Ecommerce SEO is the process in which businesses make their ecommerce sites more visible in SERP or search engine results pages. The goal is to rank as high as possible in search queries that include the products you sell so that your ecommerce website gains more organic traffic.
We will go over the basics of eCommerce SEO agency goes about search engine optimization to get an eCommerce website to move up the ranks of a search engine results to rank product and category pages.
SEO for ecommerce is a cost-effective way to garner more website visits. While you can increase visibility and traffic from paid searches, ad blockers and users who consciously ignore ads, also known as ad blindness, can make paid searches less effective.
So while paid searches can increase traffic, it’s best to optimize for SEO for your ecommerce website regardless.
An ecommerce SEO strategy will usually involve optimizing your metadata, headlines, product descriptions, navigational structure, and internal links both for search engines, and to better the user experience.
The products that you sell should each have their own dedicated product pages in order to draw traffic from search engines.
It’s important when going through the process of improving your ecommerce SEO that you don’t forget about non-product oriented content that is on your ecommerce site as well. This includes:
- Blog articles
- Contact page
- FAQ page
- Help Center page
- About page
You can use online tools or industry knowledge to create a list of keywords for those pages as well as related keywords to include in this type of content.
Why does on page SEO matter?
When you need a product or service, what is one of the first things you do? For many people, it’s a Google search.
When performing a search on Google, or any of the other search engines, a few things come to mind when it comes to making an informed decision. Options, comparisons, tips, and other info are just some things users are looking at when searching.
If your ecommerce website is not included in the SERP, you’ll lose out on business. While having a presence online is important, and a great start, how are users going to find you?
This is why spending time and perfecting on page SEO is so important. It will provide you with the means to reach your target audience without paying for ad space. And once users reach your site, quality content is important to make them stay.
Having proper on page SEO is the first hurdle you will need to overcome once your ecommerce site is fully set up. A good strategy will help you with this.
Developing a strategy for ecommerce SEO
Ecommerce SEO can seem especially daunting, especially if you have a lot of products, and thus product pages. While it’s true that it will take some time to get your ecommerce SEO right, you can help to speed the process up by having a good ecommerce SEO strategy in place.
- Prioritize pages – This is the first thing you’ll want to focus on. Which pages on your website tend to get the most traffic? Do you have a specific set of products that you want to focus on? Optimizing for those product pages or the most popular pages should be your first step.
- Creating workflow: Ecommerce SEO has very specific requirements. Including keywords both in headlines and body, properly named images, adding image alternate attributes, metadata all fall under this category.
- What is your competition doing?: Knowing what the competition is doing will allow you to take over the top spot. Check out their SEO efforts and identify ways that you can do better.
- Don’t forget CRO: CRO stands for Conversion Rate Optimization and should follow SEO. We’ll go over this more in detail further on.
SEO Strategy Best Practices
Let’s go over some of the best tips for ecommerce sites to help people find your products more easily.
Using the correct keywords
Keywords are important! While you don’t need to go overboard and use them at every opportunity, they should definitely be present in the copy.
You’ll want to use your primary keyword on your product pages, particularly at the headline, category pages, meta description, subheadline, description, and image alternate attributes.
You’ll want to sprinkle LSI or latent semantic index keywords throughout the text to help give Google some context to the content.
Research and analyze
When deciding what keyword to use, do some keyword research. Get a good idea about how often users search for it (keyword search volume), what people are looking for when they use it in a search, and how competitive it is in advertising (CPC or cost-per-click).
Looking into search volume will give you good keyword ideas and allow you to find out how much interest there is in a particular keyword. Obviously, a higher search volume will indicate greater popularity, and using that keyword will lead to more active searches where you could be at the top of the SERP.
User intent will tell you what people are looking to find when they use a certain keyword in a query on a search engine. If you can figure out the user intent for a keyword, you’ll be able to better set yourself up to show up in the SERP.
Checking out the average CPC will tell you how much advertisers pay per click when they buy advertising that uses a specific keyword. If the CPC is high, that will tell you that there is a lot of competition. If there is a lot of competition for a keyword you are wanting to use, you may want to consider using a similar keyword with a lower CPC.
