The most sure-fire way to rank higher than your competitors on search engines and drive conversions on your eCommerce store is to master SEO. And if you’re not sure of how to go about mastering eCommerce SEO, then you are in the right place.
Whether you’re a building a new website from scratch or reinventing an existing brand, this post is packed with tactical tips and insights to help you up your eCommerce SEO game.
What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is a low hanging fruit for eCommerce websites to capitalize on. Simply put, SEO is the process of strategically generating more organic traffic from search engines.
For example, when you search for something on Google, you type in certain keywords and are redirected to the search engine results page that hosts all the relevant results.
Broadly speaking, this process of typing in keywords and having relevant results show up is called Search Engine Optimization.
As a marketing tool that has virtually no cost attached to it and advantages galore, SEO makes for the most influential device in your arsenal of marketing strategies.
What is eCommerce SEO?
eCommerce SEO is all about having your product pages appear on the first page of search engine results. Ranking on the first page matters.
A study has shown that top ranking results attract 32.5% of traffic and the number dwindles as you proceed lower and onto the next page.
What this means is that you’re losing brand impressions, website visitors, and sales if you don’t have a solid SEO strategy in place.
Do you want to master eCommerce SEO for your online store? Read on for a step-by-step guide on how to master the subtle art of eCommerce SEO.
Do your research
Research is the most important step in the SEO process. Why? Because targeting the wrong keywords can crumple your eCommerce SEO campaign by not generating high-quality traffic. The research process is divided into two parts:
- Keyword Research
- Competitor Research
- Keyword Research
Keyword research involves identifying the most fitting words that are relevant to your business.
When it comes to optimizing your website and its pages for relevant keywords, you should consider relevancy, search volume, and ranking difficulty.
Pick keywords that have an exact match search volume and are not too competitive.
Your ideal choice should be to choose words that have a high search volume and less difficulty.
For instance, if you are selling custom t-shirts, don’t include generic keywords such as ‘t-shirts’ or ‘casual t-shirts’, as these are not specific words that your audience is looking for.
These are high competition words for which your site will take a very long time to rank for. You can also opt for a domain name that is rich in keywords.
For instance, www.formalshirt.store is a keyword-rich domain as it will attract backlinks to the anchor text ‘formal shirt store’ and ‘shirt store’. This will help your website to rank higher as it consistently attracts backlinks from credible websites.
You can do the same with long-tail keywords. While your website ranks for a specific keyword, you can smartly use your blog page to rank for relevant long-tail keywords.
A search query that consists of more than one keyword is a long-tail keyword. ‘Social Media Marketing Strategy’ is a long-tail keyword, whereas ‘marketing’ is only a keyword.
According to Moz, around 70% of searches comprise of long-tail keyword searches.
You can use SEMrush to search for relevant keywords and get detailed insights into how a keyword ranks along with its search volume and all relevant keywords that may be useful to you.
SEMrush is also a handy tool to search for topics and long-tail keywords to optimize your blog page.
- Competitor research
Successful keyword research is half the battle won. However, competitor research will help you gain strategic insights on how you can up your eCommerce SEO campaign and compete on a level field.
You can use nifty tools such as SEMrush, Moz, and Google Keywords to see what your competitors are ranking for.
If your competitors are well-established businesses having high domain authority and page authorities, then it is best to focus on other keywords rather than compete with them.
Another important aspect of competitor research is to keep track of their inbound links. You can use Ahrefs for this. Your competitor research should also include studying the website architecture of your peers.
This way you can decide if you want to follow the same site architecture as industry leaders or take a new route.
If you are a startup or a new business looking for a domain name, you may have found it hard to find a name of your choice on traditional domain extensions such as .com, .net, and .org. However, you can now search for a relevant and brandable name on a new domain extension for your new business.
Fix what’s broken
After you’re done with the necessary research, it’s time to look within your website and fix everything that isn’t working or needs tweaking.
- Website errors
Use Screaming Frog to detect website errors. Screaming Frog will crawl and spider through your website pages, links, images, script, CSS, and APIs from an SEO perspective. It will then provide you with a report of what isn’t working.
Keep an eye out specifically for:
- Not functioning 404 pages
- Broken links on your blog or product pages
- Duplicate content, meta titles and meta descriptions
- Website Speed
The attention span and patience of GenY browsers last only a few seconds. If your website is slow to load, your customers are simply going to hit ‘back’ and jump on to your competitor’s website.
