If you still have doubts about the importance of SEO to online sales, here’s a fun fact: 93% of online experiences start with a search engine. This statistic implies that practically anyone who's ever going to buy from you will find you through a search engine.
Fun fact 2: one billion people live with a disability globally. Unfortunately, not many companies design for and market to this population.
This means one billion people are easily ignored in product design and marketing campaigns. That’s a huge market segment you must begin to cater for to increase your online sales.
It is clear that SEO and accessibility are core factors in online marketing and sales. Therefore, to increase sales in your business, you must master SEO tactics and learn how to include accessibility in your marketing and sales efforts. Here, we discuss how you can leverage SEO and accessibility to boost your online sales.
What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the combination of steps you take to ensure your website or content ranks high or search engines such as Google.
In plain terms, when you optimize for search engines, your website or content organically comes top whenever keywords in your field are searched. How popular your link is, how relevant your content is and other technical configurations determine how high you rank in search engines.
Types of SEO
There are four main types of SEO. They are: On-page SEO, Off-page SEO, Technical SEO and International SEO.
On-page SEO, also known as onsite SEO, involves all you can do on the page to improve its ranking. It has to do with publishing relevant content and optimizing headlines, images and HTML tags to earn organic traffic. Best practices in on-page SEO include:
- Keywords in titles
- Meta descriptions
- Appropriate headlining
- Schema markups
- Descriptive URLs
Off-page SEO, as its name implies, is what you do outside a website to boost its ranking. Best practices of off-page SEO include:
- Guest posting
- Link building
- Social media marketing
Technical SEO helps Google and other search engines crawl on, interpret and index your web pages effectively. When your website shows specific technical qualities, it improves its chances of ranking high organically. Best practices of technical SEO include:
- Creating an XML sitemap
- Use of SSL
- Fast website
- Mobile-friendly website
- Structured data markup
- Enables AMP
International SEO simply means the efforts you make to attract traffic from other countries instead of your locality or country.
When you optimize your website or content so that search engines can recognize the countries you want to reach and the languages you wish to use, you’re practicing international SEO.
Best practices of international SEO include:
- Relevant keywords across countries
- Applicable content across board
- Mobile friendly website
- Use of Hreflang
Key components of an effective SEO strategy
A good strategy for SEO will help you improve it and boost sales in the long run. However, before we delve into creating an effective SEO strategy that will increase sales, let’s learn the components of such a strategy.
Keywords are a core component of SEO. Therefore, any strategy for improved SEO must start with keyword research. Knowing the keywords that would drive traffic to your products will help create a solid strategy.
Another vital element of an effective SEO strategy is content. The whole point of online searches is to find content. Great content creates great user experiences and boosts traffic for your page.
Meta tags are little pieces of text describing a page's content. You won't see meta tags on the page; they appear on the page’s source code. These tags let search engines have an idea of what your content is about. They are very crucial to a successful SEO strategy.
These links are also known as inbound links. They are links on a web page that link to other web pages.
Backlinks are essential to SEO as they are a way websites vouch for other websites. They signal to search engines that the linked sites are legitimate and reliable. It’s a way to say the content on the linked page is valuable.
Images are often ignored in SEO strategy, but this shouldn't be so; they are also an important component of SEO. Oftentimes, when people search for a keyword, they're not only looking for text; they’re also looking for images. Optimizing your product images for search engines should be part of your strategy.
Social media might not directly impact SEO ranking, but it does so indirectly and should be a part of an SEO strategy. Here are ways social media indirectly affects SEO ranking:
- Wide content distribution
- Enhanced brand recognition
- Better online visibility
- Improved lifespan of posts
7 strategies for improving SEO
To boost your online sales, you need to have a solid SEO strategy in place. Find below time-tested tips for creating a brilliant SEO strategy.
1. Study your audience and industry
Many businesses ignore this crucial part of creating a strategy for SEO. Without a proper understanding of who your audience is and what obtains in your industry, your efforts at boosting sales via improved SEO will be futile.
To understand your audience, you need to know who they are and what they need. This is done through market research. Next, evaluate and divide your audience into segments. This is called audience segmentation. Then, pick a segment that best aligns with your offering and target it in your SEO strategy.
Studying your industry involves researching what is happening in it. Do a thorough competitive analysis; it also helps you have a clear perspective of how your industry works and what your competitors do. Knowing how your rivals carry out their SEO strategy will give you an idea of how to go about yours.
2. Research and target keywords
After identifying and understanding who your users are, you need to know what they’re searching for. Keywords are phrases your target audience searches for on search engines. When targeted and used rightly, your website or content ranks organically.
