Seo for Ecommerce Sites

SEO for e-commerce is a very interesting and challenging task. There is no such easy way to rank e-commerce websites as well as normal websites. You need to follow different strategies to provide your customers with the best possible experience and to increase your revenue stream.

Sometimes, the people you sell to don’t know what they are searching for.

“What I’m looking to buy is a 500 piece Tiger King jigsaw puzzle.”

They’ll appreciate the way you anticipated their intent in search if you happen to sell this product.

But the reality is, you need to optimize your eCommerce website for SEO to target the right buyers.

With so many build-it-yourself options like Shopify, BigCommerce, and Squarespace, it’s difficult to know how to get started.

There is no one size fits all solution for eCommerce SEO.

I like to think of building an eCommerce site for SEO as the equivalent of Taco Bell’s “secret” menu: You can get an Incredible Hulk, as long as you know how to order it. 

Let me explain.

Up until now, you’ve probably had a pretty basic relationship with your eCommerce website.

You’ve uploaded product photos. Added copy to each product page. Maybe launched a few category pages.

And up until now, that’s worked.

Now you’re reading this article showing you eCommerce websites like REI, Zappos, The Body Shop, ASOS, and more that are all structured around SEO.

Are you reconsidering anything yet?

I’m here to take you through a deeper dive than you’ve ever thought you’d take into the world of eCommerce SEO.

Why Does SEO Matter for Ecommerce?

Gaining new customers can be hard, especially if you’re not being found by search engines.

For your eCommerce site to thrive, you need customers. (Obviously, right?)

The problem is, getting customers’ attention is expensive.

According to WordStream, the average cost per click in the apparel industry is around 89 cents, while the average cost per action is just under $10.

You could spend thousands to gain just a few new customers.

If you jump on the SEO bandwagon, you’re gain free (yes, free!) organic traffic by helping your site show up in the SERPs.ADVERTISEMENT CONTINUE READING BELOW

Pretty important, right? I mean, considering that 32% of shoppers head to Google when they are ready to make a purchase.

Take a look at this case study, where eCommerce SEO yielded a massive 53,571% ROI for a mattress company.  

Plus, you should take any opportunity to enhance your click-through rate in the SERPs.

Why?

Because the top organic search results get a whopping 79% of the clicks in search results. 

To help get a piece of that $861.12 billion eCommerce pie, I’ve highlighted five essential SEO strategies that will drive traffic and revenue to your site.

Read on for what I have to say about my client case studies, and let these words (and beauteous websites) serve as the inspiration to let your SEO-optimized eCommerce flag fly.

How to Develop an Ecommerce SEO Strategy

Ecommerce SEO might seem like a huge task, especially if you already have a website populated with tons of products. Yes, it might take time, but you can speed up the process with a solid strategy.

  • Prioritize pages: Which pages on your site get the most traffic? Start with them. Additionally, if you want people to focus on a specific or flagship product, optimize for that product first.
  • Create a workflow: SEO requires you to meet lots of specific requirements. Choosing keywords, adding meta data, naming your images correctly, adding image alternate attributes, and incorporating related keywords all fall under this category.
  • Check out the competition: Your ecommerce SEO strategy should be designed to outwit the competition. Look at your top competitors’ sites and check out their SEO efforts. Identify ways to make yours better.
  • Follow through with CROConversion rate optimization (CRO) should follow SEO. We’ll talk about that more later on.

Keep reading for more detailed instructions for an effective eCommerce SEO strategy.

Ecommerce SEO Checklist: Best Practices for Your Ecommerce SEO Strategy

Let’s look at some of the best tips for eCommerce sites that are lacking in the SEO space. If you want people to find your products more easily, you need an eCommerce SEO strategy, and checking each item off your list will make your strategy more effective.

Use the Right Keywords

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Yes, keywords still matter. You don’t want to overload 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. Sprinkle latent semantic index (LSI) keywords throughout. These are related keywords that help Google understand your page in context.

