Published on May 20th, 2012 | by Amy Edwards0
Top 5 reasons your online competition is beating you
By Amy @BubbleJobs
So you’ve got your e-commerce site up and running and you’ve amassed a few loyal customers but you’ve yet to make a real dent in the industry and your biggest competitors aren’t even aware you exist – well, no-one said running online business was easy!
While it can be tempting to just pack it all in, give up and go and work for someone else, now’s the time to dig your heels in, stand your ground and have a good, hard think about what you’re doing wrong and what they’re doing right if you’re really passionate about making your e-commerce site a resounding success! Here are some pointers to get you started!
Better content: Yes, I know I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again – content really is ruling the roost at the moment when it comes to getting into Google’s good books. If you’re getting your butt well and truly kicked by your competition then there’s a good chance their online site content is playing a part. Now when I’m talking about content, I’m not just talking about the actual words on the site. Products, pictures, videos; they all come under the remit of online content too so if you’re lacking in any one of these areas it’s time to pull your finger out.
Older site: If your site is brand new and your nearest competitor’s site is five years old then it’s no wonder they’re beating you. Older sites have two real benefits; 1. they’ve been around for a while so have built up their own set of valuable customers and 2. they have more authority with Google. The solution? Unless you’ve got a time machine and can go back in time, there’s not much you can do about this one apart from try to increase your site’s PR by creating an authoritative site in terms of content and customer service.
Better SEO: Poor on-site SEO is one of the most common reasons for a site’s poor performance. Not really sure what SEO is and how you need to apply it to your site? Then you need to learn… and fast! Great on-site SEO is essential to any e-commerce site that wants to get found and make money. If you’re getting beaten week after week by your competitors that don’t use PPC then it’s highly likely that their on-site SEO is one of the many reasons for their continued success. Look at their page titles, H1, metadescriptions and keywords – all look better than yours in terms of keywords and originality? There’s your problem!
Better links: Following the Google Penguin update it’s no secret that Google takes incoming backlinks into consideration when it comes to rankings. If your competition is a well known brand name then there’s a good chance they’ve managed to naturally amass more backlinks than you simply because of their name and reputation. OK, so you’ll never be able to beat them in this respect because you’re not a big-name brand so you need to take a different approach. Great, unique content which offers customers something different can be invaluable when it comes to attracting incoming links but it’s really up to you to get your content promoted, found and linked to – just remember quality links are definitely more important than quantity links in this post-Penguin era!
Better usability/design: If your site is pretty similar to your competitors in terms of content, links and SEO then it’s a good bet that your site’s usability and design could be the weak links. Customers want to be able to find and purchase the products they want quickly and easy – they don’t want to go on a wild goose chase! Similarly they want a professional looking site which they know they can trust – quirky pictures and images can be a great way to make your site stand out but if they don’t help to convey a professional profile then it might be time to give them the old heave-ho!