Note that it is not enough to know what your audience is searching for – you must also know how they’re searching for these words. Many keyword tools are available to help you know the right keywords to choose. The keywords will guide you on content creation.
3. Develop smart content design
After researching and finding the right keywords, you need to create content you will put online. Your content development requires a tight strategy if you want to write SEO-optimized content to increase traffic and sales.
Find some tips for your content strategy below.
- Using the keywords as a guide, make a list of relevant topics
- Build pages for your topics
- Start a blog
- Create a content calendar for blogging
If you’re at a loss for how to develop content, a tool like Happy Scribe’s audio to text translator can bail you out.
It can help you transcribe and convert your podcast, video, and training recordings to blog articles or guides. This not only gives you more content ideas, it saves time and energy you could have used to create the content from scratch.
4. Create topic clusters
Topic clusters are groups of selected content. These sets of content are related by topics and subtopics; they cover a particular subject comprehensively. Topic clusters ensure your visitors have a thorough knowledge of a topic by visiting a site.
The pillar page is the main page treating the topic. This page covers a range of user intents. User intents, also known as search intents, are the intentions and goals of a user that prompt them to search for a particular topic or keyword.
The pillar page gives readers sufficient value on the subject, making them click on the next article.
The supporting pages go deeper into related topics, giving the reader a rounded knowledge of the topic. These supporting pages or cluster pages focus more narrowly on individual user intent. The links from cluster pages to a pillar page signal search engines that the pillar page is the core page. Topic clusters increase your site’s authority and boost your page ranking.
5. Compress your media files before uploading them
As you create content, you will be uploading many media files online. However, too many media files on your website can slow it down.
When your website is too slow, the bounce rate increases and dwelling time reduces. This affects your ranking in search engines. Ensuring your media files are compressed reduces their chances of slowing down your website.
6. Craft an SEO-compliant metadata
When people search for keywords and get the results on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), the metadata is the brief description that shows them what a site is about. It’s a summary of what your website contains. Metadata determines whether a user clicks on your site or not.
The metadata is in two parts – meta title and meta description. The meta title is the title of the page. To make it SEO-compliant, ensure you put the keyword at the start of the title. Also, add your company’s name at the tail end for branding.
The meta description comes after the meta title. It contains a summary of the website content. It is a snippet that gives the user a glimpse of what the website is about, so it must be written captivatingly. Keywords must also be used here to boost the SEO.
To write compelling metadata, consider the following tips:
- Add the main keywords
- Keep it simple and concise
- Make sure the meta title and description align
- Add a call-to-action
7. Optimize your images
As mentioned earlier, images are an SEO strategy component. Optimizing your images for the web increases visibility and brings more leads. The following are tips to improve your images to be SEO-compliant.
- Size your images appropriately
- Use alt tags
- Include keywords in your image file name
- Make your images mobile friendly
- Add structured data to your images
Impact of SEO on online sales
After implementing SEO best practices in your business, how do they impact your revenue? Find out below.
SEO helps build trust
An effective SEO strategy improves the trust users have in your brand. The more people trust your brand, the better the chances of them buying from you.
SEO helps improve user experience
Good SEO produces great user experience. When users have quick access to your website, can navigate smoothly and have access to all the information they need, they are put in the right frame of mind to make purchases.
SEO increases brand loyalty
When you become consistent in your SEO practices, it will improve your brand awareness. Users will trust your brand and become loyal to it. Brand loyalty enhances brand engagement, customer retention and referrals.
What is web accessibility
Accessibility involves treating people equally and giving them the same opportunities, regardless of their circumstances or abilities. Web or digital accessibility refers to the practice of enabling usability for as many people as possible.
This means different people can use your website despite their unique situations and abilities. Excluding people with unique qualities from using your site is not only unfair, it denies you the opportunity to make more sales.
With web accessibility, all kinds of people can become active members of the web world. They can discern, comprehend, maneuver and interact with digital devices and electronic data. It is essential that you include accessibility in your sales strategy. To do this, you must consider people with physical, cognitive, neurological, speech, auditory and visual disabilities.
Why is web accessibility vital
The importance of accessibility in the digital world cannot be overemphasized. Here are a few reasons why digital accessibility is essential.
It is ethical
The first reason why you must include accessibility in your business practice is that it is ethical. Giving people equal shots at life is morally acceptable. Denying people opportunities simply because of their disabilities or challenges is unethical.
It is s sound business practice
As a business, accessibility should be part of your practice. Companies all over the world acknowledge the need to create equal opportunities for people regardless of their disabilities and so should you. Doing so makes you one of the companies with sound business practices.
