What Is SEO Content Strategy? Everything You Need to Know

This article is originally published on Galactic Fed.

What is SEO Content Strategy?

Content strategy is the piece of your marketing plan that continuously demonstrates the company as a brand and the expertise it brings to the industry. In its most basic form, it is any content you produce that results in an increase of organic search traffic. The strategy portion is the intentional content you create to achieve this purpose.

The Brain Traffic Model from the Content Strategy for the Web breaks content strategy into five components:

  • Core. How do we intend to use content?
  • Substance. What content is needed?
  • Structure. How is content organized?
  • Workflow. How is content created?
  • Governance. How do we decide what to do?

Among these components, you will want to give an answer to “What content is needed” to optimize your site and gain search engine traffic. If any of the terminology in this article is unfamiliar, check out our SEO 101: Glossary of Terms.

Content Strategy and Keyword Research

Before creating your SEO Content Strategy, it’s important to familiarize yourself with your keyword search. Keyword Research is an essential part of any SEO strategy, take it from the experts – we would know.

Keyword research is defined as the process of analyzing and finding a list of valuable keywords for the purpose of SEO copywriting. The keywords, or search terms, often become a guide for the direction of your content and marketing strategy, and have an impact that reaches far and wide when it comes to connected potential consumers with your brand.

Keyword research is the process of finding and analyzing actual search terms that people enter into search engines. The insight you can get into these actual search terms can help inform content strategy, as well as your larger marketing strategy.

If you need a comprehensive review of keyword research, check out our Definitive Guide to SEO Keyword Research.

Creating Content for SEO

Creating high-quality content is critical to content marketing success. With thousands of blog posts published every day, you need a way to make your content stand out. Creating content not only helps your leads get to know your business, but it also helps your business improve your SEO ranking. As an SEO content creator, you’ll be on the fast track to boosting your website’s ranking in the search results and driving more traffic to your page.

SEO content comes in many forms including product pages, videos, infographics, blog posts, and guides. Blogs are the most common format of content for SEO content creators. It’s one of the most accessible formats for creating a large quantity of material. Blog posts are engaging and allow you to share valuable information with your audience.

With blogs, you can engage your audience by sharing valuable information with them. It’s a great way to attract links and traffic, as well as build your website’s authority.

Importance of Brand Voice

It is important to define your brand voice to be able to write successful content. A consistent brand voice and vocabulary is essential to implementing localized content and intelligent content strategies effectively. This can be the type of words you use (academic vs. casual) or your overall tone of voice (educational vs. conversational.) A simple way to identify your specific brand voice is:

  1. Gather a representative sample of your content.
  2. Describe your brand voice in three words
  3. Create a brand voice chart (see below)
  4. Ensure you understand how to put your brand voice into action
  5. Revisit and revise the brand voice chart from time to time

Source: CoSchedule

Buyer’s Persona and the Buyer’s Journey

Content has to be targeted and timely in order to generate qualified leads as part of your inbound sales strategy or in content marketing. Content, whatever its purpose, should always be timely, buyer-centric, improve your lead generation strategy, and positively impact sales.

Building a content strategy is more than considering what type of content you want to create. You first need to know who you’re speaking to, how you want to speak to them, and where to find them. Your buyer persona is the person that you want to reach with your content. This semi-fictional character serves as a representation of your target audience

You want to connect with your buyer’s persona and pinpoint the issues they encounter so you could provide solutions that they need. Each of your prospects follows a path to a solution — that path involves awareness, consideration, and decision stages. By creating content for each stage of the buyer’s journey, you’re ensuring that no visitors fall through the cracks and that every individual that comes to your site feels like they are receiving relevant, useful information.

For more on the importance of a buyer’s persona and how to thoroughly create one, check out our article on What is a Buyers Persona? (And Why Does It Matter?)

Basically, the goal is to begin with identifying blog post title suggestions based on keyword research with sufficient supporting data on why you need to create this content, why you need it on your site, what are the recommended components of the content, and how it will help you grow. Most of the time, we only recommend informational content and therefore use keywords with informational intent. This is because you’ll want these topics to be written as blog posts which you can also use in link building.