Analyze the Keyword Search Volume, CPC, and User Intent

Before you use a keyword, do some research on it. Know how often people search for it (keyword search volume), how competitive it is in the paid advertising space (cost-per-click, or CPC), and what people are looking for when they use that keyword.

Let’s break it down further.

Search volume tells you how much interest a particular keyword inspires in consumers. A high search volume indicates greater popularity, which means you’ll get more active searches for that keyword.

CPC tells you how much people pay per click when they buy advertising based on a specific keyword. A high CPC indicates increased competition. If your target keyword is extremely competitive, consider finding a long-tail alternative.

Finally, user intent describes what people want to find when they type a specific keyword into Google’s search bar. Let’s say, for instance, that someone types “shower” and hits Enter.

Does that person want information about shower installation, shower repair, baby showers, bridal showers, or something else entirely? If you can’t determine the user intent behind a keyword, add other words to the search string for clarity.

Conduct Competitor Research

If you have no clue where to start with on-site optimization for your eCommerce site, then your competitors are your best bet. Larger competitors, in particular, have probably already put in the legwork for optimizing their websites, and you can learn many of their secrets on their websites themselves.

Keywords are the thing you need to focus on. Particularly, you’ll want to analyze the keywords on their homepages as well as their top product pages.

How can you tell if a website is optimizing for a particular keyword? You can start by using the Moz browser extension to see the SEO title and description your competitors use in their title tags.

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You can also use tools like SEMrush to see what keywords your competitors are ranking for on both organic and paid searches.

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Don’t stop your research with keywords. Check out your competitors’ landing pages too, so you can see how they use the specified keywords to optimize those pages.

Focus on Homepage SEO

The homepage is typically where most businesses focus their SEO budget and energy. While it is one of the top pages of your website to optimize, it is by no means the only one you should focus on.

That said, you do want to optimize your homepage well. The key things you want to add and optimize are included in the following.

Homepage Title Tag

The SEO title tag is one of the most important elements of on-site search optimization. It should include your business name along with the main keyword phrase you are targeting. You should write this title tag is less than 70 characters and in a way that is appealing to search visitors, as they will see it in search results.

Homepage Meta Description

While this is not important as far as keyword rankings, the meta description for your homepage is a 160-character description of your business that will also show up in search beneath the title tag. Write it in a way that encourages people to want to visit your website.

Homepage Content

The content on your homepage should help visitors learn more about your business and the products you have to offer clearly and concisely. Avoid overloading visitors with too much information. Consider featuring your top few products on the homepage and your unique selling proposition.

Cluttered homepages can confuse visitors as well as search engines. For instance, maybe you sell products in many different categories. Google will struggle to identify what you sell and who you’re targeting with your products, so get specific about what your site offers.

Simplify Your Site Architecture

As you are adding products and categories to your store, remember that site architecture plays an important role in search optimization. Particularly, 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 discover your pages and products on your website based on a clear internal linking structure that is easy to follow — and not too deep.

The rule of thumb 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.

Internal Linking

Internal links serve two main purposes:

  • Boosting ecommerce SEO by showing how pages are related to one another
  • Increasing time on site by encouraging visitors to further explore your site

Linking to related products or information-rich blog articles can help improve eCommerce SEO and make your site more tempting for deep dives.

Optimize Product Pages

Product pages are the lifeblood of your business, so you will want to focus a lot of your energy on optimizing them. Many eCommerce store owners simply write a few lines of text about each product and throw up an image or video.

You need more information on your product pages so Google can find them. Here are the specific things you want to work on.

Product Name

The name of your product is important. In most cases, it’s also used in the SEO title and URL of your product page. This is why you may want to consider adding a common search term or keyword phrase to your products.

For example, if you are selling T-shirts, be sure to include “T-shirt” or “tee” in the product name. That way, the keyword also ends up in the SEO title and URL.

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As a bonus, when people share your product on Facebook or Pinterest, that keyword will be in the title of the shared post.

