Tired of seeing big brands like Amazon or eBay rank above your site in Google search?
Just because you don’t have billions to spend on marketing doesn’t mean that you can’t earn top search engine rankings.
I Moved a Site From Page 4 to Position 1 in 4 Months and You Can Too
When it comes to your products, competitors crowd the search engine results page. Theres you, Amazon and all their merchants, and a whole host of other companies that are selling similar products as you.
Even if you sell your product on Amazon, your better off selling on your site, where you make the rules. The first step to getting more search traffic to your site is to outrank Amazon. Its is not impossible, but it takes patience and a lot of hard work for several months.
If you want to take your site from the depths of the search results page keep reading.
Why Outranking Amazon Is So Hard
To rank above your competition, you have to understand how they got there. Amazon constantly ranks at the top of Google for three reasons.
Reason #1: Amazon Spends $3B (three billion dollars) Marketing their Website
A lot of this money goes towards building their brand and establishing trust with consumers. There is no question that Google rewards trusted brands in the SERP (search engine results page).
Reason #2: Amazon Has A Ton Of Links
Many people naturally link to Amazon because the product is usually in stock. Being a reliable source of information makes Amazon a linkable website. Amazon also gives thousands of websites a little extra incentive to link to them.
Part of Amazon’s $3B marketing plan is to market their “Associate” program. This is an affiliate program in which Amazon pays their affiliates for sales that result from links (a paid link). In a lot of cases, these links are “do follow” which helps Amazon rank highly in Google. Either way, Google seems to be ignoring this paid link scheme.
I used to think that Amazon Affiliates were just small bloggers trying to make an extra buck. It shocked to see big “authoritative” sites like Mens Health and Woman’s Health deal out links to Amazon for money. Men’s Health alone sends 2,000+ links to Amazon. Are all non disclosed affiliate links? Probably not. Are there some that are? Probably. Paid links without a “nofollow tag” are a violation of Google’s Webmaster guidelines.
The links on this page are affiliate links. Please note the affiliate parameter, also note the markup is missing a “nofollow” tag.
Reason # 3: Superior Information Architecture:
Amazon has a team of geniuses that are constantly working to improve information architecture. If you have poor information architecture it will be difficult for people and search engines to find your products. The result: no sales.
Side Note: If you want to learn a LOT about information architecture (IA) and user experience (UX), I strongly recommend checking out the report from Nielsen Norman Group. It is pricy at $500, but it taught me a great deal about IA and UX.
Despite Those Common Challenges You Still Can Outrank Amazon in Google
Here is a secret; my client doesn’t have $3B dollars to spend on their marketing. They also had a slew of information architecture issues and problems with content. It didn’t stop us from moving up in the search engine rankings, and it shouldn’t stop you either.
We moved up the search rankings by building a niche brand.
Outranking Amazon for your product will take an integrated effort and a significant amount of time. This is why it is critical to focus on your most profitable products. Look at your gross margin and top sellers. Once you have that information you can focus in on a handful of products.
11 Ecommerce SEO Tips To Help You Outrank Amazon:
Due to a customer confidentiality (Non Disclosure Agreement), I cannot show you the exact strategy that I used for my customer. The StatGear: T3 Tactical Triage & Auto Rescue Tool Knife is very similar in that the product is sold on Amazon, the manufacturer, and several distributor websites. I will use this product to illustrate the concepts.
People do not search the same way. I might search for “StatGear Tactical Knife” when looking for that product. You might search for “Auto Tool From StatGear.” Both keyword phrases should be considered in your keyword theme.
So many times, people only optimize for a single keyword phrase. Your better off including all the related keywords on your product page. This will give you more ways of driving organic traffic.
Keyword research is ongoing. You should always be looking for keywords that convert and refining your content.When you research keywords, you also need to consider keyword difficulty.
2. Focus On Keywords That Convert
The sooner you find out which keywords bring in sales, the more lucrative your SEO efforts will be. I usually set up two test ad campaigns in Google to get this data quickly. A Google Shopping campaign and a regular text based ad.
Once you start running the ad campaign (and have conversion tracking enabled), you will be able to see the exact search terms that resulted in a sale. You might learn that “StatGear Tactical Knife” sent you the most traffic, but “StatGear T3 Auto Tool” brought in the most sales. If that is the case, you’ll want to focus more on “StatGear T3 Auto Tool.” Why rank for a keyword that doesn’t result in a sale? Keywords matter.
Same product, different keyword focus.
3. Write Keyword Rich Product Descriptions Focused On Buyers
Your product description needs to be your best sales copy. It needs to include the words people use when shopping for your product. Product descriptions cannot be duplicate content. You can’t just copy content from the manufacturer or another website. Concise copy focused on shopper questions about your product will build trust. Be sure to emphasize your converting keywords with headings or by bolding search terms.
4. Create A Strong About Us
PR Pro’s call this “boilerplate” text. You need a great about us page on your website, but you also need a really short version of it (140 characters) and a 150-ish word version of your about page. This should reflect your brand and your product offering. If StatGear is an important brand for your ecommerce site, you might want to include it in your boilerplate. This short version of your “about us” will end up on directories, forums, and niche sites.