SEO Content Strategy Essentials

  • Make sure the intent of your keyword matches the intent of your title. A good tip is to try and figure out what the people who are searching for this particular keyword want to know. Once you have that figured out, you can craft your topic/title to answer their question/give them the information they’re looking for.


It’s also important that you understand what the keyword actually is so that you’ll be able to provide the best title/angle that would revolve around that topic. If you’re not sure what it means, you can always check how other sites are talking about it so you get a better idea.

Be careful about using transactional keywords as the target keywords for informational pages. Those are mainly to inform things like product page copy and backlink anchor text. You can still use those keywords for blog posts, but you should individually investigate them and make sure that Google is actually ranking informational content for that keyword in the top 5 or so positions, and you also don’t want to inadvertently outrank your own product pages for those keywords.


Specifically, you’ll need informational keywords when doing content strategy for blog posts. Content strategy in general can encompass all types of pages including product pages, landing pages, listing pages, and others. So informational and transactional keywords both have their place.

  • Consider the site’s authority. When choosing keywords from your keyword research, consider the authority of your site. If the site is new or has very little authority, choose keywords with the lowest difficulty instead of targeting KW with high volume search but with high difficulty, as it would be hard to compete with already established sites.
  • Google the keywords. This will allow you to get an idea on what other sites are talking about, and try to come up with a way to make your content better than the rest. If other sites, for example, have 5 Tips, Make ours 8-10. Or if others are just talking about “how,” make ours what, how, where, etc.
  • Keywords don’t need to be an exact match. You don’t want to sacrifice natural-sounding titles in order to force in an exact match keyword. Let the keywords inform the overall idea of the title, but they don’t necessarily need to be an exact match. For example, Google can make the connection between an “e-learning developer” and a “developer for your e-learning platform.”\ \ Exact match isn’t strictly necessary to have in the title. It’s nice if you can include it, but the most important factor for the title is drawing in viewers, and the creative copy can accomplish this better in many cases than just repeating the query. Do make sure that the title is clearly relevant to the query, and for ranking/featured-snippet purposes it would be good to have the exact match as a heading or subheading in the article content.
  • Same title as another article is sometimes OK. It should also be worth mentioning, though, that having the same title as another article from another site isn’t necessarily a bad thing either, as long you make your content better than theirs. If the first page is saturated with exact-match long-tail keywords, though, then standing out might be a better strategy than conforming exactly to the keyword.
  • Speak to the buyer’s journey. Usually, when working on a high-level marketing strategy, it requires that you speak to the buyer’s journey. You want to make sure to touch on how that keyword phrase ties back to the buyer’s journey of your product or service.

For example, say you’re a company that appraises homes. You could structure your content as follows:


Suggested Title: Does A Messy House Affect An Appraisal?


Target KW: does a messy house affect an appraisal


Search Volume: 200


While low search volume, this keyword touches on a topic very much on the mind of a hot lead. This is a direct query that’s linked to appraisals, which are part of the home-buying process.. And as a result, you would need to rank for that term.

  • Use a content explorer tool. At Galactic Fed, we like to use Ahrefs. You can also run the keyword in Ahrefs’ “Content Explorer” for more topic ideas and to check which topics generate more traffic that could also bring traffic to your site.
  • Overview. For each blog post title recommendation, it’s best practice that each article must be thoroughly explained, keyword-justified (using both main topic keywords and keywords for subtopics of the article), and well thought out within the context of your brand and content direction.
  • Cross-check against existing material. When you do content creation it’s recommended to add internal links. The internal links are a good way of cross-checking against existing material and establishing potential in-article backlinks for content syndication.

A perfect SEO content strategy seamlessly marries the science behind ranking higher in search, with the various compelling pieces of content a reader can consume. It’s using the content you produce not only to educate, entertain and inform, but to make sure people are able to find your business and brand right when they need it. The best type of SEO content addresses your buyer’s journey and solves real problems, so when they are asking a search bar the questions, you are the answer.


Become your own SEO guru by reading all the articles in our SEO 101 Series.

Does a Small Business Need a Website? Yes, and Here Is Why!

Does a Small Business Need a Website?

Photo by Kaique Rocha from Pexels

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What is likely to be the first thing you do when looking for a restaurant, mechanic, or beautician? You check their website. No matter whether the outlet you are interested in belongs to an international chain or is a local business, you want to know whether they are still open after your work shift or you should not bother driving there. However, small businesses have a limited budget to spend in marketing efforts, especially during these uncertain times. On the other hand, some benefits of having a website for your small business should not be ignored.