Image Optimization

Images are an important part of your product page. Stand in your customer’s shoes for a moment. Are you more likely to buy a product from a site that depicts the product from as many angles as possible, from a site that has no image at all, or from one that is small and illegible?

Not only are images important for your customers, but they are important for search optimization.

To properly optimize your images for search, start with the filename. Don’t add images named IMG0010.jpg to your product pages. Instead, use the product name and main keyword, such as east coast-skinny-jeans.jpg.

If you have alternative views of your product, include keywords that people would use if they were searching for those images in search.

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Also, when you add your images to your product page, include the product name and keyword in the ALT text for the image.

The result? Your images now have a chance of appearing in Google Image Search as shown in the image above, or the main search results page as a part of the additional media showing.

Video

Help your customer feel more confident about their purchases by also adding video to your product page. The video can be basic information about your product (like a commercial), a how-to video on ways to use the product to get results, or testimonials from people who have used the product.

Publishing videos offsite on networks like YouTube can be a great way to attract and educate potential customers about your products.

Educational DIY videos, for example, can show people how to create something amazing by incorporating your products. Once they get into the idea of working on that project, they’ll be more likely to buy your related products.

Customer Reviews

Reviews are another way to boost customer confidence in your product, so if you have a good product, be sure to allow them.

Bad reviews aren’t always a bad thing either. Think about it – if you have a higher-priced item that has great reviews, and a lower-priced item with so-so reviews, then people will be more likely to choose the higher-priced item, resulting in greater sales for your business.

FAQ Content

Do people ask questions about your products? Of course, they do. Having product-specific FAQ content on your product pages is a key to conversions.

If customers have questions that you don’t answer, they’ll go somewhere else to find those answers — and likely buy from the source that answers the questions.

Having a general FAQ page on your website is also a good idea. Answering basic questions about your website’s security, shipping, and return policies can increase buyer confidence, leading to more sales.

Use Responsive Design

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People do considerable shopping on mobile these days. Using a responsive design for your eCommerce website can not only lead to a better user experience but also improve search results. Google’s mobile-first index uses mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal.

What are the benefits of e-commerce SEO?

There are countless benefits to setting up an e-commerce SEO strategy. Here are the top 3 benefits to e-commerce SEO:

Improving your user experience

One of Google’s key ranking factors is providing users with a good user experience. If your site is targeting the right keywords for your target audience and answering queries that website visitors might have, then Google sees that as a positive experience and your ranking will consequently go up.
But if users are clicking your site and immediately clicking away, Google will see that as a negative experience and it will hurt your ranking.

Expanding your reach

E-commerce SEO helps your web store receive more traffic, which consequently expands your brand’s reach. Once a user lands on your website organically, you can later reach out to that person again with paid retargeting campaigns. SEO remarketing is a highly effective practice.

Increasing brand awareness

You can optimize your e-commerce site with no marketing advertisement costs. If you’re optimizing your SEO rankings, why not try to aim to get your site on Google’s answer box. Being on Google’s answer box can bring in more clicks, higher website traffic, and increased brand awareness.

What are the challenges of e-commerce SEO?

The challenges that many companies overlook when optimizing their e-commerce SEO are:

Lack of quality content

The biggest problem with optimizing e-commerce SEO is that some sites try doing so quickly and forget that it’s not just about the quantity of content. It’s about the quality of the content. Your product pages can’t just be a copy-paste of the manufacturers’ description, they need to be concise descriptions accompanied by pictures.

Forgetting about the technical setup

Although content is king, you can’t forget about your technical SEO setup. Things like HTTPS, mobile-friendliness, page speed, indexation, XML sitemap are often forgotten about.

Conclusion

What works to drive conversions on one site might not work on yours. So, do not copy tactics blindly. Search engine optimization (SEO) for e-commerce sites is a complex process. Your goal is to improve your search engine rankings so you can sell more products and generate more revenue.

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