Aside from the fact that SEO has the highest ROI of any e-commerce marketing campaign, most online shops are put together with little to no consideration of search engines, which means they’re not at all optimized for search engines.
Most companies rely heavily or solely on social media or paid ads. Which are great, but require a constant effort and stream of income.
SEO, on the other hand, only requires some upfront effort because once you rank, you practically make sales on autopilot with no recurring expense.
What is Ecommerce SEO?
Ecommerce SEO or Shop SEO is a term used to describe the search engine optimization process for online shops.
It is the process of making your online store more visible in the search engine results pages (SERPs). So when people search for the products that you sell, you want to rank as highly as possible so that you get more traffic as opposed to your competitors.
Ecommerce SEO usually involves optimizing your headlines, product descriptions, metadata, internal link structure, and navigational structure for search and user experience. Each product you sell should have a dedicated page designed to draw traffic from search engines.
Importance of E-commerce SEO.
- E-commerce SEO provides you with a way to reach your target audience without paying for ads. Once you get people to your site, you can delight them with your high-quality products, intriguing copy, and motivating calls to action.
- SEO will help you increase your conversion rate. ( your online sales)
- Through e-commerce SEO you will be able to identify and optimize those long-tail keywords that can get you higher rankings and make a difference to your business.
- SEO concepts are pretty much always related to usability and how you can make websites that are friendlier to both search engines and users. So this is a great boost in helping you create a website that is website friendly.
- A well designed SEO campaign will bring traffic to your website 24X7 for months or even years to come.
How to Develop an Ecommerce SEO Strategy.
Ecommerce SEO might seem like a mammoth task, especially if you already have a website that already has tons of products. The process will definitely be time-consuming, but it can be done a lot quicker when you have a solid strategy in place.
- Prioritize pages on your site that get the most traffic: If you want people to focus on a specific product, optimize for that product first.
- Create a workflow: SEO requires you to meet tons of specific requirements such as choosing keywords, adding metadata, naming your images correctly, adding image alternate attributes, incorporating related keywords, and many more.
- Check out the competition: Your e-commerce SEO strategy should be designed to outwit your competition. Analyze your top competitor’s websites and check out their SEO efforts further identify ways to optimize yours better.
Key Tactics to Include in Your Ecommerce SEO Strategy:
1. Keyword Research
Keyword research is the first step in an e-commerce SEO campaign.
You don’t want to stuff your product titles and descriptions with these keywords, but they need to be present in the copy.
Mention your primary keyword in your product headline, description, meta description, image alternate attributes, and subheadlines. Add in some latent semantic index keywords throughout. These are related keywords that help Google understand your page in context. You can undertake keyword research, find keyword difficulty, search volume, and uncover buyer intent for e-commerce SEO in 3 ways:
- Find keywords through competitors research.
If you have competitors who rank higher than you in search results, you can use their site to get some keyword ideas. However, do not blindly use the same keywords as your competitor, just because they have a higher ranking than you. Because ranking is made up of several factors and not keywords alone so just because they’ve chosen the best keywords doesn’t mean that’s the sole reason they’re ranking, they could just have a higher domain authority than you.
- Use Amazon for keyword research.
To find keywords with Amazon, start typing in your seed keyword. This is a word you think you’d probably like to rank for & Amazon will autofill suggestions that are all keyword ideas, you can start by putting them in a spreadsheet to keep for later. As you can imagine, if you have hundreds of products, this could take a very long time. This is where the Amazon Keyword Tool comes in. This tool scrapes Amazon’s autofill suggestions automatically for any keyword you type in and it gives you three free searches per day, so you don’t have to spend anything.
- Make use of SEO tools.
SEO tools can be used for keyword research, competitive research, build backlinks, and much more. There are a lot of paid tools available out there that offer great features and some of them are even worth the last penny. Never the less, there are also free SEO tools available in the market in plenty. These tools can be a great tool in the belt to help you in your SEO journey.
2. Simplify your Site Architecture
As you are adding products and categories to your website, remember that site architecture plays an important role in search engine optimization. Basically, you want to have a distinct hierarchy of navigation, from your homepage to product categories to the products listed within them.
Search engine bots will crawl the pages and products on your website based on a clear internal linking structure that is easy to follow.
The golden rule to go by is that for search engines and visitors is to make sure people can reach everything within three clicks. From the homepage, they should only have to make a maximum of three clicks to get to any product on your website.