That's How Potential Customers Find Your Business.

Today's users and customers use the internet as a faster, more responsive, and immediately efficient phone book. In the past, if you could not find a business on the phone book, you will skip to the next one that offers similar services, but you can get in contact with – and that's your competition. If anybody in your area has a website, you will need to make sure that your business is as visible as theirs. If they don't, well, there is nothing outrageous in being the first one.

Including a Blog Helps You Build Relationships With Your Customers.

A couple of landing pages and contact forms might just be enough to encourage potential customers towards your business. However, before or after the purchase, such pages might not be particularly useful in keeping the engagement levels high. Instead, implementing a blog and regularly publishing relevant content allows you to supply answers to the most common questions and issues your audience might be experiencing.

When writing a blog for your business's website, you can craft a marketing strategy by yourself, but you should be aware of what are the most common blogging mistakes to avoid them. If you feel like this might be too overwhelming for you, asking for a consultation offered by an SEO or digital marketing professional can guide you through the right path.

And So Does a Newsletter!

Alongside regular blog posts, investing in a newsletter, and crafting the perfect call to action allows you to generate new leads and retain more data about your audience than ever. However, newsletters are also essential to keep in touch with your target market throughout the year. Therefore, you can check in with them in the periods in between purchases or when you are about to launch or update a new product or service. 

Instead of having to find new customers who are interested in your latest creation, most of your audience will get to know about offers, discounts, giveaways, and new launches. Don't forget that in periods in which your business can't operate as usual – like in the case of the current restrictions – a newsletter can help you communicate to your customer opening hours and safety measures implemented.

Create the First Point of Contact

Undoubtedly, websites are the first point of contact for a customer who is looking for your address or contact details. If it does reflect the value proposition, theme, and mission of your brand, your website offers an ideal peek into the experience that your customer is about to have. 

Not having a website might suggest that your business is not particularly up-to-date, innovative, or clear in intent. Additionally, if you let the first point of contact be when the customer walks into your physical shop, this might not always go as planned! And first impressions are often everlasting! In this case, a well-crafted website allows you to create the ideal first impression you always want to leave in a new customer.

Does a Small Business Need a Website?

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Increases Trust – From the First Moment

If you are the owner of an established small or local business, your customer base might derive from decades of word-of-mouth marketing and entire generations engaging in your services. However, if you are a new business, you will have to generate trust and get your customers to know that you have the expertise, attitude, and knowledge to perform the best job. A website can do precisely that. 

Your business' site will have testimonials, reviews, social media handles' links, and call to actions. Your customer can explore your business, experience, and portfolio at its own pace, and make an even more informed decision. Aside from increasing the number of customers for your business, they might also be willing to pay more for the same product!

It's a Marketing Channel You Can't Ignore

With an endless range of marketing media out there, it can seem impossible to pick the best one for your needs. However, just by having a website, you can combine several digital marketing branches, such as SEO and video marketing, in one platform. While you might need the help of a professional agency or expert to craft a strategy that can truly get your business off the ground, websites are also reasonably easy to handle by yourself.

You Can Leverage Data to Create Better Services

Past and potential customers commenting, subscribing, and generally taking action on your website offer you a data set you can start plotting. Whether this about your marketing campaign, expectations not met, or a particular aspect of your product that does not work as well, it is all valuable feedback. Through such input, you can craft better products, strategies, and services that truly reflect your users' needs. 

It Is the Starting Point to Build an eCommerce Business.

The current pandemic and ensuing lockdown and social distancing measures have made clear that remote working, delivery options, and touchless services are here to stay. While your small business already works locally, you might not be able to reach an audience that, while interested, might be located away from you. 

However, today, not starting to think about an eCommerce option might decrease your business's level of competitiveness, especially if you look at other companies in the same sector. You can still opt to keep your local outlet open as usual, but generating income streams through an online eCommerce store allows you to benefit from a visibility level that you would not have otherwise. 

PR and SEO: How To Properly Use PR for Maximum SEO Impact

In today’s digital age there is an enormous amount of missed opportunity across marketing channels.

