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November 19, 2019

E-commerce Traffic Source with Tommy Griffith

Learn about the best E-commerce traffic source and how to get on the map and optimize your traffic. Listen in to today’s episode with Tommy Griffith.

How we get traffic on Google for e-commerce?

The first thing is keyword research on any platform.

On Amazon, you have product viability to deal with as well.

In the beginning, you should over-invest in keyword research.

When you’ve clarified your customer,you want to layout the entire universe of the things they search for

You’ll end up using a lot of this if you have own business – in content marketing (eg blog posts), email, social media marketing, etc.

Get a decent proxy for demand via keyword search volume from an E-commerce traffic source.

https://amazingfba.com/clickminded  free mini-courses, free SEO strategy guide.

Favourite SEO tools



Sometimes they have amazon specific tools

How do we approach “The universe of search” as e-commerce sellers?

Depends whether you’re at the early stages – “I’m looking for products”

“I know my customer avatar” and have several SKUs. 

SEO for the established Amazon seller

Take all your core keywords and put them into a 3rd party tool.

Find ALL the different variations eg BBQ – purple handle, green handle, one is for winter, one for summer.

This is a good inspiration for new products.

If someone does a lot of barbecuing – who is the avatar?Why are they barbecuing?

Once you’re really dialled into your customer avatar, you lay out the entire universe of google searches.

Google Search results show more than searches

Google search especially is a proxy for demand and thoughts for an E-commerce traffic source.

HTC picked colours of phones based on Google search.

Google trends data predict flu epidemics these days, thanks to tracking flu-related keywords.

You can capture all of that to one document (eg a large spreadsheet)

This can drive so much, including:

  • Content strategy
  • Product dev strategy
  • Office set up
  • Emails
  • YouTube videos

Total Addressable Marketing (TAM) for ecommerce SEO

For an E-commerce traffic source, you need to do some maths based things like – TAM – Total Addressable Market sizing

At Airbnb, Tommy used to look at areas for “Guidebooks” for Airbnb – on topics like:

  • “Things to do in [city name]”
  • “Restaurants in [city name]”
  • “Walking tours in [city name]”
  • “What do locals do in [city name]?”

What is Total Addressable Market?

Let’s say you’re looking at BBQ grill sets.

First, layout the “total universe” of related search terms.

Every variation of BBQ grill is one bucket, eg

  • Propane, non-propane, electric
  • Large, small, industrial size etc. etc.

Also, layout types of keywords and bucket into types of “intent”.

Effectively every page of your site focuses on one of these for an E-commerce traffic source.

Top of funnel and bottom of funnel keywords for ecommerce SEO

Bottom of funnel keywords are very specific and imply searchers are ready to go and buy.

Top of funnel keywords shows less buyer intent eg “10 things you should think about before you BBQ”.

Apply a CTR Click Through Rate percentage for an E-commerce traffic source.



This shows the value of position #1, #2, etc. ranking

For example for a certain search term, the   #1 position might be 35% of clicks

In general, Tommy sees 75% of clicks go to the top 3 results on Google.

You can start to create a “Theoretical maximum amount of traffic”  orTotal Addressable Market (Wikipedia definition)

Process for finding TAM:

  1. Find the universe of keywords
  2. Capture these (eg on a spreadsheet)
  3. Divide into buckets, based on categories and top/middle/bottom of funnel [level of buying intent]
  4. Apply Conversion rate calculations [this gives you the total number of potential sales]
  5. Apply a price point to this to get [this gives you the value per sale]
  6. [if you multiply the total possible unit sales X revenue per sale = TAM revenue]

Then you have an estimate for the value of your business!

Planning with TAM

You can do this before you invest anything – before you hire staff, import products.

In fact, you really should do this!

“The math doesn’t lie”

It can be a brutal process!

People say things like “nobody is searching for this, but I’ve already ordered the container”

The math is brutal in cases like this and doesn’t lie.

Sometimes the opposite is true and there is a much bigger potential market than you had guessed. This might take you in a different product direction for an E-commerce traffic source.

Don’t follow your “Shower thoughts” for SEO

A lot of people do things by having an idea for a blog post in the shower!

This is not the way to build SEO/content marketing.

Instead, you should “over-invest” in keyword research -and be driven by keyword research.

Google SEO to Amazon SKUs

Google SEO Basics 

Elevator pitch on SEO: the three factors are: Relevancy, authority, technical optimisation.

SEO Factor 1: Relevancy (on-page SEO) 

Any URL needs to be a relevant document to the keyword.

Trying to answer the user’s question.

Take keyword put in the title, mention



Internal links using that primary keyword

Very obvious/science-based

SEO Factor 2: Authority (link building)

Popularity – google find 10M URLS – pick the ten most popular ones.

Metric for that is 3rd party links.

This is the art, never ends, and is an entire industry in itself.

“2nd worst system”

The system has tons of flaws.

In a perfect world, you’d create great content and get found for it.