5. Find Content Rich Websites In Your Niche That Link Out
Hand curated directories and blogger round ups can build traffic and links within your niche. These sites are often looking for content that serves their niche. Before you can get your website in front of their audience, you have to find the site owner first. Here are some search queries that can help you find niche directories and round-up opportunities:
- “Your Product/Category” + resources list (“Fire Rescue Tools” Resources List)
- Your Product/Category + Directory (Rescue Tools Directory)
- Your Product/Category + Websites (“Rescue Tools Websites”)
- Your Product/Category + “suggest * URL” (Rescue Tools “suggest * URL”)
- “Your Product/Category” + Round Up (“rescue tools” roundup)
- Type those keywords into Google and look for quality sites that cover your products.
Get ready to send some personal emails and ask them to mention your website. Make sure your pitch is on point and not spammy.
6. Seek Product Reviews and Giveaways
This is one way Amazon is getting links. The article on Men’s Health was a product review round up. Find websites within your niche that have an audience (check comments, shares, etc) without a ton of ads. The presence of a lot of ads and pop-ups is usually a good indicator of a low quality site. You can also use MozBar or Ahrefs to check the sites domain authority or domain rank. You can find sites that allow product reviews by using the following search queries in Google:
- Your Product/Category Review (Fire Rescue Tool Review)
- Your Product/Category Giveaway (Fire Rescue Tool Giveaway)
These sites are already doing product reviews or giveaways, so they might be really happy to get your email. There are endless variations when searching for link opportunities. Hopefully, this will spark some more ideas for you.
7. Buy Ads On Sites With Converting Referral Traffic
Check your Google Analytics and see which sites are sending you traffic. Pay extra attention to referral traffic that results in sales. Contact the site owner and ask them about advertising options. If you pay for links, make sure you add a “nofollow” tag. We are after the traffic, not the “link juice.” When you buy ads on a website try to work directly with the website owner. Build a relationship with them.
Create attractive banner ads and show them across the Google display network to people that have already visited your product page. No this wont help you with SEO, but it will help to build brand recognition and trust. Not only will potential customers be reminded of your company, so will bloggers and site owners.
Remarketing ads is a relatively low cost way to build brand awareness and drive qualified traffic.
9. Find Forums within Your Niche
The StatGear: T3 Tactical Triage & Auto Rescue Tool Knife looks like it is for EMTs and Fire Rescue Folks. Use advanced search queries to find EMT and Fire Rescue Forums. Some of these forums might be members only – so please don’t try to join a Fire Rescue members only forum if you are not a Firefighter.
You can read the forum to see what they talk about and what they think of brands/products you carry. Some forums will allow resellers to join the forum with a small fee. This fee is worth it if you plan on interacting with the forum members. I am not saying to spray links all over the place. Use the opportunity to introduce yourself:
“I am from XYZ company and we sell rescue tools, I wanted to join the forum to understand what type of tools you like using for your job.”
Most forums have an “introductions area.” The worst thing you can do is pretend to be one of them. Anytime I do forum marketing for clients, I plainly say:
“My Name is Darren, I help company XYZ with marketing. We sell XYZ, Im here to do market research.”
You would be surprised how many people actually want to help when you ask.
A good way to engage a new audience in a forum is to ask a poll question. Keep the poll focused on products. Just make sure to search the forum to see what kind of questions get activity and don’t redo a poll question that someone else did.
After listening, you might notice a few questions or concerns about your product. Use your market research and create a buyers guide that addresses those questions.
10. Get Links From The Manufacturer
If you are reselling a product, check out the manufacturer’s website to see if they have a dealers page. If they do, give their sales rep a call and tell them to add your site. It is one of the easiest win-win situations for ecommerce sites. You want to sell more of their stuff, and they should have no problem linking to your site to help you do that.
11. Internal Link Building
This is probably one of the most under used SEO techniques I’ve seen. Anchor text are the words that are hyperlinked to a web page. By using keyword rich anchor text internal links throughout your site, you can help users and Google find your top products and categories. I wouldn’t recommend using the same exact anchor text on every single internal link. You can overdo it.
In general, Google is far more forgiving about internal links than external ones. Avoid penalties from Google, by keeping your internal links relevant. Mix up your anchor text to include phrases from your keyword themes. Good breadcrumbs can go a long way.
You Can Do It!
If you want to get to the top of the search engine results page, you have got to build a brand. You may not turn your site into a household name, but you can become a strong brand within your niche. That should be your goal. That is how you can beat Amazon. You can be the go to site for your audience. Building a niche brand for your ecommerce site takes time.
Build a niche brand and and the rankings will come.
TAKEAWAY: Start now by looking over your profit margins on a product or category basis. If you build a niche around your most profitable products you will succeed!
Outranking Amazon is much easier if you focus on a handful of products.
Let me know how these tips worked for you? Comment below.