If you run an e-commerce business and want to ramp up your SEO, you must be wondering: Can writing and publishing informational content about your products truly bring in more customers? Is this strategy worth your time and money?
The short answer is YES.
Data from a recent study shows that informational content pages can indeed boost an online shop’s ranking and drive relevant traffic. Here’s a summary of what happened.
The subject of the study was a fairly large e-commerce shop with 80 categories and over 60,000 product pages. It had 25 informational content pages at the time of the experiment, which together generated only 2.36% of sales in the form of organic search traffic. That’s not much at all. However, a considerable share of the website’s backlinks pointed to these pages.
It’s worth noting that the site was launched in 2011 and underwent a major SEO overhaul in 2017. On the technical side, its pages were made easier to crawl and index. Page speed was also significantly improved. On the content side, more informational content pages were added and old ones were reorganized. Contextual internal links were also added from the informational pages to relevant category and product pages.
To determine if the informational content pages truly had an impact on the shop’s rankings and traffic, they were all removed. All their URLs were redirected to the home page.
Three weeks later, the same pages were restored.
The Immediate Impact
Here’s where things got interesting.
After the informational content pages were removed, the shop saw a huge drop in its traffic and overall rankings.
This didn’t happen overnight, though. Google wasn’t able to detect the changes right away. For a few days after removal, the deleted pages kept ranking well even though they were redirecting to the home page.
But 10 days after removal, Google annihilated all rankings for the directory that previously contained the informational pages.
The e-commerce shop’s overall visibility also took a serious hit. Within a few more days, the home page and some of the major category pages lost their page 1 rankings for high-volume commercial intent search queries. The domain lost 1/3 of its overall visibility.
Even more interesting was what happened when the informational content pages were restored three weeks later.
The shop’s visibility went back to normal within a span of three weeks.
Amazingly, its home page and category pages reclaimed their top rankings, too.
What We Can Learn
The study suggests that informational content pages can indeed boost the rankings of an e-commerce website.
Why? Because Google recognizes the bearing of backlinks from other relevant websites pointing to these informational pages, which is then passed on to the shop’s commercial pages via internal contextual links.
Here’s the thing about informational content: They are useful and quotable, so they naturally acquire backlinks from other domains. In fact, in this study, five of the 10 pages with the most backlinks are informational content pages. Even though their direct impact on sales is small, their backlinks help the commercial pages rank better and ultimately boost sales through organic traffic.
The benefits of informational pages go beyond SEO, too. Think of it as soft selling. By providing valuable information without asking for anything in return, you can boost your brand’s trustworthiness and credibility, prompting visitors to become loyal customers.
In a world of disruptive ads and spam emails, informative content is a breath of fresh air. It might just be what you need to stand out from the sea of other online shops and outrank your competition.
Do you need help creating informative content that will bring in more people to your e-commerce business? SEOValley can help. Talk to us today.