There are two other “golden rules” to great site structure:
- Make it simple and scalable.
- Use keyword research to create highly relevant page URLs and subdirectories.
3. On-Page SEO
On-page SEO is important because it also helps you appear in other Search Engine Results Pages. On-page SEO for e-commerce is all about making sure your keywords are in the right places. It’s just a way of ensuring Google knows exactly what your page is about.
Here are 2 on-page SEO e-commerce strategies:
- On-page SEO for e-commerce category pages.
Your product pages are the most important pages to rank. If someone finds them onGoogle, they immediately have access to all your products in that category. To properly optimize these pages effectively, you need to put your target keyword in the following places:
- In the URL
- In the H1 tag or Title tag
- Body copy
- Image Alt text
- On-page SEO for e-commerce product pages.
Along with all the above steps used for category pages, the same should be applied in the product pages but with 2 major differences, they are:
- Since you have the product images you do not include a banner image,
- Instead of writing just 300 words, aim for reaching above a 1000 words at least for your top-grossing products as the top pages in Google tend to be long-form content of at least 2000 words. This is because Google is essentially a research tool.
4. Technical SEO
SEO isn’t just about keywords. There is a technical side as well, which includes things like site speed, user experience, mobile-friendliness, and working links. Technical SEO will ensure that search engines can crawl and index your website without any issues. You can start the process by undertaking a website review or an SEO audit.
The most important tasks related to technical SEO are:
- Optimization of Google Search Console Settings
- Correct settings for robots.txt
- SEO friendly URLS and proper permalink structure
- Page speed optimizations
- XML Sitemap optimization
An e-commerce site audit accomplishes three things:
- It paints an overall picture of the quality and current standing of your site.
- It makes it easy for you to create a task list of things that need to be done before you focus on off-page SEO.
- It ensures you’re getting the best possible results with the least effort.
5. Local SEO
While not applicable to everyone, if you have a brick and mortar store or just want more local site traffic, local SEO can give you a nice boost.
Here’s how you can do it:
- Claim your Google My Business Profile
Google has a cool feature called Google My Business, which allows you to put your business’s details into Google’s database. You can show your website information, address, hours of operation, pictures, reviews and more
- Get local links
Local links are a great way to build overall domain authority and help local rankings. Some include local news outlets, charities you support, locally-based blogs, and any local association.
- Build local citations
Local citations are essentially backlinks from other local websites, like news outlets, magazines, press releases, and other local media. Citations are essential for local SEO because it shows Google that you’re popular in your area.
6. Content Marketing
Not only does content marketing increase the traffic to your website and ultimately your sales but it also makes it easier for you to build links to your site and increase your websites domain authority.
Having an FAQ page is essential because if a customer has a question that you don’t answer, they’ll go somewhere else to find those answers and are more likely to buy from the source that answers their queries.
Having a general FAQ page on your website is a good idea. Answering basic questions about your website’s security, shipping, and return policies can increase buyer confidence, leading to more sales.
7. Create Backlinks for Ecommerce SEO
Backlinks are another ranking factor Google uses to determine where your pages belong in the SERPs. The more backlinks you have from high-quality sites, the more domain authority your site gains
Building backlinks for e-commerce sites doesn’t have to be difficult. Guest posting on blogs related to your niche is one way to build links. Simply email the owners of the blogs you’re interested in and offer them three or more ideas for potential guest posts.
There are three unique link-building opportunities that one should take advantage of:
- Resource page link building.
- Partnering with influencers.
- Broken link building.
8. Measuring SEO Success
Tracking and measuring your e-commerce SEO success is crucial to understand if your strategy in place is working or if it needs to be optimized further.
In order to track your rankings, there are two things you can do:
- Use an SEO tool.
- Create an SEO dashboard in your Google Analytics account
Here’s are some ways you perform an update & optimize your SEO strategy:
- Find your best keywords, both commercial keywords for your product and category pages, and long-tail keywords for your blog content.
- Match the right keywords to the right pages on your site.
- Optimize your site by performing an SEO audit, fixing your site’s architecture, reducing thin content, and doing everything you can to optimize your crawl budget.
- Enhancing your site’s on-page SEO and creating or updating content to be the best result for its target keywords, being sure to link back to your most important product pages.
Many e-commerce business owners want to jump straight to increasing conversions through paid channels and that is the right mindset to have, but you’re a step ahead.
You have to get people to your website before you can convert them to your offers. That is why starting with e-commerce SEO sets you up for success.