Search engine optimization is low-hanging fruit for ecommerce websites. Despite the fact that SEO has one of the highest ROI of any ecommerce marketing campaign, many online stores are put together with little to no consideration of search engines.
Instead, many rely on social media or paid ads which can be great for companies but typically require a constant effort and stream of income. Ad spending costs companies billions of dollars every year — an amount that is only increasing.
On the other hand, SEO primarily requires effort upfront — once you rank, you can practically make sales on autopilot with no recurring expense.
With this in mind, understanding SEO best practices can help transform and unlock your ecommerce business.
On-page SEO for ecommerce platforms is all about making sure your keywords are in the right places. It’s a way of ensuring Google knows precisely what your page is about.
On-page SEO is essential because it also helps you appear in other Search Engine Results Page (SERP) features.
The factors that involve ranking for SERP including the following:
Keyword research is the critical first step in an ecommerce SEO campaign.
If you get this part wrong, one of two things will happen:
Neither of these situations is ideal, which is why ecommerce keyword research is so important — it will ensure you target keywords that are easy to rank for, have decent search volume and have high conversion rates.
However, there is more to choosing keywords than simply looking at how difficult it is to rank or how many people search for them. The following four options can help you to perform ecommerce keyword research, find keyword difficulty (KD) and search volume and uncover buyer intent:
Unless you use a tool like Ahrefs, you likely won’t have keyword data for the phrases you picked. You need to determine keyword difficulty, search volume and buyer intent to know which keywords to use.
Using Google Keyword Planner, you can find rough search volume and CPC to determine buyer intent. However, it doesn’t give you keyword difficulty (KD) or spread.
If you want to get serious about your SEO efforts and maximize your keyword spread, consider creating a keyword matrix.
A keyword matrix is a way to dig through relevant keywords and organize your spreadsheet to quickly determine the best possible keywords to use on each of your pages. It’s based on KD, search volume and search intent.
Amazon is a gold mine of high buyer intent keywords since people typically search on Amazon with the intent of buying something.
To find keywords with Amazon, start typing in your seed keyword. In response, Amazon will spit out autofill suggestions. These are all keyword ideas — put them in a Google spreadsheet to keep for later.
As you can imagine, if you have hundreds or thousands of products, this could take a long time. That’s where the Amazon Keyword Tool comes in.
This tool automatically scrapes Amazon’s autofill suggestions for any keyword you type in. Each time you search, check off all the keywords and add them to your list, then download that list to a CSV with the “Download Selected Keywords” button.
If you have competitors who rank higher than you in search results, you can use their site to take keyword ideas. First, type your keyword into Google, choose a competitor and scan their category and product pages for potential keywords.
It is important to remember that you shouldn’t blindly use the same keyword as your competitors simply because they outrank you — there are other factors such as domain authority.
It is also critical to consider breadcrumbs, an advanced navigation function that helps Google scan and index your site. You can tell if you’ve set up breadcrumbs correctly by entering your site into Google. If you see “yoursite.com -> category -> subcategory”, you have breadcrumbs set up.
Ahrefs is an all-around, fantastic SEO tool. You can use it for keyword research, competitive research, building backlinks and much more.
Through its easy-to-use system, you can view built-out reports of keyword rankings on your site and your competitors, allowing you to see how you stack up and where you can make improvements.
Product and category pages are arguably the most important pages to rank. If someone finds them in Google, they immediately have access to all your products in that category.
To properly optimize these pages, you need to put your target keyword in the following places:
Putting your primary keyword in the URL is a simple way to improve search rankings. This is especially relevant for websites competing in more competitive niches as optimized URLs are an additional way you gain the edge on your competitors to drive more traffic.
You can also customize them to whatever keyword works best for your category page rankings.
The page title tag, or H1 tag, should have the keyword as close to the beginning as possible. This works to promote the central themes of the page and help you rank organically for the title tag.
Body copy is where things get a little trickier. Most category pages get straight to the products without an introduction, which isn’t ideal for Google.
It would be best to aim for at least a 300-word intro with your keyword included at least 2-3 times.
Since Google can’t read images, they rely on alt text to know what the image is and what it includes.
Image alt text can give you another opportunity to include your keyword on the page and gives you a better shot at showing up in Google image results.
While including your keyword in your metadata hasn’t been shown to impact rankings directly, it can improve click-through rate (CTR), which has been shown to improve rankings.
