Looking for more? Here’s a rundown of what the video covers:
If you currently own an online store, there are lots of things to consider when researching the development of new products to sell online.
To help you get started, an SEO professional will recommend the following:
Analytics data – in particular, they’d look at your content reports to determine the most popular product and content pages your customers are interacting with. Once they’ve been identified, you’ll want to mimic the success of these pages.
Here are a few tips to help guide your efforts:
- You may find that customer reviews on these pages offer insight into product enhancements or new developments that could be made. The same can be true for underperforming products.
- Be sure to also use keyword referral reports to see what keywords are driving the most traffic and sales.
- If you filter all of your reports for organic traffic only, you’ll get a better understanding of your current organic search visibility. Is it where it needs to be? Are there gaps and opportunities? See if you can identify keyword themes that don’t seem to map well to products you currently offer. These can be hidden opportunities to branch out with new products.
- Another report to look at is your on-site search reports, if you have such functionality. Often this report will give you additional insights into the type of products your visitors are searching for that you don’t offer.
Webmaster tools reports – Every online business should be using Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) and Bing Webmaster Tools (BWT). GWT and BWT content and keyword reports come straight from these search engines, which means they’re giving you accurate and valuable insight as to how your site is doing. Look at these reports often to identify gaps and opportunities with products.
Google’s keyword research tool – If you have a list of new product ideas, go ahead and put them into this tool to identify search volumes. Make sure you look at the [Exact] match for more precise estimates. People often use slightly different wording when searching for your products than the keywords you’ve come up with, so make sure you’re naming your products and writing content using the precise language of your target market.
Organic search competitive analysis – It may seem like a no-brainer, but you’ll want to understand the strategy of your competitors and the authority of your pages in order to best reach your new market. Analyze your landing pages, then search for your keywords and look for your competition. How sophisticated is their level of SEO? What keywords and phrases are they using to boost their top organic positioning?
Once you’re armed with the right data to help create a new product, don’t forget to include SEO every step of the way. From the naming to the marketing material, you’re going to want to take search engines into account. For instance, you may want to name your new product “Crimson Yoga Mat,” but if people are searching for “Red Yoga Mats,” you’ll be doing yourself a favor by naming it something like “Crimson Red Yoga Mat.”
To summarize what we cover in the video, gather all the necessary analytics data to support new product development and make sure you understand what it’s going to take to be competitive in terms of organic search. And one last bit of advice: If you’re unsure about how successful a new product may be, try launching in small batches and utilizing your social followers and email lists to help you understand what new products they would like to see. People who love a brand are almost always willing to help them improve and expand their product offering.
Let’s expand on this research and analysis process with a scenario:
Let’s say that you’re an established online business selling organic women’s clothing and you’re thinking about launching a similar men’s line. Why? Well, you’ve found success with women’s organic cotton tops and shorts, so you assume that the same success could be expected on the men’s side.
You have other assumptions as well:
- That men shop the same way online as women do – using the same language, for instance
- That men are actively looking for organic cotton clothing online
- That men will pay the same price for an organic cotton button-up as women currently do
You can and should put these assumptions to test, and there are several ways to do so. Performing market research and developing male personas of varying demographics and at various buying stages is a very important step, especially because it can help shape a content strategy that supports the actual products This content strategy will help you create the all-important stories that introduce and weave your new products into the shopping experience of your existing customer base. This strategy will also support new sales by enticing existing customers to purchase again or at least share your products with the men in their lives.
This market research is also important in terms of SEO, since it provides guidance for the keyword research and discovery process that eventually gives you insight into how your new target market shops online. Continuing with our example, you should perform keyword research and note the search queries that your male personas use in search engines to find organic clothing. Ideally you’ll use these search phrases within your product development – perhaps even deciding to create and name products based on these keywords since the search volume (and therefore perceived demand) is so high.
But what about other assumptions that keyword research doesn’t answer, like determining proper price points?
Distilled.net recently published a post about minimum viable product and related that principle to SEO – and it’s a fantastic post. The writer discusses the mentality of investing time a resources into large scale product development compared to rolling out small amounts of product, perhaps one at a time. This smaller investment should take less time, while also allowing for real-time, customer-driven iterations to help maximize return. It should be easier to pull the plug if the demand flounders or is not met post product launch.
The wonderful thing about operating an online business is that the flexible nature of the web, social media and email marketing allow you to test your assumptions, like price points, quickly and confidently. If a particular product fails, you’ll feel better about dropping it. If a new product does well, then you’ve got a clearer picture of what your target audience likes.
Note: This process tends to be easier for established online businesses because they’ve already built the necessary social infrastructure and have a current line-up of products to keep the revenue stream thriving while new products are being tested. But regardless of how long your store’s been around, SEO is not set it and forget it. It should be part of the product research and development as well as the post-launch marketing and refinement.
There’s so much more to talk about as it relates to incorporating SEO and other inbound marketing channels for new product development consideration, and I would love to hear your thoughts. Do you have experience with small batch product testing? Or currently have a seat reserved at the new product table for SEO? Please leave your comments below this video and I’ll get back to you.
If you would like assistance with your SEO strategy, contact Volusion’s ecommerce SEO services today.