How to Configure AWR Cloud for eCommerce Sites

We’ve repeatedly been asked by our users doing SEO for eCommerce websites which would be the best way to configure their AWR Cloud accounts. And tracking the rankings progress for thousands or even hundreds of thousands of items from different product categories might get overwhelming at some point. Each product belongs to a category within the online shop (e.g. a smart TV can be assigned to the TVs category), while, in turn, this category belongs to a “broader” category (TVs belong to the Electronics department) and so on. I feel you, I would be at least as confused as you are. Kinda like this:

confused cat

Not to mention that each product has its own competitors (although TVs and computers are both electronics, you need to analyze your competitors at a product level). Speaking of competitors, an important lesson I’ve learned during my early days as a marketer was that, for instance, a medical center’s competitors weren’t only the other clinics with similar specialties, but the single doctor’s offices able to prescribe a treatment, as well. It got me like this:

It’s the needs of your audience you should focus on and on the competitors fulfilling those needs instead of limiting your competition analysis to similar businesses (when your teeth hurt, you go to a dentist, whether he/she has a solo cabinet or practices in a medical clinic that offers numerous specialties). Same goes in the eCommerce shop case, where the competitors can be both other eCommerce shops selling TVs besides other tons of products, or just a specialized website selling, let’s say, Samsung TVs exclusively.

It’s up to you and the market you operate in to define the level of depth you analyze your competitors – especially their number (you might want to focus only on the well-established brands). Here’s where AWR Cloud comes to the rescue with 2 different ways to configure your account based on the number of competitors you’re tracking:

1. The Overall Setup aka Macro Approach

50 is the lucky number. If you have up to 50 competitor domains you’re tracking for the entire eCommerce site, then this is the most suitable setup for you. Let’s say you’re doing SEO for amazon.com (lucky you! 🙂) and you’re focusing only on “big” competitors such as ebay.com, walmart.com etc., the good news is that only the domains are counted as competitors and not the individual product pages for each of them. So 50 competitors for your entire eCommerce site might be just enough.

website URLs

In this scenario, all you have to do is create a single project containing all the keywords grouped on product categories and all the major competitors. Grouping keywords on categories can be done from the Settings – Website settings – Keywords menu, by selecting the keywords in question and assigning them a tag:

keyword tags

If you’re more of a video learner, here’s a short tutorial that walks you through the entire keywords grouping process – you’d better enjoy this video, it was made by lil’ Quentin Tarantino a.k.a. me 🙂:

Bonus tip: working with tons of inputs may imply that you have all the keywords and their corresponding categories already stored up somewhere (spreadsheet, Excel file, you name it). Good news: there’s a fast way to import them into your Cloud account.

When setting up the reports, you’d need to have individual reports for each product category. To do this, go to Reports – Master reports – create a report and add the sections you like. Then, hit the Data tab and in the Keywords section, select only the keywords specific for a single product category (e.g. Electronics).

report data

Then follow the same steps for the rest of the product categories.

Bonus tip: you may want to create a global report for all the keywords you’re tracking, regardless of the categories they’re assigned to. In this case, you need to check a “secret” option found under Reports – Master reports – “Show advanced options”, which is called “Organize keywords by groups”:

grouping keywords when doing SEO for eCommerce websites

This way it would be easier for you to make sense of the report in an ocean of rankings by keeping things clean and tidy 🙂

Now let’s see the pros and the cons for this setup type.

Pros:

  • The reports are available in all format types: PDF, HTML, XLS and CSV
  • You have all the information in one place and you can easily switch from an “all-keywords” view to a single “product category” view within the same project

Cons:

  • You can track only up to 50 competitors per project which can be all fun and games if the total number of competitors across all product categories doesn’t exceed this number 🙂

2. The Product Category Setup aka Micro Approach

This setup is recommended especially when focusing your SEO efforts at a product level, so dividing tons of products into different projects (each project for a product category) is crucial. It’s also advisable to use this approach when you have members of your team responsible only for one or more product categories (e.g. Tim does SEO for “Electronics”, Jane works on improving rankings for products from the “Personal Care” and “Books” categories and so on). I’ll show how to assign users to a project later on, so stay tuned 🙂

So, first you need to create a project for each product category containing its corresponding competitors and the relevant keywords for this category. You can even set the directory or the subdomain of your website that you’re interested in tracking (e.g. www.amazon.com/tvplayers/) as the main website, or stick with the entire domain choice (e.g. www.amazon.com) – anyhow, you’ll see the URLs for which your website is ranking.

The good news is that you can also export all these product categories’ rankings into one big global file, although the process might seem a bit “atypical” at first. To do this, go to Settings – Website settings – Export – Export (yeah, you read that well 🙂) and create an “overall” CSV file across all “product categories” projects from there.

In the above scenario, I recommend tagging the keywords first to easier follow their ranking evolution (to be read – to know where a product category project export ends and where a new one begins within the same CSV file).

Pros:

  • You can add up to 50 competitors per product category. Let’s say you have 20 product categories, which means you can add up to 1,000 competitors in total
  • It’s easier to divide the SEO work across your team by assigning a responsible per category or per more categories and not for the entire eCommerce website

Cons:

  • The global export per all product categories is available only in CSV format

3. Bonus Setup: the multinational eCommerce site

Do you happen to target markets from different countries and / or have dedicated websites for each country? For example www.amazon.co.uk for UK, www.amazon.de for Germany and so on? If so, it’s not advisable to just add google.co.uk, google.de etc., the targeted keywords in different languages and / or the domains specific for each country in the same project, for two reasons:

  • most of the keywords will not be relevant for every market and you will end up with tons of “not ranked” results for your website(s)
  • you’ll consume more AWR Cloud resources having to get rankings for many non-relevant keywords on non-relevant search engines. Let’s say you have 1,000 English keywords to update for amazon.com, another 1.000 German keywords for amazon.de, which means you have a total of 2,000 keywords you need rankings for against 2 search engines (2,000 x 2 = 4,000 keyword units in total). How about if I told you that you could use only 2,000 relevant keyword units instead?

BTW, if you’re into making the most out of your keyword units, I recommend this pretty cool article on how to consume fewer resources in AWR Cloud.

Back to our scenario, if opting for the “Macro Approach”, all you need to do is create a new project, select a different country in the wizard steps, add the website dedicated for that market (if available) and its corresponding keywords:

new website

Same goes for the “Micro Approach”, except in this case, you’ll end up with multiple “product category” websites for each country that will be difficult to distinguish in the Websites screen. To solve this, just tag the websites with their corresponding country:

project tags

Then, filter the product category websites by country and choose the one you wish to focus on next:

project tags

Further on, assigning users to a specific overall country project or to a product category one is a kids’ game. Whether you have an SEO team in a different country managing the whole corresponding eCommerce website’s strategy, or you simply wish to divide the work between your team members by product categories, same 2 steps are required:

  • Navigate to the Users menu and invite the team members:

assign users

By default, the users will be displayed as “Customers”, but you can upgrade them to “team members” or “administrators” once you invited them:

assign users

  • Assign them the projects you like:

assign projects

The End?

Well, that’s pretty much it. Which model do you think would better suit your business? Or did you discover and use a different one? Shoot me with your questions in the comments section below! 🙂

Author: Dan Popa

Dan Popa is an Online Marketing Strategist at Caphyon. He is passionate about both Online and Offline Marketing and he’s always looking for new ways of applying the basic principles of marketing in the fast-evolving SEO field. He’s always in a mood to chat about new creative ideas for campaigns, so you can find him on Twitter and Google+.

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