Online businesses will live or die depending on their SEO strategy as the ruthless toll of the cost of living crisis means almost a third of businesses went to the wall, reveals the latest government statistics.

You need to throw everything you can to make your business work in this climate, even just to survive, and one weapon for e-commerce business must be SEO.


Search Engine Optimisation has never been more critical and having a solid SEO strategy is imperative as many online retailers struggle to get the rankings, on page one, that they want.

According to Manchester SEO agency Dark Horse, there are three key pillars that will help online retail companies climb the rankings table. Something that is vital as most consumers opt to buy from a business on top of page one.

The pillars are Technical SEO, Content Marketing and Digital PR, a combination of which will work to get the Google algorithm onside, so it serves your company to customers first (or at least as one on the top page) i.e. – the gold above the fold!

Pillar 1: Technical SEO

This is as it sounds, extremely technical! Basically, it means forensically checking everything on your website is as sound as it can be. It’s painstaking and requires detailed knowledge of website backend processes, perhaps one to leave to the experts who admit that it’s tough work but essential to prepare the ground for good SEO.

It means fixing everything from your meta descriptions, page speed loading, core web vitals to past and present web content. It’s a faff but a necessary one. A strong bone structure for your SEO.

Pillar 2: Content marketing

If Technical SEO is the skeleton of your ranking strategy, then Content Marketing is the blood coursing through your site.

This is all about keyword identification then creating seemingly organic content campaigns that drive traffic to your site.

It’s blogs, web copy, socials, everything that’s known as ‘owned’ content, i.e., space where your company lives, and it is an artform.

One common mistake that it could cost an online retailer thousands, is to leave Content Marketing to a junior team member, with limited keyword knowledge because it needs an expert touch.

Pillar 3: Digital PR

Digital PR is the food your site needs to help it rise in the rankings. Most of us know what PR is but this is the next generation with the specific aim of creating authoritative backlinks.

It’s what Google (other search engines are available) considers your ‘earned’ content and that is one of the critical parts of its algorithm.

How much earned content you have is how Google values you. It is a volume and a quality of links exercise.

Dark Horse’s approach is one of finding high domain authority sites and getting those precious backlinks. Achieved by using its handpicked talent of former journalists and SEO experts to place everything from native content to online tools.

The results speak for themselves in terms of generating traffic and have the added bonus of increasing your website’s backlink profile through Digital PR and link building services – the real links effect!

Aim high

Being number one will not only give you a well-earned sense of pride but will also pay off – literally.

Consumers need information right now and will choose from retail companies that are on the first page and why wouldn’t they?

You should aim to be number 1 in the rankings. A good SEO strategy should get you to the top without blowing all your marketing budget.

How long will it take?

Data experts say you should start to see a return on your SEO investment by the fourth month.

This is allowing for a keyword strategy, Technical SEO and a Content Marketing plan, to be put in place in the first 12 weeks and for Digital PR to launch.

It does take time for the strategy to pull through leads and traffic once it’s implemented, and there will be ongoing work to maintain your higher ranking. That’s because of the all-important algorithm, which constantly changes, keeping agencies and business on its toes.

Can I afford SEO?

With the right team or agency by your side, SEO should be one of the best value for money parts of the marketing mix that your business operates.

Doing SEO right will give you back any investment in terms of consumers’ clicking and buying from your site.

And there will be other perks as the associated Content Marketing and Digital PR will increase your company’s profile and position you as a leader in your field.

Start with a ballpark budget and, look at what that budget can buy you in terms of expertise, especially as search engines are spurning tactics for what it considers organic and authentic content.

And don’t forget to aim for the top!