This is part 2 of our guide to top marketplace SEO. In part 1 you can learn about how to SEO optimize for buying and selling intent on online marketplaces.
Created content to supplement user-generated content.
Marketplaces have the incredible advantage of receiving a mass of user-generated content (UGC). When this content is presented in a solid search engine optimized format, you will find that this UGC will attract significant traffic based on long tail search.
Your category structure and the resulting dynamically generated listing pages do also contribute significant traffic volumes based on users’ search terms. Your content marketing team should, therefore, take ownership of the category structure, which must be based on solid keyword research. To further strengthen the category keywords, each category and sub-category should include a unique and well-written introduction.
However even after going through a comprehensive category analysis, it won’t be possible to cater for every user’s search terms within the category structure alone. To capture this search traffic overflow, it will be important to develop a ‘created content’ strategy.
You will likely already manage a blog. Use these surplus keywords towards new post ideas. Add links within those posts where possible to categories that are most relevant. Internal links are a very powerful SEO tool that are often overlooked.
A blog post may not always be the most relevant landing page for the user’s query. In some cases, it may be necessary to development addition dynamically generated landing pages to cater for some keywords. The best example of this are price guides that could be used to gain traffic from queries such as ‘average price of second hand iPhone 7 plus in London’ based on data derived from the UGC. Most searched for, most sold items, etc are also good examples of created content. But your keyword analysis should provide many ideas.
Measure and test
Define the KPIs by which you plan to measure your SEO effectiveness. There is a multitude of metrics that you can use to track your SEO progress. Top of the list is always traffic. Look at this based on the number of visitors that reach your site in total versus those that reach your site through organic search. Next always measure conversions. This could be a lead or a new ad submitted, etc. You likely measure these already but break these down by source – most importantly the percentage that can be attributed to SEO traffic. Thereafter measure your number of indexed pages, page load speed, incoming links, keywords rank, bounce rate, and any other metrics you decide are important and that are possible to obtain historically and monitor regularly going forward.
This set of SEO KPIs must become your baseline. Every time you update the SEO structures of your site or do any changes to your site, record the status of these metrics, plus the date of the new change. Then again measure and monitor these KPIs carefully during the update process. Speak to your SEO team in advance and ask for forecasts and timelines. Don’t necessarily expect short-term results. But as with any optimization, you should expect improvement. If these don’t come when expected, be ready to go on with the next optimization or even redo the current set of optimizations.
Much of SEO is about getting to know your user’s better, such as learning which search terms lead to the best conversions. You will have a backlog of tests that you want to try out. Make sure that these tests can be done in such a way that the traffic acquired from these tests can be isolated from the rest of your site. If the result is good within the agreed time period, then keep the test as a permanent optimization. If not, revert the optimization quickly and move on to the next test.
Challenges of SEO for Marketplaces
Quality is a word that is being emphasized by all the major search engine – mostly loudly by Google. Google has made many adjustments in their ranking algorithms to better highlight the quality content that web users are demanding.
The focus has been to eliminate duplicate content and content that is both fraudulent and spammy.
Duplicate content can be defined as content that appears identical on your site and on other sites across the web. Good technical SEO can be used to ensure that all content only appears under unique URLs and with unique page titles and descriptions. It the job of your technical team to fully understand these structures and make the necessary optimization to differentiate your content uniquely across your marketplace web pages. This is a challenge, but the guidelines are well defined, and the skills can be acquired.
The greater challenge comes in the form of user-defined content. Sellers are notorious for uploading the same content many times. It is possible to filter out much of this duplication via your own backend, but catering for all the permutations that a user can submit require a lot of time from your technical team. Time that could be better spent on other optimization that will have more direct monetary returns.
The same can be said of fraudulent or spammy content. Users that have the intent to defraud others are becoming more sophisticated every day. They will continually switch identities and the type and structure of their content.
The best way to traditionally address these challenges has been through using a combination of user reports and human moderators. However, building your own moderation platform means keeping up to date with the techniques of these non-genuine individuals. This will mean making the necessary technical updates to your platform and updating the skills of your moderation team.
The availability of cloud services now makes it practical to integrate with external, custom built moderation platforms to mitigate the complexities and lost opportunities that building internal moderation tools will bring to your business.
Improved content moderation will be reflected in the organic traffic metrics that you track for your marketplace.
- Web users are using search engines to find products or services.
- Search engine optimization strategies – technical on-page SEO, reputation building off page SEO and content marketing optimization strategies – are critical to acquiring traffic from search engines.
- Marketplace SEO strategy must be devised to target both buyers and sellers.
- Use your category and region listings to bring in free organic traffic.
- Each step of your content strategy must be supported by well-documented keyword research.
- Created content, such a price guides, can be used to target users on non-typical paths of their customer journeys.
- Always consider the quality of your content.
This concludes part 2 of our guide to top marketplace SEO. You can read part 1 here.
Want more advice from Oliver Winberg? Check out our webinar how to improve your online marketplace SEO and attract more organic traffic or download the comprehensive keyword research for online marketplaces checklist.
Oliver Winberg has spent the past 20+ years working in the highly competitive classifieds advertising space in South Africa – employed at the highly successful and innovative Junk Mail Digital Media.
In 2008 was offered the opportunity to found Junk Mail’s digital marketing team. With the help of training from Blue Rank in Poland, Oliver discovered the power of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) which has since become his passion.
Oliver has now relocated to Stockholm and survived his first true winter. With extensive experience and expertise within marketplace SEO, Oliver is looking forward to working with you to find solutions to the challenges you may be facing with you Search Engine Optimisation strategy.