Check out the competition
If you are just starting off on your journey with ecommerce SEO, a great place to start off is by looking at the competition.
Larger competitors in particular have more than likely already put in a lot of work when it comes to optimizing their websites, and you can learn a lot by taking a look at what they’ve done.
Keywords are going to be the main focus here. In particular, you’ll want to focus on the keywords used on their homepages as well as their top product pages.
Also, check out your competitors’ landing pages and category pages as well to see they use specific keywords to optimize those pages.
There are several tools to help you out with this. Serpstat is one of our favorites and is also available as a Chrome browser extension.
Most businesses typically focus their ecommerce SEO budget and energy on their ecommerce site homepage. And while we absolutely recommend doing the same, don’t forget other parts of your ecommerce site that also need to be set up for SEO.
However, as far as homepage SEO goes, here are the things you’ll want to focus on:
Homepage title tag
The SEO title tag is one of the most important elements when it comes to on-site optimization.
The title tag should include the name of your business along with the main keyword phrase that your business is targeting.
It should be less than 70 characters and appealing enough for users to want to click on it.
The meta description of your homepage is the brief description that shows up under the title tag in search results.
This is an important element of SEO because it’s one of the main reasons people will choose to click on your website.
Your homepage’s content should allow visitors to learn more about your products as well as your business.
Be sure this information comes across in a clear and direct way, to avoid overloading them with information. You may also want to feature a few of your top products on your homepage.
When your homepage is cluttered, it looks unprofessional and low quality. This can give the impression that your products or services are also low quality.
Even more, having a cluttered homepage can confuse search engines. This is especially true if you sell products that are in different categories. Google will have a hard time identifying what it is you sell, and who your target consumer is, making it difficult to rank your site in a query.
Keep it simple
As you add category pages and products for each category page to your store, keep in mind that site architecture plays a very important role in ecommerce SEO.
In particular, you will want a distinct hierarchy of navigation, from your website’s homepage to category pages, to the products listed in those category pages.
Search engines will be able to discover your product pages on your website based on an easy-to-follow internal linking structure.
A good rule of thumb to keep in mind for both search engines and for website visitors is to make sure that everything can be reached within 3 clicks. This journey from your homepage to any product page on your website should be 3 clicks at most.
There are two main purposes for internal links.
- Encouraging visitors to keep exploring your website, thereby increasing the time spent on your site
- Showing how pages are related to one another thereby boosting ecommerce SEO.
For example, you can link related products to each other, or link products to relevant blog posts in order to improve ecommerce SEO.
Product Page Optimization
Be sure you are focusing a lot of your energy on the products pages themselves. After all, these are what your business is all about at the heart. Here are a few things you’ll want to focus on:
What you decide to name your product is important.
In many cases, it will also be used in the SEO title of your product’s page. For this reason, you will most likely want to consider adding a common search term or keyword to the products you are selling.
As an added bonus, if your products are shared on Facebook for example, the keyword will be used in the title of the post.
It should come as no surprise that images play a vital role in your product pages.
Think about when you are shopping online on other ecommerce websites. Are you likely to buy a product when the image for that product is low quality? Or even worse has no image at all?
Images are important, not only for your customers but also for SEO.
To begin to properly optimize your images for search, you’ll want to start at the file name itself. Make sure the name of the file has something to do with the product, such as black-basic-tee.jpg
If you have alternate views of your products, be sure to include the keywords that people would use if they are searching for the images in a Google search.
Also, be sure that when you are adding your images to the product page that you are including the product name and the keyword in the ALT text for the image.
This will increase the chances of your image appearing in a Google Image Search, or in the main SERP.
Another great way to entice people to purchase your product, and to make them feel more confident about their choice is to add a video to your product pages.
The video can be a simple testimonial, maybe a video review that you’ve gotten from social media, or a how-to video on ways you can use the product, or style it, or even information about the product itself, especially if your brand is sustainable, made locally, organic, supports a cause, etc.
You can also publish these videos off-site on networks such as YouTube to attract potential customers.
Reviews from Customers
Reviews are a fantastic way to increase confidence in your product, so make sure you have a space for them and promote them where possible.
Even bad reviews can have their place to help your business.