This is because when you include your main keyword in the meta description and description tags, Google bolds it in the search results:
Rinse and repeat for all your category pages, then do the same with your product pages.
Content is an increasingly important part of a modern marketing strategy. In fact, according to a study by Oberlo:
Quality content is one of the easiest ways for your ecommerce store to rank for more keywords and build backlinks. Consider that product and category pages can only rank for so many keywords. Once you’ve maxed those out, you cannot cover any more search real estate.
Content can help to fill in those gaps. Now you can rank for both short and long-tail keywords that relate to your industry. Content marketing can increase your traffic — and ultimately your sales — and make it easier for you to build links to your site to improve your domain authority.
The SEO process isn't just about keywords. There is also a technical side that deals with the fine details and minutia of a website
When performing SEO clean up or ecommerce SEO audits, it is critical to review and understand the following aspects of your site:
Ecommerce site architecture, or structure, is how you set up your navigation, category pages and product pages. At its core, it’s about getting the best, most relevant content in front of potential customers and reducing the number of times they have to click to find it.
There are two “golden rules” to great site structure:
This image is an example of bad site architecture. It takes four clicks to get to a category page, and if you want to add a product or category page, you have to hide it deep inside the bowels of your site.
Not only is this poor for navigation, but it also hurts your search rankings since your home page is the most authoritative page on your site. Internal links from one page on your site to another pass authority from one page to another
This image is an example of good site architecture. Your home page should link to all your major category pages and potentially even some of your best product pages as well.
Proper navigation and internal linking can ensure those pages get the most authority from your home page and thus have a better chance of ranking highly in search.
Site speed is essential to your site’s ability to rank and user experience. According to a study from Radware, 51 percent of online shoppers in the U.S claimed if a site is too slow, they will not complete a purchase.
To get an idea of what you can do to improve your site’s speed, go to Google’s PageSpeed Insights Tool and plugin your URL. Google will score you on Mobile and Desktop from 1 to 100 and give you steps to speed up your load times.
Redirects are a way to send users and search engines to a different URL from the one originally requested.
Redirects will affect your SEO, though whether it is a good or bad thing is determined by multiple factors. Search engines often rely on unique URLs to identify them. When Google reviews the page and the redirect, it will attempt to pinpoint the relevance between the new page and the original page’s keyword.
Ensure that there is a connection between the old URL and the redirected one, or you may lose out on SEO rankings.
Internal linking within product category pages can help guide users and searchers from one page to another on your website, and is one of the most overlooked parts of an SEO Strategy.
By placing internal links on your pages, you are building an ecosystem within your website, keeping readers on your pages and increasing your likelihood of engagement or conversions.
Ensure that each of your URLs is designed with the keywords in mind.
URLs are often created automatically, with many marketers leaving it as is before moving onto another page. That is a mistake and the loss of a potential opportunity. By crafting each URL as an extension of the page itself, you can increase your rankings and SEO capabilities.
By the end of 2021, more than 60% of Google searches were performed on a mobile device.
With this in mind, it is evident that ensuring that your website is not just mobile-friendly but mobile responsive is critical to the success of your SEO strategy.
Google actively dislikes duplicate content and will penalize sites that have too many redundant pages.
Make sure that when you're crafting content or category pages, they are unique and can separate themselves from the rest of your site.
Hreflang is an HTML attribute used to identify the language and geographical targeting of a webpage.
In terms of your SEO strategy, Hreflang can be helpful if you have multiple versions of the same page in alternating languages, as it can help set them apart on Google. You don't want to be penalized for trying to reach different audiences across the globe.
Canonical URLs or tags help your website by telling Google which version of a URL you want to appear in search results.
Within similar topics or pages, keywords can appear within several different URLs. Without the tagging of the master page, your SEO results can suffer as Google will penalize you based on the redundant search terms.
A sitemap is a file that provides information about pages, videos or other files on your site. Essentially, the sitemap works to tell Google which pages on your site are important ones, allowing them to crawl your site more efficiently.
Sitemaps are an underrated but vital part of your SEO strategy. By telling search engines where to look, you can work to move potential readers and viewers onto specific pages — raising their rankings and allowing you to dictate site traffic.
There are two ranking factors Google cares about more than anything else:
Backlinks from other websites with high domain authority to your website can improve your rankings more than nearly any other ranking factor.
