I’ve used VitaSave as an example in posts before (see my Category page optimization and eCommerce search template posts), because they’ve won me over as a customer, but I regularly spot areas of their site that could use a bit of optimization.
Overall, I’d say they do a great job with branding and PR, but their SEO game needs some major help. But they’re not alone in this.
Ecommerce sites regularly struggle with SEO, for a few reasons:
- They have too many pages, and experience cannibalization
- There isn’t enough actual content on their page, despite dozens and even hundreds of images.
- Their pages load slow due to the images and videos
- Navigation is more complex and harder for Google to index
That isn’t to say none of this can improve.
In this post, we’ll focus on a single category on VitaSave’s website, and focus on eCommerce optimization efforts they can use to increase traffic by 50%.
What does VitaSave show up for
Before we pick a category to optimize, let’s look at what VitaSave ranks for and where. It’s important to assess their baseline before we can show improvements.
Also, knowing where VitaSave stacks up will help us decide on a category.
Looks like we’ve got about 1,400 keywords ranking in the top five positions nationally. Not bad, considering VitaSave hasn’t really taken advantage of technical SEO.
When we narrow it down to high-volume traffic in the top four positions, we can get a good idea of their primary keywords.
We have 24 keywords in this list with 500+ searches/month and in positions 1-4.
Most of the 23 keywords are branded terms, but I do spot some highly competitive keywords:
- Health food store – position 4
- Supplement store – position 4
- Vitamins Canada – position 2
VitaSave is clearly a powerful eCommerce store, but can they do better? Let’s dig in more and find out.
I consider position 5-10 as low hanging fruit. It’s not always possible to boost these keywords to the top five positions but it’s worth a try.
We’re going to try this with the category I pick to optimize.
Looks like we’ve got 3,313 keywords in positions 5-10. That’s a lot and again, most are branded terms that are fairly difficult to rank for.
From this list, it looks like VitaSave could use some help with protein powders. Mind you, it’s highly competitive and worthwhile if they have the budget.
“Protein powders” makes an excellent parent keyword to go after, considering VitaSave’s high domain authority.
It looks like VitaSave was hit with the December 2020 algorithm update. More information can be found on Search Engine Land. Looks like VitaSave might have a quality and credibility issue they’ll need to resolve.
Researching protein powders
We have our category- protein powders, so now it’s time to lay out our initial research.
Here’s what we know so far:
- People search for protein powders by brand name.
- There are niche categories like vegan, iron, whey, collagen, or plant-based.
- There are different forms of protein, like bars, powders, or hydrolyzed protein products.
Finally, people use protein for different purposes. Some use it for muscle gain or diet. Some have specific reasons why they can’t take whey products and use plant-based products instead. Others use collagen to improve joints, hair, and nails.
Planning our strategy
That simple initial research actually tells us enough about user intent to lay out a strategy.
(I’ve written extensively on how user research can be done to focus on addressing pain points (example).)
If we had access to the customers of VitaSave, we would destroy the competition. Since we don’t, I’ll rely on the tools I have.
Before we get into how, we’ll organize our category page. Take a look at the search terms, questions, and people also asked data:
(All of this can be found on Ahrefs.)
Here’s how I would organize the protein category, based on audience intent:
- Brands – organize this properly. There are dozens of brands
- A section to narrow products based on user need (i.e. muscle growth)
- Show a section for people’s dietary restrictions (i.e. vegan)
- Types of protein (i.e. powder, bars, collagen, hydrolyzed)
- Answer user questions through a content cluster
- Latest articles specific to this category
Wireframing our category
VitaSave already has a protein powder category page, but it’s lackluster, with low content and a filtering system.
There is nothing wrong with how they’ve started. It’s how they’ve finished- which is not built for conversion or rankings.
I would definitely spend more time on their filtering system, but I think they can learn a lot about that on my search template article.
Using Natural Language AI to improve search rankings
To improve SEO rankings for VitaSave’s protein powder category, we’re going to start with a bit of competitor research.