If you have good content (SEO) and good outreach (a form PR), you will be able 10x the results if you improve the synergy between the two.

Public Relations (PR), when properly used, can be a powerful source of:

  1. Brand awareness
  2. Traffic
  3. Website authority

However, many brands overlook this third benefit and are leaving huge amounts of untapped potential on the table. 

What Exactly is PR in the Digital Marketing World?

Traditionally, PR is the practice of deliberately managing & improving the spread of information surrounding a brand or organization and the public.

Many brands use PR to control the narrative around their company and direct consumer attention to aspects of the brand they want to highlight – and even direct attention away from potentially damaging aspects. 

In the digital marketing world, we like these benefits as well.

However, there is something even more powerful PR can be used for. That something is SEO, specifically link building, to increase website authority (domain rating). 

How PR Helps Generate Maximum SEO Impact

Now you are most likely wondering, what can PR and media coverage do to help improve SEO?

The concept is simple: PR generates links & search engines love high-quality links. 

Public relation agencies work very hard to get their clients mentioned in the press – web, bloggers, influencers, news, etc. These agencies are not cheap – and the work they do is sometimes very difficult to replicate. 

Popular publications will write about your business whenever you send a press release. They will link it to your website, which automatically gives a free backlink to your website.

Aside from that, you will also get the chance to receive brand recognition, which in turn, will boost your brand authority. You can even dedicate an exclusive “As Seen On” section in your website to feature all the publications who wrote a story about you.

Bottom line, when people are looking to avail of a product or service from a new brand, they will most likely search the internet for suggestions. Then, they start looking for reviews and articles about the brand before they make the purchase decision. This is where you should be in.

It is all the more valuable if you know how to get PR and SEO to work together. This is where the missed opportunities begin (do not make these mistakes). 

Common Problems & Solutions in Linking PR with SEO

  • Brand mentions in web articles have no links.

Make sure your mentions are hyperlinked.

  • Brand mentions in web articles have links, but the links are marked as “nofollow”.

Make sure your links are marked “dofollow”.

  • Brand mentions in web articles have links, and are “dofollow”, but do not strategically point to pages on the target website that need a link boost.

Make sure you have a strategy around target pages on your website that needs links. Getting links to your homepage is good, but sometimes you want those links going to a page optimized for selling a product or making you money.

  • Not tracking the links you earn.

Make sure you track all your links. Monitor them for uptime, make sure they stay “dofollow”, and build links to those links.

  • Not tracking the traffic and behavior from the links you earn

Make sure you have Google Analytics setup in such a way where you can measure the ROI from your PR campaigns. Quick reality-check question: Are your PR campaigns profitable?

Linking PR and SEO: How to Get Started

To have a successful PR strategy, you must understand your market and position your tactics so the right publications will give you brand coverage that will help you reach your target audience.

The biggest takeaway for all of marketing (and of course your PR and SEO strategy) is this: Understand your buyer, find out where what channels/platforms they are giving their attention to & become omnipresent on those channels/platforms.

If you do this, you will succeed in growing your brand authority in the eyes of the consumer (the traditional goal of PR).

If you do this AND follow the guidelines up above, you will succeed in growing your brand authority in the eyes of SEARCH ENGINES as well.

Once you find these websites, you can implement these four tactics to an effective PR strategy:

PR Syndication Platforms (for SEO)

Warning: This is where the article starts to deviate a bit. You are now crossing over from using REAL PR for SEO, to using SEO PR for SEO (not the same as hiring a publicist or PR company)

There are several PR websites you can join that will connect you with blogs and journalists. The benefit is additional exposure for cheap, and you don’t even have to write content – starting to sound like “SEO” now huh? “SEO” aka little hacks for lazy people who want results.

It’s true. SEO’s are lazy. I stand by it.

Some places to start are: HARO (Help A Reporter Out), PRWeb, and PR NewsWire.

Note – these platforms are really for press syndication and not equivalent to hiring a real PR company to get you legitimate placements. This is “SEO PR” and should be done strategically.

The “aha-moment” for SEO for many people is always this – the key to getting links is exclusivity & barrier to entry. If anyone can pay for a link somewhere it is not that valuable. This is the key difference between PR syndication & a PR company. These syndication sites cost $250-$600 (depending on the package) to get listed on 100s of sites.