There are several tools to check your website’s load time. Ideally, if it takes more than 3 seconds for your website to load, consider changing your server space or using another CMS provider or revisit your image and video files and compress them.
Optimize, optimize, optimize
On-page optimization is an important part of eCommerce SEO and the best part is that it’s fully controllable. On-page optimization includes all the actions you should take within your own website to rank higher.
This involves the following aspects:
- Keyword Optimization
Now that you know the importance of keywords in SEO, you need to optimize your pages to include those keywords. If you’re a local business, you should include location-based keywords and strategically include other keywords on your page.
Your ideal page structure should include:
- Page Title
- Sub Heading
- Product Description or Blog
- Image file names
- Alt tags
- Meta title and description
Your keywords should be distributed in all these sections of the page. All your multimedia files should also be named keeping the keywords in mind.
Avoid packing your meta description with keywords. Include it smartly in one sentence to make it sound like an advertisement and make it clickbaity.
- Website Structure
Smart website architecture can have a positive impact on your website’s usability. If you’re building a new eCommerce website from the ground up, use LucidChart to create a systematic chart for your website’s page architecture and navigation logic.
A ‘flat design’ will make navigation a breeze with fewer clicks. This will enable a seamless flow of Page Authority from your home page to the inner product pages.
- Internal Linking
Internal linking means linking pages of your website with other pages within your own website. Internal linking allows you to link to pages that have a particular anchor text, which can help you to rank for your keywords.
However, don’t pack all your pages with internal links because search engines have smart algorithms that can pick this up. Include internal links wherever there is a natural fit or need for one.
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- User Experience
A well-designed eCommerce website that is simple to use will keep your customers coming back. And that’s great because that’s the goal! Great user experience means that your website is easy to navigate about and helpful.
By simplifying the checkout process and adding a live chat option will add to the great user experience. Great user experience means customers will spend more time on your website, which is great for SEO.
- Responsive Website
If you’re in the eCommerce business, you know the importance of mobile shopping.
A major portion of millennials browse the web from a smartphone or tablet and thus having a responsive website isn’t just great for maximizing conversions, but it also helps your eCommerce SEO campaign.
Did you know that 61% of customers who visit a mobile unfriendly website are likely to go to a competitor’s site?
With responsive website design, you can code your website to work seamlessly on any device (desktop, tablet, mobile phone) without having to create multiple websites.
This is great because you can avoid duplicating content that will confuse search engines and affect your SEO. You can use responsive theme templates for this.
- Product Reviews
Customer reviews can help your website generate more conversions. After all, new customers trust the feedback of existing customers and their experience.
In fact, according to Internet Retailer, you can increase your eCommerce conversion rate by up to 76% if you showcase product reviews.
However, product reviews not only drive conversion, but they also have a positive impact on SEO.
Wondering how product reviews will help your eCommerce SEO? It’s simple. More reviews mean there’s more content being added to your website and frequent reviews mean there’s fresh content being added regularly which search engines love!
You can incentivize your customers to write a review by offering them a discount on their next purchase.
- Social Media
Your eCommerce website must include all your social media handles.
Moreover, having social media handles helps in building your own community, engaging with customers, sharing content and offers that ultimately impact your SEO ranking.
Having active and frequent social signals gives a positive indication to search engines that your website is valuable. This helps in making your eCommerce SEO stronger.
Start a Blog
As mentioned above, your website should be optimized for a particular keyword. However, there are several long-tail keywords that can boost your eCommerce SEO.
The best way to make the most of these keywords and attract people to visit your website is by starting a blog.
A smart content marketing strategy coupled with high-quality, relevant content can do wonders to boost eCommerce SEO and enable your website to rank high on the search engines.
Not only that, but quality content will also help you earn inbound links from other reputed websites.
For instance, if you’re in the business of selling organic food, write about health and fitness and specialized diets.
Relevant topics will help you build an audience and eventually also increase conversions.
Build Your Links
When it comes to link building, you want to attract links from well reputed and high-quality websites. Search engines tend to penalize websites that only attract links from low-quality websites.
Use your blog page to attract high-quality links by writing guest posts or have influencers and industry leaders to write a blog for you.
You can interview experts and link to their website and ask them to share the content piece on their social media channels.
This will also help to drive website visits and improve your social signals. You can use HARO (Help A Reporter Out) to connect with experts and specialists in the retail and eCommerce space.
These guidelines will help you build a strong eCommerce SEO strategy.
However, SEO is a game of patience and takes time and dedication to master. Tweak your strategy as need be and watch your online store website rank to the top of the page.