As e-commerce sales continue to rise, the internet has become an essential platform for retailers but search engine optimisation is crucial to target the right audience.

Understanding the make-up of your target audience, establishing keywords and building up a portfolio of organic content are all essential elements of search engine optimisation (SEO), according to leading SEO specialist Jason Mun.

Mun, who is the director of search and insight at Overdose and was recognised as SEMrush’s search personality of the year last month, told Retailbiz the most important tips to leverage SEO.

  1. Knowing your audience

The most critical element of SEO is gaining an understanding of exactly who your target audience is, according to Mun.

“The first step is to fully understand your target audience and fully immerse yourself into their mindset,” he said.

Once you have a detailed understanding of who your target audience is, you will be able to develop keywords to attract these consumers.

  1. Compiling keywords

The second key component of SEO is brainstorming the keywords that are relevant to or used by your target audience.

“Once you get that you can then start off with the keywords research process. Everything in SEO starts with keyword searches and identifying the right keywords that users are proactively searching for will then ensure you can then use those to optimise your website.”

Mun says there are various tools which can help retailers to identify some of these keywords, including SEMrush – a database of 5 billion keywords with a breakdown of some keywords in different countries and regions.

“There’s a breakdown by country specific keywords outlining how it performs there so it really helps retailers to scale, if they want to expand their business overseas they can use a tool like that to analyse search volumes and keywords before going all-in.”

  1. Organic content

But SEO shouldn’t be done in isolation, Mun says. It should be accompanied by other digital channels, including social channels and organic content on websites.

“SEO works best in conjunction with other channels and where the entire website is moving towards the same goal. SEO used to be a very techy, geeky channel where it was very difficult for a business owner to grasp but those lines have blurred now, it’s more branding, brand signals and social sharing so all those different channels play a role in boosting SEO performance on a site as well.”

Investing in organic, textual content is also very important, Mun says, particularly with the rise of voice-based AI like Google Home and Alexa, which search based on textual keywords.

But video content is also really good for consumer engagement, Mun says.

“Once you get a person on your website you want to make that person stick around on the website longer so by having other rich media on that page you help the user on their customer journey.”

This investment in content is absolutely crucial to help retailers future-proof, Mun says, with investment in content where the future of the industry is heading.