A recent case study in Search Engine Land reveals what those of us working in SEO over the years have known: great content helps drive e-commerce sales.
The whitepaper details the results of a plan to increase informational content as part of an overall SEO strategy to increase sales on an e-commerce website. Adding the informational content resulted in an increase in sales generated via organic search from EUR 359k in 2016, the year before the SEO strategy was implemented, to EUR 914k in 2019.
In 2019, the informational content pages only attracted traffic worth 2.36% of the overall SEO revenue, yet were largely responsible for the 2.5x increase in overall sales.
While these numbers show the relationship between content and sales, the most interesting part to me was the number of informational content articles required to make a change. The website had 60,000 product pages and 80 category pages, but from 2016 to 2019 added only 25 pages of informational content. These 25 pages were responsible for the growth in organic sales and for half the backlinks to the e-commerce site.
So how did the authors of the white paper know the value of the 25 informational content pages? They unpublished the pages. Because of a business merger, the informational content pages were removed. The results were dramatic. The report states:
- “Within three weeks after the removal of the informational content pages, the shop had lost almost one third of its overall visibility, although the removed content previously only made up roughly 1% of the domain’s visibility.”
- “The home page and several category pages lost lots of their page 1 rankings for commercial intent search queries with high search volumes.”
In the past I recommended that clients use a blog to regularly publish articles that would not only improve the website’s freshness, but could be re-purposed as:
- Articles for newsletters
- Content for Facebook, Google Business and LinkedIn
To accomplish this, I created hundreds of 300-500 word articles to rank for different keywords on a regular basis.
Today the trend has moved from short articles to long-form (~2,500 words) articles, a.k.a. evergreen content to serve as the foundation of an organic content marketing strategy.
My clients who are making this change are seeing the results in higher search rankings for their targeted keywords. While I didn’t need the above whitepaper to convince me, it does help prove the change is necessary.
And here’s my prediction: in the next few years, great informational content will be a requirement to even have a chance to rank on Google. And when all the words have been written about a subject it will be the YouTube videos that win. But that’s an article for a different day.