Think about it this way, if you have a product that is higher priced and has rave reviews, and another product that is lower priced but has mixed reviews, people are more likely to choose the higher-priced item, which will lead to more revenue for your business.
You’ll always receive questions about a product you are selling. To make it a little easier for both you and your customers, it’s best to have some FAQ content, not only on your page but also on your product pages.
Making sure that your FAQ page has basic answers to questions such as shipping, return policies, and website security can help to increase confidence in your brand, which leads to more sales.
Many purchases are made on a mobile device these days. Making sure your website is set up to be mobile friendly ensures that people who visit your site not only have a better experience but also makes it easier for your site to show up on Google search results. This is because Google uses mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal.
Page Load Speed
Another ranking signal that Google uses is how page load speed. Google will rank your page higher or lower depending on how long your website takes to load.
To improve your site speed, focus on eliminating as many unnecessary portions of your page as possible. Any plugins or add-ons that don’t contribute to your business in a meaningful way should be removed.
Image Size and Dimension
When you have large images, your site will take longer to load.
To ensure your load times are not weighed down by image size, try to make sure all of your images range from a size of 1000×1000 pixels to 500×500 pixels.
Another option that may work in some scenarios is to change the file type to a lower-quality JPEG file by using a product like Adobe Photoshop.
Creating Backlinks for Ecommerce SEO
Another important ranking signal that Google uses to decide where your website places in the SERPs are backlinks. When you practice link building by having backlinks from high-quality sites, your site becomes more authoritative.
While you may be left scratching your head as to how to be featured on other sites, it’s really pretty simple. One great way to build backlinks on your ecommerce site is to guest blog post that is related to your niche. To do this, you’ll want to email the owners of the blogs that you are interested in being a part of, and offer them at least 3 ideas for guest posts that you’d love to write about.
Tools for Ecommerce SEO
As with any job that needs to be done, you need the right tools. Below are some of our favorite tools that will help you improve your on-page and off-page SEO to increase visibility.
MOZ is great for keyword research. It can be used for both tracking and finding keywords, as well as finding link-building opportunities, and analyzing your competitors’ page metrics. There are both free, and paid versions available!
Ubersuggest is a great tool for finding the right keywords for you to target on your ecommerce site, as well as finding related keywords in order to boost your search rankings.
And it’s super easy to use! Just type in a keyword that is related to your product, and Ubersuggest will comb the web for related keywords, as well as information about those keywords such as search volume, CPC, etc.
Ahrefs can help you to track and optimize your eccommerce SEO strategy. It’s a fantastic tool for finding backlinks to your site as well as to your competitors’ sites. This is useful because it will help you find others in your industry that you can work with. Say for example that you see a competitor is backlinked on a site, you can try to get a link from that site as well by emailing the business and establishing a rapport. Offer to link to their site on your own, then suggest a high-quality post on your site that their audience may be interested in.
Combining CRO with SEO
While CRO and SEO are two completely different things, but they are tied together.
They’re two stages that the consumer may go through to purchase your products. For this reason, CRO is definitely worth visiting.
If people aren’t able to find your site, they won’t convert. This is where ecommerce web design becomes a factor. If you haven’t optimized for conversions, you won’t make a meaningful number of sales no matter how many visitors you get.
When you combine SEO with CRO, your strategy elevates to the next level. Ecommerce has become extremely competitive in recent years, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon.
Finding ways to get more eyes on your site, as well as shipments out the door is vital.
Start by using analytics tools to see how people have engaged with your site so you can find areas that may need strengthening. As long as you are optimized for SEO as well as CRO, you’ll be able to generate a consistent flow of conversions.
Wrapping it Up
The goal of any business owner is to try to increase conversions. However, in order to even attempt to do that you’ll need people to visit your site. That’s why SEO for eCommerce is so important for a successful business.
Here’s a little SEO checklist as a reminder:
- Optimize your homepage for SEO
- Use the right keywords for your niche
- Research the competition
- Simplify site architecture
- Optimize your product pages
- Use responsive design
- Do what you can to reduce page load speed
- Create backlinks
By following these steps, your ecommerce site will rank higher in search engine results, thus increasing clicks and conversions.