Not that big of a barrier to entry.

Whereas hiring a PR company is much more expensive, and they have spent a significant amount of time, energy & resources creating relationships with publishers & media companies where you can get placements – a much higher barrier of entry.

Launch a Campaign for Guest Posting

Guest posting is writing or publishing an article on someone else’s blog or website.

It is one of the easiest ways for you to get free media coverage and links back to your website.

First, you have to look for blogs in your niche that accepts guest posts.

Second, reach out to the editor(s) and pitch a blog post idea to the publication. If your pitch is accepted, write the article and mention your brand in it with a hyperlink to the page you are looking to acquire links for – pretty simple.

It is a win-win scenario. The blog gets a free quality content written for them, while you get a free backlink to your website.

Create an Email Outreach Campaign

There are websites who may write about your brand without you even knowing it. You can take this opportunity to build more links to your website. Be notified whenever you are mentioned by setting up a Google Alert.

Reach out to the publications who mentioned you and send a thank you email. In this thank you email, also ask them to link the article back to your website. They will most likely appreciate you reaching out to them.

Make Use of the Skyscraper Technique

Most websites use the skyscraper technique to build links – essentially this a method of creating high quality content & reaching out to industry relevant websites who are already linking to similar content and asking them to link to you as well.

Ever heard the saying “build a better mousetrap”? Kind of the same thing.

  1. Find the content that your competitors are getting their traffic from:

2. Find out who is linking to that type of content already (let’s say for this example we are talking about a piece of content about “search engine optimization for lawyers”

3. Read all of their content and make a more comprehensive & authoritative piece.

4. Reach out to all those “hundreds of websites linking to the top people” and ask them to link to your content as well!

PR and SEO: How To Properly Use PR for Maximum SEO Impact was written by Devin Schumacher and first appeared on SERP Co.

6 Ways That Every Business Can Benefit From Content Marketing

Developing a winning digital marketing strategy is so difficult because there is a lot of conflicting information out there about what works. Some people say that SEO is the most important thing to consider while others swear that it’s all about social media. Others suggest that digital marketing is overrated in some industries and you’ll still do better with more traditional offline marketing strategies. 

Trying to make sense of all of that conflicting information is tough and it often leads to disjointed marketing campaigns. Businesses end up spreading themselves too thin across lots of different strategies without a cohesive plan, and that’s never effective. However, if you’re looking for a digital marketing strategy that brings multiple benefits to the business and is cost effective, content marketing is the way to go. It still needs to be part of a wider digital marketing plan but if you can deliver regular, good quality content to your customers, you will see improvements across the board. 

Source

Most people automatically think of blogs when they think of content marketing but that’s only one small part of it. Content marketing refers to any valuable content that you deliver to your customers free of charge. That could also include ebooks, online tools, infographics and much more. Offering this kind of content can benefit your business and improve your marketing performance in so many different ways. If you haven’t put much thought into your content marketing strategy so far, it’s worth considering these benefits that it brings to your business. 

Promoting Without Selling Yourself 

Let’s face it, nobody really likes adverts. You’re not likely to pay much attention to the social media page or website of a business if you’re constantly bombarded with adverts for their products and nothing else. If you consider the social media pages of most successful businesses, only a small percentage of their output is direct marketing like that because that’s not what customers want to see. If that’s all you offer, people will unfollow you and they probably won’t visit your site again. That’s why content marketing is so good because you’re offering your customers something without the expectation of payment. 

It’s important that you build a relationship with a customer before they are willing to spend their money and you’re not going to be able to do that simply by filling their inbox with marketing emails. If anything, that will just put them off ever wanting to deal with you in future. However, if they’re regularly visiting your website to make use of the quality content that you post on there, you start to build that relationship. If they are in need of products similar to yours, it’s likely that they will think of you first. 

Improving SEO 

Source

Whether you agree that SEO should be at the center of your digital marketing campaign or not, you can’t deny that it is very important. SEO is a tricky thing to get right and so many businesses struggle with it because a lot of them don’t realize how important content marketing is. In fact, content marketing and SEO are intrinsically linked and you can’t really be successful at one without being successful at the other. Good SEO requires keywords, articles, and links, all of which can be found in your content. You can think of content marketing as the practical application of SEO in a lot of ways. Site mapping is another central feature of SEO and a good content marketing strategy always encourages that as well. Constant updating and output is important in SEO too because a site that hasn’t changed at all in the last year is not likely to appear very high in the search rankings because the algorithms will consider it outdated and irrelevant. As expected, constant output is a central feature of content marketing as well. 