Because they are considered off-page SEO, it’s a little more complicated and time-consuming than simply making a tweak to your website. You’ll need to collaborate with other bloggers and retailers to acquire those links.
The following five unique link-building opportunities are among the most effective and easiest to learn:
Resource pages are, for lack of a better definition, pages full of resources concerning your industry.
They may take several forms, often as a blog post or even a simple, static page. While static pages may not provide the same authority as a blog, they are typically much easier to produce and can help boost your rankings. While the latter may not give you authority due to the sheer number of links on the page, they are much easier to get and give you some boost in your rankings.
To find resource pages, simply Google “inurl:resources + X” (X being your product, topic, or industry). Once you find a promising page, add the URL and the site’s contact info to a spreadsheet.
Once you have a good list of leads, it’s time to send them an email. Make sure you customize each email not to sound robotic.
Influencers are people in your industry or niche who have a large following and/or a website with a high domain authority but aren’t competing with you directly.
You’ve probably heard of influencer marketing. Partnering with influencers for SEO is a little different, however.
Rather than paying an influencer to share your product on social media, the goal is to link back to your site from their site. This could be a blog post featuring product descriptions or a link from an existing page on their site.
Also called “building links by fixing the internet,” broken link building is one of the most effective and easy link-building tactics.
It works by using a browser extension such as Check My Link to search websites in your niche for broken links. You can check resource pages for a double-whammy or blog posts around your topic.
With an extension like this, broken links appear highlighted in red and are easy to spot. Once you find one on a site, you can email the owner to hopefully solve the issue.
How would you like to improve your rankings while simultaneously pushing out the competition?
Using a tool like Ahrefs can let you view your competitor’s keywords and find out where they’re getting all their links from — and try to appropriate them for yourself.
With this, you can see exactly where your competitors are getting their links and what pages.
Guest posting with blogs or articles is a great way to build links. It can help your site craft relationships with industry experts and sites while using their expertise and readership to increase your own site’s exposure.
Guest posting can also allow you to gain high-quality links to and from your site to increase your SEO keyword rankings.
SEO isn’t as cut and dry as pay-per-click (PPC) — you can’t immediately calculate ROI after a day of ad spend. Instead, the signs are more subtle and take longer, relying on small increases in rankings.
In order to track your rankings, there are two things you should do:
Ahrefs has a built-in rank tracking feature you can use to be notified whenever your rankings increase or decrease.
They enhanced this feature to give even more helpful information, like comparing your progress to your competition and seeing your overall search visibility. It can give you a general sense of whether your rankings are overall going up or down.
A general increase, even a small one, in your rankings for your targeted keywords over time is a fantastic result.
If you want a free method to see search ranking improvements, or want more structured data, install this free SEO dashboard to your analytics.
With Webris, rather than looking for immediate ranking improvements, you’re looking for more subtle clues, including:
These two pieces of information can determine which keywords you’re ranking for. Then, you can perform an incognito Google search to see where you’re at.
There are many ways to get traffic, from social media to paid ads and email. However, search traffic is the only one that’s reliable, free, self-sufficient and relatively easy to get.
If you want your site to garner significant traffic and receive the visitors you expect, learning the ins and outs of ecommerce SEO strategies can transform your business.
A simple SEO campaign can result in exponentially greater sales. The best part? It doesn’t have to take you years to achieve. By following this guide, you can find yourself there in no time at all.
The ecommerce SEO tools that are highly recommended to do things right include:
They’re not all necessary, but they serve to make your life easier.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the scientific art of optimizing your website around specific keywords to rank higher in search results, such as Google.
So why should you care?
SEO is an increasingly important aspect of digital marketing and presents a real opportunity for companies across the world.
If you have a physical store or just want more local site traffic, local SEO can give you a nice boost.
The following can help you accomplish this:
Google has a cool feature called Google My Business, which lets you put your business’s details into Google’s database.
This allows your business to appear in local search results. You can highlight your website information, address, hours of operation, pictures, reviews, etc.
Local citations are backlinks from other local websites, like news outlets, magazines, press releases and other local media.
Citations are important for local SEO because it shows Google that you’re popular in your area. Just as backlinks help SEO in general, backlinks from local sites help local SEO.
Any local links are a great way to build overall domain authority and help local rankings.
Quick wins include local news outlets, charities you support, locally-based blogs and any local associations such as a Chamber of Commerce.