Copyright 2005 Richard Keir
An interesting eCommerce success factor that isn't precisely overlooked, but which is often thought about more in terms of being a way of feeding search engine spiders has to do with providing content. In a very real sense customer's job is to consume. That's why you're in business.
Think in terms of providing information your customers need to do their job of consuming. What does that mean? Consider what you sell. The content on your site needs to focus on your products - whatever they happen to be. Reviews and comparative information on items available through your web site can help focus and direct your customer to what they need, want and can afford.
Too often eCommerce sites use only marginally relevant information as content - or content that may match general theme of site but has nothing to do with what's being sold, promoted, etc. That could be more or less adequate as spider food, but it isn't going to help your customers do their job of consuming your products.
The better you combine these two goals - informing your customers and feeding spiders - better you'll do at both. Irrelevant search listings are pretty much a waste of your bandwidth. What you want is highly targeted customers interested in what you're offering and since search engines love focused content and integrated sites, make that work for you.
And I'm not suggesting blatant repetitive hyped up sales copy. You want to inform, compare, offer added information that will help focus your customers. Use your content to develop desire and provide comparative information on similar products at varying price levels. Remember: desire not need.
While we all need things - and while you may be convinced everyone absolutely needs your product - we mostly buy based on desire - because we want it. The better you do at turning that need into immediate desire, better your site will perform.
Again, not a fevered sales pitch. That's likely to turn off a large number of customers. Examples, stories and carefully chosen (and real) testimonials can support process, too. Using video and/or audio can have a dramatic impact. Let your customers draw obvious conclusions.