However, it’s important to understand that content marketing doesn’t automatically equal good SEO and vice versa. The two are very closely linked and when combined properly, they are very effective, but a lot of businesses make the mistake of thinking that they don’t need to bother with SEO because they are good with content marketing but that isn’t true. Content marketing is important but ideally, you need a good SEO company that will help you to build that content marketing into a wider SEO strategy. A lot of businesses fail at both because they’re only doing one or the other. 

Reaching A Wider Audience 

Increasing the scope of your marketing is important if you’re going to see continued growth. There are a lot of different ways that you can do this, social media marketing or referral programs, for example. But one of the best things that you can do is up your content marketing game. When people find something that they like online, they share it with their followers on social media. That means if you’re putting out great content all of the time and your site is being shared often, you’ll be exposed to a lot of new customers. Your investment is relatively small but the return that you will see on quality content is very big in comparison. This is a far more effective way of expanding your reach than something like marketing emails, for example. Once the articles are live on the website, they will continue to draw more traffic to your site at no extra cost. When you compare this to something like pay per click advertising where you’ll be paying a fee for each new visitor to the site, it’s clear that content marketing is one of the most cost effective ways to expose your business to new customers. 

Shortening The Sales Cycle 

Getting customers through the sales cycle and closing a sale as quickly as possible is important. Often, access to information holds up the process because customers have a lot of questions about the features of a product or the materials that the product is made from etc. If your sales and customer service team are constantly on the phone or emailing responses to these basic questions, that’s not a very good use of their time. But if you use content marketing effectively, you can often shorten the sales cycle. If you’re posting quality content about the products and going into more detail about the features, those questions are answered. You can also write about the manufacturing processes that you use and any changes that you’re making to reduce your impact on the environment. Those sorts of things improve your public image and also give customers the information that they need to make informed purchasing decisions. 

Another benefit of using content marketing is that you can give people a sense of your company culture. Your attitudes toward the environment are a part of that but people may also be interested in the way that you handle employees and what your eventual business goals are. People are increasingly interested in what kind of business they’re dealing with, rather than just the product itself, and you can use content marketing to show your customers who you are. 

Solidify Your Brand 

Source

You should already know that your brand is a very important part of your marketing strategy. It’s always the companies that can build the strongest and most recognizable brand that have the most success. There are lots of different ways to increase brand awareness from good social media to more traditional techniques like branded merchandise. But you should never underestimate the power of content marketing when building a good brand. 

The brands that people connect with the most are the ones that they consider to be leading authorities in their industry. Amazon, for example, has the strongest brand in the online retail world because people know that they can get you almost any product and deliver it to you the following day. In short, they know everything there is to know about online retail and they’re pushing the boundaries of what is possible in terms of delivery times and choice of product. If you want to be successful, you need to be the Amazon of your industry and content marketing is one of the best ways to do that. 

If you’re posting regular, good quality content that gives people a lot of useful information that relates to your products, you show them that you are an expert in that area and you are a trusted source of information. 

Build Trust 

Trust between you and your customers is important for a number of reasons. As we’ve already seen, content marketing can help you to position yourself as an authority in your industry which is important because it means that customers will trust in the quality of your product. However, it’s also important that your customers trust you as a business, especially if you’re selling products online because there is always a danger of scams. If a company is consistently releasing quality content on their website, customers know that they are a legitimate business. 

Content marketing is a hot topic at the moment for a reason, because it’s so effective and benefits your business in so many ways. If you aren’t using it already, you really need to invest in it. 

5 Ways You Should Be Measuring Ecommerce Success (And How To Do It)

Image credit: PxHere

If you’re unfamiliar with the intricacies of ecommerce, you might make the mistake of assuming that measuring success is as simple as looking at how much profit is being made. That’s far from the case. While making a profit is certainly the end goal, it’s not only the only sign of success, nor does it necessarily mean that a business is healthy.

