image searches without any issues.
Plus, in-page links, a well-crafted sitemap, usage of Open Graph protocols, fast caching, etc., are a few things this website has done well.
These optimizations make the site appear on search without any major issues.
Skullcandy is a big name among premium headsets. It has a very beautiful and modern website accented with a lot of images.
However, probably due to high-resolution images, the website takes a little longer to load on both mobile and desktop platforms. In our tests, various locations took over 30 seconds to load the website. It could use a better CDN or server-side improvements to avoid this issue.
The user experience is one key area in which Skullcandy shines. It uses the right mix of design and sporty imagery to keep the users around longer. An all-black, sporty theme is beautiful to look at.
The heading tags, while infused with marketing hype, lack the basic keywords to keep search engines engaged. But the title and description of the home page are spot on. It has all the keywords the brand is associated with — headphones, earbuds, speakers. It even shows a trending hashtag that the brand is promoting.
It also needs some work in Schema and rich snippets integration. Open Graph protocol is also missing in many pages.
The Mountain is an established online store of printed photo t-shirts and other similar accessories. And as expected, the home page is rife with awesome images.
The images do have ALT tags, but there are a few that miss it. It’s something The Mountain could look into.
The heading tags (H1, H2, etc.,) do miss the keywords. The XML sitemap is missing. Schema.org snippets have invalid data in them. Open Graph protocol is also missing.
The website is slightly slow due to lack of minification of its assets. Cacheability of assets is another defect.
Other than that, the website gets a fair number of backlinks (64,000) and targets a large number of keywords (59,000) through them. On the page also, it targets the primary keywords effectively, thus ensuring relevance. Overall, The Mountain’s SEO is on a medium level and needs some improvement.
One Kings Lane is an established home decor and furnishing business with a huge market share. The monthly organic traffic is estimated at around 450,000 visitors. And it has a huge keyword base of over 500,000 keywords.
With over 1 million+ backlinks, the site ranks fairly well for most of its voluminous keyword base. Most of those keywords are sprinkled evenly across the web pages to ensure on-page relevance. These keywords are also well placed in meta tags, title, image ALT, and heading tags.
There are a few misses too. For instance, almost half of the images on the home page miss ALT attributes. The mobile friendliness of the website is poor; the speed also is poor on mobile devices. They have also failed to adopt microdata and Open Graph protocol.
A recommendation would be to minify the resources in order to make them load faster on mobile devices. Also, make use of the rich snippets to improve relevance.