In practice, it doesn’t work this way.

Tommy’s rule of thumb:

Spend 25% of your time on creating content, 75% on promoting/distributing it. 

You DO need to hustle hard to get it out there via multiple media eg social media, email etc.

SEO Factor 3: Technical optimisation

There are 1.5 Billiondomains. (so maybe 100s of times more individual web pages!) That is so hard for Google to process.

This is the tech stuff that helps Google to deal with this volume and complexity of data.

The fewer the URLs you have [on your domain], the less this matters.

If sub 100,  even 500 URLs, this matters less.

As you have more variations, SKUs, colour codes, it gets more important.

For comparison: the “total universe” of pages Tommy was actually optimising for at Paypal was around 100; at Airbnb over 10million pages! Now withclickminded, Tommy is back to optimising for under 100 URLs again.

How to use Google SEO sending traffic to Amazon

“The dog that caught the car”

Tommy has always been a top-of-funnel guy so he messed up a lot to start with it

Got the traffic and then didn’t know what to do with it!

They had a Shopify site. They used 3rd party extensions to get the Shopify API to ping Amazon to do FBA fulfilment as Amazon takes less of a cut.

It was clear their website converted significantly worse than Amazon!

Affiliate marketing own Amazon products model

Tommy has seen others go the other way and being just an affiliate – creating an Amazon affiliate site for own business (this was okay for TOS two years ago)

The model was to have a 3rd party site reviewing your own product, attract traffic [in Tommy’s case with Google SEO] and use Amazon affiliate links to their own products

“Reputation management ” in SEO

One classic defensive Google strategy is:

When you google yourself or your company, you want to dominate pages 1 and 2 (positions 1-20) – hardly anyone looks beyond this.

“Be everywhere”

It’s similar on Amazon. You want to be everywhere.

If you want to get off Amazon

  • Build site
  • Build list

If you’re doubling down on Amazon

  • Set up 3rd party site
  • Push to amazon via affiliate link

Every result on google is a “trap door” that could lead back to your product page.


Products on Amazon

Have a brand site

  • Affiliate site
  • Goes back to Amazon
  • Say 50 blog posts to attract traffic via Google SEO

Why am I not ranking on Google yet?”

If you’re building a site of your own and not ranking on Google, the big problem is usually lack of authority. The newer you are the harder it is –  and that will continue to get harder as the number of sites on the net expands.

The fastest way to deal with this is:

  1. Reverse engineer link profile of everyone who is currently ranking.
  2. Google competitor domains
  3. Use 3rd party tools to those domains egAhrefs

Competitors for “Google real estate” (Search Engine Results) may not be your direct business competitors.

SERP competitors also are “real estate” competitors – most people compete with Wikipedia!

They are private indexes of links – they scrape the web like google does.

This is usually the fastest way to do this.

Don’t just reach to friends!

Link-Building Outreach (art more than science!)

You can reach out to them. There are many reasons you can give for linking to your page:

  • you’re linking to this page, link to us as it’s relevant information
  • This page you’ve linked to is broken etc etc

It’s tough! Email, tweet, send a box of cookies! Whatever you need.

This is another way to size up TAM -how tough is it going to be based on the link profile to get links? This

Controversial tactic for link building

Especially in the early days, link to your competitors!

Google is trying to understand who you are (Concept:“Link neighbourhood”)

You need to give them a signal of how to assess what you are offering their users.

Link to all the sites ranking in top 5 positions for a keyword you’re targetting.

Resistance to linking to competitors this!

Tommy finds many business owners resist this.

Corporate managers resist it even more!

Truth is the newer you are, the less this matters.

Eg if you have a new concept, and just 5 SKUS – if you have no traffic, you have nothing to lose.

Simple tactic: Do whatever you do normally. 

Then at the bottom of the page, you put in links “here are other things that might be of value”

Main hint/commonest error for those coming to SEO from eCommerce

Two big mind shifts for sellers of physical products for SEO

  1. Physical to Digital  – As an e-commerce seller [esp. On Amazon] you’ve been used to getting paid for most transactions.  If you go for digital marketing/SEO as a traffic source, you need to create a lot of great free digital stuff that you’ll never get paid for.  You need to make your peace with that!
  2. Cashflow/capital requirements of digital vs. product-based business: It’s in the nature of the business – if you set up an Amazon affiliate site, the nature of the business is very different in terms of free cash flow vs. A product-based business once you’ve got traffic flowing.  This is a great upside for e-commerce marketers of this business model if you’ve been used to the capital requirements of owning your own products.

What do you offer at Clickminded?

Digital SEO training course.

Started off being an internal thing for Paypal and Airbnb.

7 different courses now.

https://amazingfba.com/clickminded  free mini-courses, free SEO strategy guide.

95% of the courses are free!

SEO guide

Free mini-course – SEO


Some of the links on this page are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, I will earn a commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. Please understand that I have experience with all of these companies, and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.


Watch my full interview with Tommy Griffith

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