The smart ecommerce merchant knows this, and patiently monitors the general performance of their business to build a broad understanding of what’s happening (and what they can expect in the imminent future). If you want to max out your sales and help your ecommerce store reach its full potential, you need to do the same — let’s look at 5 ways (other than looking at profit) in which you can measure ecommerce success, and how you can use them effectively:

Following brand mentions

Branding matters. Every time your brand is mentioned online, it has some kind of effect on how you’re perceived overall, and that perception will gradually alter your level of success. Negative mentions will invariably sap interest in your business, even leading your strongest supporters to start to question their loyalty.

If your store is doing the right things, then when your brand name comes up on Twitter or Facebook, it should be as part of a positive comment. The stronger the positivity, the greater the level of detail, and the larger the number of followers, the more it will benefit you.

The easiest way to track brand mentions is to use a dedicated tool, like the aptly-named Mention. Set up the terms you’re looking for, and you’ll easily be able to see when people talk about you — take advantage to reach out to people praising you, and you’ll be able to achieve even more with that positive coverage.

Monitoring cash flow

Profit won’t save you if you run into major issues with cash flow, which is the sum of all the money entering and exiting your business. The moment you don’t have enough money in the bank to cover your ongoing costs, you’ll run into huge problems — you could even fail to make your hosting payments and see your store taken offline.

Ensure that you always have enough money in reserve to cover your costs if some customer payments come in late or there’s an unexpected issue with your stock. You can survive a lack of profit by continuing to sell and turning things around, but a lack of cash flow will sink you.

All you need to do is add up all your regular costs (restocking, software fees, advertising, etc.) and log them in one place along with your average sales revenues — you can use a spreadsheet or a business accounting tool, it’s up to you. After that, just monitor things closely, and take action to cut costs or boost sales when you start to feel the squeeze.

Reading reviews

Aggregate review ratings are powerful on webpages and in search results — in general, a 4.5-star store will be viewed as much more worthy of attention than a 3.5-star store. Individual reviews, meanwhile, are very useful as highlighted testimonials, whether on your homepage or on your specific product pages.

By keeping an eye on your reviews, you’ll get a solid idea of how your overall service is being received: not just how much customers are liking your products, but also how they’re rating your website, shipping, prices, and support processes. Sentiment is important. If it starts to turn against you, you need to make suitable changes.

Your ecommerce CMS will likely have native review functionality, so you can start there, but you may want to expand the options (particularly at enterprise level where so much more is on the line): for instance, you can pick up Product Reviews & Ratings if you’re running Magento, or you can supplement a Shopify Plus store with the free product review app available in the app store (there’s also the option of using the dedicated Trustpilot integration). After that, it’s just a matter of making a habit of reading through reviews and identifying actionable takeaways.

Tallying loyal customers

Loyal customers are incredibly valuable in the ecommerce game: they return again and again, spend more, recommend you to others, and provide you with insightful feedback. That’s why a great way to tell if your business is moving in the right direction is to count how many loyal customers you have.

If you’re doing great business in general but your customers aren’t coming back, that suggests that you have a problem. You’ll run out of new customers sooner or later, and your revenue will dry up. You need to impress customers as much as possible so they want to stick around.

Look at your analytics to see what your customer retention rate is like, and to check your average order value and the average number of orders per customer. The better these metrics look, the more stable your business will be in the long term.

Checking search rankings

Appearing near the top for relevant search terms brings in a lot of actionable traffic without requiring much ongoing financial commitment, so how you rank in Google should matter to you. It will be particularly significant when you’re engaging in forecasting, because if you know that you rank for certain evergreen terms, you’ll know that you can expect more traffic to arrive.

Your website should be linked to Google Search Console, and you can find the information you need there, so log in and take a close look at where your pages are appearing for particular terms. Are you looking at upward trends? Seeing irrelevant keywords?

When your rankings are going up, that’s a great sign that your content is performing well relative to that of your competitors. If you’re ranking for irrelevant keywords, though, that means that your pages aren’t correctly written (or formatted). Think carefully about what you want your pages to rank for, and cater the content accordingly.

As we’ve seen, e-commerce success is a complicated thing to gauge, with numerous elements coming together to steadily influence how much profit you end up with. By doing each of the 5 things we’ve been through, you’ll form a much stronger understanding of how well your store is performing.