It is legally binding
Many laws require web accessibility and if such laws are binding on your business, you must be compliant if you don't want to face penalties.
It lets you reach an often-neglected population
As said earlier, a large population of people need digital inclusion. When you include accessibility in your business practice, you reach these people and benefit from their patronage.
Who needs accessibility/people to consider when implementing accessibility
Accessibility can be broad. Therefore, to make sure you’re targeting the right people when including accessibility in your sales strategy, you must know the specific people to target. Find them below.
Persons with motor, dexterity and mobility impairments
These are people who have difficulty moving one or more parts of their bodies. As far as web accessibility is concerned, these are those with disabilities that have to do with the arms or hands. People in this category include those with loss of limbs, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, arthritis, low dexterity, spinal cord injuries and partial or total paralysis.
Persons with visual impairments
These include people who are not able to see visual information. They also include people with color deficiency like Tritanopia, Deuteranopia, Achromatopsia and Protanopia. People with low vision are also considered as persons with visual impairment. This last set of people can see but not very well; they may require magnifiers or large fonts.
Persons with cognitive disabilities and learning difficulties
This group consists of people who have difficulty reading text, those who struggle with understanding content, and those with attention deficit disorder, dyslexia and other learning challenges. Also in this group are persons with Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and loss of brain function.
Deaf persons or those who are hard of hearing
For clarification, the deaf refers to people with hearing loss, while people who are hard of hearing are those who can hear but not very well.
7 ways you can improve accessibility for increased online sales
To enjoy the benefits of digital accessibility, you must be intentional and take decisive action. Below are ways to improve accessibility for increased online sales.
1. Go for a Content Management System (CMS) that supports accessibility
If you’re using a content management system, ensure you choose one that supports accessibility. These tools have templates and options that help you create accessible content. They also give tips on how you can use their templates to create accessible content.
2. Put alt text in your images
For blind users or people with other visual disabilities, ensure you add alternative text to your images so they can read them with braille output devices or screen readers. Most document formats support alt text. Including it in your images makes it more accessible.
3. Label form fields
Labeling form fields allow screen readers associate labels or prompts with form fields. There’s an HTML label element you can use for this.
4. Ensure there’s enough color contrast
This is useful for people with color deficiencies. Ensure adequate contrast between the foreground and background elements. Make use of the available tools to achieve this result.
5. Use the right headings for accessibility
Accessibility headings like H1, H2 and so on make it possible for screen reader users to access your content. These headings help arrange your content in a way that can be interpreted by screen readers.
6. Make your website content usable for people who can only use the keyboard
People who have mobility disabilities may not be able to use a mouse; they may only be able to use the keyboard.
Therefore, to make your content accessible to this set of people, break down your content with anchor links so that they can skip portions they don’t want to read and go directly to portions they need. This will save them the stress of having to navigate content they don’t need.
In addition, use menus that can be accessed through a keyboard and avoid elements that can only be activated when hovered on with a mouse.
7. Use audio description for your videos
Audio Description (AD) is a feature that narrates key visual elements in a video. It is essential for visual media inclusion. Key elements like gestures, actions, scene changes and other visual information are described. This makes it easy for blind people to access your videos.
Impact of accessibility on online sales
Why should you include accessibility in your marketing and sales strategy? You stand to gain the following when you have implemented web accessibility.
It widens market penetration
When your website is accessible, you reach more people. Instead of people with unique needs to bounce back upon encountering difficulty on your page, they will complete their customer journey. Wider reach is the most valuable benefit of web accessibility; your website will begin to attract populations it has been repelling.
You get more returning customers
Users who find your website accessible will keep returning for more patronage. It is more convenient to keep patronizing a brand with an accessible website than look for new ones you’re not sure of. An accessible website keeps your customers coming back.
It boosts referrals
Accessibility is one sure way of getting referrals for your business. Someone who has been struggling with inaccessible websites and eventually finds an accessible one will not only keep coming, they will tell others.
It builds your brand
A good reputation is one of the advantages of digital accessibility. When people find your website accessible, they tell others and your brand stands out as one that is fair and just. This reputation will fetch you more customers and increase sales.
Improved SEO and accessibility – vital keys to more online sales
As you can ascertain, the hype about SEO and accessibility is justified. They are two key areas that can be leveraged for increased online sales. To improve SEO, you must understand the types, components and strategies for implementing it and how it can increase sales.
For improved web accessibility, you must know why it is important, who needs it, how it can impact your sales and how to implement it. Begin to execute the tips and strategies outlined in this article and see a great improvement in your sales.