Ignoring websites like Healthline, WebMD, or health magazines that rank high, we’re going to focus on other eCommerce websites that rank higher than VitaSave.
Their top competitors are:
Once I ran my report, I instantly found places where we can improve the category page.
Download my full report on what we need to do to improve the rankings on the protein page here.
One key reminder: don’t let an SEO write content for webpages. After finding the right keywords, SEO’s should add their recommendations to a wireframe and pass it off to a professional copywriter.
We use SurferSEO to optimize our pages. Every time we create a keyword report, we use their content editor, which enables our copywriter to optimize a landing page in real-time. It’s kind of like Google Docs but with a score sheet.
SurferSEO has made this part of our work very easy. It technically includes most of our keyword research and the ability to manage the copy all in one place.
Backlink gap analysis
Next, we need to look at how realistic it would be to rank for protein powder and related keywords with a backlink gap analysis.
SEMrush does a great job of helping you visualize where you are versus your competition.
In this case, VitaSave is clearly not last, but certainly not the best. However, we can see a downward trend with the number of root domains linking back to the domain we’re working with.
Let’s dig deeper and learn more about the nature of our competitor’s links. These are links pointing back to the protein powder page of each competitor.
For a big brand, we have some work to do here. A few low authority links and a handful of good backlinks is not going to cut it when you’re competing with Vega or Now Foods.
Now Foods is doing pretty good for an internal page. That’s 22 links going to an inner page.
My Vega seems to have a lot of backlinks to their protein powder category. I also noticed they are getting more traffic than Now Foods, which would indicate that they rank for more keywords than Now Foods.
Supplement King has no backlinks pointing to their protein powder page but they do get a healthy number of visits to this page.
Tropeaka has a very good backlink profile for their protein powder page and to give credit where credit is due, their traffic is growing at a very healthy rate.
My recommendation for VitaSave is to not only improve their protein landing page but also build backlinks within a timeframe.
Here’s what I am recommending:
- Build at least 7 high authority backlinks with a DR range of 60+. I would do this within 3 months.
- Build 10 backlinks with a DR range of 45-59. This can be done within 5 months.
- Build another 15 links with a DR range of 30-44 within the first 3 months.
- Finally, build 20 links with a DR range of 20-30. This can be done within 6 months.
The goal would not be to stop building links when we reach our goal. The marketing team should continuously build links. They can slow their efforts down once reaching the goal, but always remain more active than the competition.
Keep in mind that this strategy can be very powerful through blogging and content clusters, which we’ll get into next.
Building a content cluster
I’ve seen a few SEOs talk trash about content clusters without any proof as to why it doesn’t work. I am here to say that they’re talking out of their asses.
Content clusters work and I have the proof:
(I have around a dozen websites that prove that related content structures work and are a logical outcome of how people go through blog content.)
Let’s get back to how we can help support VitaSave with content clusters for the protein powder category.
We’ve got thousands of searches and clusters of topics we can interlink with each other.
Download the full content cluster report here.
The idea is to create compelling and creative content with a media strategy. Mediocre content will get you nowhere. It’s not about just ranking these keywords but how you’ll monetize a project.
For example, if you take the content cluster “casein protein” make sure you talk to experts, individuals who take the supplement and provide clear evidence as to why this type of product works for a particular group.
Write another post comparing whey with casein. The content strategist can interlink these articles together.
Finally, let’s not forget to link to your product category of casein protein products on all of these articles.
Assume that we rank #1 in the top 3 positions for all the casein protein keywords.
On average, the top 3 positions take 40% of the traffic. That’s 40% of 8,090, which is 3,236. If we convert 3% of this traffic, we would get 97 new customers each month in just the casein protein content cluster.
Obviously, you can’t rank for everything but this is a numbers game. You do your best with each cluster and try to rank for as many as you can. If you apply game theory, the numbers are on your side.
There is always room for improvement and VitaSave has the opportunity to triple its traffic. I hope they take my advice. There’s a lot to gain.
For those of you who think this can be applied to your projects, go for it. What do you have to lose?
That’s it, folks. Until next time, catch y’all on my next post.